Tomas Plekanec to the Maple Leafs
The Montreal Canadiens traded forwards Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Baun to the Toronto Maple Leafs for for Rinat Valiev, Kerby Rychel and Toronto’s second round draft pick in 2018. TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reports the Canadiens have retained half of Plekanec’s $6-million salary-cap hit.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: After nearly fourteen NHL seasons, Plekanec’s long tenure with the Canadiens is over. Considering how thin the Habs are at center, there was talk they might try to re-sign the 35-year-old center rather than trade him. Perhaps they’ll attempt to bring him back this summer as a free agent.
Though Plekanec’s offense has declined over the last two years, he remains a very effective checking center. Those skills and his veteran presence should provide a much-needed boost to the Leafs’ defensive game, especially in the postseason. As for Baun, he will likely report directly to the Leafs’ farm team.
The Habs get a decent return in this deal. The addition of the Leafs second-round pick gives them four in that round in this year’s draft.
Rychel, 23, is a former first-round pick with the Columbus Blue Jackets who’s struggled to stay in the NHL. As the Canadiens promote some of their promising youngsters into their lineup over the remainder of the season, Rychel and Valiev are likely destined to fill roster spots on the Habs farm team.