The Canadiens plucked the skilful 22-year-old winger from Tampa Bay on Thursday afternoon in exchange for 2016 first-round pick Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional second-round pick in 2018. Assuming Alex Galchenyuk remains in Montreal as well there's a dynamic pairing to be formed between himself and Drouin, depending on which wing the newly acquired forward will play on.
In parts of three seasons with the Lightning, Drouin already showed he could adapt to the pro game. Drouin finally broke out this past season, putting up 53 points in 73 games.
Newly acquired Montreal Canadien Jonathan Drouin, left, gets his jersey from general manager Marc Bergevin as he is introduced to the media during a press conference at the Bell Centre, in Montreal on Thursday, June 15, 2017. "I'm still kind of in shock that it happened". During the 2015-16 season, Drouin was sent down to Tampa Bay's American Hockey League affiliate, and he and his agent then publicly requested a trade, a rarity for players still on entry-level deals. Asked about trading Drouin within the Atlantic Division, Yzerman said there's risk in every trade but was doing what's best for the Lightning and wishes his former player all the best in Montreal.
"We were looking for a defenseman, and we had to give up a forward to do that", Yzerman said.
The deal allows the Lightning to protect one more player ahead of next Wednesday's expansion draft. They could potentially have lost promising 24-year-old centre Vladislav Namestnikov for nothing.
They could lose a defenseman, perhaps Braydon Coburn or Jason Garrison, but Sergachev is exempt.
Sergachev, just 18, may not fill that need right away, but the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft has put up eye-opening numbers for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires the past two seasons - racking up 43 points (10 goals) and 71 penalty minutes in just 50 games this year. It helps us in acquiring a player that we don't have to protect versus someone we'll have to protect.
"He's got good size, very strong, he's physical, skates really well, has got an excellent shot", Yzerman said of the 6-3, 215 pound teenager from Russian Federation.
"The chance to put your hands on a player like that, at that age, and a guy from here, I can't pass that up. And a prospect of that caliber is hard to acquire".