Those wondering if Tyler Seguin
's recent move to center might stick for the long term might want to wait a bit.
The talented 19-year old will center the Boston Bruins
' top line tonight, flanked by Milan Lucic
and Nathan Horton
, when the defending Stanley Cup champions face the 2010 Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks
here at the United Center (8:30 p.m. ET, NHLN-US).
According to Bruins coach Claude Julien
, this move is more like a sneak peek at what the future may hold for the second pick of the 2010 Entry Draft. Seguin has been playing right wing on the third line and is filling in for David Krejci
-- who didn't make the trip because of a core injury -- on the top line.
"I think we all know right now that what we have at center, where he should fit, it's hard to move somebody out of that position," Julien said after Boston's morning skate. "He can be just as beneficial to us on the wing as he can be at center. I think down the road there's a better chance of seeing him there (center), but right now he's got a better chance at growing … and playing both positions, he'll understand it better."
Seguin played junior in his draft season with the Plymouth Whalers, and tied for the Ontario Hockey League in scoring with 106 points, so he knows how to play the position. However, the Bruins are stacked in the middle, with Krejci, Patrice Bergeron
, Chris Kelly
and Gregory Campbell
Julien also wants Seguin to go through more battles on the outside in order to make himself into a complete player before moving to center full time.
"He's got to be a guy that's got to win battles for pucks -- not physically, but by determination," Julien said. "Putting him on the wing sometimes means that he's got to do those things. So we know where he's better at, but I think he's actually pretty good at both (positions). That versatility is only going to make him a better player."
Seguin says he's fine with either spot.
"It definitely can't hurt me (playing center)," said Seguin, who has a goal and 3 assists in four games. "These first few games I've gotten some good ice time, so I'm just trying to take advantage of that. It's impossible to replace Krejci, so I'm just doing whatever I can. I play the wing, too, so I don't know if I have a more preferred position. I'm just doing the right thing wherever I'm at."
Playing in the middle, however, does give Seguin more of a chance to create plays.
"There's a little bit more room to operate and be more creative," Bruins forward Rich Peverley
, who also has flipped between center and the wing, said. "He's a guy who sees the ice very well, but he's got a great shot -- so he puts himself in great situations playing at center. He's played well so far."