It’s only fitting that the Tyler Seguin Trade will be analyzed, rehashed and reevaluated as obsessively that the deal that brought him to Boston – The Phil Kessel Trade – once was.
When the smoke clears and the stats are tabulated, the Boston Bruins will have either traded a star player or rid themselves of a titanic bust that squandered boundless potential with immaturity. He’ll either be the No. 1 center he was drafted to become or he’ll be mentioned in the same breath as Alex Daigle and the other young stars whose results never matched the hype.
The early returns suggest that Seguin has cleared the skeletons from his closet and is in Dallas to become a star (literally). The Bruins did well for themselves with Loui Eriksson, but point-per-game centers aren’t exactly easy to find in this league, and Seguin has 15 points in his first 14 games with Dallas.
Seguin seems to believe he needed to leave Boston in order to find his game.
“I look at the player and person I am today, it’s not the same as when I was in Boston. I feel like I’ve improved and I have no limit on where I’m going to go…I look at my game, and it’s a whole different situation and a whole different opportunity, and I’m just trying to take advantage of it,” he told the media on Monday.
“There were some decisions that I could have made differently. But I think people make mistakes, everyone does. I don’t think I regret too much. I’ve faced up to all of music already, and I’ve moved on and I’m very excited to be in Dallas.”
This is why killing Boston for this trade, now or down the road, might not be fair.
The essential question for the Bruins on dealing Seguin is if he’d ever be this good in a Boston Bruins jersey, or if the toxicity of that situation for a 21-year-old player was too much to overcome.
Eric Wilbur in the Boston Globe thinks the trade speaks volumes about how bad it was:
“What an unmitigated disaster Seguin must have been off the ice, in the dressing room, and in team meetings for the Bruins to essentially package him to Dallas with Peverley for a package that many would probably consider grading a “B” at the end of the day.
“To their credit, the Bruins didn’t treat Seguin’s exit like the Red Sox did Terry Francona’s in 2011, when cowardly allegations of pill-popping and other assorted behavior leaked, though there was probably plenty of material to do so. There are stories of a guard at his hotel room during the playoffs so he wouldn’t sneak out to Daisy Buchanan’s. There was the time he showed up for morning skate in the same clothes he had been wearing the previous day. There was his broken alarm clock, which may or may not have ever been fixed. There was reportedly a ‘Don’t text her, bro,’ listing in his phone, and a litany of rumors of Seguin’s off-ice activities.
“It took the Bruins three seasons to understand that he was a boy among men, far too immature to play the style Cam Neely and Claude Julien demand in Boston, or maybe it was simply that he was too young, not far removed from having his butt kissed for the better part of his lean years, and was simply unwilling to do as he was told, a characteristic that sort of leaked out when his Mommy tsked tsked the reporting of the guard at Seguin’s hotel upon last July’s trade.”
The trade to Dallas was shock therapy. It was the Bruins ridding themselves of a player that might never have realized his potential in Boston, and giving that player a chance to thrive in a less pressure-filled environment. It was a chance for Seguin to shed the expectations of being a Bruin, to stop being anchored by The Ring he won before he was 20 years old.
He’s saying the right things, but is still a work in progress. Seguin could always score. But his 37 faceoff winning percentage is pathetic. He’s still not deft enough defensively to earn shorthanded ice time, even though he’s worked hard on his penalty killing in the past. The holes in his game that get him demoted in Boston’s lineup won’t have Coach Lindy Ruff doing the same in Dallas, but he’s still cracking the whip.
But overall, Seguin seems like he’s back on track to stardom.
And again, who knows if that ever happens if he didn’t swap his Spoked ‘B’ for the Starry ‘D’.
“Regret is not a word I’m using when I look back,” Seguin said, perhaps speaking for all parties. “There was a process, and now here we are.”