As per usual, Marc Bergevin surprised the entire hockey world by making a trade that absolutely no one saw coming. He sent newly-signed rookie Jiri Sekac to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Devante Smith-Pelly.
By sending Sekac to the Ducks, the Canadiens lose one of their most creative players, and seeing as how the Habs lack creativity on the offensive side of the puck, at first glance it seems like a confusing move.
That being said, it was clear that Sekac's style of player was not meshing very well with the head coach, given that he had been made a healthy scratch during several games this year, including a recent stretch that saw him split time between the press box and the fourth line. As skilled as he was on the puck, Sekac was not being put in a position to succeed. That being said, it would be wise to note that Sekac did not cost a single asset to acquire.
Smith-Pelly is a 2010 second-round pick by the Ducks. The 22 year-old forward is a natural right winger, meaning that he does feel a positional need for the Canadiens.
Let's take a look at his foray in the league so far:
As you can see, he still hasn't managed to elevate himself from a third line player, although it's only fair to point out that he's yet to play a full year in the NHL. He'll be a restricted free agent at the end of next season. The Canadiens acquired roughly $140K in cap space by sending Sekac to Anaheim.
Smith-Pelly brings size and physicality to the table. He's 6'0", but weighs over 220lbs, which means he can be a wrecking ball on the ice when need be.
Sekac brings skills, creativity and offensive prowess with him to Anaheim. Smith-Pelly will bring size, physicality and potential to the Canadiens. We'll let the community vote on whether or not it was a good deal for the Canadiens.
It definitely feels as if the Canadiens gave up too early on Sekac, and we wish him good luck in his career with the Ducks.
Sekac: "The Ducks are a great team. I just hope I'll fit in and get a real opportunity to show what I can do." #Habs— Marc Antoine Godin (@MAGodin) February 24, 2015