Dallas Stars 2014-15 Season Grades: Tyler Seguin

It was an incredibly productive year for the Stars young center, but how does the big picture stack up?

Once again it's that time of year here on Defending Big D where we take a look at each player that suited up for 20 or more games this season (and finished the season with the organization) - and take a look back at their season. What was good about it, what wasn't so good, and the lasting impression they left us as we go into summer.

Regular season statistics:

GP G A Pts PIMs +/- ATOI Corsi Rel OZ starts
71 37 40 77 27 -1 22:15 +9.6 53.9%

Key Stat: 10 games - That's how much time a knee injury cost Tyler Seguin after he was submarined by Dmitry Kulikov of the Florida Panthers. He'd been cold before the injury, but the team had been playing relatively well. Without Seguin, the team dropped into their final tailspin that even a 14-5 run over the final 19 couldn't make up for. The games lost also took Seguin out of the running for any of the season scoring titles, a position he'd been jockeying for all year. Even with the lost games, though, Seguin finished fifth in the league in goals and seventh in total points. In terms of point per game, he was second, barely behind Sidney Crosby. Of course, there was that one additional absence, but we'll get to that in a bit.

The Good: When Seguin is good, and he was fabulous for stretches this season even as the defense and goalie behind him sputtered, he is as good as they come in the entire hockey world at creating offense. His ability to control a wild pass while skating at full speed is unparalleled, and his chemistry with Jamie Benn remains fully intact. Teams are frightened of Seguin's game-breaking ability, as well they should be. The combination of wicked release, raw speed and pinpoint accuracy is hard to find and deadly on any team, let alone alongside another of the league's top offensive threats.

He also showed good resiliency with a three-week recovery from a serious MCL sprain, and he didn't look like he'd lost more than half-a-step when he returned even though he was skating with a bulky brace. A full summer of rest and strength-building after the World Championships should leave everything as good as new. Combine that with a significant improvement in the faceoff circle (53.8 percent, or second-best on the team of the regular centers) and it's not only a phenomenal value for a $5.75 million cap hit but so much to look forward to with four years left on that contract.

The Bad: Two things stand out with Seguin this year in this regard. While he was on an astounding tear in the first half of the season, some of that was likely built upon luck - his shooting percentage was ridiculous and did mellow out a bit as the year went on. He finished the season with a career high 13.2 percent shooting percentage, which is at the high end of what you expect from your top-end scorers. Still, it was only 0.6 percent higher than his 2013-14 season, so while a small bit of shooting regression is a concern, it's probably a small one.

The more notable issue was the bad foot on which he ended the year. Seguin was late one of the final practices of the season and thus held out of the season finale. It could have really hurt his linemate and friend Benn, who did his best "screw it, I'll do it myself" routine and racked up four points to win the Art Ross Trophy. And while being late to practice happens and is considered over-and-done when it happens to, say, Erik Cole or Cody Eakin, with Seguin's background with the Bruins, it does raise at least a quarter of an eyebrow. Even so, it is something that happens occasionally (again, see Cole and Eakin), so as a singleincident, it just leaves a bitter taste in both his and the fans' mouths.

Bottom Line: Simply put, Seguin is one of the top offensive forces in the league. Top three, top five, top 10, he continued to write his name in ink with players like Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and John Tavares with yet another fabulous season. It wasn't quite as fairy tale as his first season in Dallas - the bumps at the end of the year, in knee injury and the lack of a playoffs prevents that - but there's also not much more you can ask of Seguin on the ice.

That game against the San Jose Sharks early in the year where he scored a hat trick but the team lost anyway (an .857 save percentage from Anders Lindback will do that) is emblematic. When things were going horribly in the Stars own zone in October and November, Seguin did everything humanly possible but couldn't be a one-man show to overcome some of the team's other flaws. But what he did do, and what he should continue to do for the forseeable future, was outstanding in its own right.

Vote now: Rate Seguin on a scale of A to F (A being the best of course) based on his performance relative to his potential and your expectations for the season.

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L (Late)17