"(Mikhail) Sergachev has the potential to be a real special, game-changing defenseman. He may or may not be NHL-ready next season, but Lightning fans need to be patient. Other NHL scouts love this guy. It's really difficult to get your hands on a D this age with his ceiling. Montreal told every team who asked at the trade deadline before March 1 that he was off limits. It tells you how they viewed him. Obviously Tampa gives up a very special offensive talent in Drouin and he's exactly what the offensively challenged Canadiens craved. But if there's a team in the NHL who can move that kind of player, it's Tampa given how deep the Bolts are up front. Given the Lightning's long search for a D, the expansion draft issues and the salary cap realities for the team, I think Steve Yzerman did really well."
Pierre LeBrun, NHL reporter, Canada's TSN TV network
"What strikes me most is that (Lightning) management always seems to have an unflinching plan. Whether showing patience — like when (Jonathan) Drouin walked away from (AHL) Syracuse (in 2015-16) — or being proactive, as they were in making this trade, you always get the sense that each decision is rooted in a larger philosophy that won't shift with the wind or because of public sentiment or any other pressure point. That's tough to do."
Chris Johnston, NHL reporter, Canada's Sportsnet TV network
"As for Sergachev, remember that this is a player (Montreal GM Marc) Bergevin refused to trade last season — for Matt Duchene, or anyone else. So, that tells you what the Lightning acquired here. He was also a key figure on a team that went unbeaten at the Memorial Cup after a 40-day break. That's pretty impressive. He can learn behind (Victor) Hedman/(Anton) Stralman if he stays in the NHL, which isn't too bad. Lightning fans should understand this trade may look lopsided for a year or two, depending on what else Steve Yzerman can do with the cap/roster now that he's freed up some space. If Sergachev balances it out anytime in the next two seasons, that's a pleasant surprise for Tampa. But he's going to be an impactful player down the road."
Elliotte Friedman, NHL reporter, Canada's Sportsnet TV network
"At the end of the day, Montreal got what they needed and the price was stiff, and Tampa got what it needed, and the price was stiff. That's a pretty good trade."
Craig Button, former NHL GM, current TSN analyst
"Don't know Sergachev well, but Montreal has (its) best French Canadian player since Patrick Roy and most dynamic since (Guy) Lafleur, maybe since 'The Rocket' (Maurice Richard)."
Bobby Smith, former NHL player, GM, owner of Drouin's junior team, Halifax
"There's risk involved in every trade. Our big need and big goal was to acquire a puck moving young defenseman. And we were able to do that."
Steve Yzerman, Lightning general manager