The defenceman was shipped south for forward Jonathan Drouin, less than a year after being drafted ninth overall by general manager Marc Bergevin.
He gave an interview to Championat.com, in which he spoke of the blockbuster deal and his first impressions of Lightning GM Steve Yzerman and coach Jon Cooper.
“Being upset or resenting anyone is pointless,” said Sergachev in Russian, translated to English by Igor Nikonov of Raw Charge. “You can be traded 15 times during your career. I’ve been traded because Montreal needed a good forward and trading me was the only way for them to get one.”
The Canadiens landed an explosive talent in Drouin, who was immediately signed to a six-year contract extension worth $33 million. The trade ended Drouin’s somewhat rocky tenure with the Lightning – the 22-year-old refused to report to the Syracuse Crunch for over a month in the 2015-16 season after being assigned to the AHL.
“They needed that francophone who would score and would be loved by the fans,” said Sergachev – a Memorial Cup winner this past season with the Windsor Spitfires. “Besides, he really wanted to play there.”
Sergachev has since talked to Cooper, who has left “a positive impression” on the 19-year-old. He also spoke highly of Yzerman, calling him “an atypical general manager.”
“I haven’t seen a general manager going into the locker-room and talking to prospects, trying to solve their small problems,” said Sergachev. “Our flight from Tampa was delayed by 14 hours, we couldn’t take off. Yzerman talked to us and tried to distract us from all that.
“Furthermore, Steve is one of the greatest hockey players in the history of the NHL. And just a very good person.”