Is Tyler Seguin the best player in European hockey right now?
That's the declaration from CBC Sports in its roundup of NHLers taking jobs away from players tearing up the Euro leagues during the lockout.
There's competition for that moniker from players like Evgeni Malkin (33 points in 24 games) and Jaromir Jagr (36 points in 22 games, along with signing paychecks as owner of his Kladno Czech Elite League team).
But Seguin's on a hell of a pace with HC Biel in the Swiss National League: 20 games and 20 goals.
He leads the League in goals by five of Damien Brunner of Zug, and trails only Brunner in points per game (1.60). Check out the other names playing in Switzerland right now and how they've fared; Seguin's just tearing it up.
Via Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press, Seguin's surprised himself:
"I had no idea what to expect when I came to Switzerland," he told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper recently.
"The league is very competitive — the speed and the talent level of the players has surprised me. It took me some time and effort to get used to it.
"Scoring goals is never easy; I didn't do very well at the beginning. Now I just hope to continue playing well like I have been lately."
Here are highlights from a Seguin hat trick vs. SC Bern over the weekend:
As Johnston notes, Seguin's played an expanded role for Biel, including time on the penalty kill. With the Bruins last year, he played 1:54 on the kill; not per game, but for the season.
Another interesting aspect of Seguin's European adventure: fan relations.
C'mon, mind out of the gutter: We're talking about his relationship to his fans.
Like saluting the rabid crowd in a postgame celebration for Biel, and turning his Twitter feed into one of the most active player feeds during the lockout — with occasional moments of unforeseen controversy, such as it is.
While the focus during the lockout has been its effect on veteran players on the way out, it'll be interesting to see how young players that have thrived overseas carry that confidence over to the NHL — of if something like 20 goals in 20 games is a European aberration.