Buffalo Sabres defenseman Andrej Sekera is turning heads at the IIHF World Championships, registering two goals and six assists in eight games to lead Slovakia to the semifinals.
While one would generally covet a player with production such as this, Sabres management should be asking itself whether now is the time to deal Sekera.
Sekera only had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 68 games for Buffalo in 2011-12. While the blueliner's main mission is not to score, he had numerous defensive lapses throughout the season, which contributed to the three points by which Buffalo fell short of making the playoffs.
Sekera is also a +4 and has outplayed countryman Zdeno Chara in the world championships, so his stock will likely never be higher. The odds are that he will not carry this type of play into next season (based solely on previous production), so the time to strike is likely this summer.
The Sabres are well set with their top four defensemen. Robyn Regehr, Christian Ehrhoff, Jordon Leopold, and Tyler Myers simply aren't going anywhere. Alexander Sulzer – the second part of the Cody Hodgson trade with Vancouver – played well enough in Buffalo to have earned the No. 5 defender job come 2012-13, registering eight points (two goals, eight assists) in 13 games and earning key penalty kill and end-of-game ice time.
That leaves one spot, which had been regularly filled by Mike Weber. But he was abysmal for the entirety of 2011-12, single-handedly giving away at least five games through the course of the season – he was -19 on the year - so there's no way he deserves to be back. Sekera could fill it well, but the Sabres could call upon prospects T.J. Brennan or Brayden McNabb, both of whom played well in Buffalo last season when recalled.
So the Sabres could maximize Sekera's trade value and not hurt the organization's defensive depth very much. His play in the championships would likely yield either at least a second-round draft pick or No. 2 center, either of which management would be happy to gather.
Sekera did nothing to play himself out of a spot on the Sabres' lineup. Rather, as a simple matter of getting more for a player than they ever again can, the time is right to deal Sekera.
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