Boston Bruins: Tyler Seguin trade is still a head-scratcher

CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 22: Tyler Seguin #19 of the Boston Bruins plays against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Five of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at the United Center on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - JUNE 22: Tyler Seguin #19 of the Boston Bruins plays against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Five of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final at the United Center on June 22, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dave Sandford/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins completed the trade of their future young star, Tyler Seguin, exactly six years ago.

To this date, the Tyler Seguin trade executed by the then General Manager Peter Chiarelli still makes little sense. Trading away Tyler Seguin will perhaps always be a head-scratcher and a dark memory for the Boston Bruins fans.

Exactly six years ago, just a few days after dropping Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks in a shocking fashion, the Bruins fans had to suffer another shock. Their young star centerman was traded; even after six years, the Tyler Seguin trade seems like a very questionable move. Let’s look at how the Bruins ended up trading Seguin and what happened with the players and pieces they received in his trade.

Back then, the Tyler Seguin trade seemed a little bit reasonable. Although the majority of the fans shook their heads in disbelief after this trade (even Peter Chiarelli himself, as seen in Behind the B series), trading Tyler Seguin had its reasons. Six years ago, Seguin came off a disappointing campaign, where he collected only one goal and seven assists for eight points in 22 playoff games.

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The Boston Bruins head office probably thought like Seguin is not worth the money they signed him for. Seguin was drafted as the second overall player in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft. Just two years later, after completing his first two seasons in Boston and winning the Stanley Cup in 2011, the Bruins signed him to a six-year contract extension in September 2012. His salary cap hit was set at $5,750,000 per season.

After his slow production in the final stages of the playoffs and after some issues off the ice with him, Peter Chiarelli decided to trade Seguin. He managed to include Rich Peverley and his $3,250,000 salary cap hit per season to the deal to Dallas. In return from the Stars, the Bruins received Loui Eriksson and very talented players Reilly Smith, former first-round draft choice Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser.

With this trade, the Bruins saved $2,361,667 in the salary cap space. The salary cap space was even tighter back then, as for the 2013-2014 season the salary cap was set at $64.3 million. The Bruins managed to ‘solve’ their locker room issues with Seguin, saved some salary cap space and got some hefty trade return. That was something like a perfect result for Peter Chiarelli. But no, one just cannot trade away a franchise player as Tyler Seguin.

Certainly, the key part of the deal was shedding Rich Peverley’s salary cap hit of $3,250,000 for two more years. Well, that happened just a year after Chiarelli signed Peverley to a three-year deal. The Boston Bruins definitely saved some salary cap space, but at that time, they would probably trade Peverley anyway, while keeping a franchise player as Tyler Seguin.

The Tyler Seguin trade brought up to four interesting players to Boston. Last time we saw Matt Fraser in the NHL, it was four years ago and counting. At least he scored five goals for the Bruins.

Joe Morrow was drafted in the first round by the Pittsburgh Penguins as the 23rd overall. No wonder why the Pens gave up on him so early. After years of patient waiting, the Bruins let Morrow go in 2017. As of now, Morrow is unsigned (what about a great comeback to Boston!). (Nevermind…)

The brightest piece of the Tyler Seguin trade was probably Reilly Smith, who impressed in his first season in Boston. He also scored some big goals in the playoffs in 2014 and the Bruins fans fell in love with him. But as soon as he rightfully started to demand money, the Bruins had to trade him.

They also included Marc Savard and his contract in the deal with the Florida Panthers in 2015. The return was… Yes, Jimmy Hayes, whom the Bruins ended up buying out, but at least Savard and his contract was shed. The Bruins had to part ways with Smith because of salary cap space. With the saved cap space, the Bruins signed Matt Beleskey to a five-year deal. Ergh.

And now we turn our attention to Loui Eriksson. Eriksson struggled with injuries and a few setbacks over his first two years in Boston. In the 2015-2016 season, he managed to score 30 goals and had his career season. Unfortunately for him, the Bruins had to choose whether to trade him at the trade deadline or wait and extend him in the summer. They had some offers; General Manager Don Sweeney later admitted, that he had an offer with a first-round draft pick.

You already know that the Bruins let Eriksson walk away in the summer for absolutely nothing. Two of the teams interested were the Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild. The Bruins would end up with a first-round draft selection, at least. Those could have been players like Luke Kunin or Max Jones. But nope, nothing is better than something.

As the Bruins refused to give Eriksson the $6,000,000 he demanded, they rather gave that money and term to David Backes. It seemingly doesn’t get any worse than this. The Bruins ended up with absolutely nothing from the Tyler Seguin trade? Surely not, almost $8,000,000 in the salary cap space tied up to Matt Beleskey and David Backes is still there. It won’t be until 2021, the Bruins could freely say, that they have nothing left after Tyler Seguin trade. Eight years after it happened.

With the ageing center core of Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, the talks around Boston of who might be that next franchise center have already started. That´s why the Bruins acquired Charlie Coyle. That’s why they could have used the 27-year-old Tyler Seguin. If the salary cap space was the issue with him, it was never really an issue. For the money saved on him, the Bruins signed David Backes in 2016, for example.

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But if you don’t look at all this in that way, you won’t get disappointed. For the other fans – the Tyler Seguin trade was just catastrophic and the Boston Bruins feel consequences from it until today. It´s not solely about giving up a player as Seguin, is also about how this trade, and the players in return for Seguin, would up and included those pieces which are still harming the Bruins.