Hind sight is always 20/20 and I will admit that I was not totally against the Tyler Seguin trade when it happened. Hey the Bruins were getting a 30 goal, 70 point player in Loui Eriksson, a high ceiling prospect in defenseman Joe Morrow, a silky smooth winger in Reilly Smith, and an undrafted sniper who had scored 70 goals at the AHL level in Matt Fraser. I wanted to see what they got there, but some of the players did not pan out.
The first season actually kind of worked out for the Bruins. They won the President’s Trophy for having the best record in the Regular season. Loui Eriksson missed 21 games with concussion issues, but Smith and Eriksson scored a combined 30 goals, 58 assists for 88 points. Seguin had 37 goals, 47 assists for 84 points. Matt Fraser scored 20 goals in Providence and Joe Morrow was still a prospect playing in his second professional season.
This is where it starts to go downhill in my opinion. After 24 games Matt Fraser had 3 goals and no assists in the NHL. Former Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli put Fraser on waivers and Edmonton put in a claim for him, which means the Bruins lost Fraser for nothing. Edmonton just had to pick up his salary. Fraser was supposed to be the third line left wing, but never put together the scoring touch he showed at the AHL level. So now the Bruins only have 3 assets left from the trade.
Reilly Smith was a hold out and regressed from his first year with Bruins scoring 13 goals, 27 assist for 40 points. Loui Eriksson had a comeback season with 22 goals, 25 assists for 47 points. Tyler Seguin on the other hand had another 37 goal season, 40 assists for 77 points. Seguin missed 11 games due to injury.
The problem here is Reilly Smith was now making $1.4 million. Seguin’s cap hit is $5.75 million per season. Loui and Reilly’s combined cap hit was $5.65 million. Granted the Bruins are getting slightly more production from 2 players and at a little less cap hit, but the two played in 91 more games and only out scored Seguin by 10 points. Joe Morrow did make his NHL debut by playing in 14 games while Zdeno Chara was out with a knee injury.
During the offseason the Bruins traded Reilly Smith to the Florida Panthers for Jimmy Hayes. I am a believer that you have to follow a trade, so at this point to analyze the trade we have to look at Hayes now. But the Smith-for-Hayes trade was done by a new GM Don Sweeney. This is after Peter Chiarelli gave Smith a new 2 year contract worth $3.5 million annually. This was Chiarelli’s final gift to the Bruins. Smith only scored 1 goal after signing that contract. It was rumored that Reilly Smith was one of the “passengers” on the Bruins team last season.
Now that we are in the current season the trade could really start looking bad for the Bruins. Loui is in the last season of his contract and will be an unrestricted Free Agent at the end of the year. I like Loui and he is one of the Bruins most reliable players and he is off to a decent start this year. In 5 games Eriksson has 2 goals and 1 assist (3 points). Jimmy Hayes has 1 goal and 3 assists (4 points), but they were all in one game. Joe Morrow played the first 3 games of the season, which were train wrecks. Morrow is a -3 on the season. I still think Morrow can be a top 4 defenseman in the NHL, but he may still need some AHL seasoning. The problem with sending Morrow to the AHL is he would have to clear waivers. There would be a very good chance someone would claim him up and give him a chance to play. If this happens the Bruins would lose yet another asset of the Seguin trade for nothing in return. For Morrow to improve he needs to play, not be a healthy scratch. But the Bruins have won both games with Morrow out of the lineup as he is on IR due to the flu. With the play of Tommy Cross filling in for him I do not see Morrow getting in the lineup. Then they’ll have another problem when Dennis Seidenberg comes back from injury.
So if the Bruins try to send Morrow down to the AHL, and he is claimed by another team, the Bruins could be down to only one of the original assets acquired in the trade for Seguin and he (Eriksson) could be gone for nothing at the end of the year. If Morrow goes on waivers and gets picked up and Loui walks at the end of the year. The Bruins only have Jimmy Hayes as an asset for Tyler Seguin. Let me ask a question, would you trade Tyler Seguin for Jimmy Hayes straight up? Ouch! The Bruins could trade Loui Eriksson by the trade deadline and then we would need to analyze the return they received.
So how did we get here?
There were certainly rumors of Seguin’s off-ice issues. Some of the rumors where brought to my attention recently and I cannot believe I did not hear this. It was not just the partying. One of the rumors is Tyler Seguin was sleeping with Nathan Horton’s wife. This is just a rumor, but it kind of makes some sense. We saw in the first episode of “Behind the B” where Peter Chiarelli said that they were having difficulties trying to resign Horton. Why would Horton every want to leave Boston and go to Columbus? He was on a good team with a chance to win the Cup for the next few years and the team was willing to pay him. It seems like he just wanted to get his family out of this environment, or get his wife away from Tyler Seguin. It worked out that the Bruins did not sign Horton because he only played in 36 games in the 2013-2014 season and has not played a game since due to a chronic back injury. The one issue I have with the Seguin-Mrs. Horton rumor is would the Bruins really pick Horton over Seguin? They must have had a clue into Horton’s back issues. A career ending back injury just does not creep up out of nowhere. It must have been there. So they would pick a guy with a bad back over a 21 year old star in the making?
