General manager Marc Bergevin, with his team eight points back of the division-leading Boston Bruins, picked up top-line forward Thomas Vanek and a 2014 conditional fifth-round draft pick from the New York Islanders on Wednesday for a 2014 conditional second-round draft pick and Swedish forward prospect Sebastien Collberg.
It's believed the Canadiens have to reach the post-season for the picks to change hands.
Vanek, perhaps the most sought-after forward on deadline day, is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He's in the final season of a seven-year, $50 million US deal.
He gives Montreal a strong 1-2 punch at left wing along with Max Pacioretty, and will suit up Thursday night in Phoenix against the Coyotes, according to head coach Michel Therrien.
Vanek, 29, scored 17 goals and 44 points in 47 games with the Islanders after being acquired in a Oct. 27 trade with Buffalo that sent fellow forward Matt Moulson and draft picks to the Sabres. Moulson, also an impending UFA, found himself on the move Wednesday, traded to Minnesota.
Vanek has 21 goals overall, including 15 at even-strength, and 53 points in 60 games, making him Montreal's top point-getter, ahead of defenceman P.K. Subban and Pacioretty (42 points each).
In 645 career NHL games with the Islanders and Sabres, Vanek has 271 goals and 270 assists for 541 points.
Collberg, 20, has nine points in 40 games this season for Frolunda in the Swedish Hockey League.
He raised some eyebrows at the world junior hockey championship earlier this year, with some hockey observers saying he was instrumental in Sweden's gold-medal victory.