LOS ANGELES –
|Tyler Seguin addresses the Edmonton media on his second ever visit to Alberta's capital city. |
Tyler Seguin is nine years old and he’s in paradise: a huge waterpark, a massive carnival and a hockey rink…all under one roof. He’s at West Edmonton Mall playing in the Final of the world famous Brick minor hockey tournament. They lost that game, but the team picture still hangs proudly in Tyler’s bedroom at the Seguin family home in Ontario.
Fast forward nine years to May of 2010 and Tyler and his father are showing the picture off for the thousandth time, this time to visitors from the city where it was taken. It’s a surreal moment for the Seguin’s as they serve lunch to Steve Tambellini and Kevin Lowe, knowing that a month from now Tyler could become one of the most important players in the history of a storied NHL franchise.
Tyler Seguin always had the dream of playing in the NHL, but turned that dream into a legitimate goal in 2008 when he scored his first goal in the OHL. By his recollection, it took him 14 games. He was the ninth overall selection in his OHL draft year, more a victim of his smallish stature than anything else.
As he says, the game was there long before the size. Seguin is a player that couldn’t, or didn’t want to, get by on raw skill and physical ability. He decided early on that his ticket to the show would be to become the anchor of a team; perhaps not the flashiest, but by far the most important.
|Seguin picked up his game last season with Plymouth, but will his impressive development continue? |
You hear a lot of talk about his right-handed shot as a natural center. Most hockey types will tell you that, when in doubt, building with a strong core down the middle is an excellent option. A skilled, cerebral centerman can play for you in all three zones, in all situations and will make all of the players on the ice with him better when he’s on.
Seguin certainly fits this bill, having put up 106 points this past season in Plymouth of the OHL while flanked by a group of talent much less impressive than what Taylor Hall
had around him in Windsor. His game, relying on position and hockey sense as much as anything, should transfer easily into the pro game. He’s also got an incredible shot.
When I talked to Tyler and asked him why he thought he deserved to be drafted first overall, one of the things he pointed out first was his rapid development curve over the last couple of years. This is a tremendous sign if that growth curve continues, but it’s worthwhile to question whether or not that’s sustainable.
Right now, he’s not as NHL ready as Taylor Hall
and the argument for Seguin is generally centered around projections that he’ll continue to develop at the same rate and will be a better player when they hit their mid-20’s. With that line of thinking, there’s an obvious element of risk. I suppose the ultimate question ends up being, is this Kyle Turris or Jonathan Toews?