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On This Day...

June 15, 2019, 9:33 AM ET [321 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
For the last 2 years, Marc Bergevin has surprised Habs fans on June 15th. Yup, one year ago today Alex Galchenyuk was sent packing with Max Domi leaving the desert for Montreal...What happened two years ago? Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional 2nd round pick in the 2018 draft were shipped to Tampa while Jonathan Drouin and a conditional 6th round pick in the same draft made their way to Habsland. Think the GM has got a move up his sleeve to reveal today and make this a 3 year tradition? I honestly don't see it happening, but I thought it would be interesting to look back on those 2 trades and more specifically, on how I saw them then and how I feel about those deals now.

Let's start by the Chucky for Domi deal. I have to admit that I absolutely hated it at first... I was convinced that Galchenyuk would be a success at centre in Arizona and that we'd all live to regret the day Bergevin pulled the trigger on this deal. One year later, I must admit that I was as wrong as can be. While Galchenyuk was given a shot at centre for the Coyotes, he actually ended the season as a 4th line left winger much like what happened to him in Montreal. To be fair though, in his first season in Arizona, he was nagged by injuries starting in training camp and missing 10 regular season games. In the end, in 72 games he scored 19 goals, added 22 assists for 41 points and had a -19 record. It's hard to say that it was a roaring success, in his last year in Montreal he had gotten 51 points but that was while playing all 82 games of that season. It will be interesting to see what happens with Galchenyuk this upcoming season... When coach Rick Tocchet moved him from centre to left wing he did state that Chucky was a coachable kid who was aware that he needed to make some improvements to his game. That was early in the season however and before he ended up on the 4th line...

Meanwhile, Max Domi took to the Montreal spotlight like a fish to water. From the day he arrived, he appeared to be truly delighted to be playing in a hockey market and brilliantly took on the challenge of moving from the wing to centre. In fact, it's hard to criticize Domi for anything this season aside from perhaps the occasional wire crossing that led him to blow a fuse and few times and take some questionnable penalties. But even then, Domi is a passionate player and that will happen when the emotions run high. Numbers wise, he put up 28 goals (the highest total of his career), 44 assists (again a career high) and 72 points (needless to say this is also a career high, 20 points more than his previous best and a 27 points improvement on his last season in the desert). It's hard to know who Domi will be playing with next season given the fact that Drouin fell out of favour towards the end of the season and he was playing with Lehkonen and Shaw who shouldn't really be in your top 6 but whoever he plays with, you just know that he will be giving his best and make a regular appearance on the scoresheet. Will he still be at centre? More than likely yes he will be. While there are now a lot of young Cs coming up the system, they most probably will not be ready just yet.

So, a year on, I have to give credit where credit is due and while I've had my issues with Marc Bergevin, he was 100% right on that particular trade. Well played Marc, well played...

Now for the 2017 blockbuster... Sergachev for Drouin... The most promising young d-man in the team's system at that time for who was projected to be the next big French-Canadian star for the club... And if you recall, Bergevin fully intended to make Drouin his number one centre and that experiment was, unfortunately, a failure. In his first season with the Habs, Drouin tried to fill this pivotal role but just couldn't cut it... The chemistry everyone wished to see with Max Pacioretty never developed and he ended the year with 46 points to his name and a very Quebec like -28 rating (shame that Ashton didn't give a discount on poutines for that).

Fast forward a year later, and the arrival of Domi marked the end of the Drouin at centre experiment. Contrarily to Galchenyuk, Drouin really wasn't bothered by a move to the wing and linked up very well with his new centreman. Result? A 53 points season which tied his best career total (although he did it in less games back in 2016-2017 with Tampa Bay). However, what the sole numbers cannot say is that he went pointless for 47 games which means that he was on the scoresheet in only 34 games. In the homestretch, while the Canadiens were desperate to make the playoffs, he had 7 points in 26 games and was pointless in 23 of his last 26 games. Definitely not the end of season the Canadiens needed from the forward. That being said, he was still 3rd in scoring on the team and was the top power play points getter with 16 (5 points ahead of both Domi and Petry).

Meanwhile, in Tampa, Mikhail Sergachev had a 40 points season in his first year and suffered a bit from the sophomore slump in his second season with 32 points. Being a left handed d-man, Sergachev is of course behind Victor Hedman in the pecking order and while Hedman plays over 22 minutes a night, the youngster sees just under 18 minutes of action per game. It should be noted that that's about 2 and half minutes more than in his first season in Tampa. He was also a healthy scratch a few times this season as the Lightning had a bit of a d-man rotation going.

To be honest, I was happy with the trade when it happened but right now, seeing the dying need the Canadiens have for a LHD it's hard not to miss Sergachev. That being said, I'm not quite ready to give up on Drouin yet. While he may not be a centre stage guy, he can still put up some much needed points (much like Kessel in Pittsburgh) and call me crazy but I'm hoping that by being surrounded by players such as Domi and Gallagher, he will one day produce a more constant effort leading to an increased production. Right now, it looks line Tampa Bay came out ahead in this deal so far, but I'm not willing to throw in the towel...Are you?

On another topic, the Habs announced yesterday that they signed Gustav Olofsson to a one-year, two-way contract that will pay him $700 000 in the NHL and $235 000 in the AHL for a guaranteed $300 000 in salary. While this seems a bit of a weird signing, we must remind ourselves that Olofsson never had his chance to shine last season, getting injured quite early on and never coming back. Furthermore, he is a left shooting d-man and the Canadiens are quite low on those. Currently, Mete and Kulak are signed to play next season but it looks like both Benn and Reilly will walk meaning that youngsters might have a chance to audition on the left...Unless of course Bergevin pulls a rabbit (or a left D) out of his hat...

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