Lukas Sedlak: A Player Worth Noticing

Nov 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) prepares to make a save on a shot on goal attempt by Philadelphia Flyers center Lukas Sedlak (23) in the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 1, 2022; New York, New York, USA; New York Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin (31) prepares to make a save on a shot on goal attempt by Philadelphia Flyers center Lukas Sedlak (23) in the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports /
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On October 19 , the Flyers picked up a little known center on the waiver wire from Colorado. He had played in Columbus. He spent some time in the KHL. He had played in three games with the Avalanche, averaging 7:42 minutes of ice time. His stat sheet read four blocks, five hits, and two giveaways. The Avs, needing some roster room, tried to send him down to the AHL; but alas, the Flyers scrounged him up before that could happen. Since then, Lukas Sedlak has been turning heads.

This is not something you normally see. Your average fan doesn’t talk too much about the fourth line guys. Even major hockey fans don’t take too much interest in fourth liners. But lately, there has been a lot of buzz around Sedlak and his performance since joining the team a couple of weeks ago.

He has played in four games. He has two assists, four blocks, three hits, no giveaways, has taken only two penalties, is a +3, and has won 60.7% of the faceoffs he has taken as a Flyer. For a fourth line center, that’s pretty good.

Your fourth line is not where you put your all-stars. But just because you are not an all-star, it doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable. The goal of the fourth line, on any team, is to stymie the production of the opposing first and second lines. Sometimes this comes with great physicality, especially in the 90s. Sometimes this comes with a good crop of forwards who play a good defensive game. Sometimes it is a little bit of both.

Sedlak is doing all of the little things that are necessary to help a team win. If the other team’s dominant players can’t score, you have a good shot at winning. By winning 60% of the faceoffs, you are denying them access to the puck and limiting their scoring chances. By not spending a lot of time in the penalty box, you are denying the other team a chance to capitalize by being on the power play. He’s battling in corners. He’s not turning the puck over mid ice in front of the goalie. He’s physical without being reckless.

Sedlak will never be confused with an Eric Lindros, Bobby Clarke, or Claude Giroux. But so far, he is playing well. Fans are noticing that he is all over the ice doing the fundamental things that make good teams good.

Coach John Tortorella knows him from their tenure together in Columbus. Maybe this is part of the reason why the Flyers acquired him. Either way, he is fitting in well with this team. He is performing on the fourth line, which is quickly becoming a very reliable one with Nic Deslauriers and Wade Allison. And as the Flyers keep dealing with mounting injuries, a solid fourth line will continue to keep them competitive in games.