When the Hurricanes acquired Andrej Sekera from the Buffalo Sabres, it was met with mixed to negative reactions. Sekera wasn't considered a "top four defenseman" by many and most thought that he wasn't worth a roster player and a second round pick. It's been almost seven months since that trade happened and Sekera actually looks like he is worth way more than what the Hurricanes gave up for him. He has played 23-25 minutes a night alongside Justin Faulk on the team's first defense pairing and is currently 14th among NHL defensemen in points with 28 in 51 games.
Those who had watched Sekera and did their research on him knew that the Hurricanes were getting a solid, undervalued player but I don't think anyone saw him being this good. The guy who some people wrote off as "another McBain" has really been more like Joni Pitkanen when he was in his prime. The Canes have used Sekera in all situations, given him massive responsibilities at even strength and he has done a fine job with them. He has been a great compliment to Justin Faulk as another "do-it-all" defenseman for the first pairing and his offensive upside has really blossomed this year.
Where is this all coming from, though? Sekera's always been a good, mobile defenseman but even in his Buffalo days, he struggled when being forced into a shutdown role. Carolina isn't exactly using him as a "shutdown" player, but he plays the toughs every night and is tasked with handling a lot of minutes on a nightly basis. He struggled mightily in this role with the Sabres last year, so what exactly has made him so successful with the Hurricanes? A big part of it relates to his usage and who the Hurricanes have paired him with.no comments