The Montreal Canadiens have made a significant move to address their lack of scoring, acquiring prized Tampa Bay forward Jonathan Drouin in exchange for equally prized defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev.
The deal, in full:
The move is a homecoming for Drouin, a Quebec native taken third overall in 2013 by Tampa Bay. After some tumultuous times with the Lightning — including his trade request last year — he fulfilled his promise in ’16-17, scoring a career-high 21 goals and 53 points in 73 games.
The 22-year-old is currently a restricted free agent, so Habs GM Marc Bergevin still has some work to do.
Speaking of Bergevin, he paid a high price to land Drouin by parting with Sergachev, the Russian blueliner taken ninth overall in 2016. Sergachev, who is only 18 years old, wowed onlookers during training camp last year and wound up playing four games for the Habs, including one in late April.
It’s a bold move from Bolts GM Steve Yzerman, trading away a forward with dynamic skill that looks to have star potential. But he’s getting one of the best blueline prospects in all of hockey as a return, one that could be ready for a lineup spot in Tampa Bay next season.
Yzerman also alleviates an expansion draft issue by moving Drouin — who required protection — for Sergachev, who does not. And as mentioned earlier, Drouin needs a new contract, which will be pricey. Tampa Bay has far bigger cap issues than Montreal.
Update: Per TSN’s Pierre LeBrun, there is a condition on the aforementioned picks. If Sergachev plays 40 games for the Bolts next year, there are no picks exchanged. Less than 40, there are.