On July 4, 2013, the Dallas Stars made one of the most important trades in franchise history. In return for 21-year-old center/winger Tyler Seguin, Rich Peverley and prospect defenseman Ryan Button, the Stars shipped longtime fan favorite winger Loui Eriksson and prospects Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser to the Boston Bruins.
At the time, I rated the deal as an A+ transaction for both the Bruins and the Stars. That was over five months ago, though.
The Stars thought they were getting the next franchise center and a hardy veteran winger in Peverley, who is considered to be a jack-of-all-trades player.
The Bruins hauled in one of the league's most underrated and hardest-working players in Loui Eriksson. They also took home a very nice package of prospects who were sure to be eventually inserted into their lineup. But really, no one could forecast how this trade would pan out.
Here is what Darren Dreger of TSN had to say about the deal when news of it broke on July 4.
Now it's December 15, 2013. The Stars have played 31 games. Let's take a look at how this trade has worked out for Dallas.
The Stars missed the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, finishing 22-22-4 in the Pacific Division cellar.
This season, Dallas is an improved 15-11-5, albeit eight points back of Minnesota for the final wild card playoff spot. That being said, Minnesota has played four more games.
In 29 games as the Stars' top-line center, Seguin has piled up an impressive 31 points on 17 goals and 14 helpers, per ESPN. Despite being just 21, he is undoubtedly the Stars' best player and has been as advertised to this point.
He was described as having an absolutely wicked shot and lightning speed on the ice.
See for yourself. If you're a Stars fan and regularly watch the games called by Ralph Strangis and Daryl "Razor" Reaugh, you'll understand the use of the word "nefarious"—one of Razor's favorite adjectives—to describe Seguin's shot.
He's translated those qualities directly to his play in Dallas. His role and importance with the Stars is obvious, as he is averaging just over 19 minutes of ice time each night—almost two more minutes per game than his highest previous total in Boston.
Seguin has truly begun his quest to live up to his billing as the franchise's next elite center. Together with captain winger Jamie Benn and explosive 18-year-old Russian rookie Valeri Nichushkin, the Stars boast one of the most dangerous top lines in the NHL.
Oh yeah, and Seguin also scored a critical goal in the Stars' shootout win over his old team, Boston, on November 5. Rich Peverley then scored the game-winner. Razor's call right after the winning goal was simply, "Storybook!"
Considered by many to be the "other guy" in the trade for Seguin, Peverley hasn't disappointed at all. He plays a different game than Seguin—characterized by grit and an admirable ability to make all the little things happen, like the willingness to take a hit to clear a puck out of the Stars' zone.
Peverley has never really been a dynamic scoring threat. But otherwise he has many of the same skills as Seguin. In 30 games wearing the Victory Green, Peverley only has 12 points on five goals and seven assists, according to ESPN.
He isn't loading up the stat sheet, but his most valuable assets haven't gone unnoticed: his versatility, not only as guy who can play center or winger, but also who can play on any of the Stars' lines. And his willingness to accept any role given to him is inspiring. Even as a nine-year veteran, he has no problem playing hard on Dallas' third or fourth line.
Peverley has been a total class act and an entirely selfless player who wants to help his team win in any way he can. A successful hockey team can never have too many of those guys.
Mix in the fact that Peverley plays a tight and complete game, and he has been an excellent addition for the Stars this season. He has been anything but just another guy 31 games into this 2013 season.
On December 15, 2013, I would still give this trade an A+. There is no question it has panned out beautifully for the Stars. As Seguin continues to mature, he will mold more and more into the next franchise player in Dallas. Peverley is signed through next season and will no doubt continue to bring in that priceless veteran leadership.