Seguin struggled to adjust to the demands of pro hockey for much of the season, finishing his first NHL campaign with modest 11-11-22 totals in 74 games. He was scratched for eight games and is likely to be a spectator again when the Bruins open their first-round series against Montreal on Thursday.
But despite the growing pains and occasional setbacks, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli wasn't disappointed with how Seguin's first season went.
"I'm relatively satisfied with his development," Chiarelli said in a conference call Monday afternoon. "You have to put it in context of his age. And put it in the context that he's an individual who I think has seen that he has to grow in certain areas on and off the ice. He's a real good kid. My guess is that he won't start in the lineup for the playoffs. I hope that he finds his way into it. The play is going to ramp up in the playoffs."
Seguin's play didn't exactly ramp up down the stretch to make much of a case for being in the lineup for the start of the postseason. Seguin, who turned 19 on Jan. 31, didn't have a point in his final 11 games and finished a minus-4 on the year. Only Marc Savard, at minus-7 in 25 games (when he clearly wasn't himself due to post-concussion issues), had a worse plus-minus on the team. There were flashes of the brilliance that could come in future years, but the consistency is lacking at this stage of his development.
"[He's a] terrifically talented kid with speed," Chiarelli said. "He has to learn to make these plays that he can do, and we've seen these plays. I'm relatively satisfied. Tyler is a good kid and he's going to get better."
Chiarelli also defended the decision to keep Seguin up with the big club all season, insisting that the only way Seguin will improve is by playing against the top level of competition.
"Had he gone back to junior, the areas where he had to get better at would have been left dormant," Chiarelli said. "He had to play this year and face those areas head on.
"I mean, he had 60 [goals] his draft year," Chiarelli added of Seguin, who actually had 48 goals last year with Plymouth in the Ontario Hockey League, plus five more in the OHL playoffs. "He might have had 75, 80 this past year. The areas he has to get better [in], you don't get better unless you're playing against bigger, stronger players."
Chiarelli hasn't dismissed the idea that Seguin could still help the team at some point this postseason, but did discuss the things the rookie would need to bring to the table to earn a spot in the lineup.
"You want him to be able to drive with speed," Chiarelli said. "What I've seen is he's becoming more comfortable along the wall in the defensive zone, getting the puck out. You want to see him utilize that speed wide and create chances or at least create havoc by pushing back the D.
"Then, of course, there's the battle level that everyone has to increase in the playoffs," Chiarelli added. "I've seen snippets of it from Tyler and I know he has it. So those two things, if that's what he can bring, then he'll find his way into a permanent spot in the lineup."
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