Suddenly there’s lots of talk of some 22-year-old KHL winger getting lots of offers from NHL teams, twelve offers in fact, and it makes me wonder, who is Jiri Sekac? Jiri is a 22-year-old, 6’2”, 190lb left-winger from the Czech Republic who has recently become a hot commodity in a relatively shallow 2014-15 free agent pool. Why, you might wonder, is this guy seemingly the next big thing? First, he isn’t. His popularity has spiked just recently after a solid 2014 season for the KHL’s HC Lev Praha. How solid? Well, if you consider the KHL a step above the AHL and one below the NHL, not exactly mind-blowingly solid, but solid in a fundamentals sort of way. Ah yes, those valuable fundamentals. The fundamentals that lay the groundwork for future success in any activity one might engage in! The key term here is future, and it isn’t tomorrow yet. This year Sekac put up a line of 11 G, 17 A, 28 P, 18 PIM, + 12 in 47 GP in the regular season and followed up in the playoffs with 1 G, 7 A, 8 P, 24 PIM, + 1 in 21 GP. Wow, this is the guy that has “more than a dozen solid offers” from NHL teams? Maybe there’s more here than meets the eye? Lets take a deeper dive.
Back in 2009 he declared for the NHL draft but wasn’t selected. He followed that up by getting cut by the Peterborough Petes of the OHL. The following two seasons were with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL and had a pretty good year in 2011-12 posting 18 G, 27 A, 45 P, 27 PIM, +5 in 58 GP before returning to Europe to join the KHL, where the youngster still plays. On the international scene he hasn’t done much for the Czech Republic posting just 2 goals in 16 GP this year. It doesn’t get prettier if you go back further than that. Sigh. None of this excites me at all! Are you excited? Well you shouldn’t be. Even if he signs he might end up in the AHL anyway, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get some NHL ice time at some point in 2015.
So all this begs the question; how well could he perform for fantasy owners if he makes the jump to the NHL next season? By all accounts he doesn’t project to be a top-six forward, but he’s still young so it’s possible that he’s still in an upward development cycle. Just how steep the improvement curve is remains to be seen. In any case, he seems ready to jump to the NHL right now; he battles, plays a solid two-way game, but is likely a third line guy. You know what that sounds like to me? Yawnsville, y’all. Sekac is more useful as a bottom six forward for scoring depth and while that’s great in reality, it’s bleh in fantasyland. If the Stanley Cup finals showed us anything, besides Henrik Lundqvist’s heart being ripped out and left on the ice for all to see, it’s that the deepest team is often the last team left standing at the end of the season. Jiri is the type of guy that makes a deep team deeper without a huge cap hit. Does that help you? Not really. Don’t buy into the hype surrounding Sekac this offseason, he’s not going to save the team that signs him and he’s not going to be a great late round sleeper grab next season, either. I’m sleepin’ on the sleeper status. That’s deep sleep! Inception style.