Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Andrej Sekera is an odd bird to say the least.
While off the ice, he is universally liked and his company enjoyed, on the ice is another story. While still a defenseman, Sekera’s specialty tends to be clutch offense. The weird part of this is that he leads a ton of defensive categories.
Sekera has blocked 87 shots this season, far and away the highest on the team. In addition, he leads takeaways with 54. This is impressive on its own, especially when he’s on the top pairing with the never-consistent Justin Faulk. Faulk is a decent hockey player and will represent the US at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. However, it’s safe to say he’d never be on that team without Sekera.
While Faulk still takes penalties as if he just learned what they were, Sekera keeps a modest 16 PIM. This is testament to his control and conservative defensive style. While Faulk tends to throw himself here and there, holding and hooking at the most inopportune moments, Sekera keeps his head about him. It seems to work for the pairing.
Sekera is interesting when you take a look at his offensive numbers. He takes a ton of shots — 103 to be exact. This is magnificent since pucks not shot can’t be goals. Having a defenseman who isn’t afraid to throw one on net from up top is awesome, since it creates rebound situations. The best thing about Sekera’s shooting — and why it’s better than Faulk’s 106 shots — is that he’s shooting 7.8 percent and leads the defense with eight goals.
He doesn’t just blast pucks at the net for the sake of it; he’s actually taking shots.
While it’s not quite time yet to be making comparisons to the great Paul Coffey, it’s a good assumption that Sekera has a big-time future with the Hurricanes. He scores on the power play, he takes well-timed shots and keeps himself out of the box. That is all anyone can ask of a defenseman.
Any time you have a defenseman plus-five on the season, you have yourself something special.
After the Olympic break, look for head coach Kirk Muller to lean on Sekera and lean hard. Carolina needs defense in the playoff push as many teams will begin putting goalies to the test. Should the current trend keep up, Sekera might emerge as the much-needed leader for the defense.
Yes, the J is silent.