Birth Date: June 8th, 1986 (28 years old)
Place of Birth: Bojnice, SVK
Experience: 9 seasons
Drafted by Buffalo in 2004 (71st overall).
We've reached the rentals portion of our Trade Speculation series, and first up is Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera. Sekera is a player who hasn't been as heavily discussed as other blueliners around the league, likely due to his current location, but is an intriguing trade target nonetheless. He's a nine-year veteran, yet is poised to enter a particularly uninteresting unrestricted free agency period at only 29 years of age. In other words, this guy's gonna get paid.
The Pros and Cons:
The obvious and immediate benefit to a Red Wings trade for Sekera is a significant offensive upgrade to a defensive unit which has sorely lacked it this year. Sekera is, interestingly, somewhat of a poor man's Mike Green. Although he shoots left, he plays a similar game to Green in that he racks up points and is perceived as a defensive liability. However, while we learned Mike Green's defensive issues are usually overstated, there is definitely some fire where there's smoke with Sekera's. We talked to Bob Wage (@CanesCountry) with Canes Country to get the home team scouting report:
In Carolina, he is very well thought of and most fans seem to want to see him return. The problem is, the Canes need additional talent in order to improve and he is their best trading asset, with an expiring contract. It will be tough to re-sign him because he might be one of the top blueliners to hit the market this summer and he could get a big payday. It's only natural that he might want to test the market.
The defenseman is not known for his physicality, but he plays the body well when needed and is a very good puck-mover, something that Carolina desperately needed. He also has led the team in blocked shots since he's been here, posting 89 so far this season and 127 last. He plays a lot of minutes and led the team last year with 23:40 average time on ice. This year he is right behind his partner, Justin Faulk, with 22:45.
The Canes are reportedly trying to re-sign Sekera, who at age 28, is seeking a multi-year deal. His $2.75 million current contract is very salary cap friendly and he is actually getting paid $1.75 million this year, the last of his contract.
The Canes will probably want a first round draft pick and a mid level prospect in return, or a second round pick and top level prospect. Time will tell if they get it.He should make a real solid pick up for a playoff bound team and while he might not crack the team's top pairing, he should play his way into the powerplay unit and could eventually earn second pairing time.
Andrej Sekera has been in Carolina's top defensive pairing since he was acquired from Buffalo in the summer of 2013. Last year, he racked up 11 goals and 33 assists in 74 games, shattering his previous career best numbers. This season his offense has fallen back a bit, (one goal and 15 assists in 49 games), but he continues to be a steady force in the back end for the Hurricanes.
I actually liked Sekera quite a bit more than I expected to, once I dove into the data. That said, he's still a rental and my personal philosophy on rentals is they should fit into one of two categories: mercenary or future building block. A mercenary is a game changing player who is in town for one reason: to win a championship. When the season ends he is going to sign with the highest bidder, an offer the team that acquired him often can't afford. Everyone involved knows this and is comfortable with it. A building block is typically a younger player you plan to (realistically) pursue aggressively in free agency, and make an integral part of your team.
Someone like David Legwand.
So is Andrej Sekera a fit with the Red Wings? He's not a mercenary, so the question becomes whether he is a building block. The scoring touch is certainly something the team is looking for, but there are real concerns with Sekera's play in the defensive end. Between that, the assets required to acquire him, and the contract necessary to retain him, it's tough to envision Sekera in Detroit long-term. Considering there are players like Jeff Petry (who I love and J.J. will be covering) available for about half of Carolina's reported demands, it's hard to argue that Sekera would do enough to warrant the likelihood of losing him five months from now.