Tha Sports Junkies 101

Drouin Blockbuster Kicks of Off-season of Excitement

Emily Riness/ Flickr


Between the expansion draft, the entry draft, and tantalizing players either on the trade block or available in free agency, this could be one of the most exciting off-seasons in NHL history. Thursday could likely be the opening of the flood gates.

The Tampa Bay Lightning traded 22-year-old winger Johnathan Drouin (53 points in 73 games) and a conditional 6th round pick to the Montreal Canadiens. In exhange, Montreal sent their top prospect, Mikhail Sergachev, and a conditional 2nd-round pick to Tampa (Condition being if Sergachev plays 40 games for the Lightning no picks are exchanged.)

This trade was favorable for both teams as Montreal was desperate for scoring up front and Tampa Bay  was in need of a young defenseman.

The Big Picture for Tampa Bay:

Besides needing a young defenseman, the Drouin trade has a lot of positives concerning the expansion draft and their salary cap needs.

First of all Tampa was going to have to protect Drouin. Sergachev is exempt and this means that they can protect someone who previously would have likely been picked up by Vegas. This could’ve been players like RFA’s Tyler Johnson or Ondrej Palat, but more likely Alex Killorn or Vladislav Namestnikov.

Speaking of Johnson and Palat, they are both key cogs on this Tampa Bay team that need to be re-signed. Between their notable forwards and defenseman, the Lightning have a shocking 22 players whose contracts are up this off-season. Considering Montreal has already signed Drouin to a six-year, $5.5 million extension, they wouldn’t have been able to afford him. Steve Yzerman has a lot of work to do this off-season, so don’t expect him to be done dealing.

The Big Picture for Montreal:

This could be the first of series of big off-season moves for the Habs. Montreal was in desperate need of scoring after having Carey Price carry them once more. The acquisition of Drouin will help fix that and inject offensive talent into the line up. However, the move comes at the cost of giving up their top prospect . Marc Bergevin will pray that this isn’t Ryan McDonagh 2.0.

Montreal Repercussions:

The addition of Drouin does help with scoring.  However, with Patioretty and Galchenyuk seemingly stuck on the wing, Gallagher, Lehkonen, Byron, and wanting to keep Radulov, Montreal has a log jam outside of center up front. If Montreal signs Radulov, expect them to trade Galchenyuk for a top-four defenseman. Possible suitors are Jonas Brodin from Minnesota, Eric Staal from the Rangers, and Niklas Hjalmarsson from Chicago.

They will then likely address their problems up the middle in free agency, rather than a trade. Martin Hanzal and Nick Bonino are very average centermen. However, they could be complimentary to the Canadiens’ dynamic wingers.

Who Won the Trade:

It’s a cliche, but only time can tell. It really depends on the player that Sergachev becomes. Drouin has already shown that he will be one of the most elite up and coming wingers in the league, so its up to the young Russian to prove Tampa right.


Of course, the focal point from Thursday was the trade and Montreal bringing in elite French-Canadian talent. That being said, Montreal made a better move yesterday: the re-siging of Charles Hudon. Hudon has played outstanding in the AHL over the past few season with 102 points in 123 games. Yet for unknown reasons, he hasn’t gotten a legitimate chance with the team. Even in the six games he has suited up for the Habs, he’s had four points. His two-year, $650,000 contract shows that the club is ready to finally give him the opportunity he deserves. His offensive abilities are exactly what they need right now.