When a championship caliber team ends up with the second overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft, it’s a pretty significant moment for said club. When it occurs during the year when two big-time prospects are available, causing an almost can’t-miss situation, well that’s a possible franchise game-changer.
This is exactly what happened for the Boston Bruins in 2010. Thanks to a lottery pick acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs from the much-discussed Phil Kessel trade, the Bruins were sitting at the two spot of a draft featuring a couple of uber-hyped prospects in Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin. Boston needed a winger, so Hall made sense, but both players were incredibly skilled to the point where the only way to actually lose was to trade out. In the end, the Edmonton Oilers picked Hall, so Seguin was selected by Boston.
At the time, it was considered a huge moment for the Bruins. Not only did a team who could contend right out of the gate get a chance to add an incredibly talented rookie via the draft, but they did so by picking a player many thought would be the face of the franchise in the near future. Yes, Seguin was getting the ideal start to a hockey player’s career and would be skating with the spoked-B on his chest for years to come.
The Bruins celebrated Independence Day this year by dealing Seguin, along with Rich Peverley, to the Dallas Stars in return for Loui Eriksson, Joe Morrow, Matt Fraser and Reilly Smith. Like that, a player once destined to be the future was history.
Boston GM Peter Chiarelli put Seguin on notice in the days leading up to this year’s draft by questioning his motivation, but when the weekend came and went without movement, it was assumed by many to have just been a way to motivate the young winger. Turns out this wasn’t the case, and now Seguin heads to Dallas without leaving much of a mark with the team who drafted him.
So, what all can Boston fans make of this?
First of all, Toronto can rest easy knowing the “thank you Kessel” chants often echoing through the TD Garden when the Leafs are in town will now come to an end. However, since Toronto also once traded goalie Tuukka Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft, there’s still plenty of gas left in the insult tank.
But in all seriousness, the Seguin era in Boston came to a screeching halt so suddenly, you have to wonder what was the final straw for the Bruins front office?
Was it his third straight year of practically non-existent playoff performance? Sure, his debut against the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 Eastern Conference Finals was the stuff of legends. But since? Three goals and eight assists, or as most see it, not franchise-player material.
Maybe it was the lack of motivation in terms of getting physical. If you looked at the faces of every Bruin once this year’s playoffs came to an end, you’d wonder if he ever played a minute. While Patrice Bergeron looked like he just left his 86th straight bar fight, Seguin’s face was scratch-free. Never one to get into the dirty areas of the rink, he wasn’t exactly the poster boy for the Big Bad Bruins.
Or was it Seguin’s need to constantly remind the team he was a 21-year-old kid? The rumors have run rampant about late nights, drinking, and even word of the team needing to monitor his hotel room on the road. Are these rumors true? Who knows, but when your GM publicly questions your professionalism, it certainly adds credibility to these whispers in the wind.
Whatever the case may be, for all the Bruins care he’s Dallas’ problem now. A move like this could shake Seguin’s tree enough to get him on the right track, blow up offensively and make Boston look like the losers of this deal. Or, it could be the first chapter in Seguin’s short, albeit underwhelming career.
It’s way too early to tell which route the now former Bruin will take. If Seguin’s recent “Twitter hack” is any indication, things haven’t changed much.