The Blockbuster trade today involving Montreal and Tampa was a bit surprising in that in acquiring Drouin, Montreal gave up arguably their number one prospect in doing so. Don’t get me wrong Jonathan Drouin is a heckuva player but offensive defencemen like Sergachev don’t come around very often. At 6’3″ 215 lbs, Sergachev is an aggressive defenceman capable of joining the rush thanks to his terrific skating and running a PP thanks to his tremendous shot. He has that rare combination of size, speed & skill while also being a force both offensively and defensively. If you add the fact Tampa also received a conditional 2nd rd pick in next year’s draft (predicted to have much more talent than this year’s) it’s hard not to say Yzerman got the better of today’s deal.
Now you might argue Drouin is an elite offensive talent in his own right and he is, but Tampa has plenty of offensive talent in the organization to replace his production. Stamkos, Kucherov, Palat, Killorn and Johnson are all capable of putting up solid numbers when healthy. In fact, what has often gone unnoticed is the number of high quality OHL prospects Steve Yzerman has stockpiled over the last couple of years. Check this out:
Including Sergachev, the Tampa Bay Lightning had 8 Prospects that played in the OHL this year. (all stats according to ontariohockeyleague.com)
F Taylor Raddysh (Erie) 42G, 67A, 109 pts
F Anthony Cirelli (Erie) 25G, 39A, 64 pts
F Boris Katchouk (SSM) 35G, 29A, 64 pts
F Mitchell Stephens (LON) 22G, 31A, 54 pts
F Chris Paquette (PBO) 19G, 29A, 48 pts
F Christiano DiGiacinto (WSR) 13G, 21A, 34 pts
D Mikhail Sergachev (WSR) 10G, 33A, 43 pts
D Matthew Spencer (PBO) 7G, 22A, 29 pts
If you combine all their points this season alone they scored 445 points in the regular season and 104 points in the playoffs (not counting Memorial Cup). Furthermore, all 8 of their prospects made it to at least the 2nd round of the OHL playoffs and 4 of them made it to the Memorial Cup. That is quite impressive considering the OHL is widely considered the strongest league in the CHL based on talent. What’s also impressive is they also have a Top Prospect in the QMJHL and 2 in WHL:
QMJHL – F Mathieu Joseph (StJ) 36G, 44A, 80 pts (Plus 32 playoff points and Mem. Cup appearance)
WHL – F Brett Howden (MJ) 38G, 43A, 81 pts, Connor Ingram 26-14-2, 2.44GAA, .927 sv%
Out of these 11 prospects total 5 of them played for Team Canada at the World Juniors this year (Raddysh, Cirelli, Stephens, Joseph, Ingram) while Sergachev represented Team Russia. That is an enormous amount of young talent up and coming for Yzerman and the Lightning – maybe the best in the league. Considering who they already have on their roster and the high quality pool of prospects in their system I have to say Tampa is loading up on OHL talent. Whether Sergachev turns out to be a better player than Drouin remains to be seen but you gotta give Stevie Y props – he knows what he’s doing.
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