The beginning of that first episode of “Behind the B” is very interesting, and they did not show any person in the Bruins organization that said anything good about Seguin. Former Assistant GM, Jim Benning, said they need to keep their “core” and “We are here to win not baby sit.” Keith Gretzky, who was new to the organization, said “I see hard work from Seguin, but a half second late, and he won’t pay the price. I thought he worked hard and I give him credit. I thought he learned in the playoffs.” Scott Bradley, who was the Director of Player Personnel said, “He’s not a physical player. He relies on his Skill. He’s a star player. There’s no doubt, but does he fit with our culture?” Well, I sure would hate to have a young kid with a lot of skill, who is a “star” on my team. Bradley also said regarding Seguin that he was disappointed when comparing him to Patrick Kane and if he gave them “half of Kane they win the Stanley Cup” again in 2013. Kane’s recent issues aside, he has been a good pro since the first few years in the league, same as Seguin. The only difference is Chicago showed patience with Kane and now they have won 3 Stanley Cups with Kane on their roster.
Now, the real interesting quote came from Team President, Cam Neely: “If we get the right deal for him then it is something we need to do.”
During this whole time you never hear from current GM Don Sweeney who was one of the assistant GM’s at the time. There was a time when they showed him in front of a computer in the conference room and he had his palms up like what are you talking about? Below is an image of what I am talking about. It is Don Sweeney’s reaction to Jim Benning saying they are going to miss his speed:
In Don Sweeney’s introductory Press Conference to be introduced as GM he said that they have given up on young talent too quickly and most Bruins followers assumed he was talking about Seguin. Maybe he was someone who was saying not to trade Seguin and that is why you never see him speak in “Behind the B”.
During this whole segment it seems like Peter Chiarelli is the one leading the way here and making the call, not Cam, even though he said it is something they need to do for the right package. The key to Cam’s comment is “for the right package.”
The last confusing part of the segment is when Peter Chiarelli is talking to another GM saying he is willing to trade Seguin. He said “If you had another first…..I don’t think you do….. It would have to be your second and possibly a prospect.” So was Chiarelli willing to trade Seguin for a team’s second first round pick, or for a second and a prospect. If that was the case before the draft then Chiarelli must have thought he got a huge package for Seguin from the Dallas Stars. A second and a prospect, are you kidding me? Also, if you were going to trade Seguin for only a first round pick it better be in the top 5 maybe the top 3. He was 21 years old at the time, who had scored 29 goals in his last full season in the NHL before the trade.
My whole issue with this trade is Seguin is currently only 23 years old. 23 years old! He was 21 years old at the time of the trade. How many 21 year olds do you know who have millions of dollars and just hang out and don’t party just a little? What 21 year old do you know who does not try to have sex with just about anything? The only difference here is Seguin had a Stanley Cup ring and his pick of Boston hottest. He would have only been a junior in College at the time of the trade. If he would have played out his eligibility in Junior A instead of the CHL and went to college he would have just finished his Freshman year in College. I do not know about any of you out there, but I know I behaved similar to Seguin when I was his age. The only difference was I was a broke college kid. Regarding Horton’s wife, she was a Penthouse Pet, what do you expect?
The return for Seguin is starting to look really bad. Who knows they could resign Eriksson, or if they are out of the playoffs come the trade deadline he will most likely be traded, so we will have to wait and see what happens there.
The Bruins should have waited another year. If Seguin’s behavior continued to be bad it is not like his trade value was going to go down much. They still could have gotten the same package they got in return for him a year later regardless. Ultimately, they choose David Krejci over Seguin. They could have kept Seguin at the wing and not signed Iginla, which resulted in a cap overage penalty on last year’s cap, which resulted in Johnny Boychuk being traded.
You cannot say the Bruins would be worse off today with Johnny Boychuk and Tyler Seguin in their lineup instead of Joe Morrow and Loui Eriksson. The Bruins are the only team in the NHL that trades away young stars who do not fit their “culture.” They have done it three times (Phil Kessel, Seguin, and Dougie Hamilton). Hamilton is a little bit of a different scenario because he did not want to be in Boston. Cam Neely needs to get some of the blame on this too. He is the team President, if he wanted the player he could have told Chiarelli he could not trade Seguin, or at least put in some stipulations on what the return needed to be. If Chiarelli and the Bruins would have drafted better the loss of Seguin would be easier to swallow because they could fill in the spot with the next guy…..like Chicago.
It is looking like a big mistake to me. Thanks Peter! Have fun in Edmonton.