There were several NHL transactions before
the league’s trade-freeze came into effect just before the expansion draft is
announced on June 21st. The biggest deal took place on June 15th
when the Tampa Bay Lightning traded forward Jonathan Drouin and a
sixth-round draft pick in 2018 to the Montreal Canadiens for defensive prospect
Mikhail Sergachev and a second-round pick in the 2018 entry draft. The
22-year-old Drouin was then promptly signed to a six-year contract worth $33
million by the Habs.
Drouin, who was drafted third overall by
Tampa in 2013, was scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st
while the 18-year-old Sergachev was taken ninth overall by Montreal in 2016. Tampa
Bay general manager Steve Yzerman said the teams will only swap the draft picks
if Sergachev plays fewer than 40 regular and postseason games with Tampa next
season. Tampa decided to trade Drouin rather than risk losing him for nothing
to the Vegas Golden Knights in the upcoming expansion draft. Sergachev doesn’t
need to be protected in the draft since he’s signed to an entry-level contract.
Sergachev is a big offensive defenceman at
6-feet-3-inches tall and posted 10 goals and 43 points in 50 games for the
Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) this season. He also
helped the team win this year’s Memorial Cup. Drouin, who can play both wing
and centre, chipped in with 21 goals and 53 points for Tampa in 2016/17 and
gives Montreal some insurance in case free agent forward Alexander Radulov
signs elsewhere this summer.
Montreal made another move just two days
later when they dealt defenceman Nathan Beaulieu to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round
pick in this summer’s entry draft, which will be the 68th selection
overall. The 24-year-old Beaulieu was drafted 17th overall by
Montreal in 2011 and was also scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st.
The 6-foot-2-inch defenceman played 74 games with the Habs in 2016/17 and
posted four goals and 28 points and added an assist in five playoff contests.
The Arizona Coyotes also made a move by
trading veteran goaltender Mike Smith to the Calgary Flames for goaltender Chad
Johnson, defensive prospect Brandon Hickey, and a third-round draft pick.
Johnson is scheduled to become a free agent on July 1st as is
Calgary’s other goaltender Brian Elliot. The 35-year-old Smith played 55 games
with Arizona last season with a record of 19-26-9 with a save percentage of
91.4 and a goals-against average of 2.92.
Smith still has two years left on his
current contract with an annual salary-cap hit of $5.67 million. Johnson went 18-15-1 in 2016/17 with a 91.0
save percentage and a 2.59 goals-against average in 38 games. Elliot played 49
games with the Flames with a 26-18-3 mark along with a 91.0 save percentage and
a 2.55 goals-against average. This move gives Calgary some goaltending
insurance in case Elliot decides to leave town and sign with somebody else this
Another move saw the New Jersey Devils make
a trade with the San Jose Sharks as they picked up defenceman Mirco Mueller
along with a fifth-round draft pick (143rd) this summer for a second (49th)
and fourth-round (123rd) pick in June. The 22-year-old Mueller was chosen 18th
overall by San Jose in 2013 and has spent his time since then between the AHL
and NHL. He played just four games with the Sharks last season with a goal and
assist to his name.
In addition, the Washington Capitals sent a
fifth-round draft pick in 2018 to the Minnesota Wild for centre Tyler Graovac.
The 24-year-old Graovac, who stands 6-feet-5-inches tall, scored seven goals
and nine points in 57 career outings with the Wild. He was drafted 191st
overall in the seventh round in the 2011 entry draft. Graovac also has 102
points in 202 career games in the AHL with Iowa on 49 goals and 53 assists.
There has also been a couple of coaching
announcements since the Penguins hoisted the Stanley Cup. The Buffalo Sabres
appointed Hall of Fame defenceman Phil Housley as their new head coach on June
15th. Housley spent the past four seasons with the Nashville
Predators as an assistant coach and replaces Dan Bylsma behind the bench in
Buffalo. Also, on June 12th, the Florida Panthers announced Bob Boughner as
their new bench boss. Boughner is a former assistant coach with San Jose and he
replaces Tom Rowe.
Labels: Ian Palmer