The NHL's trade deadline isn't until 3 p.m. ET on March 2nd, but the Kings have already gone ahead and made their big splash. In dealing what will likely turn out to be a 2015 first round pick along with defense prospect Roland McKeown, the Kings don't have a lot of chips left to throw down.
So what did they sacrifice the future for this time? Is he at least good?
Yes! Yes he is.
Andrej Sekera is a man whose first name I will likely misspell as "Andrew" several times before his time as a King expires. He is also a pretty good hockey player.
In his tenure as a Hurricane, Sekera has put up a 52.2% Corsi over 131 games. That works out to a 1.9% Corsi rel, which made him an above average player for his hockey team. Prior to that, Sekera played 336 games for the Buffalo Sabres. In that time frame, he put up a less impressive 50.3% Corsi, but his Corsi rel in that same time frame was still a respectable 1.7%.
The big question, then, is how is he achieving his respectable results? Is he being sheltered and coasting to those decent stats, or has he played tougher minutes?
For starters, he's played with very solid teammates. Over the past two seasons, only John-Michael Liles has played with better teammates (by Corsi) than Sekera. Carolina didn't force their defenders to face vastly different levels of competition, so Sekera's usage in this regard winds up being pretty similar to every other defender they've iced in recent memory. To simplify further, that just means that his competition did not have an impact on his numbers.
In terms of on-ice deployment, Sekera started just slightly more shifts in the offensive zone (762) than he did in the defensive zone (738).
Nothing in his usage drives his numbers significantly. The only boost he received was from decent teammates, and he will play with very decent (possibly better!) teammates in Los Angeles.
Sekera has had a mixed effect on his teammates. For the most part, he doesn't have a huge impact on them. Generally speaking, he has just gone about his business and consistently produced around a 51-53% Corsi for his team. However, since stats.hockeyanalysis.com added zone starts to their WOWYs collection (without & with you numbers) , we can take a little deeper look at just how significantly he changes the production of his teammates. I decided to check out every teammate he played more than 200 minutes with over the past two seasons.
Basically, what this graphic tells you is that even when teammates receive harder zone starts with Sekera, their numbers won't degrade to any serious degree. While Elias Lindholm and Justin Faulk did see their numbers get considerably better away from Sekera this season, they received much easier zone starts in those minutes. Eric Staal saw a big zone start push as well, but his numbers are actually a hair better with Sekera.
Ultimately, the red and green in the above graphic should match in the 'Impact' and 'Change' columns. Where they don't, it actually favors Sekera. Everywhere else sees his numbers change as you might expect them to. He isn't going to significantly boost anyone, but he is far more likely to help someone than hurt them.
Sekera has been a decent point producer his entire career. He came into this season fresh off a batch of offensive career highs (11 goals and 33 assists), but that's a season he isn't particularly likely to reproduce. Over the past 3 seasons, he is 43rd among defensemen in points per 60 minutes at 5v5 play (minimum of 500 minutes played). His true talent level probably sits a little below that, but he's still a very effective puck-moving, play-driving defenseman.
Though his overall possession numbers are strong, Sekera is not particularly effective at shot suppression. Essentially, Andrej Sekera is like the final evolution of Jamie McBain. Sekera does everything either a little-to-a lot better than McBain, and that's the man he's essentially replacing in the lineup right now. It is also very likely that Sekera winds up being an improvement on whoever exits the lineup for Alec Martinez as well, if and when Marty returns to the lineup.
It should be noted that Robyn Regehr has experience playing with Sekera, but it's probably in the Kings' best interest to avoid that pairing. In 368 minutes together, the defensemen posted a 46% Corsi, and each player was better off without the other one. With that said, the Kings are a better team than the one that pairing played for, and both players will receive easier deployment than they did with those Buffalo Sabres squads.
The Kings did not repeat their Robyn Regehr mistake here. They didn't overvalue toughness or loyalty or familiarity with the coaching staff. They didn't worry about filling a non-existent need. They just went out and got a good hockey player. While a first round draft pick and a good prospect is a hefty price, the Kings have absolutely improved themselves for the duration of this season at the very least.
Stats pulled from stats.hockeyanalysis.com and war-on-ice.com.