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Tyler Seguin: Contract negotiations have ‘definitely picked up quite heavily’ 09.10.12 at 12:54 pm ET
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BOLTON – Speaking before the Bruins’ annual golf tournament at The International, Bruins right wing Tyler Seguin said that he hopes to sign a new contract before the expiration of the current collective bargaining agreement (Saturday), and that he’s comfortable with where things stand in negotiations.

“There’s been discussions,” Seguin said. “It’s looking good, and I’m looking forward to hopefully playing in Boston for many years.”

The 20-year-old Seguin is set to enter the final year of his entry-level contract, and fellow 2010 draft stars Taylor Hall (seven years at $6 million per) and Jeff Skinner (six years, $5.75 million per) have already signed their next contracts.

Seguin, who led the Bruins with 29 goals last season, said that the sides started talking after the season and that negotiations have “definitely picked up quite heavily since then.” He added that negotiations have been “all positive” thus far and that there is enough interest on both sides to get a deal done.

“I want to stay here and start a life here,” Seguin said. “That’s what I’m looking for.”

It is unclear where Seguin would be able to play if the season were to be delayed by a lockout. With agents working the phones to make sure their clients have places to play this season, Seguin said he doesn’t know where he’ll play.

“I’m not sure,” he said. “I’m headed to New York for two days to see what’s going on and then talk to my agent a bit more. Obviously I want to be playing hockey, NHL first, and then I’ve thought about AHL, thought about going overseas, but nothing I can confirm on right now.”

Seguin said that his left hand is at 100 percent after getting offseason surgery to repair a tendon. He’s been on the ice and is back in Boston after training with esteemed strength coach Matt Nichol in Toronto.

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What will Tyler Seguin get in his next contract? 09.07.12 at 6:23 pm ET
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While the Bruins may not be playing any time soon, Peter Chiarelli made a strong play Friday by signing Brad Marchand to a four-year, $18 million a year before he was set to become a restricted free agent. While Marchand’s signing crosses a name off a list of important players set to become RFAs (Tuukka Rask, Tyler Seguin and Milan Lucic), the most interesting case remains that of Seguin.

Chiarelli doesn’t like to see players get to free agency, and in Marchand’s case he made sure he locked up a player set to become a restricted free agent before he could step onto the ice in the final year of his deal. Last season, Chiarelli locked up a player set to become a restricted free agent when he gave David Krejci a three-year, $15.75 million contract during the season. He admitted that to be his style Friday, but he wouldn’t comment on whether he intends to sign Seguin before the season starts.

All Chiarelli said Friday was that he has “had some discussions” with the other Bruins that are near the end of their deals. While we don’t know when or for how much Seguin will sign, here’s what we do know: At 20 years old, he led the Bruins with 29 goals and 67 points and he has yet to reach his prime.

Furthermore, three signings have set the bar for what he may command. Taylor Hall, the player picked one spot ahead of Seguin in the 2010 draft, signed this summer for seven years at $6 million per. Fellow Oiler Jordan Eberle got the same cap hit for six years, while Hurricanes winger Jeff Skinner (the seventh overall pick in 2010) signed a six-year deal that will carry a $5.75 million cap hit. All three players, like Seguin, are entering the final seasons of their entry-level deals.

Here are the stats of all four players from last season, with the exception of Skinner, whose rookie (his best year) stats are shown:

Eberle: 78 GP, 34 G, 34 A, 76 P, 17:36 AVG. TOI
Hall: 61 GP, 27 G, 26 A, 53 P, 18:13 AVG. TOI
Skinner [2010-11]: 82 GP, 31 G, 32 , 63 P, 16:44 AVG. TOI
Seguin: 81 GP, 29 G, 38 A, 67 P, 16:56 AVG. TOI

Chiarelli admitted Friday that the sides do take into consideration the comparables, and in Seguin’s case it would appear the comparables are there.

