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Mikhail Sergachev’s versatility filled various voids for the Lightning this season

The defenseman appears to be one of Tampa Bay’s cornerstones for the future
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) on the ice for warm ups before taking on the Calgary Flames at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) on the ice for warm ups before taking on the Calgary Flames at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2019.
Published May 11, 2019
Updated May 11, 2019

This is the latest in a series this month looking at each player on the Lightning’s roster.

TAMPA — Mikhail Sergachev spent most of this season providing snapshots of his skills, and perhaps the clearest picture of the Lightning defenseman’s abilities developed in a January home game against the Sharks.

Cedric Paquette broke the puck out of the San Jose zone and passed to sprinting Mathieu Joseph as Ryan Callahan closely followed.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: Cedric Paquette's disruptive play connects for the Lightning

But while the Sharks focused their attention who had to use his speed to get around San Jose defenseman Tim Heed, no one noticed Sergachev making his way toward the net at full speed with a clear path to goalie Martin Jones.

Joseph slipped a pass to Sergachev along the goal line, and all it took was a slight tap for Sergachev to put the puck into the top right corner of the net for his first goal of the season.

The goal was a good one, but it showed a lot more than just some good moves on the ice. It reflected what makes Sergachev special: great skating and stick handling, and a versatility that belies his youth.

Sergachev, who turns 21 next month, this season developed into a player who could fill any defensive void and bring something new to any pairing.

He shuffled around in his 75 games, filling in for Dan Girardi on the top pairing with Victor Hedman during Girardi’s month-long absence due to a lower-body injury as well as playing in his normal third pairing with Braydon Coburn.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: Anton Stralman's disappointing season puts his Lightning future in question

When Hedman sat out Games 3 and 4 in the first-round playoff loss to the Blue Jackets, Sergachev paired up with Girardi, again on the top line.

Sergachev stepped up when needed and met the coaches’ varied requests, even in difficult situations. In his second full season with Tampa Bay after arriving from the Canadiens in the Jonathan Drouin trade, he got the job done and often provided a spark to lift up his teammates.

Related: MORE LIGHTNING: They chopped up the ice at the Amalie Arena and threw it in the dumpster

Sergachev didn’t produce the way he did in 2017-18. He had six goals, three fewer than last season, and 26 assists, five fewer. He didn’t have any winning goals after getting five the season before. And he had 10 fewer power-play points with six.

But his defensive contributions maintained stability on the back end as lineups shifted and players were out with injuries. He did have a career-high plus-minus of plus-12.

Next season is the last of his entry-level contract, and he is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in the 2020 offseason.

If he continues playing the way he has, the Lightning will have another solid defenseman.

Sergachev’s season

High: Helping the Lightning bounce back from a loss at Boston with a 5-1 win at home against the Senators on March 2. Sergachev capped off the night with a goal on a one-timer from the blue line.

Low: Being fined for a cross-check on the Sabres’ Johan Larsson on Jan. 12.

By the numbers:

6 goals this season

28 Penalty minutes in 75 games, 10 fewer than he had last season in 79 games

Plus-12 Best rating of his two full NHL seasons, bettering his plus-11 of last season

26 Assists

Contact Mari Faiello at Follow @faiello_mari.


  1. The Lightning signed defenseman Zach Bogosian, whose contract was terminated by Buffalo earlier this week.
  2. Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin poses with the puck commemorating his 700th career NHL goal that he scored against the New Jersey Devils in the third period at Prudential Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Newark, New Jersey.
  3. Carolina Hurricanes right wing Nino Niederreiter (21) and center Martin Necas (88) speak to Hurricanes emergency goalie David Ayres as he takes the ice against the Toronto Maple Leafs during second-period NHL hockey game action in Toronto, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP)
  4. Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) gives up a goal to Arizona Coyotes' Derek Stepan as Lightning defenseman Luke Schenn (2) slides along the ice and Coyotes right wing Conor Garland (83) looks at the puck during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz.
  5. Fans gather in Thunder Alley at Amalie Arena before the start of the 2019-2020 NHL season home opener between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Florida Panthers on Thursday, October 3, 2019, in Tampa.
  6. Tampa Bay Lightning forward Cedric Paquette shoots as Vegas Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury defends during the third period Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas. The Golden Knights won 5-3.
  7. Columbus left wing Artemi Panarin (9) and Columbus Blue Jackets center Matt Duchene (95) celebrate in front of the Lightning bench during the Blue Jackets' first-round victory over Tampa Bay in the first round of the 2019 NHL Playoffs. The four-game sweep was Columbus' payoff for a few deals at the trade deadline for players with expiring contracts.
  8. Vegas Golden Knights center Paul Stastny (26) scores against Tampa Bay Lightning goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020, in Las Vegas.
  9. The Lightning traded Danick Martel to the Panthers for Anthony Greco.
  10. Trading Martin St. Louis was hard, but the Lightning's return turned out to be even better than they thought at the time.
  11. Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher, left, flies into Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Curtis McElhinney while pursuing the puck in the third period of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3 in overtime.
  12. Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov, right, drives past Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon to score the winning goal in overtime of an NHL hockey game Monday, Feb. 17, 2020, in Denver. The Lightning won 4-3.