Canadiens trade Sergachev, acquire Drouin
Tampa Bay Lightning's Jonathan Drouin scores past Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price during second period NHL hockey action Monday, March 30, 2015 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
The Canadian Press
Published Thursday, June 15, 2017 3:21PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, June 15, 2017 4:41PM EDT
MONTREAL -- The looming NHL expansion draft helped make Jonathan Drouin a Montreal Canadien.
The Canadiens plucked the skillful 22-year-old winger from Tampa on Thursday afternoon in exchange for 2016 first rounder Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional second round pick in 2018.
The Lightning made the move with next week's expansion draft and salary cap in mind.
Drouin gives the Canadiens a much-needed dose of offensive upside and creativity. The third-overall pick in 2013 and a native of Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., Drouin had a career-best 21 goals and 53 points last season, including nine goals and 26 points on the power play.
He's a speedy, shifty and plenty skilled force on the wing (perhaps at centre too) and someone who instantly upgrades a Montreal lineup that sometimes struggled to score last season and was knocked out in the first round by the New York Rangers.
The clock is ticking on the Habs' competitive window with Shea Weber due to turn 32 this summer, Max Pacioretty closing on 30 and Carey Price approaching potential free agency next summer.
The trade ends a rocky four-year tenure in Tampa for Drouin, who clashed with head coach Jon Cooper and was suspended by the club at one point last season following a trade request. He ultimately rejoined the group for the 2016 playoffs, piled up 14 points and 17 games and had his most productive NHL campaign this past season.
Drouin is due a pricey, new second contract this summer, which -- along with expansion -- was a likely factor in Tampa's decision to part with him. 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.
Trading Drouin allows Tampa, which also netted a conditional sixth rounder in 2018, to protect one more player ahead of next Wednesday's expansion draft with protection lists due for submission on Saturday. They were faced with potentially losing promising 24-year-old centre Vladislav Namestnikov for nothing.
While Drouin is a big loss to their long-term talent pool, they get a high-upside 18-year-old defenceman in Sergachev who is exempt from selection by Las Vegas.
Thx for a great time Montreal https://t.co/IQ1rVpEwOq— Mikhail Sergachev (@sergachev31) June 15, 2017
The ninth overall pick in 2016 won the OHL's defenceman of the year award after the 2015-16 season when he had 17 goals and 57 points in 67 games for Windsor.
The Canadiens announced the signing of Charles Hudon to a two-year, one-way contract. The 22-year-old Alma, Que., native had 27 goals and 49 points in 56 regular-season games with the American hockey League's St. John's IceCaps last season.