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Nikita Kucherov and Leon Drysittel almost traded each other in 2019

Nikita Kucherov and Leon Drysittel almost traded each other in 2019

Nikita Kucherov and Leon Drysittel are undoubtedly two of the best players in the National Hockey League today. In fact, the two stand out with above-average “hockey IQs,” as evidenced by their vision of the game and their ability to create scoring opportunities through their sense of anticipation.

In my opinion, they are probably the best passers in the NHL, and they are also excellent scorers.

Why am I talking to you today about these two men? That’s because recently, Jeff Marek shared very interesting information regarding the two men: they almost traded opposite each other during the 2019 draft.

It was our colleagues at HabsEtLNH who made this discovery.

Of course, I don’t need to tell you that this trade was going to be one of the big leagues. Both players play such an important role with their team that it could have dramatically changed the course of history.

But why was such a deal considered? In fact, it was because Lightning then needed to free some money from their payroll and Kucherov was then forced to sign a new contract. With a season of 128 points in 82 games in which he won the Hart Cup, the Russian would have had a huge salary raise and Tampa Bay was afraid of not being able to keep it.

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So replacing him with Dristel, who was making an $8.5 million salary, seemed like a good way to make up. The German had just completed a season of 50 goals and 105 points, delivering a production that matched that of Kucherov.

But that didn’t happen in the end, and we know what happened next: Kocherov finally signed a contract worth $9.5 million a year for eight years. Million dollars more than Draisaitl.

However, one can wonder what would have happened if the deal had been fulfilled. Would Lightning have won the Stanley Cup twice (and maybe three times if he beat an avalanche this year) with Draisaitl? Was the McDavid-Kucherov duo as disruptive as the McDavid-Draisaitl duo? Would Draisaitl have become a public enemy in Montreal as Kocherov did last year?

Lots of questions we won’t have answers to, but at the end of the day both teams retained a franchise player, and that’s okay.

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