While the good people of Boston were celebrating the Fourth of July, their beloved Bruins were pulling off a blockbuster trade with the Dallas Stars, which in part came down to this — Boston decided it was time to move on from Tyler Seguin after a 2013 postseason to forget.
When the Bruins drafted Seguin with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 NHL draft, he was projected to be the forward of the future for Boston.
And for a while it looked as if that train of thought was correct, as Seguin helped Boston win the Stanley Cup during his rookie season and then went on to post 29 goals and 38 assists to avoid a sophomore slump. His performance during those two seasons earned him a six-year contract extension worth $5.75 million a year. He was even productive — if inconsistent — during the lockout-shortened 2013 regular season
But the 2013 playoffs were a different story. Seguin didn’t look like the 21-year-old star Boston fans fell in love with as he struggled to find the back of the net. He only managed to score one goal in 22 games during the Stanley Cup playoffs, and that came during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Rangers in the conference semifinals.
His offensive struggles caused him to be demoted to the third and fourth lines, as the Bruins hoped he would find his game once again. But that moment never came. Sure, four of his seven assists came in the Stanley Cup Final, but a player with his talent should be doing more than that.
His struggles during the playoffs didn’t go unnoticed by his Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, either.
“He’s got to commit his mind and focus to the one task at hand,” Chiarelli said. “He’s got to become more of a professional. You know what? I can say that about a lot of 21-year-olds. I know he got criticized on the periphery and all that stuff. He did. He’s got to commit to being a professional and focusing on the game. Simple as that. He does that, we don’t expect him to be crashing and banging. Just play your game.”
What Chiarelli seemed to be suggesting was that Seguin needed to let go of any distractions, focus solely on his struggles on the ice and figure out what he did wrong before next season.
Ultimately, the Bruins decided he would have to figure that out somewhere else, though, and they went to work finding the right trade. There were reports that he would be dealt on draft day, but those rumors never came to fruition.
But the Bruins apparently never gave up on trading Seguin, and they finally found the right match with the Stars. In return for Seguin, they will receive a package of three young prospects full of promise along with veteran Loui Eriksson.
After the trade was complete, Chiarelli talked with the media again, this time via a conference call. He added on to his professionalism comment while defending Seguin as a “good kid” who struggled on the ice this year.
“He played very well for a young player,” Chiarelli said. “This year wasn’t his best year. It was a trying year, a weird year to assess players. Tyler’s a real good kid. I see in the Twitterverse a lot of reports about extracurricular stuff. I made comments as to his professionalism and acting more like a professional. You have to remember he’s 21 years old. He’s a good kid. He’s a terrific player. He’s probably better suited for center. He was very good for us as a winger.”
There is no doubt that Tyler Seguin was a very good winger for the Bruins early on and that he has the potential to be a great hockey player someday, but his untimely struggles during the 2013 postseason overshadowed that promise and contributed in part to the Bruins’ decision to move on.