The Boston Globe recently reported Claude Julien is considering scratching former second overall draft pick Tyler Seguin once the playoffs begin. For good reason – the kid has been underwhelming relative to expectations with just 11 goals and 22 points in 72 games. His mediocre counting stats are matched by below average advanced numbers: he is underwater in terms of possession (-3.51/60 corsi) despite playing against some of the softest competition for the Bruins and starting more often in the offensive end.

In short, everything about Seguin was easily replaceable this season. This is not a grave indictment of his value as prospect for Boston – the truth is almost all teenagers struggle to find their footing at the NHL level and many go on to become excellent players anyways. The Jeff Skinners of the world are the rare exceptions.

Unfortunately for Boston, Seguin’s nominal contributions cost them one-third of his valuable entry-level contract. Under the current CBA, ELC’s are capped meaning they can yield extremely high value-to-cap-hit ratios if managed properly. Seguin could have been returned to junior this season and the clock on this NHL contract wouldn’t have started ticking. Instead of paying Seguin for his 18, 19 and 20 year old seasons, the Bruins could have delayed his professional arrival and garnered more value from his ELC through his 20, 21 and 22 year old seasons when he would no doubt be a far more accomplished player.

This is an argument Tyler Dellow forwarded this past summer in regards to Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson:

It’s a simple enough proposition: you only get three years with these guys on entry level contracts and you might as well use them when the player in question is a stronger player. As I’ve pointed out before, on teams like Detroit and New Jersey, teenagers virtually never make the team. There was lots of talk, when the Oilers installed Tambellini as general manager, that they were moving towards more of a Detroit model. I made this point then, but there’s more to doing what Detroit does than having a lot of people in your management group. They do smart things, like not forcing teenagers into the lineup and wasting their cheap years on 45 point seasons.

Hall and Svensson held their own as rookies, but Dellow’s claim has been vindicated by the Oilers results: the kids didn’t blow the doors off, the club was terrible and now the organization has hastened the impending arrival of each youngster’s second contract (which is bound to be orders of magnitude more expensive) with nothing to show for it.

There may be other reasons the Oilers management group decided to play their top prospects this season – marketing, a dearth of other on-ice options, etc. The Bruins, however, had no real need for Seguin this year because the team isn’t selling hope to the fans in a bid to divert attention from a terrible record and the forward lines were stocked with capable veterans.

The only remaining defense of promoting Seguin is one of development. It’s possible that Seguin was too far ahead of his junior peers to garner any developmental value from another season in the minors, meaning his progression may have stagnated if the Bruins had decided to demote him. Unfortunately, there’s no real way to prove or disprove that assertion either way. What’s certain is this: the Bruins are going to be paying a 20/21 year old Tyler Seguin way more than they had to in a few years time.

Comments (11)

  1. Great read, great article.

  2. I’ve been having this argument with my buddy for the last few months, his position is that the Bruins were absolutely wrong not to return Seguin to the OHL. I’ve traditionally argued your last point – that Seguin was already a dominant junior player and a very mature 18 year old and stood to gain more from being in the NHL and seeing how the Mark Recchi’s and Patrice Bergeron’s of the world carry themselves, not to mention being coached by a premier coaching staff.

    At this point I still choose to believe Seguin’s development hasn’t been hurt by staying with the big club, however the salary ramifications for the team are undeniable. My belief (and hope as a Bruins fan) is that Seguin will follow a development trajectory similar to Joe Thornton who was also buried on the 4th line as a rookie and only had 7 pts in 55 games.

    Depending on Marc Savard’s status going forward (prognosis: not good) Seguin could factor in to get a serious boost in ice time/role next year, especially if Michael Ryder is allowed to walk as a free agent as expected. Here’s hoping for 20 goals and 55 pts next year.

  3. Phil Kessel scored 30 this year.

  4. Touche… And his 30 goals will be heading to a golf course in a few days.

  5. The Bruins could have let this trade turn into a fleece job by sending Seguin back and seeing him start his ELC next year. Instead, they proved that Brian Burke did in fact get a player who will be much better for the following 5 years than anyone the Bruins pick(ed.)
    Seguin could’ve developed more top line ability by absolutely tearing up the juniors.

    Kessel will be golfing and Seguin will be watching the playoffs from the pressbox.

  6. Can we all just agree to revisit the Kessel trade in 3 years when all its parts have materialized?

  7. Won’t someone please think of the children

  8. Since the trade:

    Kessel – 60 goals
    Seguin – 11 goals

  9. R u people all blind have seen how fast this kid is & his great hands.the biggest problem seguin as is his stupid coach this guy as no long term vision if this guy had any brains he would give the kid fifteen minuts a game I’m positive this kid be a top scorer on the bruins but what’s julien do takes away any momentum the kid starts to get by giving lm little ice time julien can’t see passed the kid age I guarantee if julien give I’m the ice time he should. Be getting this kid on top the bruins scorboard but julien can’t see that when to me it’s obvios know wonder this guys always get fired within four years.

  10. R u people all blind have seen how fast this kid is & his great hands.the biggest problem seguin as is his stupid coach this guy as no long term vision if this guy had any brains he would give the kid fifteen minuts a game I’m positive this kid be a top scorer on the bruins but what’s julien do takes away any momentum the kid starts to get by giving him less ice time the next game any taking away his confidence he started to get.julien can’t see passed the kids age . To me this is obvious but for some reason julien can’t see it. No wonder this always gets fired.

  11. Kessel is a world class player with world class speed…end of story. He is a star, and is still a young player. No doubt in my mind he would have led the Bruins in both points and goals this year. On top of that, Boston has traded away a first round pick in Colborne (if he turns out to be even reasonably good, look out) and their first round pick in 2011 for a defenseman who has looked absolutley average and has almost no points AND has yet to be resigned and the Bruins have a kid who hopefully will turn into a solid player. It is obviously way to early to tell how Seguin will turn out, but Burke already has his bird in the hand. I believe in the years to come, Brian Burke will NOT be seen to have been fleeced at all…Kessel IS a star, and is a key component in Toronto’s future. Bruins fans should be awful glad they don’t have to face Toronto in the playoffs this year in light of the way Toronto burned them with their speed and on the scoreboard this year. By the way I am a 35 year Bruins fan, I’m just calling it the way I see it.

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