NHL Free Agency: How Would Andrej Sekera Fit The Dallas Stars Defense?
One defensive target that could reach free agency tomorrow is Andrej Sekera. Is he the upgrade the Dallas Stars need on the blueline?
Dallas Stars' general manager Jim Nill told the media yesterday that he is not expecting the Stars to be active in free agency this year. There is not a lot out there he believes could improve the team substantially enough at a reasonable cost. They are likely to try the trade route for improvement if a deal exists that works for the team.
But we all know Jim Nill is the trickiest of tricksters so we never really know what he is up to.
The Stars are in need of improvement on their blueline. They are lacking one type of player, specifically: the big-bodied stay-at-home defenseman that can play a lot of tough minutes. However, this team's identity is built on speed and the transition game. Mobility from the backend is necessary for this team to be successful and allow their offensive juggernaut to do their thing on the other end of the ice.
That's where Andrej Sekera seems he could be a good fit.
He's not overly large, at just 6' 0" and 201 pounds, but he'd be larger than last season's mainstays Alex Goligoski, John Klingberg and Trevor Daley. He's billed more as mobile defensemen and isn't the "crease clearing bruiser" many feel this team needs. However, he'd be a slight improvement to getting bigger on the blueline comparatively.
According to War-On-Ice, Sekera has generally been a positive possession player. Which actually is saying something considering he played for the Buffalo Sabres and Carolina Hurricanes, not exactly known for being possession monsters recently.
He's played relatively unsheltered minutes, starting about evenly in the offensive vs defensive zones throughout his career. In recent years, he's started in the offensive zone less often. His offensive numbers won't blow you away -- he would probably be good for a goal or two and a dozen or more assists in a season -- but the competition he's played against isn't lighting him up defensively either.
In other words, he's a steady stay-at-home type that is mobile from the backend and can start in tough defensive situations and hold his own in those situations. That sure seems to check off a few of the boxes of needs the Stars are looking for to improve the blueline group. One thing that counts against Sekera is that he shoots left-handed, and Nill has stated they want a left-right balance on each pairing.
Unless Nill and the Stars send off one of their existing defensemen, Sekera may not be an automatic fit. He'll also be looking for a raise from his very manageable $2.75 million cap hit from last season. With the Los Angeles Kings freeing themselves of more cap space due to the Mike Richards contract termination, conversations between Sekera's agent and the Kings reportedly got started again last night.
He may re-sign in LA. But if he wants an address change, Dallas wouldn't be the worst destination in the world for him. Dave Lozo even predicted Sekera would end up in Dallas. He'd likely get every opportunity to be the anchor to the Stars' top pairing, likely partnered up with John Klingberg. I could see him being successful here, but a lot of dominoes would have to fall into place for a signing in Big D to happen.