The Montreal Canadiens have announced that they have acquired defenceman Brett Kulak from the Calgary Flames in exchange for defenceman Rinat Valiev and Matt Taormina. Kulak will report to the Laval Rocket. Valiev and Taormina will report to the Stockton Heat.
The Canadiens acquire defenseman Brett Kulak from the Calgary Flames, in return for defensemen Matt Taormina and Rinat Valiev. Kulak will join the Laval Rocket.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) October 1, 2018
Canadiens Acquire Brett Kulak
Brett Kulak was originally drafted by the Calgary Flames in the fourth round in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. In 101 career games, Kulak has two goals and 11 points. Last season he played 71 games with the Flames where he scored two goals and added six assists for eight points. He put up a 52.2 percent Corsi-For and a -2.2 relative Corsi.
Taormina spent last season with the Habs AHL affiliate Laval Rocket where he scored four goals and added 48 assists for 52 points in 63 games.
Valiev was acquired by the Canadiens as part of a package that sent Tomas Plekanec to the Toronto Maple Leafs at last seasons trade deadline. He spent last season in the AHL between the Toronto Marlies and Laval Rocket. In 45 games he scored six goals and 18 points. He also played two games with the Canadiens, where he failed to register a point.
What This Means for the Future
In what looks more like a minor league deal, Kulak proved last season that he is capable of playing NHL minutes as he played 71 games for the Flames and averaged 13 minutes of ice time. Kulak provides some more NHL experience for the Habs defence group as he has more NHL games played than both Taormina and Valiev combined. Although he will remain with the Laval Rocket for the time being, he will be one of the first recalled if the Habs are hit with an injury. He is quite capable of being trusted in a bottom pairing role.
The other benefit of this trade for the Habs is that they open up another contract as teams are only allowed to have 50 players under contract. This makes some room for the Habs to sign some of their young prospects who could potentially make the Laval Rocket out of training camp such as Cale Fleury, or for other trades down the road. Not only do the Habs get some upgraded depth on the left side, but it also helps on the business side of things. All in all its a minor, but decent trade for Marc Bergevin, who has had a very busy off-season.
The Stockton Heat will be helped by Taormina who is one of the top offensive defencemen in the AHL. The veteran has proven to be a reliable power-play contributor at the AHL level. They also have the opportunity to take a chance on Valiev, who is still just 23 years old.
OTTAWA, ON – MARCH 09: Calgary Flames Defenceman Brett Kulak (61) skates the puck around the net during first period National Hockey League action between the Calgary Flames and Ottawa Senators on March 9, 2018, at Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, ON, Canada. (Photo by Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)