In a somewhat surprising move, the Montreal Canadiens have recalled defenseman Brett Kulak, stating he’ll join them in Buffalo immediately. Kulak had been playing with the Laval Rocket of the AHL after being acquired from the Calgary Flames earlier this year.
The move is only surprising because of the recent reports that have surfaced that the Canadiens are looking to move out a defenseman given Shea Weber’s imminent return. Bringing Kulak up only complicates that, unless the team had already made up their minds on a trade or waivers assignment for one of the veteran options. It’s unclear if Kulak will get into the lineup right away, but there is at least some reason to believe he can help the team immediately.
Still just 24, Kulak played 71 games for the Flames last season and showed he could be relied on for at least third pairing minutes. The left-handed defenseman then filed for arbitration, which spurred Calgary to show him his real worth around the league by having him clear waivers just days before the hearing. After settling for a one-year, $900K contract, that low value was proven once again as he cost the Canadiens just two minor league players in Rinat Valiev and Matt Taormina.
In Laval though, Kulak has really impressed. With 11 points in 19 games, he ranks third on the team in scoring and has used his long frame to his advantage in the defensive end. While he certainly won’t be asked to take on huge minutes for the Canadiens right away, he does look to at least have a future in the organization, something that wasn’t clear in Calgary.