It’s odd to see the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs make a trade, but the former has just traded Tomas Plekanec to the latter
Going into the 2018 NHL trade deadline, the Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens are on opposite ends of the spectrum. The former is a buyer, hoping to acquire the pieces necessary for a Stanley Cup run. Meanwhile, the latter is potentially starting a long overdue rebuild.
It’s a bit weird to see the two make a trade, but the Canadiens have traded center Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Baun to the Leafs for a second-round pick and two prospects. Those prospects, by the way, are Kerby Rychel and Rinat Valiev.
Now that Leafs general manager Lou Lamiorello and Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin have turned in their homework, let’s grade their performances.
More from Puck Prose
- Detroit Red Wings 2023 Rookie Camp Has Plenty of Ups and Downs
- This Columbus Blue Jackets rookie doesn’t want to be forgotten
- 2 trades the Boston Bruins must make to secure the Stanley Cup
- 3 reasons the Avalanche won’t win the Stanley Cup in 2024
- This is a big year for Alex Turcotte and the Los Angeles Kings
Let’s start with the least meaningful addition to the organization. Baun is a decent AHL forward (16 points in 54 games with the Laval Rocket) with five games of NHL experience. Each of these five games came with the Chicago Blackhawks. As the Toronto Marlies make a playoff push, he should help them replace Kerby Rychel in the lineup.
Now, onto the far more interesting and relevant addition. Plekanec is a pretty solid center. His offensive skill is on the decline, but to be fair, it’s not like the Canadiens gave him very good linemates. Plekanec is still an above average defensive center. And perhaps with better linemates, he’ll be a bit more productive.
This season, Plekanec has 24 points in 60 games, which isn’t terrible considering his deployment. He gives the Leafs an excellent fourth-line center and is a notable upgrade over Dominic Moore. Plekanec could turn that fourth line into more of a third line, which would be outstanding for Mike Babcock and the Leafs.
In the very short-term, this trade allows Toronto to still have four really good centers even with Auston Matthews on the injured reserve list.
Toronto isn’t really going to miss Rychel or Valiev. The second-round pick is a slight overpayment for someone like Plekanec, but that’s the cost of doing business this time of year.
Grade: A-. I don’t like giving up that second-round pick for Plekanec, but again, it’s pretty reasonable considering the outrageous prices.
Marc Bergevin did a pretty good job here. Baun isn’t someone worth worrying losing. Rychel is an upgrade over him and is a fringe NHLer. Maybe being in an organization that isn’t loaded with prospects will allow him to take the next step. It’s certainly a risk worth taking for a team like the Canadiens.
Valiev could be a contributor for Montreal as soon as next season. He was stuck behind the Leafs’ depth on the left side of the blue line, but he won’t have this issue with the Canadiens. The second-round pick is a pretty nice get for Plekanec, especially if they manage to re-sign him in the offseason.
Grade: A+. These are the kinds of trades Bergevin should be making. Canadiens fans should be hoping for more like these.