The talented Bruins rookie showed flashes of the skill he possesses and the kind of game-breaking ability the club expects to see more consistently in future years. He struggled, though to find that consistency this season, and as a result found his ice time limited for much of the year.
But he finally got a chance to play in the postseason in the Eastern Conference Final, and now has a Stanley Cup Final game under his belt with his appearance in Game 1 on Wednesday. Looking back nearly a year after being drafted second overall last June, Seguin has no complaints with how things worked out, even if No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall received more immediate chances to play and produced better numbers in his first season with Edmonton.
"Would I have rather gone first overall? Absolutely not," Seguin said after the club's practice at the University of British Columbia on Friday afternoon. "I think back then Hall and I kept saying the same thing. Obviously going No. 1 overall was definitely a great privilege and still is. It's definitely awesome because it's either saying you're the best fit for that organization or you're the best at your age in the world, so that was that. But in the end we both kept saying that in the end our dream and goal was never to go first overall. It was to win a Stanley Cup. So I still wouldn't trade it."
And the Bruins wouldn't trade the experience the youngster has gained from being a part of the extended postseason run.
"I think he's progressed well and as expected all year long," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "Tyler was in maybe a different position I think than Taylor Hall, where he came to a team that obviously had a lot of veterans established. I guess his presence in our lineup wasn't maybe as easy as it would have been in other circumstances. But what I liked and admired about Tyler is that he wanted to be part of a winning team. He was certainly willing to pay the price and learn throughout the season. His attitude has been great. He's definitely bought into what we're trying to do with him, to make him a real great hockey player in the future."
Seguin has accepted the reduced role he has played. He was a healthy scratch for the first two rounds of the playoffs, and his ice time has been limited in the games he has played, including just 11 shifts for 6:21 in Game 1 against Vancouver.
"I think I'm still young and I'm definitely the most inexperienced guy on the team, so I understand why that stuff happens," Seguin said. "I just have to take advantage of all the opportunities I can get."
Seguin made the most of his first playoff chances with six points in his first two games against Tampa Bay. He hasn't scored another point in the six games he's played since that, but Julien has been impressed with his effort — and that includes his brief appearances in Game 1.
"He made a pass to [Chris] Kelly there at the end of the first period that, had it connected, would have been a real top-end play," Julien said. "I thought he did a great job at back-checking, doing his job properly. He's becoming an all-around player. The one thing we're not going to take away is his opportunity to produce because that's his strength. But we certainly would like him to be as complete a player as he can."
With their slow and measured approach to developing him this season, the Bruins are confident Seguin will fulfill his ample promise in the coming years.
"I think from our end of it, there's no doubt this guy is going to be outstanding," Julien said. "His skill level is so good. Right now the experience he's gaining will make him a better player. Obviously being 18 when he first came to us, 19 now, when you go from playing junior hockey straight to the NHL, the one thing that you realize pretty quickly is that guys are pretty strong and sturdy. He had to make that adjustment to that.
"But he's been really good, started to play with a lineup that we thought was the best lineup at the time," Julien added. "When the occasion came for him to step in, he did a really great job. Although he hasn't put up a ton of points since his first two games, he's still done a lot of good things."
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