The Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday acquired defenseman Andrej Sekera from the Carolina Hurricanes in a trade for a first-round draft pick and a prospect.
Sekera, 28, has 19 points in 57 games this season and was second on the Hurricanes in average ice time at 22:46. Last season he set career highs with 11 goals and 44 points.
The Kings are playing without two defensemen, injured Alec Martinez (concussion symptoms) and suspended Slava Voynov.
"I think it's the one area of the team that we felt was the one area that could be targeted in terms of an upgrade," Los Angeles general manager Dean Lombardi said, according to LA Kings Insider. "… I think the thing about [Sekera], No. 1, he's a competitive guy. We have no issues as far as him fitting in here with this group. No question he’s going to be hungry. I think whenever you look at your back end, it's a mix-type thing, and I think [there are] things he can bring to us. … He's very mobile, and even though he's not big (6 feet, 201 pounds), he certainly competes. He's a smart player."
The Hurricanes acquire defenseman Roland McKeown, who was the 50th pick in the 2014 NHL Draft.
In nine seasons with the Buffalo Sabres and Hurricanes, Sekera has 30 goals and 155 points in 430 games.
Sekera can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Lombardi said the Kings did not try to negotiate a contract prior to making the trade.
"I think you're seeing lately that we've been focusing on our own, and making sure we can keep that group of the youngest players together," Lombardi said. "It certainly doesn't rule it out down the road, but I don't think it's something [that would happen] right away."
Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis said Monday he would be listening to trade offers for his impending free agents.
"You never say never on re-signing them, but at this point we're headed down the road of moving as many pieces as we can and getting back pieces when we can," Francis told the News & Observer. "I think at this point we will be moving UFAs, but you always get a lot of calls on players at this time of year."
It was the second trade Wednesday for the Hurricanes; earlier in the day forward Jiri Tlusty was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for a conditional sixth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.
McKeown is playing for Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League.