Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Canadiens trade Jiri Sekac to the Ducks in return for Devante Smith-Pelly

It’s mildly disappointing to lose a prospect/young player like Jiri Sekac, one who as an in-demand free agent chose Montréal over all other destinations to boot. I really liked his combination of size and skill, and wasn’t worried about his recent swoon, long-term I could see him being a very important piece of our puzzle.

I’m very surprised that we got Devante Smith-Pelly in this deal, as late as last summer the Canucks reportedly were trying to obtain him in the Ryan Kesler trade and were told he was basically an untouchable. So I don’t know if that was hype, or if he’s regressed this season, to the point that the Ducks felt comfortable flipping him. More likely, something wasn’t clicking, he was a little stalled in his development.

So even though I’ve always had a man-crush on this kid, thought he’d fit the bill as a big winger who can score, now I’m a little gunshy. Why did the Ducks feel he was disposable all of a sudden? Are we being sathered? Couldn’t we have given them Connor Crisp or Gabriel Dumont for Mr. Smith-Pelly? And a fifth?

But I trust the scouting of Marc Bergevin’s team, and suspect the swap of a leftie for a right-shooting, true-blue right winger is a big reason behind the move, on top of any other consideration. Kind of like flipping Daniel Brière for P.A. Parenteau, we gave up and received roughly equivalent pieces, except the one we get back fits in better in our overall picture. We had a bunch of players who can play on the left, but were being forced on the right side with muted results.

Now, we have Brendan Gallagher, P.A. Parenteau and Devante Smith-Pelly on the right wing on our top three lines, and that’s pretty decent in my opinion. They all have a nice complement of skills and attributes, we can mix and match depending on how they’re producing, or who the opposition is. These three players will have to fight for icetime, powerplay time, for inclusion on the top line with Max and his centre-du-jour. They’ll be kept on their toes. Right wing is no longer a glaring weakness.

So we get a player on the team that I’ve always liked, always wished we had or could have drafted, but the price tag stings a bit. As an ever-hard-to-please fan, I wish we could have gotten him in the René Bourque trade, gotten him and kept Jiri. But I see a more complete, coherent picture of our roster, and a General Manager who continues to impress with shrewd, gutsy deals that the ‘insiders’ don’t have the faintest inkling of.

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