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NHL Free Agency

Canadiens Free Agent Chatter: Kulak Return Still Possible

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NHL Free Agency

Former Montreal Canadiens defenceman Brett Kulak is set to hit NHL Free Agency at noon today and an NHL source has conveyed to Montreal Hockey Now that the 28-year-old defenceman is ‘still interested’ in returning to the Canadiens.

Brett Kulak was traded to the Edmonton Oilers ahead of the NHL Trade Deadline in return for a conditional 2022 2nd round pick, a 2024 7th round pick and 26-year-old defenceman William Lagesson. At the time of his trade, general manager Kent Hughes was open about how much the team liked Kulak as a player and would have been more than fine keeping him if they hadn’t received an offer they couldn’t refuse.

A few months later, after the Oilers were eliminated by the Colorado Avalanche in the Western Conference Final, Kulak did not rule out the possibility of coming back into the Canadiens fold once he hits NHL Free Agency on July 13, in fact, he seemed to welcome it.

“Of course, there’s a chance that I could be back in Montreal,” Kulak told Jonathan Bernier of Journal de Montreal,. “I loved my time with the Montreal Canadiens. From Day 1, they treated me with class. It felt special to be part of that organization.”

On the latest TSN Insider Trading, which was very much focused on NHL free agency, NHL Insider Pierre Lebrun also reported that the mutual interest between Kulak and the Canadiens remains but that the 6-foot-1, 197-pound, left-shot defenceman could have as many as six suitors in NHL Free Agency.

“They are interested in bringing him back but they won’t be alone when he hits the market on Wednesday, Lebrun said of the Canadiens’ interest. “I think there will be half a dozen teams. They saw what he brought to the Oilers in that playoff run so there will be a few bids. My sense is that the Habs are going to reach out to Kulak’s camp. They really enjoyed having him, Marty St. Louis, in particular, enjoyed coaching him. I think there will be an offer from Montreal when the market opens on Wednesday.”

Kulak had been a serviceable defenceman for the Montreal Canadiens since being acquired from the Calgary Flames back in the Fall of 2018 and went on to become one of the more stabilizing presences on Montreal’s backend. His fluid skating style and underrated physical play made him a unique player for the Canadiens, as they used him up and down the lineup on any given night.

Hughes has spoken at length about his desire to bring in an experienced defenseman in the event that he is able able to move veteran defenceman, Jeff Petry. The experience Kulak has gained over the last couple of years, having played 39 playoff games over the last three years and reaching the Conference Finals in back-to-back seasons. Throw in the fact that Kulak can play both left and right defence in a pinch, and everything is there for him to make his return to the Montreal Canadiens, should the money and term work out.

 

 

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