Since it’s the quietest time of year for the hockey world we often find ourselves revisiting old headlines. Yesterday in an interview on TSN 1050 radio Dallas forward Tyler Seguin did that by touching on his emotions after being traded from the Boston Bruins to the Dallas Stars two years ago. When reflecting on the blockbuster trade Seguin said, “I think the real tough thing was being able to keep my mouth shut. That was real difficult after the trade happened, seeing all the things that were going on.” He also noted in the interview that the things that where said about him on his way out of Boston stung, but he’s used it as motivation.
At the time then Bruins assistant general manager Jim Benning stated on the Bruins reality-style show “Behind The B”, “We’ll miss his speed. If we get guys that we think we can [win] with, then it is what it is. We’re winning every year, we’re not babysitting.” It was harsh words made even harsher by having it aired on television for the hockey world to hear. One can see how this would stick with Seguin.
It has been well documented that Seguin’s stay in Boston wasn’t the smoothest. Constant stories of his off-ice partying and drinking were well known and coupled with his slower than expected growth and development on the ice. Simply put, the team felt he was too immature for a highly paid professional athlete expected to be a franchise player and didn’t want to wait around to see if he’d change. They were tired of him.
The fact of the matter is even two years later both sides had truth to their argument. The Bruins were correct in that Seguin was not producing when it was most important, mainly in the playoffs when the NHL gets drastically more physical and tight checking. He had 1 goal in 22 playoff games on the Bruins run to the Finals against Chicago in 2013. And when it got real nasty on the ice he disappeared. Seguin is right in that the public leaking of his exploits in the media didn’t need to happen. Obviously he “enjoyed” his time in Boston that came with being part of a Stanley Cup winner as a teenager. But he didn’t need to be chirped after they had already traded him.
In the end the Seguin trade was a bad one. But it was bad because of the return the Bruins got, not because he hadn’t made himself a tradable option. He had certainly earned the honor of being in the trade market. However even as a Loui Eriksson fan myself, Boston also needed to get at least a 1st round pick and a legit defenseman as well. Not a few replaceable parts. How much Seguin’s play and off-ice behavior at the time affected his trade value will never truly be known. But if Benning felt they’d “miss his speed” then they should have targeted a top tier forward known for his speed and skill in a better fitting trade package.
I’m on record as saying I think Tyler Seguin, if he stays healthy, will get 50 goals this year. He’s a fun player to watch and does possess that much offensive skill. What I’m curious to see is if he’ll develop and mature into a complete player as well in the defensive zone, the tough areas, and in the face-off circle like a Jonathan Toews. I don’t see it happening just yet. I think he enjoys being the player he is because it naturally fits who he is. I don’t see him finally becoming a well rounded playoff stud this season rather than continuing on a Peyton Manning-like career trajectory. Certainly the skill is there, but if he doesn’t eventually become that playoff performer he needs to be it could prove the Bruins were right about his game and toughness not projecting for when it really matters. But it’ll never erase the fact that the Bruins didn’t get a good enough return when they traded his scoring prowess, and in poor taste aired his dirty laundry on the way out of town.