Boston Bruins: 5 Signs Tyler Seguin Is Set for a Breakout Year in 2012-13
After being drafted second overall in 2010, the 20-year-old Tyler Seguin sets his sights on superstardom. The Bruins winger took a huge step forward last season and looks to continue the upward trend.
Seguin joined Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand on the Bruins' top line in 2011-12. The increased responsibility payed major dividends, as Seguin led the team in both goals and points.
For now, Seguin is spending the lockout with EHC Biel in the Swiss National League, and Bruins fans will await his return to TD Garden with bated breath.
Expectations are soaring with Seguin beginning to emerge as a franchise player. This season, all signs point to a stellar breakout campaign:
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Seguin is a mouth-watering hybrid of selfless playmaker and ruthless sniper. He has the capacity to be an elite goal scorer and a top-notch assist man. When he reaches his prime, Seguin projects to be a 100 point player, capable of competing for the Hart Trophy each and every season.
After Bruins coach Claude Julien deployed his most-prized asset cautiously in 2010-11, Seguin made tremendous strides in his second season. He scored a team-leading 29 goals and dished out 38 assists. His 67 points made him the Bruins' top-scorer.
Following a rookie season where limited action resulted in just 22 points, Claude Julien added an extra 4:44 per game to Seguin's average nightly workload. That number should only increase in the future.
Last season Seguin averaged one point for every 20:28 of ice time, roughly doubling his rate from 2010/11 when he averaged a goal or an assist every 41:04. Seguin should make even better use of his ice time as he becomes more experienced and develops chemistry with his line-mates.
The superbly balanced and ever-improving top line, which pairs Seguin with Selke trophy winner Patrice Bergeron and the feisty Brad Marchand, should earn an even larger share of the ice time this season. As a result, any slight improvement in Seguin's scoring rates should make him a point per game player.
If the Bruins play 82 games, Seguin is a shoe-in for at least 30 goals, if not 40. Brad Marchand should also score 30-plus allowing Seguin to notch 40 to 50 assists, for a total of around 80 points.
Taylor vs. Tyler
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Leading up the 2010 NHL draft, the question on everyone's mind was "Taylor or Tyler?" With the first overall pick, The Edmonton Oilers opted for the big winger in Taylor Hall, as the Bruins happily accepted Seguin with the number two selection.
It was quite clear back then that these two players would be forever linked. They will be in direct competition as long as they lace up their skates on NHL ice.
Though Seguin already has a ring on his finger, the sting of being snubbed in favor of Hall surely stays with him. The rivalry between the two players ought to be a constant motivator for both wingers in the coming seasons.
|Tyler Seguin||Taylor Hall|
|2010/11||GP:74 G:11 A:11 P:22||GP:65 G:22 A:20 P:42|
|2011/12||GP:81 G:29 A:38 P:67||GP:61 G:27 A:26 P:53|
|Totals||GP:155 G:40 A:49 P:89||GP:126 G:49 A:46 P:95|
Despite playing in fewer games, Taylor Hall had a far superior rookie year. Hall immediately became a focal point of the rebuilding Oilers' offense, while Seguin was forced to earn his ice time on the Cup-winning Bruins. In year two, Seguin made the bigger improvement, adding fuel to the Taylor or Tyler debate.
Now veterans, Taylor Hall and Tyler Seguin will begin to take leadership roles on their teams. Each will be relied on to produce prolifically on an every game basis. As the competition moves forward, both players project to be perennial all-stars, and despite spanning separate conferences, the rivalry between Taylor and Tyler will rage on.
Taylor Hall will set the bar high, but Tyler Seguin, equipped with a proven supporting cast and a chip on his shoulder, will work relentlessly to outshine him.
John Tavares' Development
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As a second year player, Tavares posted identical numbers (29 goals, 38 assists, 67 points) to Tyler Seguin's last season. That is good news for Seguin, because Tavares continued his ascent towards superstardom last year.
Tavares became a point-per-game player on Long Island, with 31 goals and 50 assists for 81 points. Seguin will take aim at a very similar season in 2012-13.
Unfortunately for Tavares, his impressive production has not contributed to many wins due to a poor supporting cast at the Nassau Coliseum. Despite his incredible talent, Tavares only managed a -6 rating last season.
Meanwhile, Tyler Seguin's championship caliber teammates allowed him to finish second in the NHL in plus/minus at +34. Seguin's success at both ends of the ice cannot be overlooked and should see continued improvement.
Unlike Tavares, Seguin will also have to battle for team leadership. Strangely for a top draft pick, Seguin was not forced into the talisman role in Boston, as plenty of established leaders already inhabited the locker room.
Seguin has benefited from the limited pressure on his shoulders up to this point. But now it is time for him seek out the leadership position in front of him and prove that he really is on the same level as elite young stars like John Tavares.
Friendly Competition with Brad Marchand
In 2010-11, highly touted rookie Tyler Seguin was overshadowed by fellow rookie Brad Marchand. Marchand nearly doubled Seguin's rookie production with 41 points. Marchand also scored two goals in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals in Vancouver, earning him living legend status in Beantown.
As linemates last season, the two battled for the team goal-scoring title deep into the season, with Seguin eventually edging Marchand by one goal. Both forwards are likely 30-goal candidates in the coming years.
ESPN's Neil Greenberg has come under fire recently for ranking Marchand higher than Seguin in his list of the NHL's "Top 25 Under 25." In Greenberg's defense, Marchand has produced more over two seasons, including the playoffs, than his highly touted teammate. Marchand also makes a greater contribution in the defensive zone.
A friendly rivalry between the two young stars should push both players to the next level. Such competition is excellent for the Bruins, as more goals for Marchand means more assists from Seguin and vice versa. In any event, the team will benefit from Seguin and Marchand's race to the top.
Both players received lucrative extensions before the lockout began. Seguin signed on for six years and will earn an average of $5.75 million per year. Marchand got a smaller deal worth $18 million over four years. As a result, the pressure will be on Seguin to justify his big payday.
If Claude Julien's plans work out, the improved pair of Seguin and Marchand combined with Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron could give the Bruins the best line in hockey for years to come.
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Seguin's small role in the Bruins' 2011 Stanley Cup Championship may have saddled him with a rare sort of title complacency. After winning it all on his first try, Seguin may have believed that another opportunity to raise Lord Stanley's hardware was imminent.
Last season's first round exit should teach Seguin just how elusive a title can be. Two years removed from the mountain-top, the Bruins still have sufficient talent to return the trophy to Boston, but now Seguin will be required to lead the way.
He has flashed moments of playoff brilliance, most notably with two goals against Tampa Bay in Game 2 of the 2011 Easter Conference Finals and with a series tying overtime game winner against the Capitals last spring. However, Seguin has yet to craft an enduring postseason legacy with inconsistent play in two postseasons.
The failures of 2012 should bring out a new fire in Seguin. He is now responsible for taking over playoff games and even series. Fingers will point towards Seguin specifically, if the offense dries up as it did against rookie goaltender Braden Holtby this past season.
At the same time, glory awaits if Seguin answers the bell. 2012-13 could be his moment to become a postseason force. A renewed determination could drive Seguin into the NHL's elite.