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Pivotal Player: Tyler Seguin Shines as centerman in Dallas

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Tyler Seguin is a major piece of the puzzle to Dallas' success as a team.

Tyler Seguin is taken down by Marco Scandella in front of Devan Dubnyk
Tyler Seguin is taken down by Marco Scandella in front of Devan Dubnyk
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Stars superstar Tyler Seguin has shined since being traded to the Stars on July 4th, 2013. He was part of a 7 player trade that sent him, Rich Peverley, and Matt Button to Dallas while the Boston Bruins picked up Louis Ericksson, and prospects Joseph Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser. Seguin was picked up because the Stars needed someone to complement scoring ace, Jamie Benn. Despite this Seguin has flourished on his own amassing over 50 points all three seasons with the Stars.

The Stars finished first in arguably the toughest conference in hockey in the 2015-16 season, beating the Wild in 6 games in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs and then lost to the St. Louis Blues in 7 games in the second round of playoffs. Seguin was a big part of that success until a disappointing Achilles injury that sidelined him for about a month; he played in one game during the first round series against the Wild, but then sat out the rest of the playoffs. Despite a shortened season due to his injury, Seguin had 73 points (33-40=73) in 72 games.

Despite making the playoffs missing their first line center for over a month stung - maybe even a little more than it showed - the Wild were able to stay alive for 6 games because they didn't have to shut down the oh-so dominant and frustrating first line of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, and Patrick Sharp. With Seguin generating a point per game he helped light a fire under his linemates bellies that would be tamed with him out of the lineup. Not significantly but enough for a second round exit for the Stars. If they have any chance of a deep playoff run they'll need Tyler to keep up his production and stay healthy. As his career stats show the more he plays, the more of an impact he has. Which isn't hard to guess considering more playing time = more shots which creates more scoring opportunities which leads to better scoring luck.

Since joining the Stars Seguin has flourished with a great increase in production and great success playing Center and developing his offensive game.

Team GP Goals Assists Points
Bruins 74 11 11 22
Bruins 81 29 38 67
Bruins 48 16 16 32
Stars 80 37 47 84
Stars 71 37 40 77
Stars 72 33 40 73

This surge in production can be attributed to a couple factors:

1. Position

2. Linemates

3. Growth as a player

Position

While with the Boston Bruins, Seguin was on the wing and clearly struggled to produce versus his time spent at center on the Stars. He clearly has a knack for center as he has more freedom to move around the ice, sit in front of the goalie for screens, tips, rebounds and has the option of shooting directly on net off the faceoff. All of these scenarios also create more opportunities for rebounds and generating more shots on net in general.

Linemates

It’s no secret that Benn and Seguin have clicked since becoming not only teammates but also line mates three seasons ago. They clearly work well together generating a great deal of offense, which creates more opportunities to succeed offensively. Playing with Benn three seasons in a row has allowed him to generate chemistry and create a mutual trust and bond which helps generate offense and success as much as skill alone, if not more. On the other hand, while in Boston, Seguin bounced from line to line more and never really generated chemistry with anyone aside from when he played with Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand.

Growth as a Player

Seguin was just a teenager when he started his NHL career with the Bruins in the 2010-11 season. He was still maturing and growing up.. On top of that, he had a lot of change going on. Going from being in Canada to Boston, completely new teammates, coaches, game systems, schedules etc - it’s a lot to handle as a young adult. Fast forward to 2015-16 with the Stars and he is now in his "prime" at 24 years old. He has grown a lot as he is now in his 6th NHL season, 3rd with the same group of guys. He has settled into the commitment and lifestyle it takes to be a pro athlete.

Seguin is going to be a thorn in the sides of Wild fans for years to come as he continues his success in a Stars sweater. As I briefly mentioned above, Stars' General manager Jim Nill traded for Seguin to fill the first line center role alongside Benn. Shortly after the trade in 2013, Ruff said in an interview, "We're looking at somebody that can obviously play with [Jamie] Benn, it is a position we wanted to fill, and it is the natural position for Tyler, and he's looking forward to playing it." Despite coach Ruff and the Front Office's reasons for bringing in Seguin, he has been a star on his own averaging a point per game and is still in his prime looking to continue this production rate and stay healthy. If he does those two things the Stars will be a dangerous team with better chances of a Cup than some would like.