When Tyler Seguin was traded to the Dallas Stars in a summer blockbuster deal with the Boston Bruins, there was a media storm of talk about his extra curricular activities off the ice.
He parties too much. He had to have a guard outside his hotel room on a road trip. His Twitter account is scandalous. His friends were bad influences. He needs to learn how to "commit to being a professional," as per Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli. And on and on...
But while there is no shortage of talk about him off the ice, Seguin prefers to do his talking on the ice, which is a very good sign for Dallas Stars fans.
Heading into the season, new general manager Jim Nill wanted to bolster his new roster with a bonafide #1 center, and he found one in Seguin. Even though Seguin has only played 12 games so far for Dallas, it's already plainly obvious why we here at Defending Big D picked him as the #1 impact player on the team this year.
Athletic, skilled and determined, Seguin is one of the most dynamic offensive players to ever don a Stars sweater. With elite speed, puck work and offensive instinct, Seguin is the type of player that is a threat to score on any given shift and that can single-handedly change the course of a game.
He's currently tied with captain Jamie Benn for 1st on the team in points with 12, and is tied with Alex Chiasson for 1st in goals with five. His average ice time of 18:36 per game is second among Stars forwards.
His best performance as a Star thus far came during the third game of the season, a 4-1 drubbing of the Winnipeg Jets where Seguin factored in on every Dallas goal.
"I think when Tyler is skating he makes a lot of things happen," said head coach Lindy Ruff after the game.
Seguin's career high in points came in 2011-2012, when he led the Bruins with 67 in 81 games, so his current point-per-game pace projects him to break his own record by the end of the year.
While the ability to produce points is his expertise, Seguin is no slouch on the defensive side of the puck, something that was obviously refined through a few years in the defensively staunch Bruins organization. His dedication to backchecking is relentless, as he is often one of the first forwards back during transition. His defensive zone coverage is strong, and while he doesn't shut down top opposing lines the way someone like Jonathan Toews can, Seguin can usually hang in there when going head-to-head versus the first lines of the competition.
For as good as Seguin has looked this year, his transition to Dallas, as well as to playing center after playing as a right wing in Boston, haven't been perfect. Winning 40.3% of faceoffs isn't good enough, and there have been a couple games where Seguin hasn't made much of an impact, which is not something that you want to see out of your 1st line center.
But Seguin's own personal development mirrors that of the current state of the Dallas Stars franchise: both are a work in progress.
Seguin has already made huge strides since breaking into the NHL as an 18 year-old, and now still at only 21, has many, many more years of growth ahead of him. Considering most hockey players hit their prime around the ages of 25-28, Seguin centering his team's top line at 21 is no small feat, and puts him well ahead of most other players his age in terms of development.
What's more, Seguin and the 24 year-old Benn have already formed a lot of chemistry playing on the same line together after just 12 games. If they continue to stick together, imagine what that duo might look like in 3, 5, or even 10 years?
With his trade to Dallas, Tyler Seguin was given a fresh start, a chance to put firmly in the past all the drama that followed him in Boston and focus on achieving the hockey potential that made him the #2 overall pick in the 2010 draft. The Stars, meanwhile, are trying to hide some skeletons in their own closet, those of five straight seasons without a playoff appearance. These two paths are directly entwined, and as one goes, surely so will the other.