The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired veteran centre Tomas Plekanec from the rival Montreal Canadiens on Sunday for a 2018 second round pick and prospects Kerby Rychel and Rinat Valiev. Leafs PR made the announcement:
The @MapleLeafs announced that the hockey club has acquired forwards Tomas Plekanec and Kyle Baun from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for Rinat Valiev, Kerby Rychel and Toronto’s second round draft pick in 2018.— Leafs PR (@LeafsPR) February 25, 2018
It's a rare trade involving the two historic rivals, but both the Leafs and Canadiens received nice hauls in this deal.
For Toronto, they have their fourth-line centre as the team loads up for a playoff run. Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri, Tyler Bozak and Plekanec give Toronto four quality centres.
The 35-year-old Plekanec played his first 981 games with the Canadiens, debuting for them during the 2003-04 season. Plekanec had 232 career goals and 605 points. But age has contributed to a frustrating season for Plekanec, who has just six goals and 24 points on the season.
But he's a veteran leader with the ability to play in the top-six or in a shutdown role. He excels on the penalty kill, and should be a nice addition to a Leafs team made up of young players.
As for the Canadiens, a rebuild is on as the team continues to falter in the league standings. General manager Marc Bergevin had to replenish the prospect pool, and both Rychel and Valiev are nice additions.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Rychel has 12 points in 37 career NHL games - all with the Columbus Blue Jackets. He had 10 goals and 20 assists in 55 games for the AHL Toronto Marlies this season. The big winger should could be an NHL regular by next season.
Valiev - the big 6-foot-2, 208-pound defenceman - was drafted 68th overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014. He's a shutdown blueliner and could be a great fit on a Montreal team that's devoid of depth on the back end.
Plekanec is set to hit free agency this summer. With a strong showing in the playoffs, he could reset his free agent value - or perhaps earn an extension from his new team.