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Seguin ready to shift back to center with Stars

Eager to return to natural position, hopes to play on line with Radulov

by Dave McCarthy / Correspondent

TORONTO -- Tyler Seguin will get a chance to be the No. 1 center for the Dallas Stars this season, playing the position exclusively after being shifted to wing at times the past few seasons.

It's something coach Ken Hitchcock, who was hired to replace Lindy Ruff on April 13, stated was his intention, and Seguin is all for it.

"Absolutely, I feel like I'm a natural centerman," Seguin said at BioSteel Camp on Monday. "The past few years, I've kind of flipped back and forth. I don't get angry when I'm playing the wing, but I definitely get a little more excited when I'm playing center. Through all the ups and downs like every season has, I hope I stay a centerman and I look forward to working with our new coach and getting better at the position."

Seguin said playing center allows him to be more creative with the puck and generate offense more effectively.

"It enhances my speed first and foremost," Seguin said. "I find a lot of times when I'm on the wing, I can't really get my speed going as quickly to start a play. You're kind of standing still more as you're going back on offense, so definitely being a centerman, I'm more happy there."

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Seguin had 72 points (26 goals, 46 assists) in 82 games last season, but the Stars failed to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs after finishing 34-37-11, 15 points out of the first wild card from the Western Conference. Dallas acquired, and then signed, goaltender Ben Bishop in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings, acquired defenseman Marc Methot in a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights, and signed unrestricted free agent forwards Alexander Radulov, Martin Hanzal and Tyler Pitlick.

Seguin said the signing of Radulov, who agreed to a five-year, $31.25 million contract July 3, had him most excited.

"I was really happy to get a goalie, and when we got Hanzal, I thought to myself, 'That's the forward we probably need,' and that was going to be huge," he said, "but when we topped it off with Radulov, it got me a little giddy. I was definitely excited to see that."

Although they have not met, Seguin said he has been texting with Radulov, who had 54 points (18 goals, 36 assists) in 76 games for the Montreal Canadiens last season, and is hoping he gets the chance to play with the right wing.

"Absolutely, I do," Seguin said. "Obviously with him playing in the Eastern Conference, you don't see him too much. I'll be honest, I've looked at some YouTube clips and stuff, and I can see how good a player he is. He's so good on the puck, he's a good playmaker, and he's a guy who always has good puck-possession numbers. You can see he controls the play, so I'm looking forward to that."

With the improvements made, Seguin knows the expectations will be for the Stars to return to the playoffs and be among the top teams in the conference. Dallas finished as the No. 1 seed in the conference in 2015-16 after going 50-23-9 (109 points).

"I think the expectations from all of us are going to be high," he said. "We've had these summers with the Stars organization where we've made some big moves. It started with my first year (in 2013), there were a lot of big moves that summer. Now with a new coach and new everything, I think this might be the biggest of moves in an offseason. So I don't know how much more you can do with X's and O's; there's no excuses. It's in the room now; it's in our team to put it together starting at training camp."

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