The Montreal Canadiens acquired a conditional 2022 2nd round pick from the Edmonton Oilers, along with two other assets, for defenceman Brett Kulak, and that condition could kick if the Oilers make it to the Stanley Cup Final.
When the Montreal Canadiens initially traded Brett Kulak at the NHL Trade Deadline, it took a while for the two teams to formally announce the trade after NHL insiders broke it. The reason for that was to set the proper language in stone on the trade in order for the Oilers to honour a previous condition they included in an earlier trade made in the summer of 2021.
The Duncan Keith Trade
On July 12, the Oilers sent defenceman Caleb Jones and a conditional 3rd round pick to the Chicago Blackhawks in exchange for veteran defenceman Ducan Keith and winger Tim Söderlund. The condition in that trade, and why this matters for Montreal, revolves around the Oilers’ playoff success and Keith’s implication in said success.
The condition states that the Oilers would send a 2nd round pick in 2022, instead of a 3rd round pick, should they reach the Stanley Cup Finals in 2022 and for Keith to be one of the top-4 most used defencemen (time on ice) during that run.
The Oilers have moved on to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs and Duncan Keith is currently the third most-used defenceman on the roster at this junction. Should the Oilers continue rolling thanks to the impressive play of Connor McDavid and co., there is a chance that the condition on the Keith trade kicks in and the 2022 2nd round pick transfers to Chicago instead of Montreal.
Implications For Montreal Canadiens
In the event that the conditions in the Keith trade are met, the Montreal Canadiens will be sent the Oilers’ 2nd round pick in 2023. Although it may seem like a loss at the moment, this could turn out to be a better value for the Canadiens down the line.
If the Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Finals, their second-round pick would be either 63rd or 64th overall. That’s because the teams that reach the Stanley Cup Finals go on to pick in the last two spots of each round in the Draft directly following the playoffs. This is what happened to Montreal last season when they marched all the way to the 2021 Stanley Cup Finals, having the 31st pick of every round in consequence. If the pick transfers to the 2023 Draft, it’s not likely that the Oilers would repeat another run to the Finals, meaning their pick would likely be better next year.
In any case, there’s still lots of hockey to be played, but you can rest assured that general manager Kent Hughes is paying attention to the Battle of Alberta this spring as he prepares for the 2022 NHL Draft.