Seguin could once again prove better at a higher level
|09.20.10 at 2:51 pm ET|
Tyler Seguin’s talent has been put on display in various levels since he became a Boston Bruin. First, YouTube highlights were one’s best bet to see what the second overall could do before he actually donned the jersey. From there, it was rookie development camp.
Last week, he saw game action in two rookie exhibitions against the Islanders. Monday, though, was the closest Seguin has come to playing in an NHL game when he took part in the team’s intrasquad scrimmage. And he looked good.
Playing as a right wing and then left wing on a line centered by Patrice Bergeron with Mark Recchi, Seguin helped orchestrate the scrimmage’s first goal and the only tally for the white squad when he fed Bergeron from behind the net.
Though he figures to be a center in the long-term and entered camp playing the position, the glimpse of Seguin as a wing for two of the Bruins bigger offensive contributors was a welcome sight as the Bruins look to improve an offense that finished dead-last in scoring last season.
Though Seguin didn’t show up on the stat sheet as often as his teammates during the rookie games, playing with Bergeron and Recchi provided evidence that if the three entered the season on the same line, it could be a very productive one for the Bruins.
‘Tyler needs to play with skilled players and I think skilled players need to play with skilled players,’ Mike Vellucci, Seguin’s coach in the OHL, told WEEI.com back in May. ‘Tyler, I think first and foremost, is a playmaker that makes his linemates better around him.”
It isn’t much of a surprise that Seguin, though playing against tougher competition, looked better in a higher-skilled setting. As a guy who went from an average fourth-liner to OHL MVP as a result of being moved to the first line, Seguin has displayed an ability to skate with the big boys, even if it is just after one competitive glimpse.
“Since the draft, I’ve been saying that I’m confident and comfortable to play in the NHL,” Seguin said after the scrimmage. “Obviously, you’ve got to make little strides and you’ve got to adapt to all different stuff in the NHL that comes with it. Right now I feel like I’ve been doing that and I feel like I fit in out there.”
Seguin, who has maintained for months that he is open to playing any position (even offering up his self-proclaimed “brutal” goaltending skills), noted that there are “pros and cons” to playing both right and left wing, though he has no preference. A right-handed shot, he noted that playing right wing makes for an easier time breaking the puck out of his own zone. He saw most of his time Monday at left wing, but when he was made aware of his line, it wasn’t his position that stood out to him.
“Obviously the guys are great hockey players, Bergeron and Recchi,” Seguin said. “They’re phenomenal hockey players, great guys, and when I found out I was playing with them, I was very excited.”
Though the line has a real shot at sticking in the regular season, Claude Julien hinted that the team will give Seguin some looks at center as it determines how to go about utilizing both the rookie and Bergeron and Recchi’s line.
“He’ll get a little bit of everything,” Julien said of Seguin. “I think this is why we have these exhibition games, to try out different things, but no doubt, when you look at [Bergeron] and Recchi last year, putting somebody on that wing that will give them a little bit more of an offensive punch will definitely be something we want to look at.”
Much has been made of a potential relationship between Seguin and Recchi. The veteran could provide a mentor to the rookie while giving Seguin an opportunity to ask him anything and everything about playing in the NHL. Seguin, sticking to his modest “if I make the team” mentality, admitted he would jump at such an opportunity, but won’t assume it’s a given.
“That would be the big privilege if hopefully I earn my spot on this team and I could pick his brain all year,” Seguin said. “I’ll definitely take advantage of that if he allows me. Until then, it’s just trying to make the most impressions I can on the coaching staff and the players here and earn my spot.”