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Vulgar Opinions: Andrej Sekera Is NOT An Offensive Defenseman


Look, Andrej Sekera is probably my second favorite Sabre next to Thomas Vanek, so my analysis is undoubtedly biased.  Don’t care, moving on.  This isn’t really about Sekera’s overall skill or value to the team anyway.  This is about what I think has been a constant mis-classification given how he uses his abilities.

Two things we can say about Sekera with absolute certainty is that he is 1). European, and 2). a very good skater, even at the NHL level.  It’s why many people assume that he is therefore an offensive defenseman.  People are idiots.  Maybe everyone got disgusted with the lockout, stopped watching for a few years, and when they picked back up, just thought he was Alexei Zhitnik?

You can probably blame much of Sekera’s poor reception in Buffalo on the media this initial mis-classification.  After all, if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree…  Sekera has never been an offensive defenseman at the professional level.  His season high in goals in the AHL or NHL is 4, and his season high in assists is 26, in 2010-2011 when he logged the most icetime of his career both at even strength, and on the power play.  He has never been, nor has he pursued the ideal that people keep pinning to him.*

*He did have a 21 goal season in his last year in the OHL.  I don’t have enough data to speculate as to why, but my guess would be that his age and experience simply made him a step above his competition in almost every way, and that he logged a ton of icetime because of it.

An above average skating ability is an excellent skill to have when used defensively against shifty NHL forwards.  That people automatically assume it always benefits offense is incredibly irritating.  It’s narrow-minded and stupid and I die a little every time I see Sekera pegged that way.  (Note: Open up the comments bro, you’re not Bill Simmons.  Correction: I am told SB Nation closes comments on posts older than 30 days.  Now I’m the stupid one.)

CV’s Note:  I talked with the author of the linked article and he had this to say:

I was discussing his play prior to last season.  I.e. when we signed him in the 2011 off-season, I would have classified him as an offensive threat.  Since that point, I would call him a solid all around D man for sure….and not just some offensive type a la Brian Campbell.  He plays some of the toughest minutes on the team (most d-zone starts against the other teams best players), so my opinion of him definitely changed over the 2011-2012 season.  That is why I put quotations around the word when I used it.

Man I called someone stupid (kind of) that totally didn’t deserve it.  I’m an embarrassment.  He makes a good point though, one that draws us (or at least me) back to wondering where the initial classification of Sekera as an offensive defenseman came from.  Was it that one season in the OHL?  Or is it just an assumption based on his nationality and skill-set?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Derek Jedamski permalink
    01/02/13 7:53 PM

    Not to mention Sekera faced a significant role shift last season with much higher defensive zone starts against much more difficult competition. I’d imagine that played a role in his drop in points but as you said, he shouldn’t be pegged as an offensive defenseman nor should he be judged on point totals. He faced the 2nd most difficult minutes on the team last year (behind Regehr), yet he allowed the fewest shots against per 60 min (at even strength) on the team. Not to mention he also managed the best CorsiRel among dmen while facing the 2nd most difficult minutes.

  2. ben permalink
    01/04/13 10:16 AM

    I mined hockeysfuture for a reference to offensive defensemen and this is all I found:

    “Sekera is a smart player with a nice finesse game. He is a crisp passer and strong skater, and made the most of his opportunity in the NHL late last season. He relies on positioning and reading the play in his own end, but is not afraid to take the body. He has shown leadership ability, and has been a captain.”

    That wraparound goal against Philly 2 years ago is what sticks out in my head for evidence of that potential scouts or analysts saw in him. That said, he makes that type of play pretty rarely, though I’m completely satisfied with the player and role he’s played.


    Halfboard cut

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