This is the third installment of my summer series on the players and coaches that will have major storylines surrounding them in the upcoming 2013-14 NHL season. This installment talks about the recently traded Dallas Stars forward Tyler Seguin. You can follow me on Twitter @DanMountSports.
Tyler Seguin came into the NHL with a lot of hype after his initial struggles with the Ontario Hockey League's Plymouth Whalers. Seguin came from a family with a hockey pedigree as his father, Paul, played for the University of Vermont Catamounts from 1984-88. Tyler really turned it on in the 2009-10 season before he got injured, but the start did get the attention of the NHL Central Scouting personnel as he was rated as the top prospect for the 2010 Draft. (Seguin ended up being picked second by the Boston Bruins, which got the pick from the Toronto Maple Leafs as a part of the Phil Kessel trade, after Taylor Hall was the top overall pick selected by the Edmonton Oilers.)
Seguin struggled in his first season with the Bruins and was a healthy scratch for the first couple rounds of the 2011 Stanley Cup playoffs. However, Seguin was given a chance after Patrice Bergeron (a player Seguin said he wanted to model his game after) suffered a concussion. Seguin came through and netted a goal and an assist in his first playoff game, which was game two of the Eastern Conference finals, in a 6-5 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seguin then topped that with two goals and two assists in game three. (Becoming the first teenager since Trevor Linden to get four points in his first two NHL playoff games.) He was an integral part of Boston's first Stanley Cup win since 1972.
Despite Seguin bagging his first career hat trick in a game against the Maple Leafs, the Bruins could not repeat as Stanley Cup champions. (Seguin scored an overtime winner in game six to force a deciding game seven, but the B’s could not beat the Washington Capitals in the first round.) Seguin did end up as Boston's leading scorer for the 2011-12 season.
Seguin was poised to really break out in the 2012-13 campaign, but the lockout interrupted that. He did end up as the top scorer for Swiss club EHC Biel with 25 goals before he came back to Boston at the end of the lockout. The Bruins did make it to the Stanley Cup final for the second time in three years after Seguin overcame a slow start. However, there were questions about where his head was at. After the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games, there were some reports about his game preparation. There were reports that Seguin needed to be sequestered to keep from partying. Some reports said the team hired a guard to keep him from going out on the town. (There are plenty of pictures on the Internet to prove it.)
There were hints that Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli would trade either Seguin or sometime linemate Brad Marchand, but no one thought that Chiarelli would pull the trigger. The shocking news came on the Fourth of July when he, center Rich Peverely and prospect Ryan Button were traded to the Dallas Stars for former All-Star Loui Eriksson, young forwards Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser and minor leaguer Joe Morrow. The trade was interpreted as a message the Bruins’ brass were serious about winning the Cup after coming so close. The media in Boston (and the rest of North America) wondered if the club gave up on the young forward too soon. Bruins coach Claude Julien said that he had a good relationship with Seguin.
The trade could’ve (and still can) afforded Seguin with a fresh slate, but he had a little incident on Twitter where he recalled a certain line from the movie “Full Metal Jacket” involving cows and well… you get the rest. Seguin and the Stars claimed his account was hacked, and he closed down the account soon thereafter. Seguin has been embattled so much as of late that his mom and dad both defended their son. (Seguin’s mom even accused the Bruins of making up stories to damage his character.) Seguin has vowed to be a top player for the Stars.
So what are the expectations for this season for Seguin? Many think the Stars took a risk in picking up the young forward. I’m not going to make excuses for him, but I can understand why he may have gone out and partied. He’s a 21-year old millionaire hockey player. He’s going to go out and have a good time. Could he have chosen a better time to do it? Absolutely, but I don’t think Bruins’ fans should boo the heck out of him when Dallas comes to town on November 5 to play Boston. Seguin is a hard worker and will try and buckle down. He’ll be paired with Jamie Benn to make one of the younger and talented wing combos in the league. If he does lead Dallas to its first playoff berth in five years, Dallas Morning News writer Mike Heika said Seguin would get a pass.
Dan Mount is an NHL columnist for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, NY.