Well, folks, the NHL offseason is officially here and off to a hot start. The Habs and Lightning got together on a blockbuster trade, with Tampa sending Quebec native and former third-overall pick Jonathan Drouin to Montreal this afternoon.
Drouin and Tampa head coach Jon Cooper had butted heads in the past with the talented winger getting scratched or playing the fourth line during the 2015 Stanley Cup Final playoff run. General manager Steve Yzerman sent Drouin down to their AHL club in Syracuse for 17 games last year, which led him to demand a trade.
With restricted free agent status, there were some questions if Drouin would sign an extension in Tampa, even after turning a corner with a 53-point season in 73 games.
The Lightning are getting back talented defenseman prospect Mikhail Sergachev. It is a bit of a gamble on Tampa Bay’s end, but Sergachev is oozing with potential on the blueline. Tampa will receive a second-round conditional pick and send a sixth-rounder back if Sergachev plays in 40 games next season.
Attention now turns to Drouin’s contract negotiations, Sergachev’s development for a talented team that needs another game-changing defenseman, and the rest of the NHL. This blockbuster may have catapulted a flurry of activity that is going to come with a hectic offseason being driven heavily by the Vegas Golden Knights and their expansion draft.