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Get to Know a Bolt: Mikhail Sergachev

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As part of the build-up to the third-round playoff series between the Capitals and the Lightning, Japers’ Rink will be looking at some of the important Bolts players and how they might impact the series.

NHL: Tampa Bay Lightning at Washington Capitals Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

Mikhail Sergachev

#98 / Defenseman

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 215 | Born: June 25, 1998

Birthplace: Nizhnekamsk, RUS | Acquired: Traded to Tampa Bay by Montreal, June 15, 2017.

Assets: Has good size and great skating ability, plus he’s a very aggressive defenseman who is always involved in the action. Is an all-around type who can produce offense, while also playing a shutdown role.

Flaws: Is great at reading the play, but sometimes he can be guilty of playing opponents a little too aggressively (which can occasionally put him out of position). Needs to play more within his own limitations.

Career Potential: Talented, aggressive all-round defenseman with good upside.

(Via The Hockey News)

Why You Should Know Who He Is: Sergachev is a first year rearguard in Tampa Bay with all the tools to evolve into their next franchise defenseman. Lightning GM Steve Yzerman acquired Sergachev last summer in exchange for Jonathan Drouin (Yzerman’s third overall selection in the 2013 Entry Draft), so it’s clear Tampa Bay knew what they were getting in the young Russian defender. Sergachev tallied forty points through his first regular season (9G, 31A), making him better than a half point-per-game defenseman (79GP). 16 of those points came with the man advantage as well. Through ten playoff contests this spring Sergachev has tallied four points (2G, 2A) and three of those coming with the man advantage. Head Coach Jon Cooper skates Sergachev alongside Braydon Coburn on his team’s last defensive pair but he has clearly earned Cooper’s confidence.

How the Caps Can Stop Him: First and foremost the Capitals are going to need to shut Sergachev and his teammates with the man advantage. The return of Tom Wilson to the lineup for Game One will assist Washington with putting their best penalty killing groups out against the Lightning. Additionally the Capitals would be wise to put Sergachev beneath his own goal line as often as possible and make retrieving pucks a nightmare. Last spring Sergachev was skating for the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires in their brief seven game playoff run. Washington, one of the League’s larger teams, should make it a priority to put a body on Sergachev every shift and force the rookie rearguard to make rushed decision in his own zone.