As first reported by Frank Seravalli, the Montreal Canadiens have traded Brett Kulak to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for a second-round pick and defenceman William Lagesson.
To #Oilers: Brett Kulak
To #Habs: 2nd round pick, William Lagesson
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 21, 2022
Brett Kulak Traded to the Edmonton Oilers
Kulak, 28, is a 6’2″ left-shot defenceman. He’s played in 316 games throughout his 8-year career, collecting 56 points and 137 penalty minutes. Over the past two seasons, Kulak has also accumulated postseason experience, suiting up in 23 playoff games for the Canadiens.
In 56 games this season, Kulak has 3 goals, 13 points, and is averaging just under 18 minutes of ice-time a night. According to Natural Stat Trick, Kulak has the fourth most 5v5 ice time amongst Montreal’s defensemen. He’s just under 50% in expected goal differential, which is relatively good compared to the other top three minute-munching blue-liners in Montreal.
Additionally, PuckIQ is able to track a player’s deployment against different levels of competition. This season, Kulak has spent most of his time against middle and “grit” levels of competition, with only 26% of his time against elite competition. In that limited time frame against the opposition’s best, however, Kulak has faired well in possession, relative to his teammates. Against elite competition, Kulak also has a respectable 52% on-ice goal differential.
Kulak has a cap hit of $1,850,000 million and is an unrestricted free agent at the end of the year.
What This Means Going Forward
One of the Oilers’ biggest needs, next to goaltending, heading into trade deadline day was an addition on defence. Darnell Nurse and Cody Ceci have been an excellent top pairing as of late, but beyond that, the Oilers desperately needed coverage. Kulak will immediately slot into the team’s top six, and in doing so, will either pair up with Duncan Keith or Tyson Barrie on the second or third pairing.
This move gives head coach Jay Woodcroft more leverage to run seven defencemen, a move that he loves to do.
For Montreal, this deal cashes in an unrestricted free agent for a pick and a depth defenceman. That makes sense given their current position in the standings.