People all over the hockey world have been begging for trades since the season ended. Well, they got one, and it was a huge one. The Montreal Canadiens have acquired Jonathan Drouin and a conditional 2018 6th rounder from the Tampa Bay Lightning, giving up Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional 2018 2nd rounder in return in a blockbuster trade that happened earlier today. Both conditional picks are only swapped if Mikhail Sergachev plays 40 or more games for the Bolts next season. The Habs 2nd rounder will be Washington’s original pick that was acquired in the Lars Eller trade.
The 22-year-old, former 3rd overall pick Jonathan Drouin is a great acquisition from the Habs. The Habs forward group has instantly become one of the best in the league after this trade. Drouin has shown tons of upside during his time with the Lightning. The talented young forward has 29 goals, 66 assists, and 95 points in 164 games since entering the NHL. This includes 21 goals, 32 assists, and 53 points in 73 games last season. Still only 22, Drouin has the potential to be one of the top offensive forwards in the league. The Habs have already locked up Drouin for 6 years at $5.5 million per, meaning he will be a key part of their core for years to come.
As they say, you have to give something to get something, and this something was the 18-year-old promising defensemen Mikhail Sergachev. Sergachev was drafted 9th overall by the Habs in 2016. Since then, Sergachev has shown signs of becoming a potential franchise defensemen. He recently won the Memorial Cup with the Windsor Spitfires of the OHL. For those of you who are not familiar with Sergachev, he is big and strong, while also being a very good skater with great passing and hands. Pretty much, Sergachev is the total package on defense.
Overall, this trade makes sense for both teams. The Habs are clearly in win-now mode due to some aging players and some massive upcoming contracts with Carey Price, Max Pacioretty, and others nearing their contracts end. They sacrificed the future in order to get better for the next year or two, and there is nothing wrong with that considering the situation they are in. Although Tampa is also in win-now mode, this trade also made sense for them due to their current cap situation. Tampa has many players they need to sign and Drouin was the odd man out. In return, they got very promising defensemen who will strengthen their d-core for a very long time. The thought of a Hedman-Sergachev first pairing for over 10 years is very scary.
Although the Habs already made a big splash, they are far from done. There are tons of rumors going around involving Alex Galchenyuk. With Drouin coming in, Galchenyuk may be considered the odd man out. As the Habs clearly see Galchenyuk as a winger, they are now overflowed at that position with the addition of Drouin. Although I believe trading Galchenyuk would be a bad move if they are able to flip him to fill a need at center or on defense it may not be too bad of an idea.
Also, after the Drouin signing, the Habs only have around $17 million in cap space. This is a problem as they still need to sign some key players in Alexander Radulov, Alex Galchenyuk, Nathan Beaulieu, and Andrei Markov. The Habs may end up losing a player like Radulov to free agency due to the fact that they simply won’t have enough space to meet the player’s needs.
Lastly, the Habs now have to protect another forward in the expansion draft. This may mean the Habs will need to leave a solid forward unprotected. Some potential names are Paul Byron, Andrew Shaw, and Charles Hudon who was recently signed to a 2-year deal. Losing one of these players to Vegas would leave a big gap in the Habs middle 6.
If there’s one thing that’s for sure, Habs fans have a lot to be excited about. Although it came at a price, Drouin is a great player who will bring excitement to fans game after game. It will also significantly help the Habs for next season, and will hopefully be enough to contend for our 25th Stanley Cup. As mentioned, the Habs are far from done, so stick around and be sure to check out any other articles if something happens.