On the afternoon of July 4, 2013, while the majority of Bostonians were enjoying their holiday barbecues, then-Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli made the franchise-altering decision to trade away Tyler Seguin, whom the team had drafted second overall just three years earlier.
Seguin was among the most polarizing figures in Boston sports during his three seasons in black and gold, recognized for his undeniable offensive skill but even more often criticized for his aversion to physical play and his questionable off-the-ice behavior.
So, just 10 days after the Bruins fell to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final, Chiarelli dealt Seguin and Rich Peverley to the Dallas Stars, netting in return a four-player package headlined by an accomplished yet unheralded winger named Loui Eriksson.
Fast forward two-and-a-half years.
Seguin — a 37-goal scorer in each of his first two seasons in Dallas — and Stars winger Jamie Benn now form the NHL’s most fearsome 1-2 scoring duo. Benn leads the league in points this season and is tied for first in goals, while Seguin ranks second in points with 16 (one more than former Bruins teammate David Krejci) and sits tied for the assists lead with 11.
Up in Boston, Eriksson, now free of the concussions that plagued his first Bruins campaign and firmly stationed in the team’s top six, has been a possession monster and arguably the Bruins’ best player this season, with Krejci as his only competition for that title. Though he’s unlikely to keep up his nine-points-in-10-games pace, Eriksson (two goals, seven assists) is well on his way to surpassing his 47-point total from last season.
Seguin’s and Eriksson’s contributions have their respective teams flying high entering Tuesday’s Bruins-Stars matchup at TD Garden — Seguin’s lone trip back to Boston this season and just his third since the trade.
Dallas, which, like Boston, failed to reach the playoffs last season, has looked nearly unstoppable thus far, winning nine of its first 11 games in the best start in franchise history. The Stars sit atop the loaded Central Division (the fifth-place team in the Central, the Winnipeg Jets, owns a better record than every Pacific Division team and all but one in the Atlantic) and trail only the 11-2-0 Montreal Canadiens for the NHL’s top spot.
The Bruins, meanwhile, began the season with three consecutive blowout losses but since have won six of their last seven, outscoring opponents 32-15 in the process and reaching the five-goal plateau four times.
Another high-scoring affair could be on tap Tuesday. As of Monday, the B’s boasted the NHL’s highest-scoring offense (3.9 goals per game) and its most effective power play (35.3 percent), while Seguin’s Stars ranked third in both categories.
Thumbnail photo via Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin
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