The Habs have made their first move of trade deadline day as they’ve dealt defenceman Brett Kulak to Edmonton. The return is William Lagesson, a conditional 2022 second-round pick, and a seventh-rounder in 2024.
Kulak is in his fourth season with the Habs after being acquired back in 2018 at the beginning of the year when he cleared waivers. Over that time, he has worked his way from being a fringe player to one that has held a regular role with Montreal.
This season, Kulak has played in 56 games, picking up three goals and ten assists while averaging 17:58 per game, a career high. Those numbers don’t jump off the page but he’s a player who the analytics feel is worthy of a bigger role although none of Montreal’s coaches have been confident to willingly place him in a full-time top-four role. He shouldn’t have that opportunity with Edmonton either as he’ll likely be slotted in on the third pairing with the Oilers.
Kulak is in the final season of a three-year deal that carries a $1.85 million cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Montreal will retain half of that.
As for Lagesson, this is his first season where he has spent most of his time on the NHL roster compared to the minors. He has played in 30 games with Edmonton, picking up four assists while averaging 12:20 per game while adding a pair of helpers in 11 contests with Bakersfield.
The 26-year-old has a cap hit of $725,000 and will be a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration eligibility if he plays in 18 more games this season. Otherwise, he’ll be eligible for Group VI unrestricted free agency in July. His presence is likely more for adding depth so that they don’t have to bring someone up from Laval to take Kulak’s spot on the roster.
Meanwhile, Montreal now has 14 picks for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft which they’re hosting in July. However, if Edmonton makes the Stanley Cup Final this year, the Habs will get their 2023 second-rounder instead of this year’s.