The Montreal Canadiens had a quiet day during the trade deadline, but they did make a few small moves and one big one. Some of the biggest names that were involved in rumours included Max Pacioretty and Alex Galchenyuk who both stayed put. They did in fact trade Tomas Plekanec, Joe Morrow, and Jakub Jerabek. They also acquired a few picks in the 2018 NHL Draft, young defenceman Mike Reilly, and a pair of prospects.
Recap: Montreal Canadiens Trade Deadline
Turtleneck Era Comes to an End for Now
The biggest move the Habs made was trading forwards Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Baun to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Kerby Rychel, Rinat Valiev, and a second-round pick in this year’s draft. They acquire a young forward in Rychel who only has 37 career NHL games under his belt. They also picked up Rinat Valiev, a 22-year-old defenceman from Russia who has only played in 10 NHL games. In 40 Games with the Toronto Marlies he five goals and 10 assists for 15 points. These young players have cheap cap hits and could play depth roles for the Habs.
Plekanec, who is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, is only 19 games short of playing 1,000 career games. Before being traded, Plekanec had spent his first 15 years with the Habs and it’s hard to imagine the Habs won’t try and bring Plekanec and his turlenecks back for the 2018-19 season. Sportsnet’s Eric Engels even indicates that the framework for a deal has been discussed.
Plekanec has been a key piece in the Habs lineup during his time with the team. The Habs also have been very short when it comes to depth at the centre position. Plekanec loved his time in Montreal and coach Claude Julien trusts him. While the offence has dropped off, Julien still uses Plekanec in big defensive situations. If he’s willing to come back on a cheaper salary than he got this season, there is room for a deal.
Getting Younger on the Blue Line
Montreal also made two smaller trades getting rid of defencemen Joe Morrow and Jakub Jerabek. Trading away these defensemen help with the Habs overload of young defencemen and opens the door for players like Noah Juulsen to make their mark in Montreal. In his first three games he has been on the second pairing with Karl Alzner and has looked promising. Montreal also has 20-year-old Victor Mete who has seven assists in 47 games with the Habs this year. They were also able to add defencemen in Mike Reilly. He may be in the Habs line-up tomorrow night when they host the New York Islanders. Reilly had two goals and eight assists in 38 games this year with the Minnesota Wild.
The Habs will have a lot to look forward to at NHL draft as they are currently have 10 picks in the upcoming draft. They will most likley have a top 10 pick in the first round along with four picks in the second round. With that first round pick, the Habs will look to add an elite talent to the prospect pool.