A few days I wrote the Los Angeles Kings should do what it takes to acquire veteran defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes. Apparently Kings general manager Dean Lombardi was reading, because the Kings did just that in their annual big trade for the stretch run. With Alec Martinez sidelined with a concussion and Slava Voynov’s future in doubt as a result of his legal problems, Sekera is a sight for sore eyes on the Kings’ blue line.
Sekera didn’t come cheap, as Lombardi had to surrender a first-round pick and prospect Roland McKeown to land the Slovakian Olympian who is a free agent at year’s end. Having said that, the first-round pick will likely be at the end of the round, and McKeown’s development has stalled this season after a stellar year in the OHL last season. While both pieces could play a big role in the Hurricanes’ rebuild, the Kings need to think about right here and now, and landing Sekera does just that.
I’m most excited about what Sekera can do for Drew Doughty, who is playing nearly 30 minutes per game and needed a fellow high-end defenseman to alleviate his burden. With Sekera taking some of the load off Doughty, look for the all-world defenseman to elevate his game even further knowing Darryl Sutter can utilize him more effectively and efficiently rather than just putting him on the ice shift after shift due to lack of other options.
The Sekera deal puts more pressure on the Kings to win now, which is good news for the Kings and bad news for the rest of the Western Conference. With the Kings on an eight-game win streak and an improved blue line for Los Angeles, they are once again the favorite in the Western Conference. No team has repeated as Stanley Cup champions since the 1998 Detroit Red Wings, but if any team can buck that trend it is this L.A. squad as they look to cement their dynasty status with their third ring in four seasons.