Marc Bergevin and the Montreal Canadiens made quite the splash Thursday afternoon by sending former first round pick Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional second round pick in 2018 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Jonathan Drouin and a conditional sixth rounder. According to Pierre Lebrun, the terms of the conditional picks are as follows: If Sergachev plays in 40 or more games next year, the picks aren’t exchange. If Sergachev fails to play in at least 40 games the picks are swapped. Shortly after the deal was finalized Bergevin signed the newly acquired Jonathan Drouin to a six-year $33 million ($5.5 million AAV) contract extension. Allan Walsh, Drouin’s agent, went on to say that “Jonathan told me that being traded to Montreal is a dream come true.”
Acquiring Drouin, who is a winger, will surely bolster the Canadiens offense, but it doesn’t solve their center issues. Some analysts believe that Drouin has the talent and ability to transition from a position he’s played all of his life to a top line center in the NHL. Seems a little to good to be true to me, so Marc Bergevin and company will need to look elsewhere to address their center needs.
It’s no secret that Montreal and Colorado have been exploring a possible Matt Duchene deal. Duchene could step in and solve most of Montreal’s problems right away. Alex Galchenyuk would likely be the main piece sent to Colorado in exchange for Duchene. Nathan Beaulieu could also be a name dangled about in order to find some center help, likely paired with Galchenyuk in a deal for a guy like Matt Duchene.
Another possibility would be for Marc Bergevin to pick up the phone and give his buddy Stan Bowman a call. Everyone and their mother knows the Blackhawks are dealing with some cap issues, again. Maybe Bergevin takes advantage of the Blackhawks predicament just like Jim Nill and Jarmo Kekalainen did in the past (Sharp/Johns and Saad). Bergevin could look at Blackhawks center Artem Anisimov who could be had for a whole lot less than Matt Duchene at this point. The only obstacle in that trade would be trying to convince Anisimov to waive his no move clause, which isn’t always the easiest. Anisimov also makes $1.5 million less than Duchene and could give the Canadiens a little more flexibility to re-sign their free agents and make more moves if need be.
Another rumor out there is Montreal sending Galchenyuk to Minnesota for one of their many defensemen they won’t be able to protect in the expansion draft. That seems like a pretty good match, since Montreal is lacking in the defense department as well as the center position. Bergevin will likely be working the phones trying to get a deal done sooner rather than later, especially with the expansion draft and trade freeze closing in.