Tue Aug 31 12:45pm EDT
Nestled into the umpteenth Marc Savard(notes) update -- Boston wants to trade him, but they can't, so they'll keep him as No. 1 center in camp, and he's bitter, rinse, repeat -- Joe Haggerty of CSN New England offers some information about No. 2 overall pick Tyler Seguin's(notes) role with the Boston Bruins next season, and the team's apprehension to focus too much attention on him.
Seems that while Savard will play between Nathan Horton(notes) and Milan Lucic(notes), Seguin could begin as a left-winger with center Patrice Bergeron(notes) and right wing Mark Recchi(notes) ... which would be a great move for the team, for the young player and a luxury that Taylor Hall(notes) will likely not have in Edmonton.
The B's, however, have also been very careful not to center too much of their marketing campaign around the 18-year-old Seguin, and don't want the hype machine to get too out of control with their newest puck phenom.
It's a smart move to temper expectations, and starting Seguin off with true, two-way professionals like Bergeron and Recchi will give the teen-ager a pair of sterling examples of how to play NHL hockey with class, dignity and honor. It's probably the perfect situation to drop a talented, impressionable hockey talent like Seguin into as an 18-year-old kid playing against cold-hearted men without much in the way of mercy.
Whoa, that was some James Ellroy-level prose at the end there.
Obviously, the Bruins have the luxury of easing Seguin into the public eye because there are prominent players whose presence demands the spotlight in Boston; and because he joins a team that's been successful for the last few season. No need for a "Seen Stamkos?" campaign to signal a new era or anything like that. Even if Seguin's got the charisma to pull it off.
From a competitive standpoint, having him begin on the wing is a smart, but mandatory, decision. The Bruins are stacked at the pivot with Savard, Bergeron and David Krejci(notes); there's no benefit to the player or the team if Seguin's playing 8 minutes a night as the fourth-line center.
But just as important is the fact that a center transitioning from juniors to the NHL is, in a way, relearning the position. Please recall Colorado Avalanche Coach Joe Sacco making the case for Matt Duchene(notes) in last season's Calder race:
"To me, one of the hardest positions, along with defense, is centerman. Especially in our system. To play center in the NHL, you have a lot of responsibilities defensively in your own end and it's not easy for a young player coming out of junior to handle those responsibilities."
Seguin played in a conservative system with the Plymouth Whalers, but it wasn't exactly the Claude Julien Chess Match he'll see in Boston. If anything, he showed he could thrive in a less-wide-open style by scoring 106 points last season.
As for No. 1 pick Taylor Hall of the Edmonton Oilers, the notion is that he'll line up with Sam Gagner(notes) and either Jordan Eberle(notes) or Magnus Paajarvi in camp ... although Hall's another player whose versatility at forward could come into play, as the Oilers spoke about a potential move to center at the Draft. Still, it seems like Hall won't have the veteran support that Seguin will have right out of the gate ... but there's also something to be said for the energy a Hall-Gagner-Eberle line, for example, could create.
These wacky kids meet for the first time in the regular season on Sunday, Feb. 27 in Edmonton.