Carolina Hurricanes Commit to Rebuild with Andrej Sekera, Jiri Tlusty Trades

Mark Jones@@CanesReportSenior Analyst IFebruary 26, 2015

Jan 8, 2015; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defensemen Andrej Sekera (4) skates with puck against the  Buffalo Sabres at PNC Arena. The Hurricanes defeated the Sabres 5-2. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

One day after his team put forth one of its best performances of the season in a 4-1 win, Carolina Hurricanes general manager Ron Francis rocked the NHL trade market with two major deals.

The trades that sent winger Jiri Tlusty to the Winnipeg Jets and sought-after defenseman Andrej Sekera to the Los Angeles Kings proved Francis' ability to plan for the long-term future of the franchise without being distracted by short-term upswings.

Wednesday afternoon, the 'Canes fully committed to rebuilding through youth.

And Francis took one step closer to cementing his role as the George Washington of such a revolution.

NEWARK, NJ - JUNE 30:  Vice President of Hockey Operations Ron Francis of the Carolina Hurricanes attends the 2013 NHL Draft at Prudential Center on June 30, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

Coming back to Carolina is the Kings' 2015 or 2016 first-round pick, the Jets' 2016 third-round pick and a 2015 fifth- or sixth-round pick, per TSN's Bob McKenzie and the Jets' website. Also part of the Sekera deal is prospect defenseman Roland McKeown, a 2014 second-round selection.

The two trades will eventually altogether net four prospects for the Hurricanes' system—three the team will get to choose itself as well as McKeown, who may instantly become the club's second-best defensive prospect behind Haydn Fleury.

Overall, it's quite a respectable haul for two rentals with game-changing ability but eyes on a big pay raise in free agency this coming summer, per McKenzie.

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Hurricanes' Wednesday Trade Details
Trade PartnerDepartingArriving
Winnipeg JetsLW Jiri Tlusty2016 3rd round pick (2016)
5th/6th round pick (2015)
Los Angeles KingsD Andrej Sekera1st round pick (2015 or 2016)
D Roland McKeown
per hurricanes.nhl.com

RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 27: Jiri Tlusty #19 of the Carolina Hurricanes skates with the puck  during their NHL game against the Tampa Bay Lightning at PNC Arena on January 27, 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)
Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images

One could argue Francis undersold Tlusty, who had not been putting up big numbers this season but fits well as a finisher when slotted alongside a playmaking center.

The return value of third- and fifth- or sixth-round selections is comparable to that of players like Marcel Goc and Lee Stempniak—not quite superstars themselves and not of the same caliber as Tlusty.

But at least Francis got something for him. Predecessor Jim Rutherford had grown famous for letting his pending free agents slide by the deadline without being liquidated for assets.

RALEIGH, NC - FEBRUARY 24: Andrej Sekera #4 of the Carolina Hurricanes looks for passing options before releasing the puck during an NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 24, 2015 at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina.  (Photo by Gregg Fo
Gregg Forwerck/Getty Images

Any potential return Francis let slip in the Tlusty trade, moreover, was more than made up for by his successful manipulation of the Sekera hullabaloo.

While other deep-pocket teams like the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers begged on the doorstep, the Hurricanes front office dealt the experienced blueliner to an L.A. team that's currently surging furiously back into the Western Conference playoff picture.

On Feb. 17, Larry Brooks of the New York Post wrote that the Sekera asking price of a first-rounder and prospect was "too rich for just about any suitor’s blood" and that "chances are that the price will drop."

It didn't. It may have even risen.

The prospect—19-year-old McKeownhas a reliable reputation and, though he lacks elite upside, is in the midst of his third consecutive solid campaign with the OHL Kingston Frontenacs. He could blossom into a second-pairing NHL rearguard down the road.

The draft pick, which will be in 2015 only if the Kings indeed make the postseason, will likely be in the No. 16-25 range.

6'1" Kingston defenseman Roland McKeown (right, No. 20) joins the Carolina system as a promising youngster.
6'1" Kingston defenseman Roland McKeown (right, No. 20) joins the Carolina system as a promising youngster.Dennis Pajot/Getty Images

The 'Canes are almost certainly not done dealing prior to Monday's trade deadline.

They still retain a number of pending unrestricted free agents, including penalty-killing specialist Jay McClement, conservative defenseman Tim Gleason and depth wingers Brad Malone and Patrick Dwyer, per Spotrac, who could be on the move.

Wednesday's pair of near-blockbusters do, however, demonstrate a firm dedication to the franchise's future.

Mark Jones has been the Carolina Hurricanes Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report since 2009. Visit his profile to read more, or follow him on Twitter.

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