Tyler Seguin wasn’t a Bruin, and now he isn’t a Bruin.
Over the coming days, weeks, months and in all likelihood, years, we’ll wonder why. As Seguin goes on to become a regular 30-goal-scorer for the Stars, we’ll ask what was so wrong with Seguin that it couldn’t work in Boston.
That would be short-sighted, because he did score 29 goals for them in a season, but at the end of the day Seguin, like Phil Kessel, didn’t make sense in Boston. He wasn’t the best player he could be with the B’s and the B’s weren’t the best team they could be with him.
Because of what Peter Chiarelli said about his professionalism last weekend, people will go straight to the “he’s a young kid who parties too much” mumbo-jumbo. Sorry, but unless he has a serious drinking or drug problem – and there are no indications that he does – we have to throw that excuse out the window.
Know who parties a lot? Alexander Ovechkin. He just won the Hart. Patrick Kane should be a part owner of Deadspin for how many times he’s been on there, and he just won the Conn Smythe, which paired nicely with his second Stanley Cup. You can party as long as you bring it on the ice.
Regardless of whether Seguin has an off-ice problem, it was his on-ice issues that got him jettisoned in a seven-player deal that also saw the B’s bid farewell to Rich Peverley in exchange for Loui Eriksson and three prospects.
The on-ice problems for Seguin were obvious. He was timid and his worst fear was getting hit. He was the fastest player on the ice and he lost as many races as he could to avoid any physical contact. That wasn’t big, bad or Bruins. For a player with his skill, he didn’t keep the puck on his stick, and he was weak on the puck.
The Bruins probably made this deal knowing full well that we’ll all sit back and watch Seguin score a ton with the Stars. Hell, Michael Ryder scored 35 goals in Dallas two years ago. But scoring goals – and this only goes out to the stubborn Seguinistas out there who cover their ears and shout “he’s only 21 and you need to score goals!” – is just a piece of the puzzle. Look at how Seguin played when he wasn’t scoring goals in the playoffs and even when he wasn’t scoring at points in the regular season. You have to bring more than just ability, especially when you have the contract that he has.
Seguin is set to begin a six-year deal with an annual cap hit of $5.75 million. So when people look at this trade and say the B’s “are giving up on Seguin,” it isn’t exactly true. If they could keep him on their roster for the $3 million-plus he was making on his entry level deal, they’d probably do it and ride things out. Yet, as Peter Chiarelli noted after the trade, players are getting big paydays early in their careers, so there’s a lot of projecting involved. Coming off a 29-goal 2011-12 season, the B’s showed Seguin the money with one year left on his entry-level deal. One year later that was their worst contract. Now he’s gone.
The trade: Seguin ($5.75 million cap hit in each of the next six years), Peverley ($3.25 million in the next two years) and Providence blueliner Ryan Button for Eriksson ($4.25 million hit in each of the next three seasons), defense prospect Joe Morrow and wingers Reilly Smith and Matt Fraser.
Eriksson is the prize of the package, as he is a 27-year-old left-shot right wing who produces above his cap hit (Seguin was set to be the opposite). Though he had just 12 goals during the 48-game regular season (Seguin had 16), he averaged 29.5 goals in the previous four seasons, including a 36-goal campaign in 2008-09. If we’re comparing the players directly, he’s a better vastly superior two-way player than Seguin.
Chiarelli sees Eriksson fitting in on the Bruins’ power play, so though the Bruins have seemingly gutted the right side of their team by losing Seguin, Peverley, Nathan Horton and likely Jaromir Jagr, they have at least gotten one highly skilled player back.
In Morrow, they get a good left-shot defense prospect, and though their left side is a bit crowded -- Zdeno Chara, Dennis Seidenberg, Torey Krug, Matt Bartkowski and now Morrow -- it makes them absolutely loaded and positioned very well for the future. Consider that Chiarelli said on Thursday that adding defense wasn't a priority this offseason, yet he still added someone who was a first-round pick two years ago. Because of their depth, the Bruins are in no rush to play him at the NHL level and can either take their time developing him or use him down the road as a shiny trade chip.
It also gives the Bruins some much-needed cap relief. Unless Tuukka Rask gets an astronomical contract, the B’s should still have more than $6 million in cap space (assuming Marc Savard goes on long-term injured reserve) after they lock up their goaltender. The name of the game this offseason is being under the cap for this season before it goes back up, and now the Bruins – albeit with two big holes on the right side – are in position to manage that.
Yet they had to move on from Seguin in order to do that, and that’s undoubtedly the crux of this. From the second he was selected by the B’s, he was the center of attention, and that means some broken hearts from a lot of Bruins fans.
Seguin was the second overall pick. He’s a handsome 21-year-old. Ladies love him. He was on his Cool J. Yet more than anything, people in Boston loved Seguin because he had all the skill in the world. He was the Boston sports fan’s chance of being able to watch one of most electrifying players in the game play for their team.
Now, Bruins fans have to deal with the fact that having guys like that isn’t how you win championships. Who knows whether the Bruins would have gotten past the Lightning without those three good games from Seguin in the Eastern Conference finals in 2011 and Seguin scored in overtime of Game 6 of the first round in 2012 to force a Game 7.
Still, in your heart of hearts, can you look at the difference-makers for the Bruins over the last three years and put Seguin anywhere near the top of the list? Chiarelli obviously couldn’t.
It’s a strange thing to close the book on a player with as much promise as Seguin, yet his contract and style of play. In the end, he played 245 games for the Bruins, or just nine more than Phil Kessel. Think about that one for a bit.