Just last weekend, the NHL regular season came to a close with Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins lifting the Stanley Cup after a nail-biting win over the Nashville Predators. It was an incredible end to an epic NHL Playoffs, and given that the Pens are the first team in more than a decade to win two championships in a row, the series will surely go down in the history books.
After all of that excitement and hundreds of hockey games played since September, you’d expect a little less NHL-related news on your Twitter timeline this summer. Any casual fan, however, will tell you that there’s really no such thing as downtime in the NHL.
While fans await the pending fallout of the Vegas Golden Knights expansion, as well as the NHL Entry draft, we’re already being treated to some actual hockey trades. Earlier today, the Montreal Canadiens drew first blood and acquired Jonathan Drouin and a conditional pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning. In exchange, the move sees the Habs ship out blue chip prospect, Mikhail Sergachev, and a conditional 2nd rounder in next year’s draft.
Drouin is a 22-year-old forward that comes to Montreal with huge offensive upside. After a few rough seasons that saw him split time between juniors and the Lightning’s farm system, Drouin had a breakthrough campaign last year, registering 21 goals and 53 points. Meanwhile, the 18-year-old Mikhail Sergachev will land in Tampa Bay as one of the team’s better prospects. Along with his skill, the Russian defenseman was likely attractive due to his rookie status, which will protect the Lightning from having to expose a quality roster player in the upcoming expansion draft. The gifted d-man potted 17 goals and 57 points in 67 games for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires.
It may seem like a hefty price for fans on both sides, but based on expansion draft implications, the trade may be one of the few that works out for both teams. In the meantime, we’ll have to wait until both players suit up for their new squads this fall to better judge the swap.