|06.25.10 at 9:53 pm ET|
There were a lot of things about the first round of Friday night’s NHL draft that seemed a little funny. Both league-wide and specifically to the Bruins, the first 30 picks were laced with irony and confusion. Some blatant examples: Two perceived top defenseman fell out of the top 10. The team that needed centers took winger Taylor Hall, which led to the team with too many centers taking Tyler Seguin.
A few storylines stand out with the Bruins’ new center, one of which is that he was the top-ranked player in the draft by NHL Central Scouting, yet went second. Just as fascinating, however, is the team he went to, and with which pick.
Every young hockey player’s dream is to play in the NHL, and with his selection Friday night Seguin will undoubtedly realize his lifelong goal. However, the path to Boston, a city he spoke about with excitement Friday night, ultimately went through the team he grew up admiring as a child.
Born in Brampton, Ontario, Seguin was close enough to Toronto to be a Maple Leafs fan. In addition to being an Original Six rival of the Black and Gold, the Maple Leafs were a trade partner in the move that would eventually bring Seguin to Boston. The Bruins acquired three picks from the Leafs last offseason in the Phil Kessel deal, including the first-rounder that became the pick used on the Plymouth Whalers center.
“Growing up I was the local guy,” Seguin said. “I liked watching the Leafs because they were the local team. Now that it happened, I think it’s meant to be. I think things worked out throughout my life and anyone’s lives. It’s just where we were supposed to fall, and Boston was the team that was supposed to pick me.”
What makes it so interesting is the story the pick could have been if it stayed in Toronto. The hometown kid who grew up cheering on the Leafs goes to the historic franchise to give them a shot of both youth and scoring. Instead, he’s gone to the rival, a Bruins team that has seemed to be knocking at the door for two seasons now.
So does the team that will also see their second-rounder Saturday and first-round pick next year made by the Bruins regret the deal?
“We made this trade,” Leafs GM Brian Burke said at the draft. “We took our chance on how our team would finish. We talked about the possibility that it could be a lottery pick. … We said, ‘Well what if it is Taylor Hall? What if it is Tyler Seguin?’ and we said ‘We’re going to make that trade anyway.’ We got the player we wanted and I hope Boston got the player they wanted.”
|06.25.10 at 8:37 pm ET|
Minutes after being selected by the Bruins with the second pick in the NHL draft Seguin soaked in the moment and acknowledged his goal is to make the team this season.
‘It feels amazing, I can’t really describe it,’ said Sequin, a native of Brampton, Ontario who netted 48 goals while adding 58 assists playing junior hockey for the Plymouth Whalers last season. ‘It’s not winning the Stanley Cup but its one of the best feelings I’ve had so far in my life.’
With the highly anticipated draft process complete and his future team set, Seguin is ready to concentrate fully on his training regime.
‘It definitely feels great just to be able to sit back and look down at my (Bruins) jersey’ said Seguin. ‘I’ll try to have a fantastic off season so I’ll be able to earn a spot next year.
‘The whole journey and this last week in LA has been a phenomenal experience,’ he added. ‘Right now my main focus is to have an incredible offseason, put on some weight and keep improving in areas I need to.’
Although he is generally considered a center, Seguin can also play the wing.
‘He’s a highly skilled player,’ said Bruins coach Claude Julien on the draft floor Friday. ‘We know he can definitely bring some offense to our team.’
Seguin has shown to be a quick study in breaking down opposition defenses, he also has gotten a quick sense of Boston and what playing in New England could bring.
‘From meeting with them and visiting Boston, you can just tell by the people that are there already that it’s just a phenomenal place to play,’ said Seguin whose dad was a captain of the University of Vermont hockey team.’
