Lightning trade Drouin to Montreal for Sergachev

Tampa Bay Lightning trade forward Jonathan Drouin to Montreal

Tampa Bay Lightning trade forward Jonathan Drouin to Montreal

The Tampa Bay Lightning have traded forward Jonathan Drouin to the Montreal Canadiens in a deal that gets them defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev. If he is, that means he's playing at least half of the season and contributing. And that's the case in Tampa, and not just because they're a little lacking on the blueline. 2nd-round pick (2018).

While Sergachev was the Canadiens' top blueline prospect, the cupboard isn't completely bare.

So, Yzerman was able to flip Drouin for Montreal's biggest trade chip in the 18-year-old Sergachev, who is both exempt from the expansion draft and has yet to begin his three-year entry-level contract. "We drafted (Sergachev) a year ago ninth overall, but to get a young player of Jonathan's calibre, it's something as an organization we could not pass by". The Lightning were in the market for a young d-man and many people believed he was the best all-around defenseman available in that draft class. Sergachev recorded 10 goals and 43 points in 50 games for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires this year. Because Segachev has just four games of National Hockey League experience, he is exempt from the process. He also participated with Team Russia in the World Junior Championships, but only had one goal in seven games on the way to a Bronze medal. 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.

Trading for Sergachev is a move for the future, while the Canadiens are seemingly attempting to position themselves for a Stanley Cup run in 2017-18.

"He's got good size, he's very strong, he's physical, he skates very well, he's got an excellent shot and he moves the puck well", Yzerman said.

Sergachev, from Nizhnekamsk Russia turns 19 on June 25. He can provide plenty of offense from the blue line and a steady presence in the defensive zone.

While securing Drouin should help fix the Canadiens' offensive woes (15th in scoring during the 2016-17 season), sending Alex Galchenyuk away would be taking a step back.

The Vancouver Canucks signed defenseman Erik Gudbranson to a one-year contract extension that will carry a value of $3.5 million. If he was shooting for the moon, and was willing to hold out, it could create a lot of problems for the Lightning. The Washington Post rounded up beat writers to hold a mock expansion draft, and the Lightning were likely going to lose 24-year-old Vladislav Namestnikov. That decision has been hotly debated on social media. Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman has a tight rope to walk with regard to the cap in the coming weeks, with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat also both due new deals. So a range of $5.5M to $6.5M.

The big question is, does this help the team next year?

Goyens called Drouin's absence from the Lightning a "hockey sabbatical" and the player spent some of that time working out with the midget Lions and helping their coaching staff. Goyens and Drouin would often have lunch together and talk hockey, with the player offering suggestions to help the Lions' power play.

"It's just really surreal", Drouin said at a news conference.

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