The Montreal Canadiens traded defenseman Jakub Jerabek to the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. The 26-year-old defender was missing from practice this morning, after the Habs played the Flyers in Philadelphia Tuesday night, ended up changing address in the end.
For his services, the Caps sent out a fifth round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft to the Habs.
The veteran blue liner is currently in his first season in North America after coming over this summer from the Kontinental Hockey League. He played 25 games in the NHL, scoring one goal for a total of four points. He played in 17 games with the Habs' farm club in the American Hockey League, the Laval Rocket, with whom he managed to tally one goal and 10 assists.
He had been a healthy scratch lately, and now the worst was confirmed for Habs fans as they Canadiens decided to pick up something for him as he was drawing some interest around the league rather than to give him a shot next season. The trade shocked many, not only Habs fans, but also insiders who weren't expected to see him moved - especially before other Canadiens who have been on the block for much longer, notably captain Max Pacioretty and veteran forward Tomas Plekanec.
NHL insider Pierre LeBrun explained his surprise in his latest The Athletic's column, trying to pinpoint what went wrong and led to this move:
"I was surprised, to a degree, that the Montreal Canadiens traded defenceman Jakub Jerabek (to the Capitals for a fifth-rounder in 2019). Only because what I had heard was that the Habs and the player’s agent, Allan Walsh, had a decent dialogue going about the future and an extension seemed like a possibility for the pending UFA. Perhaps they weren’t on the same page financially as to what a new deal would look like. I do think the Canadiens might circle back, however, to Jerabek come July 1."
There is it. Jerabek could be back in Montreal in the end. The Capitals will be focused on re-signing star defenseman John Carlsson, and since the dialogue was reportedly good between the Habs and Jerabek's agent, it could be picked up in the summer to bring the Czech player back in the fold, as he is set to become an unrestricted free-agent at the end of the season.
This is the only thing Walsh tweeted about his client and the recent move, besides the announcement of the completed trade:
This was the first trade made by the Canadiens at the deadline, and it can be expected that more are to come before Monday afternoon as Pacioretty and Plekanec have been mentioned in trade chatter for the past weeks.
Jerabek is expected to add to the Caps' lineup, as the team is already in place for a playoff race. He is known to be an agile puck mover and will add strength on both ends of the ice for Washington.
And then, maybe again next season in Montreal...