Trade between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs: the trade that sent Plekanec to Toronto allowed the Habs to make a big move

Julien Trekker
July 31, 2023  (1:07 PM)

In the NHL, there are certain trades that immediately make history and completely change the face of an organization. One can think of the famous trade involving Shea Weber and P.K. Subban, which had a huge impact on both the Canadiens and the Predators.

However, a lot of minor or seemingly insignificant trades are made that don't really have important repercussions at the time. Yet, in some cases, these trades end up having a major effect, but only a few years later.
Indeed, this was the case with the trade that sent Tomas Plekanec to the Maple Leafs at the trade deadline in 2017-2018. The former number 14 had played a few games in Toronto before returning to Montreal to play his 1000th NHL game.
Through this transaction, Marc Bergevin acquired a second-round pick (which became Jacob Olofsson), Kerby Rychel, and Rinat Valiev. Looking back at the return obtained at the time, it is clear that the Canadiens came out as losers in this trade.
Although some observers had faith in Jacob Olofsson, the Swedish forward never made the jump to North America. As for Kerby Rychel, he played a total of four games with the Habs, recording a goal and an assist. Additionally, defenseman Rinat Valiev played only two games for the Canadiens before being traded.
However, this is where it gets interesting.
Marc Bergevin later decided to trade Rinat Valiev and Matt Taormina to the Calgary Flames in exchange for Brett Kulak. Upon his arrival in Montreal, Kulak established himself as an efficient defenseman who could play an important role on the team's third defensive pair.
After providing valuable services to the organization for four seasons, the Edmonton Oilers acquired him at the trade deadline to add depth to their lineup for the playoffs. Demonstrating that he could be a reliable element on the Oilers' blue line, Kulak signed a four-year contract extension worth $2.75 million per year on July 1, 2022.
However, in return for the defenseman, the Canadiens acquired the services of William Lagesson and a second-round pick. And this is where we see the significance of the small trade – the Canadiens' front office used the Oilers' second-round pick to draft the prospect Lane Hutson.
As it turns out, small transactions can sometimes have a major impact on a team's future!
After a historic season with Boston University, the American defenseman continues to impress and is seen as one of the most promising prospects on defense in the NHL. He could undoubtedly become a top offensive defenseman in the coming years, often being compared to Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks.
Ultimately, the trade of Tomas Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs eventually allowed the Canadiens to acquire a true raw talent in Lane Hutson a few years later.
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Trade between the Canadiens and the Maple Leafs: the trade that sent Plekanec to Toronto allowed the Habs to make a big move

Do you believe that Lane Hutson has the potential to become one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL?

Yes11886.1 %
No1913.9 %
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