The Bruins' signing of 42-year-old ageless wonder Mark Recchi not only brings back the team's leading scorer in the playoffs. It also assures that top pick Tyler Seguin will have one of the best possible mentors as a teammate.
Recchi's influence on his younger teammates over the past two seasons in Boston has proven to be invaluable. His leadership abilities are undoubtedly one of the main reasons the Bruins brought him back for a third season, signing him to a one-year deal worth a reported $1.7 million.
"He's looking forward to helping the younger kids," Bruins' general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday. "He can manage their expectations, manage their lifestyles and all that. It's a group effort, but someone like Mark who has done it and has done it successfully will be an asset to our team."
Recchi said he's excited about the chance to mentor and help guide Seguin in the right direction as he enters the NHL. He's had the chance to help young stars like Eric Staal (in Carolina), Steve Stamkos (Tampa Bay) and Sidney Crosby (in Pittsburgh) deal with the on- and off-the-ice demands of being an NHL player, and he seems to already have a plan on how he will be there for Seguin. Recchi realizes that while Seguin has the potential to be a superstar, he doesn't need to become one in his first game and first NHL season.
"Well, I think it's wonderful," Recchi said on Monday. "Any time you can get a kid like that, he's a franchise player. We're very fortunate. Up the middle, we have three dynamic guys [in Marc Savard, Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, and they're] all different types of players. I understand [Seguin]'s going to be an important part, but at the same time he can just come in and be a player, which I think is most important for a young kid. There's no pressure for this kid to come in, internally, anyways. He doesn't have to come in and be a world-beater."
In that respect, Recchi said Seguin is a bit better off than No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall.
"There's a lot of pressure on Taylor Hall to go [to Edmonton] and be an impact player right away," he said. "Seguin can come in and he can learn and grow and be part of a good hockey team, and I think that's very important for the development of a young kid."
Recchi likened the situation to Stamkos' progression in Tampa Bay, as the No. 1 overall pick of the 2008 draft struggled with the rigors and pressures of the NHL in his first season. Recchi, who was on the Lightning through February of that season, said head coach Rick Tocchet played a major role in getting Stamkos on the right path. Now, Stamkos is a Rocket Richard Trophy winner after scoring 51 goals and amassing 95 points this past season.
"You look at how Tocchet handled that situation with Stamkos and how far he has already come after maybe struggling a bit in the first half of his rookie season," Recchi pointed out. "Tocchs got him on that great weight program to build his strength and now you can hardly ever battle the puck away from that kid."
Recchi said that a similar approach would help Seguin's development.
"You look at like how I said we need to approach things with Tyler, they did the same thing with Stamkos in Tampa," Recchi said. "They had guys like [Vinny] Lecalvier and Marty St. Louis to help him along. They didn't make it out like he had to be the main guy. Now he has become that star and that's because of how Tocchet changed the organization's approach to Stamkos."
Recchi will make the same message clear to Seguin and has already made it known to him that he is there for him whenever needed.
"I'm ready to do whatever I can to help Tyler," Recchi said. "He seems like a great kid and we know he will be an amazing player, but there's no rush. We will be here for him to help along and let him reach his potential at a natural pace."