“Again, I’€™m not going to go into details of negotiations,” he said. “You look at comparable players, you look at where your team salary structure is, and you look at the market. You don’€™t look strictly at one of those things – you try and look at all of them. So we try and do that in all our negotiations, and we will continue to do that. Sometimes you’€™re faced with different dynamics, and you have to make decisions at certain junctures of the negotiation, but generally speaking the comparables are important, comparable peer groups, and where he fits into the team salary structure.”

If Seguin were to get the lowest cap hit of the trio — Skinner’s $5.75 million — he would become the Bruins’ highest-paid forward, ahead of the likes of Krejci ($5.25 million) and Patrice Bergeron ($5 million). Seguin brings something that neither of those two players bring with his elite scoring touch, but he plays less than the other two (Bergeron and Krejci averaged 18:35 and 18:25 per game last season, respectively), and unlike the Oilers stars and Skinner, is playing on a recent Stanley Cup champion team that is crowded with capable veterans.

For example, the Bruins have five forwards (including Marc Savard) who are set to command cap hits of $4 million or more next season. The Oilers have two, while the Hurricanes are three. The Bruins also have the highest payroll in the NHL right now, so money may be tight when it comes time to get all of their players — including a guy like Rask who could be due for a raise from the $3.5 million he’s set to earn — signed before the 2013-14 season.

Because the whole Phil Kessel thing didn’t work out, it’s yet to be seen just how much the Bruins are willing to shell out for elite scorers. It will be interesting to see how things unfold for Seguin and the Bruins.

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What the NHL CBA situation means for junior-eligible players 08.20.12 at 2:22 pm ET
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Here’s a minor detail that should get some more attention if the league and NHLPA don’t agree on a new CBA by Sept. 15: What happens to the younger players with junior eligibility?

The current agreement between the NHL and CHL states that players under the age of 20 that don’t make the NHL after the first nine games of the season have to be returned to their junior clubs (in the OHL, QMJHL and WHL) for the rest of the season. Those players are not eligible to play in the AHL.

Once a player goes to their junior league for the season, they can’t go the NHL in that season. This raises questions over what would happen if the NHL season started late.

Because the 2004-05 season was cancelled entirely and the following season started on time, there was no precedent set during the last lockout for NHL-ready players starting the season with their junior clubs and then going to the NHL when the season started. There isn’t a rule in place to cover such a scenario, so an amendment to the NHL and CHL’s transfer agreement — which recently expired, making this all the more confusing — would be required.

Per a league source, teams are still waiting to be advised on which players will be allowed to play in the AHL should there be a lockout. The source assumed that the potential amendment of CHL/NHL eligibility would also be discussed at that time.

In the 2004-05 season, all NHL players (meaning players who had played in the NHL, not NHL-ready prospects) under the age of 22 were allowed to play in the AHL. Patrice Bergeron — who had played the previous season in Boston — was among them, and in this case a player like Tyler Seguin would be allowed to play in the AHL since he is 20 years old.

The question for the Bruins, as touched upon in Sunday’s column, is what would happen with 19-year-old Dougie Hamilton. He’s expected to make the Bruins out of training camp this season, but if he starts the season in the OHL with the Niagara IceDogs, the NHL and CHL would need to amend the transfer agreement to allow players in his situation to go to the NHL. It would be hard to imagine the CHL drawing a hard line and not allowing players to leave, as their relationship with the NHL has prevented them from losing young stars (such as a Hamilton last year) to the AHL during normal seasons.

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Tyler Seguin escapes injury scare during Lowell Spinners speed-dating promotion 08.16.12 at 12:19 pm ET
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Tyler Seguin barely survived his speed dating promotion at Wednesday night’s Lowell Spinner’s game, as a foul ball nearly hit the Bruins star in the back of the head during one of his “dates.”

Fortunately for Seguin, he was saved by Spinners vice president Dan Beaulieu, who used his cell-phone to protect the young winger. The phone was completely destroyed. Check out the video below, which shows the ball coming for Seguin and Beaulieu raising his phone to block the ball.

