In attempt to bolster offense, Canadiens trade for Lightning's Jonathan Drouin

The NHL's expansion draft is fast approaching, and at least 30 players will be headed to the Vegas Golden Knights when the upstart franchise wraps up its selections from June 18-20.

One of the NHL's other 30 teams decided to get a head start on player swapping Thursday, however, as the Tampa Bay Lightning dealt left winger Jonathan Drouin and a conditional sixth-round draft pick to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Mikhail Sergachev and a conditional second-rounder.

The move marks an abrupt end to Drouin's polarizing Tampa Bay career.

The 22-year-old forward, drafted third overall by the Lightning in 2013, went off for 21 goals and 53 points in 73 games over the 2016-17 campaign, a big jump from his 21-game outing the year before. But Drouin's relationship with the team soured hardly a half-decade into his tenure with the Lightning, at least according to statements made by his agent, Allan Walsh, early in 2016.

At one point suggesting Drouin had requested a trade out of Tampa Bay, Walsh later proposed his client not return to the ice because of an impending deal that never occurred. And all of this was following Drouin's indefinite suspension -- discipline for the winger failing to show up to a game for the Lightning's American Hockey League affiliate.

Drouin would have been one of the players the Lightning would have had to decide whether to protect in advance of the expansion draft. But now his offensive potential is headed to Montreal, where the Habs are sacrificing some long-term defensive upside for an immediate injection of goal-scoring talent.

Sergachev, only 18, was drafted ninth overall by the Canadiens in 2016. His 100 points over two seasons with Montreal's AHL affiliate, the Windsor Spitfires, made him one of the franchise's top blue-line prospects, even if he's only appeared in four NHL games up to this point.

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