“We love Brett Kulak as a player,” Hughes said Thursday morning when he met with the media at the Bell Sports Complex in Brossard, less than 24 hours after trading defenceman Ben Chiarot to the Florida Panthers.

While Hughes isn’t planning to trade Kulak, he said he will listen to offers from other teams in case he gets one he can’t refuse. But he’s not making calls to other teams to see if they’re interested in the 28-year-old defenceman who can become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“It’s nice to be in a place where they value you and like you as a player,” Kulak said after being told about Hughes’s comment. “It helps my personal confidence and I think it just makes you want to play harder for them. Prepare and be at your best for the team. When people like you and they’re giving you opportunity and saying nice things like that it motivates you to play even harder.”

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