Toward the end of the aughts, you would often hear the phrase, "As Modano goes, so go the Stars." While most teams have their contributions much more dispersed than such a saying would suggest, it's no secret that the Stars are a wholly different team when Tyler Seguin is on the ice. The captain is the captain, and we love him dearly, but when it comes to this team's ceiling, their top center raises the proverbial roof to a degree not seen around these parts for some time.
Since arriving in Dallas during the summer of 2013, here is where Tyler Seguin's NHL production ranks:
5v5 Goals: 3rd
Power Play Goals: 4th
5v5 SCF/60: 2nd
That's a number one center if I've ever seen one (and most of us have). So to call Jim Nill's acquisition of Seguin anything less than world-changing for this franchise is to do it a great disservice. Tyler Seguin is, simply put, one of the very best players in the entire NHL. He is also just 23 years old, and he is also signed for another four years making less than Dustin Brown.
Before we get into projections for Seguin this year, let's recap a rather eventful summer for the handsome young gentleman that Boston had no use for:
Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 6, 2015
Squad. pic.twitter.com/8JFI4c2A9M— Dallas Stars (@DallasStars) July 20, 2015
...but I'm sure your summer was fun, too.
Okay, so we know Seguin is a big personality, and we know that he has more than justified Jim Nill's faith in his talents since the Stars traded for him. However, there are still those who think that Seguin has yet to prove that he can take his game to another level, that he can become a "well-rounded" player who "elevates" his game. A player who can finally "get it." And while those criticisms are a bit mystifying when one realizes that we are talking about a 23-year-old who has already scored 130 goals in his career, there's no denying that a world-class talent like Seguin has a way of consistently raising expectations for himself.
Sure, he won a Stanley Cup his rookie year as a 19-year-old, scoring seven points in 13 games averaging barely 10 minutes of ice time, but only two years later, he was being derided for not understanding what it takes to win. (In all candor, his 97.5 PDO was the more likely reason our friends in New England pasted a target on Seguin's back.)
Oh, by the way, here's a quote from 2013:
The Seguin trade was always done with somewhat mixed feelings, with the Bruins organization knowing he’s talented enough to figure it all out over the next six years and become one of the game’s elite. But the Bruins also know this deal saves them $4.5 million on the salary cap next season, and makes them a better team for the 2013-14 season.
(The Bruins would exit the playoffs two rounds earlier in their first Seguin-less season than they did in 2012-13.)
But this is about Tyler Seguin now, not who some poor, unfortunate souls thought Seguin was back then; and it is our pleasure to contemplate how good the Stars might just be with Seguin's elite production leading the way alongside Jamie Benn and Patrick Sharp this season. Remember for a moment that this is a team that has seen top pivots over the last few years named Mike Ribeiro, Brad Richards and a transplanted Jamie Benn.
What would the Stars be without Seguin? Well, thanks to Kulikov's knee and temerity, we can approximate this horrible hypothesis. The Stars went 3-5-2 during Seguin's absence last spring, a pace that would earn a team 66 points over the course of 82 games. In other words, losing Seguin turned the Stars into the Maple Leafs for 10 games. I would advise you not to dwell on this fact.
So what do we have in Tyler Seguin? Well, Jamie Benn won the Art Ross Trophy last year with 87 points, but Tyler Seguin was on an 88-point pace prior to his injury. Tyler Seguin also became a positive face-off guy for the first time last year, thanks in part to the Stars' more balanced rotation of Benn, Seguin, Eakin and Spezza on the dot. And even though he only played 71 games last year, Seguin still tied for fifth in the NHL in power play goals. Here's one you might remember:
He has a fantastic shot with a lightning release; he can score in the shootout; he skates as fast as almost anyone in the league; he can pass with the best of them; and his one-timer is about as beautiful to behold as any shot on this team. Really, look at this:
Quite simply, Tyler Seguin is that rare player who can not only score in scores himself, but who can also make one of the best players in the NHL even better. There may not be a better duo in the league than Seguin and Benn--and if there is, they're both on the wrong side of 30--and while the captain is already thought of as one of the most complete players on NHL ice, there is no denying that Tyler Seguin is the golden gun on the team in era where scoring in the NHL is as tough as it's been in a long, long time. That's nothing short of invaluable, and it's why Tyler Seguin will have the biggest impact of any skater on this team.