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Sekac makes his case on the Habs third line

Resurrected in the Montreal Canadiens lineup after a seven-game hiatus in the press box, Jiri Sekac produced two convincing appearances replacing Rene Bourque on a line with Lars Eller and Brand Prust. They injected much needed scoring and pace to a moribund Canadiens team who had registered only five goals in the previous five games while Sekac sat, with only one win. Bringing energy and pace and some exciting chemistry with Eller, Sekac’s skating and his ability to carry the puck into the offensive zone and create chances stood out, particularly against Minnesota. The trio produced six points between them in the Wild contest with Sekac contributing a goal and an assist.

NHL: OCT 16 Bruins at CanadiensThere had been low rumblings in Montreal about why he was a healthy scratch after playing the first six games and registering one goal, which garnered more attention for his father’s enthusiastic celebration in the stands than anything else. There was certainly more urgency in his game after spending some time as a spectator.

His emergence may have allowed Habs management to waive Bourque, who has now been assigned to Hamilton. Bergevins further step of moving Travis Moen today for Sergei Gonchar would seem to solidify Sekac’s spot in the lineup for the foreseeable future. Two solid games and one very good one is too small a sample to draw any real conclusions, and likely only one factor in the recent roster shuffle, but brings a rich opportunity and a spotlight.  

After going undrafted, and subsequently dropped by Peterborough in the OHL, he joined the USHL for two seasons leading the Youngstown Phantoms in scoring (58-18-27-45) in 2010-11. He returned to Europe and continued to develop his game. He chose Montreal over 12 or so other teams as a highly sought free agent after a breakout third season in the KHL, finishing second in scoring on his team, HC Lev Praha (347-11-17-28). A circuitous route to the NHL but now finds himself with a starting role that is his to lose. 

McKeen’s has assembled a scouting report:

Jiri Sekac, LW, Montreal Canadiens

A hard-working competitive forward with persistence and determination .. sticks with plays and is willing to battle through opponents to create an opportunity .. hard to knock off his feet .. stays in motion in offensive zone with strong hustle .. possesses quick hands to draw the puck in quickly or to make sweeping moves across his body .. creative in generating a shot or pass .. protects the puck down low along the boards with tight switchbacks .. owns a crisp wristshot and a decent backhand .. a smooth, powerful skating stride allows him to play the game at a high pace .. displays adequate quickness and agility along with decent top speed .. diagonal step and turning speed are solid .. shifty and confident with the puck he does not hesitate to venture into traffic using his explosiveness to separate himself .. owns a defensive conscience making ‘heads up’ decisions in an earnest effort .. early days in his NHL career, maintaining his competitive drive over a long season will be key to success at this level.