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Sergachev thinks he’s ready for Lightning, NHL next season

Sweden v Russia - Bronze Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship

MONTREAL, QC - JANUARY 05: Mikhail Sergachev #26 of Team Russia bites down on his bronze medal during the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship bronze medal game against Team Sweden at the Bell Centre on January 5, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Team Russia defeated Team Sweden 2-1 in overtime to win the bronze medal. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

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The Tampa Bay Lightning landed a tantalizing prospect when they traded Jonathan Drouin for Mikhail Sergachev. Even so, the question is: when will they begin to see what the promising defenseman is capable of?

If Sergachev has his way, he’ll jump right into the Lightning lineup in 2017-18, as reports.

“I have to have a good summer, first of all, I have to be stronger,” Sergachev said. “I have to be faster to play in the NHL overall to be successful. But I also played a lot in juniors, two years for me, I think is a lot and in Russia I played one year too.

“So I played a lot in juniors and I learned a lot from Windsor … so I think I’m ready for the NHL.”

The Lightning added Dan Girardi to a mix highlighted by Victor Hedman, Anton Stralman, and Braydon Coburn. They also have the likes of Andrej Sustr, Jake Dotchin, and Slater Koekkoek under contract.

It’s conceivable that Sergachev could leap over those last three, and some might even hope that he’d be in one of the top two pairings.

Naturally, that’s for Lightning management to decide.

They also could look at this as a win-win situation. If Sergachev’s ready at 19, great. If not, they would get a nice bonus in a coniditional draft pick from that Drouin trade:

After the rough 2016-17 season, it’s hard to imagine Sergachev being held back to leap a few rounds in the 2018 NHL Draft, although that scenario stands as another reminder that the blueliner also shouldn’t take a spot for granted.