SUNRISE, Fla. — It might seem like getting traded to the Blackhawks, with their three Stanley Cups in the past six seasons, is something any player would welcome. But nothing’s guaranteed, and there’s always some uncertainty that comes with joining a new team.
“You never know,” said the newest Hawks winger, Jiri Sekac. “It can be bad, it can be good. I’m just going to do my thing, play my game, and see what happens.”
Sekac (pronounced seh-KOTCH) was acquired by the Hawks on Thursday in exchange for Ryan Garbutt. The move was largely done to free up salary-cap space next season — Garbutt is signed for another year, Sekac is not. But it appears to be a good fit for both players. The swift-skating Sekac plays more of the skill game the Hawks employ, and the grittier Garbutt plays the more physical game the Ducks play.
Sekac, who was traded from Montreal to Anaheim last spring, and now has been moved again, hopes he can earn a permanent home in Chicago.
“Every player wants to be on one team as long as it’s possible,” he said. “I’m hoping for the same thing.”
The 23-year-old Sekac will take Garbutt’s spot on the fourth line when the Hawks visit the Panthers tonight — though Joel Quenneville wasn’t sure if he’d be on the left wing or the right wing. Sekac said his best asset is his skating, and that he hoped he could use his speed to be effective in whatever role Quenneville gives him. He had just one goal and two assists in 22 games with the Ducks this season, but had a combined nine goals and 14 assists in 69 games last year.
While his long-term future in Chicago is uncertain at best, the immediate future is bright, as he went from 11th place in the Western Conference to first place with one phone call Thursday morning.
“It’s exciting to be on a team like this,” he said. “Especially when we were struggling in Anaheim a little bit — more fighting for a playoff spot than the Blackhawks, because they’re obviously on a roll right now. I’m glad to be here.”