Montreal Canadiens 2016 first-round pick Mikhail Sergachev made his NHL debut earlier this week, skating out for the Atlantic Division club in their season opener against the Buffalo Sabres.
Now that fellow defenseman Jeff Petry has returned to health, though, the rookie has lost his spot in the lineup.
It was confirmed Saturday morning that Sergachev, who recorded 11:48 of ice time against Buffalo during his league debut, will sit in favor of Petry for game two against the Ottawa Senators this afternoon. Petry is returning following a minor knee injury that held him out of the opener.
Drafted with the ninth overall pick this summer by Montreal, the 18-year-old Sergachev impressed the Canadiens during his first season of North American hockey this past year with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires. Through 67 regular season games for the major junior club, the Russian-born defenseman put up 57 points – then he added five points in five postseason games, as well.
As an inexperienced young blue liner, though, it’s possible that Montreal is nervous to keep him in favor of a veteran without their franchise goaltender, Carey Price, behind him in net. Price is out with a severe case of the flu, so Montreal – who missed the postseason last year due to the long-term absence of Price – likely want to be extra cautious this time around.
Montreal and Ottawa will observe puck drop at 7:00 PM EST tonight.