Big news in the NHL this afternoon, as the Montreal Canadiens have acquired hotshot forward Jonathan Drouin in exchange for star defence prospect Mikhail Sergachev.  This has major implications for two teams the Leafs see on a regular basis.

This is a fascinating move on both ends.  In Drouin, the Habs are acquiring a 22-year-old dynamite offensive winger who’s coming off a breakout year (21G, 32A, 53P in 73 games this season.)  Drouin had some early conflicts with Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper, and at one point demanded to be traded.  All seemed to have been patched up in Tampa this year, but perhaps that wasn’t the case.

At any rate, Drouin is now a restricted free agent in need of a new deal, and Montreal has the cap room to give him one.  Tampa Bay, by contrast, was feeling a cap squeeze, with RFAs like Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat needing new contracts.  Trading Drouin eases the pressure a bit.

On the other end, Sergachev is considered an A+ defence prospect, one who nearly made the Canadiens this season before being sent back to junior.  Playing for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Sergachev put up 10 goals and 33 assists for 43 points in 50 GP.  He turns 19 on June 25, and the clock has yet to start on his entry-level contract.  The condition on the pick exchange suggests Tampa believes Sergachev could join their defence group as a 19-year-old this season and play significant time.  If so, Tampa could be reaping the benefits of this trade very soon.

But so will Montreal.  Ultimately, the Habs have acquired a player with the potential to add game-breaking offence right away.  Drouin might also be the first Francophone star the Canadiens have had in some time.

Ultimately, I think this deal has merit on each side.  It seems possible this is not the last move the Canadiens make this summer, and some of the rumoured ones (trading Alex Galchenyuk) could be bad.  But they’re a better team now than they were this morning, while Tampa has added a cost-controlled and very intriguing prospect.  As of this instant, I think it works for both teams.

UPDATE: The Canadiens have now reportedly signed Drouin to an extension for six years and $33,000,000, for an AAV of $5.5M per season.

Who won this trade?

Tampa Bay209
Everyone’s a winner in this beautiful game of life330