July 22nd, 2024

Lightning deal Sergachev, Jeannot; Maple Leafs acquire Tanev’s rights at NHL draft

By Joshua Clipperton, The Canadian Press on June 29, 2024.

Tampa Bay Lightning defenceman Mikhail Sergachev (98) plays during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Nashville Predators, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023 in Nashville, Tenn. Utah Hockey Club acquired the blueliner from Tampa on Saturday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-George Walker IV

LAS VEGAS – Utah Hockey Club made a big splash on the second day of the NHL draft.

The Tampa Bay Lightning cleared a boatload of salary cap space in a matter of minutes.

And the Toronto Maple Leafs made a move in hopes of addressing their blue-line needs.

Utah acquired defenceman Mikhail Sergachev from Tampa for centre Conor Geekie, defenceman J.J. Moser, a second-round pick next year and the 199th pick in 2024 on Saturday. The Lightning then dealt winger Tanner Jeannot to the Los Angeles Kings for a fourth-round pick this year and a second-rounder in 2025.

Toronto, meanwhile, secured the rights to defenceman Chris Tanev – set to hit unrestricted free agency when the market opens Monday – from the Dallas Stars for minor-league forward Max Ellis and a 2026 seventh-round pick.

Tampa, which is staring down the barrel of having captain Steven Stamkos hit free agency Monday, removed more than US$11-million in cap space with its trades.

The Lightning could also make a play on the open market, with Carolina Hurricanes winger Jake Guentzel among the top targets when the bell sounds at 12 p.m. ET on Canada Day.

Sergachev was limited to 34 games in 2023-24 due to injury, finishing the schedule with two goals and 19 points. He added one assist in two post-season contests.

The 26-year-old selected ninth overall by the Montreal Canadiens in 2016 has 48 goals and 257 points in 475 regular-season games.

The Russian blueliner, who twice won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning and carries an $8.5-million cap hit, has added 34 points (nine goals, 25 assists) in 100 playoff games.

Jeannot, 27, had seven goals and 14 points in 55 games in 2023-24.

Utah, which moved from Arizona in April after 27 seasons in the desert, also acquired blueliner John Marino from the New Jersey Devils for two second-round picks – one this year and one next year. Utah also got the 153rd pick in 2024.

Marino, also 27, had four goals and 25 points in 75 games this season.

The wheeling and dealing continued on a busy morning inside Sin City’s glitzy Sphere auditorium when the Pittsburgh Penguins snagged winger Kevin Hayes from the St. Louis Blues for a second-rounder in 2025 and future considerations.

The Washington Capitals then acquired goaltender Logan Thompson, who was signing autographs in the concourse at the time, from the Vegas Golden Knights for third-rounders this year and in 2025.

Vegas then grabbed forward Alexander Holtz – the seventh overall pick in 2020 – and netminder Akira Schmid from New Jersey for forward Paul Cotter and a third-rounder in 2025.

The Boston Bruins traded forward Jakub Lauko to the Minnesota Wild for forward Vinni Lettieri. The teams also swapped 2024 fourth-round selections.

As for the draft itself, the Canadiens selected Aatos Koivu – the son of former Montreal captain Saku Koivu – with the 70th pick.

“Everyone was quiet, we saw Montreal was the next pick,” the younger Koivu said on a video conference call from Finland. “I was looking down, eyes closed, I didn’t hear the name from TV. My mom yelled and started to jump screaming, ‘Oh My God.’ My dad jumped too. Everyone was super happy.

“So excited, I can’t describe the feeling.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 29, 2024.

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