Sergachev motivated to make Lightning next season

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If Mikhail Sergachev plays 40 games for Tampa Bay next season, no draft picks will be exchanged in yesterday’s blockbuster trade with Montreal.

If, on the other hand, he doesn’t play 40 games, then the Lightning will receive the Canadiens’ second-round pick in 2018, and the Canadiens will receive the Lightning’s sixth-round pick.

So in a roundabout way, there’s an incentive for the Lightning to return Sergachev to junior for another year. The Bolts would get a second-round pick for a sixth-round pick, and that’s a good trade.

Sergachev, who turns 19 later this month, has other plans.

“I’ve played a lot in juniors and I learned a lot in those years,” he told the Tampa Bay Times. “And I feel like this is my time to play in the NHL and I’ll do my best and play my best to make the Lightning roster.”

Sergachev, a defenseman, has already made his NHL debut. He played four games for the Habs this past season — three in October, before he was returned to junior, then one more in April.

In between, he played 50 games (10G, 33A) for OHL Windsor, then seven more (1G, 2A) in the playoffs. In May, he helped the Spitfires to a Memorial Cup title.

Still, as much as he’s already accomplished in junior, he’ll need to make it worth Tampa Bay’s while to keep him next season. The Lightning have Stanley Cup aspirations. As such, they’re not in a position to gift anyone a roster spot — especially if it costs them a second-round pick.