Tyler Seguin will be facing plenty of pressure in Dallas.
The trade that sent Tyler Seguin to the Dallas Stars a week and a half ago certainly turned plenty of heads. In a salary cap world it isn't easy to swing those kind of blockbuster deals where seven different players are involved, and giving up on a second overall pick from the 2010 draft this soon may have had a few folks puzzled. The Bruins, however, have been ahead of the curve in recent years when it comes to roster decisions, and capturing a Stanley Cup as well as making another finals appearance all in the last three seasons is evidence of that. So it's hard to question General Manager Peter Chiarelli at this point, especially when he was able to bring back Loui Eriksson and the once highly touted Joe Morrow in the deal.
As much as he struggled in this year's post-season, perhaps part of the reason the Bruins were willing to part with Seguin was due to some of his rumored off-ice antics. Chiarelli admitted that Seguin needed to become a better pro and his stay in Dallas got off to a rocky start just a few days in with a much publicized Twitter controversy. Seguin is still just 21-years-old so it's understandable that his actions are going to reflect that from time-to-time, but he could have a big wake up call with new pressures in Dallas.
It may sound ridiculous to say that Seguin is going to face more pressure in Dallas than in a hockey hotbed like Boston, but consider it from this perspective. Most top five draft picks have major pressures to perform quickly wherever they go, because chances are if you are picking that high; your franchise is probably in rough shape. Seguin was fortunate enough to avoid that in Boston thanks to the Phil Kessel trade. The Bruins second overall pick in 2010 that was used to grab Seguin came from Toronto, and Boston was already a Cup contender at that point. Seguin missed the rebuilding process that usually comes along with a team picking second in the draft.
Not only that, but as a rookie Seguin had the luxury of being eased into the lineup instead of being counted on right away. Since the Bruins already had a solid squad, he was used sparingly early in his career. Seguin averaged just over 12 minutes per game in his rookie season and was used in a supplementary role.
Seguin also hasn't had to play the centre position very much so far during his time in the NHL. The Bruins were so deep down the middle that he was played mainly on the wing, which has much less responsibility. During the last two campaigns Seguin has been skating alongside Patrice Bergeron, who is arguably the best two-way centre in the game. Having Bergeron at his side has helped to alleviate a lot of the defensive responsibilities that can be challenging for a young player.
Things in Dallas will be a whole different story. The Stars are in full rebuild mode under new GM Jim Nill and Seguin should expect to be relied upon more now than ever before. The team is also thin when it comes to centres, so the former Bruin should expect to play heavy minutes at that position.
So what does all this mean for poolies when it comes to Seguin and his new home? Well, with new responsibilities and a much weaker roster to work with there is a good chance his numbers will slide in some areas in 2013-14. For instance, Seguin finished ninth in shots on goal in 2013. Playing the wing naturally allows for more opportunities to fire pucks at the net, as opposed to centre where you are relied on more defensively. Only one player at the centre position (John Tavares) finished in the top 10 in 2013 when it came to shots on net. If Seguin is playing in the middle next year expect those totals to drop.
Seguin owners should also beware of the face-off category. In his brief career he hasn't taken a ton of draws, but it's important to note he has never finished a season with a rating of over 49% in the circle. There is a strong chance Seguin could set a career high when it comes to face-offs taken this season, so don't expect stellar results in that area right away.
One spot Seguin also figures to take a hit in, is plus/minus. Playing with someone who has the defensive ability of Bergeron is a good recipe to have a solid rating. Combine that with a strong offensive skill set and it's no surprise Seguin was a plus-23 last year. Let's also keep in mind that the Bruins were third in goals against in 2013 compared to the Stars who sat 24th. If you factor in his new team-mates and Dallas' below average team defense, don't count on Seguin duplicating his plus/minus numbers from last year.
Where Seguin does have a legitimate shot of keeping pace, depending on who he plays with of course, is with points. If he ends up playing in-between Jamie Benn and Ray Whitney, Seguin has a shot to post some respectable point totals. Even north of 40-years-old Whitney should be good for 20-plus tallies and although he has yet to accomplish it in his career, Benn could be a 30 goal man playing with Seguin. It wouldn't be insane to think Seguin's assist totals could even go up in that situation, and that he could be good for 60-65 points.
Going to the Stars will say a lot about Seguin as a player. People may have formed an opinion on him based on rumored off-ice activities, but those are typically ignored if someone is producing on the ice. Just three NHL seasons is hardly enough time to develop a conclusion about any player and how they may perform in the future. One thing is for sure though, this will be a completely different environment for Seguin and if he hopes to succeed it's going to take a greater effort than ever before.
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