“There is so much history there with the Bruins, and the fan base and atmosphere. It’s a hockey town.’
|06.25.10 at 7:55 pm ET|
According to a tweet from ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Oilers general manager “tried until [the] last possible second” to acquire the second overall pick from the Bruins before Peter Chiarelli eventually chose Tyler Seguin. There had been rumors leading up until the draft that the two teams could work out a deal that would secure the Bruins their preferred player, but Chiarelli had stressed prior to the draft that he would not make a deal that involved trading out of the top two picks.
|06.25.10 at 7:26 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — In a predictable move following Edmonton’s selection of Taylor Hall, the Bruins chose Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin with the second overall pick in the NHL draft, a choice they received from the Maple Leafs in exchange for Phil Kessel.
Seguin was ranked as the top overall player in the draft by NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau but, by many accounts may have been a victim of playing for a bad team. While Hall made headlines the past two postseasons, Seguin’s Whalers never made it to the Memorial Cup in his two years in Plymouth.
A common player comparison for Seguin has been Red Wings Hall of Fame center Steve Yzerman. A 6-foot-1, 172-pound right-handed shot, Seguin is considered an elite goal-scorer and playmaker. He is known more for a finesse game than a hard-nosed style. Seguin’s father played college hockey at the University of Vermont in the 1980’s.
After compiling 67 points in his first season with the Whalers, Seguin scored 63 goals and added 58 assists for 106 points. He was awarded the Red Tilson trophy for most outstanding player in the OHL.
There had been talk that the Bruins and Oilers could have worked out a deal in order to secure whichever player the Bruins preferred. While the Bruins would never admit to preferring Hall even if they did, no deal was made.
|06.25.10 at 7:18 pm ET|
LOS ANGELES — The Edmonton Oilers have selected Windsor Spitfires left wing Taylor Hall with the first overall pick in the NHL draft, clearing the way for the Bruins to take Plymouth Whalers center Tyler Seguin second overall.
Hall, 18, was ranked second behind Seguin by the NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau but had a better OHL resume, having played in the league for three seasons to Seguin’s two. In 57 games for the Spitfires this past season, Hall scored 40 goals and 66 assists for 106 points, which tied him with Seguin for the lead league in points.
Many point to the postseason as a big reason Hall was able to leapfrog Seguin on the Oilers’ draft board. In 19 games, Hall racked up 17 goals and 18 assists for 35 points. In addition to sweeping Seguin’s Whalers in the playoffs, Hall earned his second consecutive Memorial Cup MVP award by leading the Spitfires to a title. Hall also racked up 12 points (6 G, 6 A) in six games for Team Canada in the World Junior Championship.
|06.25.10 at 4:32 pm ET|
Amidst rumors that the Flyers are looking to shed payroll in order to take on Tim Thomas‘ contract, a source close to the situation is saying talk that Simon Gagne could be swapped to the Bruins for the goaltender is bogus.
“This is not an accurate rumor at all,” the source said.
Salary-wise, it makes sense, as Gagne will carry a $5.25 million cap hit next season, the final year of his deal, while Thomas has three years remaining at $5 million per season. On the ice, however, such a move could upset Flyers fans. Gagne can be counted on for 30 goals a season and is just 30 years old, while Thomas, 36, lost his starting job last season to Tuukka Rask.
The left-winger made a major impression on the Bruins in the postseason this past postseason, scoring in overtime in Game 4, adding two goals in Game 5, and slipping the series-winning goal past Rask in the third period of Game 7.
Gagne was hampered by groin injuries throughout the season and was limited to 58 games. He scored 17 goals and had 23 assists for 40 points after having 34-40-74 totals a year prior.
|06.25.10 at 2:56 pm ET|
Tim Thomas, who has been given permission by the Bruins to talk with other teams about a trade, may not be a fit for one of his most logical suitors. According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, a Tampa Bay source does not believe the Lightning could add Thomas’ $5 million salary for the next three seasons without shedding payroll. LeBrun says in a tweet that a move to the Lightning “doesn’t look like a fit right now.”
The Sharks and Flyers have also been rumored as potential suitors for Thomas. Tampa Bay has over $23 million in cap space, but only 13 players under contract at the NHL level.