Bolts deal Drouin to obtain Sergachev

by Gary Shelton on June 15, 2017 · 4 comments

in general, Tampa Bay Lightning

Drouin was a popular young talent with the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Drouin was a popular young talent with the Bolts./JEFFREY S. KING

Thursday, 6:30 p.m.

At the moment, it's sure to be an unpopular trade. At the moment, the Tampa Bay Lighthing appears to have traded today's cheers for tomorrow's. Or the day after's.

You look at stats. You read the analysts. You try to get your head around this trade.

And what you come up with is this: The Tampa Bay Lightning have turned loose of one of their brightest young offensive players. In return, they got a defenseman who has played four games in the NHL. What's to love? The Bolts just traded a known talent for an unknown one.

 Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

A new Drouin contract might have been difficult./ANDREW J. KRAMER

A new Drouin contract might have been difficult./JEFFREY S. KKNG

Drouin is the guy you cheered for. Drouin is the guy you changed your mind about. You liked him. You liked his futre.

Hey, Drouin was a skid mark, a blur. He could find a rare patch of ice, and he could burst toward the net like few others. Oh, he wasn't a finished product, not yet, but he was 22, not far removed from holding his breath and going home. But he had changed his image. He was going to be something. Most Lightning fans agreed with that.

Mikhail Sergachev? He's a walk down a dark alley. You don't know what's there. As of now, you don't trust what's ahead. That's the problem with trading for a little-known player. Right now, he's a movie preview. The critics say he's going to be pretty good, filled with action. But for the time being, his press clippings are bigger than his resume.

So what do you do when faced with a trade that a lot of people wouldn't have voted for?

Well, you take a breath, and one more time, you decided if you trust Steve Yzerman.If you still think Yzerman is a rare judge of talent, and if you still think he's even-tempered enough to act in the best interests of the Lightning, then maybe you give him some time.

But, yeah, this time, Yzerman better be right.

Put it this way: Yzerman knew Drouin's strengths, and he has studed Sergachev's. He has projected his roster.

And he liked it better with Sergachev than with Drouin.

"We've been looking for a defenseman,” Yzerman said. “He's got good size, very strong, he skates very well," Yzerman said. "He's got an excellent shot, moves the puck well. We're hoping he can continue to be that player as he turns pro. We think he has the chance to to play all situations in this league.

"Those are very difficult to find prospects of that caliber."

Maybe he's wrong, of course. General managers make mistakes, too. Drouin put together an darned impressive highlight reel last season. He has a flair, a gift of creativity, that hinted that he will get better with the years. Drouin was an edge-of-your-seat player, a guy who could perform magic with the puck on his stick.

On the other hand, the Bolts need defensive improvement. There were games last season when the Lightning defenders looked like pylons with the opponents skating past. Jason Garrison is approching his 33rd birthday. Braydon Coburn is 32. Anton Stralman is about to turn 31.

Yzerman said the trade was just about getting a defenseman, dispelling any thoughts that Drouin's walkout of two years left lingering feelings. Drouin is a restricted free agent, and sure, he's going to want to be paid. But doesn't everyone?

"There's risk involved in every trade," Yzerman said. "Jonathan is an extremely talented young man. I expect he's going to have a long and successful career. I wish him good luck."

This trade works, of course, if Sergachev becomes an excellent -- not just good -- defenseman, an anchor on a successful Lighting team. It doesn't work if he's ordinary and if Drouin becomes a superstar.

Bottom line? It works if Yzerman is right.

Here's hoping that he is.

{ 0 comments… read it below or Subscriptions }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: