|Looking back and ahead: Tyler Seguin||05.11.12 at 1:16 am ET|
With the Bruins’ season in the books, WEEI.com will take a look at each player on the roster one-by-one to provide some perspective on what went wrong this season and what the future holds for the 2011 champions.
2011-12 stats: 81 games played, 29 goals (career-high), 38 assists (career-high), 67 points (career-high), plus-34 (career-high)
Contract status: Signed through 2012-13 season ($3.55 million cap hit), restricted free agent after next season
Looking back: After serving as a bottom-six forward and occasional healthy scratch as a rookie, the second overall pick in the 2010 draft entered the 2011-12 season as a third-liner, but it was clear that he would be given more opportunities in his sophomore campaign.
Both production and opportunity would come early on for Seguin, as he racked up three assists over the first two games and was eventually bumped up to the top line when David Krejci missed three games in October with a lower-body injury. He found some good chemistry with Milan Lucic while playing on that line, and he eventually found a full-time job as Patrice Bergeron‘s right wing on the second line with Brad Marchand.
The combination of added experience and an opportunity to play on both Bergeron’s line and the power play paid huge dividends for Seguin and the Bruins. He more than tripled his total of 22 points from his rookie year and led the Bruins in both goals and points. He averaged 16:56 of ice time in the regular season after averaging 12:13 as a rookie.
Seguin showed in his second year that he still isn’t as willing to go into the corners and take contact as some of his more physical teammates, and while that may be frustrating to watch, physicality has never been part of what Seguin offers. To his credit, he was at his toughest when it mattered most after a very quiet start to the playoffs, as he lunged toward three Washington bodies in the second period of Game 7 against the Capitals to tie the game at one goal apiece. It was one of two goals he scored in the first round, with the other one coming in the form of a game-winning goal in overtime of Game 6 to force the series’ final game.
It wouldn’t be a proper evaluation of Seguin’s sophomore campaign if Winnipeg wasn’t mentioned, as Seguin was scratched for missing a team breakfast and meeting the day of the Bruins’ Dec. 6 loss to the Jets. The story was beaten to death — he used the time zone excuse without realizing the time zone excuse couldn’t apply to the situation, Claude Julien announced to the media that it wasn’t a story, etc. — but it was a major story for good reason. It all served as a reminder that Seguin is still maturing both on and off the ice.
Looking ahead: As far as production goes, the sky is the limit for Seguin. He’ll continue to be a top-six forward for the Bruins and a major part of the team’s attempt to ice an improved power play going forward. He’ll still be just 20 years of age at the start of next season, and the expectation should be for him to put up nothing less than a 30-goal season after knocking on the door in his second campaign.
The biggest question with Seguin regards which position he will play. He played center in the Ontario Hockey League and his play as a pivot earned him comparisons to Steve Yzerman. He was drafted as a center, but since coming to the Bruins has played primarily as a right wing.
Because of Seguin’s shortcomings in the defensive zone, he benefits from skating on a line with Bergeron, so will the B’s keep him as a winger on Bergeron’s line or enter next season with a plan to make him a full-time center? Depending on where things stand with Nathan Horton, Seguin could also skate on Krejci’s line as a winger, as he did for a stretch late in the regular season and in the final games of the first round.
Eventually, the Bruins would probably have to hope that Seguin could develop into the team’s first-line center. Whether that will happen in the youngster’s third season remains to be seen.
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