UPDATE: Sekac quotes added below
The Ducks have acquired left wing Jiri Sekac from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for right wing Devante Smith-Pelly.
Sekac, 22 (6/10/92), has appeared in 50 career NHL games with Montreal, scoring 7-9=16 points with 18 penalty minutes (PIM) this season. He made his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 2014 @ Toronto. The 6-2, 195-pound winger recorded his first career multi-point game (1-1=2), Nov. 8 vs. Minnesota and his first career two-goal game Dec. 12 vs. Los Angeles.
A native of Kladno, Czech Republic, Sekac appeared in 47 games with HC Lev Praha of the KHL last season, collecting 11-17=28 points. He also added 1-7=8 points in 21 postseason games with HC Lev Praha. He has played internationally for his home country on several occasions, including the World Junior Championship in 2012 (six games, 0-3=3 points) and World Championship in 2014 (10 games, 2-0=2 points).
Smith-Pelly, 22 (6/14/92), has scored 14-26=40 points in 129 career NHL games with Anaheim. Drafted in the second round, 42nd overall, of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Smith-Pelly has 5-12=17 points in 54 games this season.
Soon after arriving in California on Tuesday afternoon, Sekac talked to reporters via conference call:
On his reaction to the trade
I found out this morning when I woke up. I had a couple missed calls from our general manager. Obviously I called them back right away and they told me the news. When I woke up, I was a little bit shocked and didn’t really know what to say. But I’m really looking forward to it, and I’m already in California. My first impression is it’s pretty nice.
On his role with the Ducks
I don’t think it’s a good thing to think about these things too much. I’m just going to wait and see what’s going to happen, and I’ll try to play my best. Hopefully I’ll get more chances than I got in Montreal. But I’m looking forward to it, and I’m very excited to be a part of this organization. I’ve heard a lot of great things about the team and the coaching staff and everything.
On his role in Montreal
To be honest, I never really knew what my role was in Montreal. I wasn’t mad about it or anything, but when you’re changing lines all the time, you have a lot of ups and downs. It doesn’t give you confidence or help you with your game. It was kind of tough for me, but it’s tough for every guy in their first year in the NHL. I just tried to battle through. It didn’t work with the Canadiens, but hopefully it will work with the Ducks.
On whether he regretted signing with Montreal as an undrafted free agent
No, not at all. I chose Montreal because I wanted to play for them. If this trade didn’t come, I would still like to play for the Canadiens. But that’s just the way hockey is, and when you go to another team, you have to accept it and keep working on yourself. That’s the only thing you can do as a player. I was never thinking about leaving Montreal. I wanted to play for them no matter what, but this didn’t come from my side. But I’m now Anaheim’s player, and I’m looking forward to playing for them.
On getting his scoring touch back
The Canadiens are really a defensive team, and there were a lot of games where we wouldn’t score more than two goals. It’s very hard, even for a player like me, who was playing on the third line or a defensive line, so it’s hard to get some goals. But I’m not making excuses or anything. I think our line was still working pretty well. We had a lot of scoring chances, and I think we played pretty good hockey. It just wasn’t there point-wise, but hopefully that will change. I was signed as a forward here in North America, and hopefully I’ll get the goal-scoring back again.
On facing Montreal next week with the Ducks
Obviously it’s going to be a little bit weird. I don’t know what the feeling is going to be. I was never traded before, but it will be different for me. They’re friends off the ice, but not on the ice. You just have to play for your team, and you can’t look back.