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Habs sign Jonathan Drouin: six years, $33M

New York Islanders v Tampa Bay Lightning - Game Two

TAMPA, FL - APRIL 30: Jonathan Drouin #27 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his goal against the New York Islanders during the first period in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Second Round during the 2016 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena on April 30, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz/Getty Images)

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A busy day continues for the Montreal Canadiens and Jonathan Drouin, as the two sides agreed to a six-year contract.

The deal is worth $33 million overall, making for a $5.5 million cap hit, according to TVA’s Renaud Lavoie and TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

This comes mere hours after the Habs landed Drouin in a blockbuster trade for hot defensive prospect Mikhail Sergachev (with conditional picks also involved). The Habs also signed forward prospect Charles Hudon to a two-year deal on Thursday.

If that’s not enough, there are also plenty of murmurs that Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin is also still shopping Alex Galchenyuk in the trade market. With questions also swirling around the future of Alex Radulov, this could turn out to be another tumultuous off-season for Bergevin & Co.

The acquisition of Drouin is viewed by many as a “win-now” move thanks to Sergachev’s potential and the team’s rapidly aging defense corps, but it would likely feel strange out of context since he turned 22 in March.

While the gifted playmaker will be judged by how his work compares to Sergachev - and maybe Galchenyuk, if Drouin essentially replaces him - what seems like a risky $5.5 million cap hit could end up being another steal alongside Max Pacioretty’s bargain deal.

Interestingly, Lightning GM Steve Yzerman noted that he hadn’t gone deep into extension talks with Drouin before making the move. Squeezing his $5.5 million cap hit into the Tampa Bay mix might have been challenging.
“We really hand’t talked contract at this point,” Yzerman said. “I had a brief meeting with Allan Walsh in Buffalo [at the scouting combine], but we were just talking.”

For Drouin, it’s a dream come true after what’s been a sometimes nightmarish time with the Lightning.

Of course, Drouin now gets what he wishes for: a big contract and an important role, which also means he’ll receive heavy criticism if he falls short of lofty expectations.

At least he’s not oblivious, and he’s not flinching.