Less than a week after the Stars fell in six games to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the Stanley Cup Final, they have decided to bring back one of the players who helped get them there.
The Stars have re-signed Andrej Sekera for two years at $1.5 million per season. So, if you had your 2021 lineups filled with kids, you’ll probably want to save at least one of those spots for Sekera.
Sekera had an interesting season for the Stars. First, he was signed for the same $1.5 million cap hit (albeit with some performance bonuses) after being bought out by Edmonton. Then he took a bit to find his footing, then had some injury trouble, then had some good moments, then spent some time in the press box as the regular season wound down, eventually alternating with Roman Polak until the stoppage.
In the playoffs, Sekera initially looked like a liability (and probably was) in the Calgary series, but he found his game soon afterwards, eventually setting up a memorable overtime goal from Joel Kiviranta from behind the net. From there, Sekera continued to be a big part of the penalty kill, until he was just about the last man standing from the ideal top unit by the time Tampa Bay got up and running. Overall, Sekera ended up being reliable veteran depth on defense even against teams like Colorado and Vegas, and that’s pretty much exactly what Jim Nill hoped for last summer when he first signed him, one would thing.
I don't think Sekera is really a significant upgrade over anything the Stars have in-house, but he did do some solid work on the PK, if you care about that sort of thing. pic.twitter.com/0GL44z0aeM— Robert Tiffin (@RobertTiffin) October 4, 2020
Another thing to note is that I believe Sekera’s contract could be stashed in the AHL if needed, as he signs this deal at 34 years of age. Certainly the Stars hope it doesn’t come to that, but you have to plan for everything, right?
This deal does a couple of things for the Stars: First, it gives them a known quantity for a cheap price, which is obviously something Jim Nill values on the blue line. Second, it gives them a veteran who can be scratched without too much trouble if someone like Thomas Harley demands ice time that isn’t otherwise available.
I don’t love the two years, but given the uncertainty around Stephen Johns (which I’d tentatively expect to be cleared up next week when the Stars reveal playoff injuries), it’s a low enough risk that I suppose it’s as good a way as any to fill out a third pairing in a world where the Stars probably won’t have much money to spend in order to do so.
Here’s the official release:
FRISCO, Texas — Dallas Stars General Manager Jim Nill announced today that the club has signed defenseman Andrej Sekera to a two-year contract, which will run through the 2021-22 season. The two-year contract is worth $3,000,000 and has an average annual value (AAV) of $1,500,000.
Sekera, 34, registered eight points (2-6=8) in 57 regular-season games in his first season with Dallas in 2019-20. He finished the season ranked second on the Stars with a +9 plus/minus rating. Sekera also ranked third on the team with 2:13 average shorthanded time on ice per game and ranked fourth with 75 blocked shots during the regular season. Additionally, Sekera appeared in all 27 of the Stars’ games during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs, earning one assist (0-1=1) and ranking third on the team with 38 blocked shots.
The defenseman has appeared in 764 career regular-season games over parts of 14 seasons for Buffalo, Carolina, Los Angeles, Edmonton and Dallas, while he’s recorded 244 career points (47-197=244). Sekera has also made four trips to the playoffs in his NHL career, skating in 46 games and adding five points (2-3=5).
“Andrej did an outstanding job coming in and immediately making a difference on our back end last season,” said Nill. “With his intelligence and experience, we look forward to Andrej continuing to play an impactful role in our defense corps.”
Internationally, the blueliner has represented Slovakia at several international tournaments including two Winter Olympic Games (2010, 2014), eight World Championships (2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019) and one World Jr. Championship (2005). Sekera has captained three out of the last four World Championship teams for Slovakia (2016, 2018, 2019) and he helped the country to a silver medal in 2012. He also played for Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
The 6-foot, 195-pound native of Bojnice, Slovakia was originally selected by Buffalo in the third round (71st overall) of the 2004 NHL Draft.