As you know by now, defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional 2018 second-round draft pick were traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, with Jonathan Drouin and a conditional 2018 sixth-round pick heading back to the Montreal Canadiens.
NHL.com correspondent Corey Long said:
“Sergachev is the type of the defensive prospect that rarely becomes available on the trade market and has the skill set Tampa Bay covets.”
Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman said:
“We watched him play in juniors, we watched him in his draft year, I watched him play this year in the Memorial Cup again,” Yzerman said Thursday. “He’s got good size. He’s very strong. He’s physical, He skates very well. He’s got an excellent shot. He moves the puck well. We’re hoping that he continues to be that type of player as he turns pro and do that in the NHL. It’s very difficult to find players of that caliber and a prospect of that caliber, they’re difficult to acquire.”
“When I got drafted by [the Canadiens] I was a big fan of them and I played for them, my first reaction … I was kind of frustrated and shocked, but after that, it’s a new opportunity for me,” Sergachev said. “I’ve heard a lot about the [Lightning] organization. They play fast hockey. They play offensive hockey. They have some great players and they have a great coaching staff and management. It’s just awesome.”
The NHL ready Sergachev is 18 years old and he’s listed at 6’2″ and 208 pounds. He grew up in Russia and came to North America to play in the Ontario Hockey League for the Windsor Spitfires.
He made his mark early on as he scored 17 goals and had 57 points in 67 games. He was named to the OHL’s All-Rookie First Team. He also appeared in the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospects game and led all OHL defenseman in goals. He won the Max Kaminsky Trophy for the league’s most outstanding defenseman, the youngest player ever to win that award.
Prior to being drafted, the native of Nizhnekamsk, Russia was number eight on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American skaters for 2016.
Dan Marr, Director of NHL Central Scouting, said he was impressed by Sergachev’s smarts, poise, and instincts.
“His read-and-react game is fast,” Marr said. “He’s able to transition quickly. He’s got that focus on the ice, and he’s a guy you don’t catch out of position. It is a lot tougher to beat him 1-on-1 now than it was earlier in the year.”
The young Russian was selected by the Canadiens with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 draft. Sergachev played in four NHL regular-season games in 2016-17 and was held pointless before being sent back to the Spitfires where he helped the team win the Memorial Cup last month.
Sergachev patterns himself after Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. “He’s a great player and a great person, too, like humble, so I’m trying to be like him,” Sergachev said.
Before he became a stud on defense, Sergachev was an exciting forward.
“In my minor-midget year in Russia, I played forward for 20 games and scored 25 goals,” Sergachev said. “That was four years ago when I played in a tournament as a center and was captain for that team. No one played great and I was the biggest guy in the league, so I had fun scoring goals.”
Sergachev needs to focus more on his defensive game and his physical play.
“I’ve got to be better in the offensive zone without the puck,” Sergachev said. “It’s coming.”
The big Russian is a huge Alex Ovechkin fan.
“I like Ovechkin because he’s an animal on the ice,” Sergachev said. “He’s big, strong, has a good shot, good hands, and good head. He’s fun to watch because he’s like a bear, and I want to be a Russian bear.”
Elite Prospects says of Sergachev:
A dominant two-way defenseman whose tenacity and competitiveness characterize his style of play. Plays with a poise and confidence that facilitates his creativity with the puck as well as split-second decision making. Naturally, fluid skater who is always looking to be engaged, if not the center, of each unfolding play. All-in-all, a diligent two-way defenseman who excels at finding ways to be a difference-maker in games.
Hockey’s Future had this to say about Sergachev:
Possessing high upside, Sergachev is a big-rig with enough skill and finesse to do just about everything on defense. The Windsor Spitfires product won the OHL’s Max Kaminsky Trophy as the OHL’s Most Outstanding Defenseman following a 17-goal, 40-assist regular season. He is connected to the play often, likes to jump into the rush, and has all the tools to eventually transition to the NHL playing big minutes as a reliable two-way defender.
In his first interview after the trade, this is what Sergachev had to say :[protected-iframe id=”1ae82958850a09a9876291b454f4d7fa-114320562-46289989″ info=”https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/328386367&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ scrolling=”no”]
Mikhail Sergachev Defense Born Jun 25 1998 -- Nizhnekamsk, Russia Height 6.03 -- Weight 212 -- Shoots L Selected by Montreal Canadiens round 1 #9 overall 2016 NHL Entry Draft --- Regular Season --- ---- Playoffs ---- Season Team Lge GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2015-16 Windsor Spitfires OHL 67 17 40 57 56 5 2 3 5 8 2016-17 Montreal Canadiens NHL 4 0 0 0 0 2016-17 Windsor Spitfires OHL 50 10 33 43 71 7 1 2 3 10 2016-17p Windsor Spitfires OHL 7 1 2 3 10 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- NHL Totals 4 0 0 0 0
Current statistics as of 2017-05-16
“I feel like I had enough juniors and I played a lot in juniors and I learned a lot in those two years,” Sergachev said. “I feel like this is my time to play in the NHL, and I’ll do my best and I’ll play my best to make the Lightning roster.”
Sergachev will attend the Lightning’s development camp from June 27 through July 1 in Brandon.
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