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Coyotes reportedly interested in David Krejci 07.18.12 at 11:53 am ET
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Elliotte Friedman’s “30 Thoughts” on CBC.ca is always worth reading, and Wednesday morning’s edition contains an interesting note regarding the Bruins and center David Krejci.

Wednesday’s post, his final one until next season, contains “bonus end-of-season thoughts.” The 35th thought is as follows:

35. Think the Coyotes, who are looking for offensive help, really like Boston’s David Krejci. I’m not as certain the Bruins are shopping Krejci, but they are loaded down the middle — especially as Tyler Seguin readies for an expanded role. That is probably where all the Keith Yandle rumours come from.

Krejci signed a three-year, $15.75 million deal last season that will begin in the coming season. His cap hit ($5.25 million) makes him Boston’s highest-paid forward. Last season, he had 23 goals and 39 assists for 62 points, good for third on the team behind Seguin (67) and Patrice Bergeron (64).

The interesting thing regarding Krejci’s presence in Boston is that it solidifies that Seguin, who was drafted as a center, will not have the opportunity to play the position full-time as long as Krejci’s around. Bergeron isn’t going anywhere and Chris Kelly and Gregory Campbell are both signed for the next three seasons — not that the Bruins would play Seguin on one of their bottom two lines anyway.

As an organization, the Bruins like having multiple guys who can take draws on a given line. Consider that Rich Peverley had also played plenty of center in his career before primarily playing wing on Kelly’s line in Boston. The second line is a similar case, as Bergeron centers a former full-time pivot in Seguin.

The 2010 No. 2 overall pick broke out last season with his 29-goal campaign, but there are still aspects of his game that could suggest he isn’t ready to make the move back to center quite yet. Seguin still has difficulty asserting himself when it comes to going into the corners, something that was often covered up by having a do-it-all center like Bergeron playing with him. Even so, if the Bruins were to trade Krejci, Seguin would likely be the logical replacement on the team’s top line given his offensive skill-set and success in the league despite being 20 years of age.

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Lowell Spinners to host speed dating promotion with Tyler Seguin 07.10.12 at 3:23 pm ET
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The Lowell Spinners announced on Tuesday that they will host a speed dating promotion featuring Bruins right wing Tyler Seguin on Aug. 15.

Here is the press release:

LOWELL, MASS. – The Lowell Spinners, Class-A Affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, will once again unroll the black and gold carpet and welcome Boston Bruins star and Stanley Cup Champion Tyler Seguin to LeLacheur Park for a special “Speed Dating” promotion during the Spinners August 15 game against the Aberdeen Ironbirds.

Fans will have the opportunity throughout the evening to win a chance to spend time with the hockey superstar during the game. Each winner and their family will have the opportunity to spend five minutes with Seguin in a private suite, giving them the chance to ask the Stanley Cup Champion and NHL All Star questions, take photos, enjoy the game and who knows even score a phone number.

“When we asked the question “Who would be the one person in the Boston area that a Speed Dating Event Planner would want more than anyone?” The answer to us was Tyler Seguin,” said Spinners Vice President of Corporate Communications Jon Goode. “He is one of Boston’s most sought after Bachelors.”

Winners will be picked throughout the evening, through the Spinners Game Day program, Social Media sites, online auction and gameday contests.

“We want to offer a unique experience to our fans,” said Goode. “We are in the business of making memories and this is certain to be a memory that will last a lifetime.”

Seguin joins a long line of Bruins teammates to visit LeLacheur Park, as the Spinners play host to the annual Milan Lucic “Rock & Jock” Softball Classic each summer, during which many of Milan’s Bruins teammates participate.

Tickets to the game itself, in which the Spinners host the Aberdeen IronBirds, are available now at www.LowellSpinners.com or by phone at (978) 459-1702. Our “Speed Dating” contestants will be selected at the before and at the game itself.

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Looking back and ahead: Tyler Seguin 05.11.12 at 1:16 am ET
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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.

Tyler Seguin

Age: 20

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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