Taylor or Tyler? They weren’t Ovechkin and Malkin, but together they were anointed the can’t miss talents of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. The Bruins had the 2nd overall selection behind the customary Edmonton Oilers, leaving Peter Chiarelli and Co. the easy task of selecting the remainder. The rest is history or a commercial at the very least.
Tyler Seguin finished the regular season playing 74 games tallying 11 goals and 11 assists. Those modest numbers placed him 12th on the Bruins in scoring (behind Blake Wheeler?) and 22nd overall in rookie scoring. He wasn’t Steve Yzerman, Dale Hawerchuck, or Teemu Selanne. He wasn’t even Jeff Skinner, Logan Couture, or Derek Stepan, who I would have rather seen in black in gold. Frankly there are a lot of better things the Bruins could have done with $3.5 million.
The kid does have exceptional timing, however. He quickly started the season scoring 3 goals in his first 8 games. "Thank You Kessel." Not so fast. Having saved himself a trip back to junior, the goals suddenly dried up and Seguin struggled. The NHL game is strong and fast, and he wasn’t accustomed to it. He took brash penalties, looked clumsy and lost, had no compete, was weak, and worst of all couldn’t play defense. Julien’s forwards were constantly handicapped late in the game due to his lack of trust in Seguin. With Dunkin’ Donuts Iced Coffee constantly on his mind, he finished the season with just 1 point in his final 19 games.
As expected, Seguin was scratched for the Bruins’ first two playoff series. When Patrice Bergeron missed the first two games of the Lighting series, Seguin got his chance. Like Charlie Conway and Dean Youngblood before him, he didn’t disappoint. The only bright spot in Game 1 with a goal and an assist, he reenergized the team in Game 2. Seguin saved the series with his electrifying display, notching 2 goals and 2 assists. Victor Hedman and Randy Jones are still spinning their heads. Then the points disappeared again. This time it was different. Seguin would play in eleven more post-season games. He threw his body around, demonstrated a very high compete level, and was a solid two-way player. His speed, soft hands, and great vision were on display. At times he was unlucky not to tally, whether it be fault of his line mates or circumstance, but his newfound level of play did not go unnoticed.
In between the highs and the lows it’s worth noting that Seguin displayed great maturity off the ice. Any time a microphone was in his face, the right things were said. Something that is not always easy for a player surrounded by such hype. He was eager to learn from the veterans around him and it seemingly paid off, constantly crediting them for his development. Shawn Thornton being one in particular.
Again, Seguin’s timing is impeccable. Tyler Seguin is a luxury for the Boston Bruins. While the Bruins have a vested interest in him, he certainly isn’t expected to be the face of the franchise like Patrice Bergeron, and Joe Thornton before him. There is already a great core of young players on this team. They can succeed with or without him. Certainly quite different from the environment Phil Kessel was placed in. Don’t worry Glenn Frey, the heat isn’t on just yet.
He will most likely have an expanded role next season, provided he survives this summer’s endless party. Ideally every Bruins fan wants to see him become a three-zone player ala Patrice Bergeron. That’s far too much to ask right now, at the very least does he remain at center? Or is he moved to the wing, while he continues to grow? The B’s have great depth when it comes to the faceoff circle. Claude Julien also places added importance on each and every draw, rightfully so; I don’t expect him to let the team lose chances for the sake of a player’s development.
Brad Marchand was a player moved upon his arrival in Boston and the results were great. Seguin needs to become a much stronger player if he is going to play in the circle. The responsibilities of playing center on this team are too great for him at this point in his career, not to say they won’t be in the future in fairness to his age. Regardless, his speed is best utilized as a wing player where he can skate more freely rather than being caught deep in the zone. Skating with Kelly and Ryder it also became increasingly apparent that Seguin would benefit by playing with a legitimate creative force rather than trying to be one himself. Seguin needs a player of Bergeron or Krejci’s quality to his left, for now. Naturally, I think he plays with Bergeron and Marchand next season. Seguin has already made an immense team with the latter off the ice, so why not let it continue on?