Tyler Seguin, Oh What Could Have Been…


Every Bruins fan remembers the day Boston traded Phil Kessel to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a handful of first round draft picks. They also remember when the 2010 first round pick ended up being the second overall selection, thanks to the NHL’s draft lottery system. That second pick brought promising prospect Tyler Seguin to Boston, and even though his rookie season had its share of speed bumps, his name is still etched in history as a member of the last Bruins team to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.

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Unfortunately for Bruins fans, they also remember last night’s game where Tyler Seguin scored a hat-trick on Boston ice, and led the Dallas Stars to a 5-3 win over his former team.

While Seguin’s skill set and potential is what lead him to becoming the second overall pick in 2010, his immaturity and lack of discipline led to his turbulent tenure, and eventual departure from Boston. One still can’t help but wonder, What if?

Tyler Seguin is now a household name in the NHL, currently leading the NHL in scoring, and coming off of consecutive 37 goal seasons in Dallas. While it may be convenient to look at the stats and say the Bruins blew it when they sent him packing, that may not be the case. Seguin only scored over 20 goals once in his years as a Bruin, and for a player who is labeled as a sniper, that’s just not good enough. While there are many reasons as to why he was not able to mimic his Dallas numbers in Boston, the fact of the matter is he probably never would have turned into the player he is today had he remained in Beantown.

Seguin relies on his quick hands and speedy skating to create scoring opportunities, he has the ability to find open space and move the puck up-ice unlike any other. His one-timers are only getting better with time, and may soon be in Alex Ovechkin territory. This being said, those skills aren’t typically the characteristics that make a great Bruin. Looking up in the TD Garden, fans see names like Neely, Bourque, and of course Orr in the rafters. Compare any Bruins great to Seguin and the differences far outweigh the similarities. Neely, Bourque, and Orr were great and moving the puck up ice, much like Seguin is, however when it came to play in their own end and physicality these Bruins legends far surpass the 23-year-old.

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  • Cam Neely is probably the most comparable out of these legends, Neely could skate, score, and make the players around him even better, much like Seguin has made an elite player like Jamie Benn even more of a threat than he was before Seguin’s arrival. Thats where the similarities end however, when the bell rang and it was time to answer the call for his team, Neely wouldn’t hesitate to drop the gloves and deliver big hits that would often lead to time in the sin bin. Seguin on the other hand often shies away from these encounters and will let his teammates fight on his behalf. How many times did Shawn Thornton drop the mitts in defense of the then-teenage Seguin? Far more times than any teammate had to come to the defense of Neely, or for that matter any Bruins legend.

    Now President of the Boston Bruins, Cam Neely played a big part in Seguin’s shipment to the Stars, make no mistake about it, he knew Seguin didn’t have the heart to be a Bruin, and while it was clear Seguin could one day become a centerfold in the NHL, it wouldn’t be in Boston. Neely has put much emphasis on the identity of Bruins hockey since his latest promotion, and in doing so has shown players like Milan Lucic the door. While it can be argued he is doing more harm than good to Boston’s current roster, he does know what type of energy should be played with, and Seguin did not have it.

    Skill set and Bruins identity or not, immaturity was arguably the biggest factor in the decision to trade Tyler. Amid countless behind-the-scenes rumors and accusations, one thing can be counted as fact; Tyler Seguin liked to party, and he liked to sleep. These are not exactly desirable qualities when looking for a franchise player in the NHL, but in Seguin’s defense who wouldn’t have lived the lifestyle he did when first drafted.

    Seguin was an 18-year-old, fresh out of junior hockey player who was immediately given NHL ice-time on a team that was already a title-contender, in a city where athletes are looked to as gods. On top of all the pressure that came with being a second overall pick, the teenage Seguin then saw ice-time in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, arguably the most intense atmosphere in all of sports. He did however, end up seeing a dip in playing time in exchange for veteran presence Shawn Thornton as the playoffs advanced.

    His rookie season ended with his name etched in the side of Lord Stanley’s Cup, a feat many elite players never get the honor of having. Along with the victory came the victory celebration, and the Bruins didn’t mess around, racking a $150,000 bar tab at Foxwoods Casino following the win. An 18-year-old that is adjusting to the tremendous pressure of being an NHL star, thrown into an environment like the 2011 Bruins locker room was nothing but toxic, and in this writer’s opinion is what led to his lackluster performance in Boston. It would take a wake-up call and a change of scenery to change Seguin’s ways, and that’s exactly what happened.

    Following his trade Seguin has gone on to become one of the league’s most  prolific scorers and continues to improve every year. His behind-the-scenes personality has also greatly improved, launching the charity Seguin’s Stars, comparable to Patrice Bergeron‘s Patrice’s Pals in Boston, where Seguin hosts fans with spinal cord injuries in a luxury box, and often spends time with them following games.

    Tyler Seguin’s trade out of Boston was the defining moment in his a career, that was when a star was born, not the day he was drafted  second overall by the Boston Bruins, so Bruins fans should not look at the green and white number 91 and think “Man, what could have been…”, but they should sit back and enjoy the superstar whose roots will always lie deep in the heart of Boston.

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