He may not have that signature jersey-flapping-in-the-breeze that Mike Modano became so famous for, but Tyler Seguin is on a meteoric rise that may soon compare to that of the Hall of Famer that helped build hockey in North Texas. In just his second season in Dallas, the 22-year old phenom is on pace to not only lead the NHL is goals and points but could likely put together the greatest offensive season for any player since the Stars arrived in Dallas in 1993.
When the Stars gave up a ransom for the rights to acquire the Boston Bruins "problem child" in the summer of 2013, this is what was envisioned. This was the type of pure-scoring and elite talent that the Stars had been searching for and needing so desperately, and one that teams usually are never able to get unless a catastrophic season resulted in a top-three pick in the draft.
While the Bruins were eager to cast off Seguin -- whether it be for cap reasons, for personnel reasons or because Seguin really was the "bad boy" they portrayed him as being -- it's clear that no one every imagined just how good the Stars center would quickly become, especially when paired next to new best friend Jamie Benn on and off the ice.
Last season, when the Stars surprised the hockey world with their jump into the NHL postseason, Seguin erupted to career highs in goals (37), assists (47) and points (84) while also playing the sort of two-way game that he learned so well during his time in Boston. Seguin was suddenly living up to the lofty expectations of a No. 2 draft pick, buoyed by an aggressive offensive system coached by Lindy Ruff and finally getting the role and minutes he needed to take advantage of his strengths.
This season, Seguin is on pace to not only shatter his career numbers from year but also do what no other player in franchise history has done: win the NHL scoring title. With 23 goals and 38 points in 29 games, Seguin could finish the season with more than 60 goals and 100 points while also putting up well over 340 shots on goal (amazing, compared to the amount of rubber players like Alex Ovechkin can put on net).
When you put it all together, it's no wonder that Seguin was named as Puck Daddy's No. 4 Top Player in Hockey for 2014:
After the Boston Bruins cut ties with the former second overall pick, Seguin realized his potential with the Dallas Stars, to the tune of 37 goals and 47 assists in 80 games, finishing sixth for the Hart Trophy. He followed that with 23 goals in his first 29 games in 2014-15, and a 1.31 points-per-game average. Meanwhile, Loui Eriksson ... well, he's on the Boston roster. We're pretty sure of that.
It's an amazing pace that Seguin is on and one that is historic not just in relation to the Stars franchise but also just in the NHL in general. Since the 2009-2010 season, only one other player has finished the season with 60 or more goals (Steven Stamkos with 60 in 2011-12) and only a handful have been able to eclipse the 100-point mark, a total usually reserved only for Sidney Crosby.
This is the latest in the season that a Dallas Stars player has ever had the privilege of being in this spot. Ever.
So, why doesn't it feel as magical as it should? Why aren't we openly celebrating the joys of watching this player put together what could be the single greatest individual season in Dallas Stars history?
Because, in the end, this is all about the team and while individual accolades are nice -- the Rocket Richard trophy will be nothing at all if the Dallas Stars continue down the path they have built for themselves through the first three months of the season.
If you talk to Tyler Seguin, he'll be the very first to tell you that while it's great to be at the top of the scoring leaderboards it really means nothing to him if the team is struggling overall. This season has been as frustrating and disappointing as any in recent memory, certainly the most disappointing since 2008, and while Seguin continues to put up monster numbers (along with his absurd 19.5 shooting percentage) his team continues to struggle with consistency and finding the team game that defined the Stars so well last season.
It's an interesting place to be as a Stars fan, because it's clear just how popular and magnetic Seguin has quickly become in Dallas. It's not just Seguin's scoring; it's how this outgoing personality has so quickly embraced a non-traditional hockey town as his very own, and has suddenly matured far beyond what anyone in Boston could ever have imagined.
On the ice, Seguin is a hard working center (sometimes winger) that may have a cherry-picking moment here and there, but could never be accused of not giving everything he has throughout a game. He's as physical as he can try to be in the corners and while he'll never be in the running for the Selke, is far from a true defensive liability. It's a rare trait for a pure-scorer like Seguin, and it's clear he learned a lot during his time in Boston, lessons that are now benefiting the Stars.
From the moment he arrived in Dallas the comparisons to Modano began. While unfair (Modano was a much different type of player in a different era of hockey), it's been amazing to see Seguin not only live up to that hype but perhaps surpass it in ways never quite imagined -- especially so soon.
What's even more incredible is the realization that Seguin is still only 22 years old, and is still improving as a hockey player. There is still so much to expect from this exciting player, and the only hope is that the team around him -- and despite the numbers, Seguin has to find a better way to be a part of the actual solution -- begins to find a way to make enjoying this magical season easier than it has been so far.
If the Stars continue on this path as a team, if the Stars miss the postseason and all of these lofty expectations and hopes crash down around them, then the 'greatest individual season in franchise history' will become an empty stat, a footnote in the story of a season of wasted potential and disappointment. Seguin is magical, but that magic will quickly fade if things end the way they seem to be headed.
No matter what happens this season, there's always the fact that fans can look forward to the very real possibility that goals like this one will happen -- apparently again, and again, and again.