If Bruins’ fans are wondering what Tyler Seguin could become in the near future, they just need to look a couple of hundred miles south to Long Island and watch John Tavares.
Tavares was the top draft pick of the Islanders in 2009, making the team out of camp. He struggled mightily as a rookie, though he came on at the end of the year to finish with 24 goals and 30 assists – much better than Seguin’s 10-11-21 totals during his rookie campaign. Of course, Tavares did not have to worry about the defensive responsibilities that Seguin was held to by Claude Julien, and he certainly did not have to worry about earning playing time. The Islanders were among the worst teams in the league and eager to get their future star on the ice. Meanwhile, Seguin had to try and crack a lineup that included Patrice Bergeron, Nathan Horton, David Krejci, Milan Lucic, Mark Recchi and Julien Favorite Michael Ryder.
Tavares made some strides last season, ending with 29 goals and 38 assists. More importantly, he played much tougher, getting physical along the wall and in the corners. He still struggled in the defensive end of the ice – though so did most of the Islanders.
Tavares is off to a great start this season, as he already has five goals and three assists in New York’s first four games. He is a plus-4 and has the Islanders to their best start in years at 3-1. It certainly appears Tavares is on the verge of stardom and the Islanders are back on the NHL map.
Though Seguin is a different style of player than Tavares and is in a much different spot than Tavares – the Bruins are not asking him to be a 25-goal scorer this season (though no one would complain if he netted 25 to 30 goals) — Seguin shares some similarities with Tavares in year two. He is physically bigger and stronger than he was last year, having added 10 pounds of muscle and putting himself in better position to battle on draws, along the wall, and battle for loose pucks. In addition, he seems to have gained confidence – something success in the Stanley Cup playoffs can do for a player. He is skating with the puck more, making better passes, and becoming a much larger factor in the Boston attack. He currently leads the Bruins with a goal and four assists in five games, and scored a beautiful goal in the shootout to beat Chicago on Saturday.
No one is saying that Seguin will be John Tavares this year, next year, or ever. However, comparing the two at least gives a Bruins’ fans a glimpse of the type of player Seguin could become – sooner rather than later.
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