Tuesday morning, Anaheim Ducks general manager made the acquisition of rookie right winger Jiri Sekac from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for 22-year old Devante Smith-Pelly, per TSN.
The 42nd pick of the 2010 draft, Smith-Pelly has been a grinder at best and has never shown consistent offensive production. Hailed for his physicality and willingness to get to the “dirty areas”, that hasn’t translated into any sort of success for him.
He’s been one of the Ducks’ worst possession players this season. That’s astounding when considering the fact that he’s spent time on both the Kesler and Getzlaf lines. By all tangible measures, Smith-Pelly was one of Anaheim’s least impactful players
The New Guy: Jiri Sekac
Bob Murray may have pulled off one of the greatest trade heists of the season. Jiri Sekac showed flashes of brilliance for the Montreal Canadiens this season, scoring some absolutely spectacular goals. His underlying numbers have been in a steady decline since the early stages of the season, but it must be noted that this is his first season of North American professional hockey.
As a Canadiens fan, I’ve had the pleasure of closely watching Sekac this season. Notice the use of the word pleasure. That same word can’t be used to describe Smith-Pelly’s brand of hockey. Sekac plays the game with a beautiful blend of creativity and skill. Every time he enters the offensive zone, it always seems as if something interesting will happen.
Not only is he extremely talented, but he’s also secretly physical. He shields the puck with his body along the boards like a seasoned veteran, getting the most out of his six foot, 174-pound frame.
The Ducks haven’t had many answers for their top-nine depth this season. They’ve tried Smith-Pelly, among others, to round out their top three lines. With Sekac now in tow, Bruce Boudreau will have the type of player that he loves: a tenacious winger with speed and skill.
Ducks Win The Trade
Bob Murray was able to unload one of his least talented players for an extremely talented player that will be able to add offense to any line. By all measures, the Ducks clearly win this deal. Murray has criticized the production of his bottom-six this season, and Sekac clearly addresses that need.
It’s been noted that Sekac is also excellent at entering the offensive zone with control of the puck, something that should greatly help the Ducks currently sinking possession numbers. Anaheim is a better team today than it was yesterday with the addition of Sekac, an encouraging sign heading into the stretch run.
Felix Sicard is the Anaheim Ducks’ Lead Writer for The Hockey Writers. Now in his third season of covering the team, he writes previews and recaps for all Ducks’ home games, as well as weekly analysis pieces.
In addition to covering the Ducks at THW, Felix co-hosts SB Nation’s Anaheim Calling: The Podcast, as well as hosting The Garage Hockey Podcast.
For consistent Ducks’ content, be sure to check out his Twitter @Felix_Sicard.