Jiri Sekac's entry into the NHL got off to a tumultuous start to say the least. After three games with reasonable ice time, but no offensive production, Sekac's opportunities started to vanish. The following three games saw him get less than 10 minutes of average ice time per game, and even though he showed considerable offensive awareness including a goal versus the Boston Bruins, Sekac was dropped from the lineup.
The result? During his seven game stint in the press box the Habs struggled to score, and consequently struggled to win. With Sekac in the lineup to start the season, the Canadiens went 5-1, without him they went 3-4. They went from scoring three goals per game with Sekac in the lineup, to a paltry 1.42 goals per game during his absence.
Even though it probably took him way too long to re-insert Sekac into the lineup, Michel Therrien finally made the decision to sit Rene Bourque in favour of Sekac. Predictably, the third line returned from the dead, and started creating an endless stream of scoring chances.
So, what does Jiri Sekac bring to the team that should be considered a major asset? Plenty. Way too much to validate benching him for any period of time.
Controlled zone entries
This is an aspect of the game in which the Canadiens definitely struggle to put together. Sekac has shown that he's not afraid to carry the puck into the offensive zone, which has led to sustained pressure in the offensive zone, which is once again something the Habs have struggled to achieve lately.
Smart positioning in the offensive zone
Pucks on net
Patience and creativity with the puck
When you combine all those skills, you get goals
But most importantly...
These gifs are are taken from one game, and there's no doubt that Jiri Sekac will struggle at some point this year considering he's still adapting to North American hockey. That being said, Sekac's creativity, patience and offensive awareness is a breath of fresh air for the Habs, and it will be tough for Michel Therrien to send him to the press box any time soon. Considering Marc Bergevin went ahead and waived struggling winger Rene Bourque, it's safe to say that Sekac's spot within the club is secure for the time being.
He's not going to lead the Montreal Canadiens in scoring, but he's the exact type of player that Montreal needs to have in their lineup if they hope to receive any semblance of sustained secondary scoring.
If his chemistry with Lars Eller can continue to turn defensive zone starts into scoring opportunities, the Habs might end up with one of the better third lines in the league.