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Edmonton Oilers get Kulak from Canadiens, Brassard from Flyers

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The Edmonton Oilers  have added defenceman Brett Kulak in a deadline day trade with the Montreal Canadiens.

Kulak, 28, has three goals and 10 assists in 56 games this season for the Canadiens. He’s listed as being six-foot-one and 197 pounds.

“(He has) mobility, very dependable, can move the puck,” Oilers general manager Ken Holland told reporters on Monday, noting he got to watch Kulak a lot last season when the Canadiens played in the same division as the Oilers because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“I was looking for another defenceman, preferably left defence, because we’ve got three on the right that play regular and (Kris) Russell can slide over and if (Philip) Broberg gets healthy here — we’re not sure how long he’s out but hopefully it’s just two or three weeks — he can play right, so we were looking for a left-shot defenceman.

“There wasn’t a lot on the market. We’re happy to get one.”

Kulak, who hails from Stony Plain, Alta., has played 313 NHL games since being drafted 105th overall by the Calgary Flames in 2012. He played in the WHL for the Vancouver Giants.

“My hometown being so close to Edmonton, I’m very excited to be an Oiler,” he told reporters, adding that his father took a quick break from work to call him as soon as he heard the news. “Just talking to my dad earlier, he was a little emotional… It was kind of surreal for him.

“That’s the team that as a kid I grew up idolizing and talking about and wanted to watch all the time.”

Kulak said he sees himself as a two-way defenceman and that he normally adjusts his play so he can complement whomever his defensive partner is on the ice.

“I think I can bring something to the table on both sides (of the ice),” he said.

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Read more: Edmonton Oilers dump Devils for 5th straight win

The left-shot defenceman will likely start on the Oilers’ third pairing. He’s in the final season of a three-year deal with a cap hit of $1.85 million. The Canadiens will retain half his salary.

“He gives us versatility,” Holland said.

Kulak added that when Martin St. Louis took over as the Canadiens’ head coach this season, he brought an approach to the game that some might say the Oilers already employ.

“They play quick, they’re quick on pucks,” Kulak said. “When they force turnovers, they transition and they get on offence. When the puck’s on their stick, their mindset is they’re going to score a goal… That’s what I’m really excited about joining.

“I think I should fit in there really well.”

Montreal Canadiens Brett Kulak skates prior to an NHL hockey game against the Washington Capitals in Montreal, Thursday, February, 10, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes

Going to Montreal is 26-year-old defenceman William Lagesson, who had played 30 games for the Oilers this season. He was drafted 91st overall by the Oilers in 2014.

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The Canadiens also get a conditional second-round draft pick in 2022 and a seventh-round pick in 2024.

The Oilers also picked up forward Derick Brassard from Philadelphia in exchange for a fourth-round pick in 2023.

NHL profile photo on Philadelphia Flyers player Derick Brassard at a game against the Calgary Flames in Calgary, Alta. on Oct. 30, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Larry MacDougal

Brassard, 34, has 16 points in 31 games this season. He has a cap hit of $825,000 and will be an unrestricted free agent in the summer. The Flyers will retain half his salary.

“Brassard can play left wing (and) he can play centre,” Holland said of his club’s newest forward. “(He has a) good playoff resume (and) gives us more depth as we try to qualify for a playoff spot.”

“It’s been tough the last few years, going from team to team,” Brassard said, while adding he feels good about joining the Oilers. “I’m looking for an opportunity to win and I think with the Oilers I have that chance.

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“I’ve heard only good things about the new coach… I think the guys are buying in in his new system.”

Brassard noted he has over 100 games of playoff experience.

“Our team has been playing pretty good and we just have to make sure we keep going in that direction,” Brassard said. “At this time of year, the games are pretty intense and your season’s on the line.

With some Oilers fans musing on social media about whether the Oilers should have been looking for a goaltender ahead of the trade deadline, a reporter asked Holland about the state of the team at that position.

“When both goalies are healthy, I’m comfortable with our goaltending,” the GM said. “The goaltending has been really designed so they’re sort of 1A and 1B.

“I’m comfortable that when we’ve got the tandem together, they give us good goaltending.”

Read more: Edmonton Oilers slice Sabres 6-1

The Oilers take on the Colorado Avalanche Monday night. You can listen to the game live 630 CHED starting with The Faceoff Show at 6 p.m. The actual game starts at 7:30 p.m.

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–With files from Phil Heidenreich, Global News

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