Moving Drouin Gives Lightning Room To Maneuver
Generate cap space. Lessen the impact of the expansion draft. Acquire a top-4 defenseman. In order to check each of these boxes, Tampa Bay Lightning General Manager traded Jonathan Drouin to the Montreal Canadiens for their most valuable trade chip Mikhail Sergachev.
The deal also includes conditional draft picks going each way. If Sergachev plays fewer than 40 NHL games next season, including playoffs, then the Lightning will receive the Canadiens second round pick (acquired from the Washington Capitals) next year. The Bolts will also send a 6th round 2018 pick to the Canadiens. If he players more than 40 NHL games, including playoffs, no draft picks will be exchanged.
The deal will allow the Bolts a little more flexibility in both the free agent and trade markets. They have to find a way to re-sign both Ondrej Palat and Tyler Johnson.
They can add both Alex Killorn and Vladislav Namestnikov onto their protection list rather than lose one for nothing to Las Vegas. Unfortunately, barring another trade, they will still have to fill a spot on the expansion list and will have to expose either Slater Koekkoek or Jake Dotchin.
Finally, they pickup a two-way defenseman with a very bright future.
On the downside, Drouin was just coming into his own and it will be difficult to watch him excel in Montreal while waiting for that maturation from Sergachev.
As it stands today, without any additional moves, the Lighnting’s on-ice talent took a hit for the 2017-2018 season, but with the added flexibility there is sure to be more to come. Trading Drouin will be just the tip of the iceberg in a busy summer for the Bolts.
Sergachev Potential Top Four Defenseman:
Sergachev, from Nizhnekamsk Russia turns 19 on June 25. He was drafted by the Canadiens in the first round (9th overall) in the 2016 NHL draft. He opened the season with the Habs and made his NHL debut last season on October 13th against the Buffalo Sabres. Overall, he appeared in four games with the Habs.
He also played in 50-games with the Windsor “Ultimately our biggest need and our biggest goal was to acquire a puck-moving defenseman and we were able to do that,” Yzerman said on a conference call.Spitfires posting 10 goals and 43 points. He led all Spitfire defenseman in assists (33), points, power (43), power-play assists (10), and penalty minutes (71).
Sergachev is not eligible for the Las Vegas expansion draft and has yet to begin his three year entry-level contract. Yzerman has made no secret that he is in search of top-four defenseman this off-season and Sergachev goes a long way to fulfilling that goal. “Ultimately our biggest need and our biggest goal was to acquire a puck-moving defenseman and we were able to do that,” Yzerman said on a conference call.
Sergachev After Spitfire Son the Memorial Cup:
Homecoming For Drouin:
Drouin is returning home. He was born and raised in Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Quebec. “When I told him he was traded, he said ‘This is my dream come true,’” Drouin’s agent, Allan Walsh, told TSN 690 Radio. “‘This is my childhood dream.’”
Drouin had a tenuous relationship with Lightning General Manager Steve Yzerman that led to demanding a trade during the 2015-2016 season. He eventually was out of the organization waiting on a trade that never happened.
He eventually returned to the Syracuse Crunch of the American Hockey League and played well earning his spot back with the Bolts. After his return, he was electric in the playoffs scoring five goals and registering 14 points in 17 games.
Last season he proved that the talent put on display in the playoffs was not a mirage. In 73 game he scored 21 goals and registered 53 points.
Drouin Signs Extension:
The Canadiens announced that they had agreed to a six-year contract extension with Drouin worth a reported $33MM.
“It’s a new chapter in my life, I’m still young. I’m 22.” Drouin said. “It’s just nice to see from the Habs organization that it just took a couple of hours to sign a contract. No issues or anything and we’re just happy with everything that happened today.”