Tyler Seguin Looking to Shoot More to Augment His Playmaking Skills

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Tyler Seguin Looking to Shoot More to Augment His Playmaking SkillsBOSTON — The Bruins haven't had much to complain about with Tyler Seguin's development in his second pro season.

The 19-year-old leads the Bruins in points with 11 and is tied for lead in goals with four through 11 games. This after managing just 11-11-22 totals in 74 games as a rookie. He suffered through several long droughts last year, including failing to register a point in his final 11 games in the regular season. But this year he hasn't gone more than one game without a point, scoring in eight of the Bruins' first 11 contests.

That doesn't mean that there isn't still plenty of room for growth and improvement. Seguin himself was quick to point to one area of concern where the solution, strangely enough, might entail a need for him to actually be more selfish.

Seguin has been guilty at times of passing up opportunities to shoot in favor of trying to force a pass to a teammate in an effort to make the perfect play when the simpler option of taking it to the net himself would be more advisable.

That was the case in the first period Tuesday night when Seguin deked Ottawa defenseman Erik Karlsson out of his skates as he gained the Senators zone. But rather than taking the puck straight to the net for a possible breakaway, he tried to thread a pass back to a trailer and the play was broken up.

"I do think I need to shoot more," Seguin said after practice Wednesday at the Garden. "I remember there was one play last night where I went down on the D and went one way and cut back the other way. I watched the replay and I almost had a clear breakaway but I decided to pass. My instinct is always to look backdoor, but I've got to stop trying to be maybe too fancy and put pucks to the net. I know I've seen myself this year when I shoot more being rewarded, so I have to continue doing that and not giveaway good shots."

Seguin was actually harder on himself for that decision than his boss.

"In that case, you probably wish he would have taken it to the net and maybe even drawn a penalty on that because he had half a step," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "But you've got to also realize that those two players behind him were kind of open and a guy like him is a really good playmaker so you don't want to be too hard on those kinds of decisions."

Seguin played primarily as a center coming up through the junior ranks where his role allowed him to be more of a distributor and playmaker. He's been mostly on the wing with the Bruins though, and that position requires more willingness to let the shots fly when opportunities present themselves.

"My whole life I've always been more of a playmaker than a sniper, but I've always had goals," said Seguin, who had 69 goals to go with 104 assists in two seasons with the Ontario Hockey league's Plymouth Whalers. "I do think I need to shoot more and not give away those clear shots and opportunities just to make a pretty pass. Sometimes the best route is just getting pucks on net and that's something I'm still working on. But if I look at how I'm playing I still am getting a lot of shots. I have 30-something shots, so I am shooting, but there are still opportunities where I need to shoot more."

Seguin does have 36 shots this season, second only to Patrice Bergeron's team-leading 39. So this isn't a matter of making a major adjustment to his game, but rather just another minor tweak as he continues to develop his game at the NHL level.

The Bruins also don't want to sacrifice Seguin's playmaking skills. It's more about knowing best when to deploy them and augmenting those skills with his equally dangerous shot.

"He's capable of making those kind of plays, so you don't want to take that away from a player," Julien said. "But I think he's a guy who can take the puck to the net with his speed. … There's times he can take it to the net, and a young player builds confidence and gains confidence as he plays more games."

Seguin's long-term future is likely still at center, where he spent three games earlier this season when David Krejci was injured. But for now, Boston's depth down the middle has pushed Seguin to the wing, and he needs to utilize some different skills in that role.

"I really want to be a diverse player and show I can play at center or wing," Seguin said. "Growing up I played center all the time and I think here I've played more games at wing, so I want to show I can play both positions and that I'm comfortable at both."

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