Forget the Steven Stamkos comparisons for now. When it comes to Tyler Seguin’s future, you want to look at Jeff Skinner.
The good folks over at PuckDaddy have pointed out that Skinner's contract extension with the Hurricanes has led to numerous reaction posts wondering what the deal means for other players around the NHL. If you're sick of reading such stories, all apologies. Here's one more.
Skinner, the seventh overall pick in the 2010 draft, was given a six-year, $34.35 million extension Tuesday night. The deal was inked one season prior to the expiration of his three-year entry level pact and will carry a salary cap hit of $5.725 million.
Seguin was drafted five spots ahead of Skinner and carried much more hype than the former figure skater (Skinner medaled in the 2004 Canadian Junior Nationals), but after two seasons Skinner has at least been as good as Seguin, if not better.
Skinner turned heads when he made the NHL team out of training camp in 2010 (generally players chosen outside the top two or three picks don't spend the following season at the NHL level, often returning to their junior teams). His 82-game rookie campaign in which he scored 31 goals and 32 assists for 63 assists trumped Seguin's 11-goal, 11-assist first year.
Last season, Seguin put up better numbers than Skinner (Seguin had 29-38-67 totals in 81 games while Skinner had 20 goals and 24 assists for a 44-point season that was limited to 64 games by a concussion), but through two seasons, here are the numbers on the two players [Note: Plus-minus is purposely being left out for this comparison, as Skinner's rating would likely be much better than his minus-8 were he to skate on a line with Patrice Bergeron]:
Skinner: 146 games played, 51 goals, 56 assists, 107 points
Seguin: 155 games played, 40 goals, 49 assists, 89 points
And their time on ice:
Skinner: 16:44 per game
Seguin: 12:13 per game
Skinner: 18:37 per game
Seguin: 16:56 per game
Obviously, the Bruins and Hurricanes were in different situations in the 2010-11 season, so while the opportunity to play was much greater for Skinner as a rookie, it's still worth noting that he's racked up much more ice time than Seguin through the first two seasons of their careers.
Though there's still room for improvement in his own zone and with potential contact, Seguin's on-ice growth from his rookie year to his second season was hard to miss. With more minutes came more confidence, and his willingness to hold onto the puck more led to far more scoring opportunities. He and linemates Bergeron and Brad Marchand complement one another very well with their varying skill sets, so there's reason to believe the 20-year-old is capable of taking another step forward next season.
So if Seguin is to lead the Bruins in points next season, as he did last year, it wouldn't be out of the question for him to ask for Skinner-like money. The question is what the Bruins would think of that.
It's been written enough here to have lost its flavor, but the Bruins pay two forwards $5 million a year and one of them just won the Selke Award. Patrice Bergeron carries a $5 million cap hit while David Krejci gets $5.25 million a year. If the Bruins didn't think Phil Kessel was a $5 million player before dealing him to Toronto prior to the 2009-10 season (in case you're living under a cliché, the deal netted the B's the pick with which they chose Seguin), what kind of dollar value will they place on Seguin?
Given that Seguin is, and most likely will remain, a wing, it's fair to make the comparison to Kessel. The two bring very similar skill sets: Elite speed, hands and scoring touch, more to be desired defensively and little in the form of physicality. That's not a knock on either player -- Seguin is far and away the most talented forward on the Bruins -- but it's been made clear over the years the team values superb two-way play over everything else.
At this point, neither side has said whether negotiations for Seguin’s next deal have taken place. The Bruins will likely have some decisions to make and money to dole out over the next year, as Seguin isn’t the only big name with an expiring contract. Tuukka Rask, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron will be restricted free agents, while Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference (and, for the sake of including everyone, Anton Khudobin) will be unrestricted.
Lucic’s current deal carries a $4.083 million cap hit, while Seguin’s entry level deal costs the B’s $3.55 million against the cap. It’s unknown what the salary cap will look like in the 2013-14 season, but both players could ask for something that would put them in the $5 million range annually – and that’s without taking into consideration the fact that Rask is playing on a one-year deal in hopes of cashing in with a big season.
The Bruins didn’t want to give Kessel the five-year, $27 million ($5.4 million cap hit) deal he got from Toronto, and that was after he put up a 36-goal season. Now that Skinner’s deal seems to have set the bar for elite scorers in the 2010 class, it will be interesting to see where negotiations with Seguin go.