Canadiens Acquire Cracknell From Rangers for Holland

The Montreal Canadiens have traded forward Peter Holland to the New York Rangers in exchange for veteran forward Adam Cracknell, the team announced Thursday morning. In a day that has already seen the retirement of Vancouver Canucks’ forward Derek Dorsett and a huge trade involving Sami Vatanen and Adam Henrique, the Canadiens and Rangers both decided to add to the mix by making a deal of their own.

Due to the fact that both Holland and Dorsett were both playing for their respective clubs AHL affiliates at the time of the deal (Holland for the Laval Rocket and Cracknell for the Hartford Wolf Pack), both teams will get the opportunity to assign their players directly to the AHL without using waivers. The Canadiens have already announced that Cracknell will immediately join the Rocket.

Holland Gone Before Debuting

Though Holland signed a two-year contract to join the Montreal Canadiens during the 2017 offseason, he never got an opportunity to play with the big club. Instead, the 26-year-old played in 20 games with the Rocket in the AHL and scored eight goals and 18 points. In his most recent NHL stint coming last season, Holland played in 48 games split between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Arizona Coyotes and recorded five goals and 12 points.

Peter Holland
A former Leaf, Peter Holland was given the chance to play hero against his former club in Toronto. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports)

While the Canadiens have largely struggled to this point in the season (though the return of Carey Price has seemingly settled the ship after his most recent injury stint), Holland was never afforded the opportunity to play with the Habs. Scoring 35 goals and 81 points in 243 career games, Holland has widely been considered a disappointment after being selected 15th overall in 2009 by the Anaheim Ducks.

Still, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound center has proven he can add secondary scoring for a club that needs it as he scored 11 goals and 25 points in 62 games with the Maple Leafs in 2014-15 as well as nine goals and 27 seasons in 65 games the following year. In a strange move, the Canadiens traded him away to acquire a player who is six-years older who has scored 14 fewer goals and 38 fewer points than Holland.

Cracknell a Seasoned Veteran

Originally selected with the 279th overall pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft by the Calgary Flames (in the ninth round), Cracknell has proven to be a force as a forward throughout his career. Not afraid to use his size to his advantage, Cracknell has proven time and time again that he can help change the tone of a game with his size. He even scored 10 goals and 16 points in 69 games with the Dallas Stars last season before being claimed by the Rangers on waivers this year. Playing in only five games to date in the NHL in the 2017-18 season, Cracknell has spent the majority of his time in the AHL with the Wolf Pack in Hartford, scoring two goals and three points in 15 games.

Adam Cracknell
Adam Cracknell during the 2016-17 season as a member of the Dallas Stars, prior to joining the New York Rangers. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Set to join the Rocket in Laval, it’s unclear when, or if Cracknell will end up with the Canadiens at any point this season. Cracknell only carries a cap hit of $675,000 at the NHL level this season which is identical to that of Holland’s. The decision to make this trade is a curious one for the Canadiens, especially if they don’t intend on using Cracknell on the NHL roster. Still, things can change quickly and the team could eventually decide to call on the sturdy forward in the future.