Montreal Canadiens pick up Pouliot from Wild in trade for Latendresse

MONTREAL – Benoit Pouliot is headed to the Montreal Canadiens after being traded from the Minnesota Wild for Guillaume Latendresse.

Habs GM Bob Gainey said the young forwards “are two players at the same stage in their careers who were still looking to make a place for themselves with the teams that drafted them.

“Often times a different environment, new teammates and a new situation can be beneficial for a player,” Gainey said in a release.

Pouliot played his junior hockey with the Ontario Hockey League’s Sudbury Wolves, and was chosen fourth overall by Minnesota in the 2005 draft. He has two goals and two assists in 14 games this season.

The 23-year-old has yet to play a full NHL season.

Latendresse scored 16 goals with 13 assists during his rookie season in 2006-07 but has plateaued at that level since.

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The 22-year-old has two goals and an assist in 23 games this season.

Pouliot, who grew up near Montreal, said he is really happy about moving back to Quebec, even though he was lukewarm about the possibility in 2005 of being drafted by the Canadiens.

“I was 18 at the time,” he said on a conference call. “Today, I’m 23. I’m more mature and I regret what I said.”

Pouliot said he doesn’t really know why his career hasn’t taken off.

“If I had to do it all over again, I would have given a lot more effort between the ages of 18 and 20.”

The Habs also called up winger Sergei Kostitsyn from the American Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs. Kostitsyn was scheduled to join the Canadiens on Monday evening and attend Tuesday’s practice.