Well, if you stayed up until Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals ended, in triple OT, you suffered along with the rest of us. But after the game was over and done with, I heard many looking for a scapegoat and there have been quite a few names that have come up. Dennis Seidenberg, for reaching down to pick up his glove in the third 20 minute overtime period or Kaspers Daugavins, for not shooting the puck when he had Crawford down and out of position, among a few others. But along with those murmurs there has been some disgruntled fans about a one Tyler Seguin, the second overall pick in the 201o NHL draft.
“He’s not physical.” “He shies away from real contact.” “He can’t finish.” “He just doesn’t have ‘it’.” The “it” they’re referring to, I’m presuming, is the ability to produce and get on the score sheets. And my personal favorite, “trade him for someone who can get the job done.” Now I’m not going to make excuses for him, just give those who think these things some food for thought.
And I’ll start with this. For a lot of the regular season I could see the obvious struggles in his game like anyone. Through 48 games Seguin had 16 goals and 16 assists, giving him 32 points. He was ranked 9th in the NHL in shots on goal, with 161, but only managed to bury 9.9% of them. Those are frustrating numbers for anyone, especially when he is supposed to be a superstar. And especially when he scored 25 goals and got 15 assists in 29 games for the EHC Biel during the lockout early this season.
But let me bring you back to 2011-2012. Tyler Seguin had 29 goals and 38 assists, leaving him with 67 points in the regular season. That was enough to lead the team in points and goals. He was a +34 and was ranked number 2 in the NHL, behind linemate Patrice Bergeron. But he had some minor struggles in the postseason, playing 7 games and only netting two goals and an assist. The first goal was in OT of Game Six against the Washington Capitals, and the second in Game Seven, but the Bruins were not able to advance. Seguin showed then and there he could work in Claude Julien‘s system, so the argument of him not fitting into it is obviously wrong. It’s true Julien hasn’t exactly helped him excel but he’s been able to work in it.
Back to the present, the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Seguin has played 17 games and only has one goal and four assists to show for it. He is ranked 4th in
the league in shots on goal, with 62, but again can’t bury his chances. These numbers may be a result of his linemates, Rich Peverly and Chris Kelly and only averaging 16 minutes of ice time a game. Peverly has 0 points in 14 games and Kelly 0 points in 21 games. I see him still creating chances and playing good every game. In Game One of the Stanley Cup Finals he made a beautiful pass to Patrice Bergeron and would get the assist on the powerplay goal. With Nathan Horton day-to-day with an upper body injury,and if Seguin stays on the top line, we may see him finally burying the chances he gets.
My least favorite argument anyone makes against Tyler Seguin may be the comparison to Taylor Hall, who went right before him, number one overall, in the 2010 NHL draft. The Edmonton Oilers drafted Hall and he has been playing excellent in the system he’s in so far. This year Hall played three less games than Seguin and had 16 goals and 34 assists. But he’s also playing with number one overall picks in Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Nial Yukapov. Along with Sam Gagner, Jordon Eberle, and Ales Hemsky. Not to mention the Oilers organization has worked on building an offensive system for the past 4 or 5 years. But even with that offensive power, Hall has never seen playoff action. No one can compare these two in the playoffs because no one knows how Taylor Hall will play. Tyler Seguin and Taylor Hall are two different types of players, playing in two different types of systems.
As of right now, Tyler Seguin isn’t where I wanted or where I expected him to be either. But it takes quite a while to develop a player into what you want him to be and into an NHL star. So right now, I don’t think Tyler Seguin is at his peak, but I don’t think he’s as awful as everyone is making him seem. Give him some time and linemates that can help him produce, and you may see some decent numbers.