The Montreal Canadiens announced today they have traded former first round pick Louis Leblanc to the Anaheim Ducks for a conditional fifth round pick in 2015.
Leblanc was scheduled to be a restricted free-agent and it’s apparent the Canadiens didn’t think they were going to keep him. He had played 50 career games with the NHL team but spent most of his time in Hamilton in the American Hockey League.
He scored five goals and amassed 10 points. Last season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Montreal native registered 13 goals and 28 points in 70 games.
“After three seasons with the Canadiens organization we felt that moving forward the best option for Louis and our organization was to give him the opportunity to pursue his career with another team. Throughout his entire stay with our organization Louis showed great professionalism and a constant desire to improve. We thank him for his contribution and wish him success for the continuation of his career”, said Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin in a press release.
I would expect some of the condition to be that he signs with Anaheim but this was clearly a trade to clear a contract spot and get something for Leblanc. It was clear the Canadiens didn’t like his character when he was one of the first players sent down from camp. He wasn’t drafted by this regime, and they clearly didn’t like him.
If you remember, there are some people who think that Montreal drafted Leblanc simply because the draft was in Montreal and it would have been the most pleasing pick to the fans in attendance. Players taken after Leblanc were Chris Kreider and John Moore, who currently are with the New York Rangers and Marcus Johansson with the Washington Capitals. Ryan O’Reilly, Kyle Clifford and Tomas Tatar are notable players taken in the second round.
The Canadiens most successful pick may be defenceman Mac Bennett who just signed a contract with the club and has yet to make his professional debut. Gabriel Dumont was also taken by the team in 2009.