ARIZONA COYOTES

Utah Hockey Club makes major splash by trading for defensemen Sergachev, Marino

Jun 29, 2024, 12:55 PM

Mikhail Sergachev...

Mikhail Sergachev #98 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates with the puck ahead of Nick Schmaltz #8 of the Arizona Coyotes during the second period of the NHL game at Mullett Arena on February 15, 2023 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Hockey Club, formerly the Arizona Coyotes, didn’t wait until it was on the clock to make a big splash on the second day of the NHL draft.

Utah used its immense draft capital to swing two trades to build its blue line.

First, Utah got Tampa Bay defenseman Mikhail Sergachev in the first major deal from the new NHL franchise. Utah sent J.J. Moser, Conor Geekie, pick No. 199 in the 2024 draft, and a 2025 second-round pick to Tampa Bay to acquire Sergachev.

Utah then traded the No. 49 pick and 2025 second-round pick for New Jersey defenseman John Marino and a fifth-round pick. Utah only had one blue liner under contract heading into the draft; they’ve suddenly added two young veterans who will contribute immediately.

“I woke up this morning after I slept for two minutes and said, ‘Let’s shock the world!'” general manager Bill Armstrong said on the NHL Network.

Sergachev, 26, has been a mainstay in the NHL since he was 19 and is widely seen as a top-20 defenseman. He was limited to 34 games last season after fracturing the tibia and fibula in his lower left leg.

In 2022-23, his last full season, he finished with 54 assists for the Lightning. Sergachev is under contract through the 2030-31 season after signing a massive eight-year extension in 2022. The Lightning retained none of Sergachev’s contract, which carries an $8.5 million cap hit for the next seven years.

“Mikhail Sergachev is a proven winner and point producer and has been one of the best shutdown defenseman in the NHL for a sustained period of time,” said Armstrong.

“Mikhail is a top two-way NHL defenseman, and you cannot win in this league without a star, elite defenseman. We are thrilled to welcome Mikhail to our organization and look forward to many years ahead with him leading our blue line.”

Armstrong said he started to “plant some seeds” with Tampa Bay about such a deal a few months ago. With the Lightning needing to clear cap space, the timing became right for both teams.

Marino has played five seasons in the NHL and has averaged over 20 minutes of ice time in each one. Last season, he had four goals and 21 assists. Marino has three years left on his current deal.

“We’re really psyched to get both guys. They’re going to stabilize the backside,” Armstrong said. “We can score, but somebody’s got to defend. So we got two good guys today.”

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