|Tyler Seguin looks on during the CHL Super Series.
Tyler Seguin isn't the first hockey player from his family. But any similarity between his style of play and that of his father, Paul, is completely accidental.
"Besides the skating, none at all," Tyler told NHL.com.
Tyler Seguin is the top-rated North American skater on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters eligible for the 2010 Entry Draft. Paul Seguin was a hard-hitting defenseman and part-time forward who his son says had "rock hands" during four years at the University of Vermont.
"I was a very aggressive, tenacious player," Paul Seguin told NHL.com. "I was a defenseman all my life. I played two years at Vermont (at defense), and the third year there was this kid that came in that needed an up-and-down winger and the coach decided I was going to be that guy that could go up and down the wing and bang the guys in the corners, and hopefully the puck would pop out, because I certainly wasn't going to pass it out with my hands. And the centerman happened to be a young kid named John LeClair."
\ When Tyler started playing hockey, Paul didn't want his son to follow in his ice trail.
"Right from the beginning I wanted him to be a forward," Paul said. "I didn't want him to be on the physical side. I played the physical side of the game of hockey. I really wanted him to be on the skilled side of hockey -- be a forward, try to score goals, set up goals, all that kind of stuff. I really pushed that on him."
In his first game, however, Tyler's coach put him back on defense.
"The first time I played I was a defenseman, when I was like 6 or 7," Tyler said. "But I guess I sucked and wanted to play forward, or rushed the puck too much, so they put me back at forward."
That huge sigh of relief came from the direction of Paul Seguin.
"I was like, 'Oh no, he's going to turn into a defenseman,'" Paul said. "But as soon as the puck was anywhere near him, it didn't matter what position he was playing, he was going after it. I knew then he was probably going to be a forward. He wasn't going to hang back and just be a defenseman like his dad. It worked out to both our benefits."
The Plymouth Whalers certainly have appreciated it, as Seguin tied for the OHL scoring lead this season with 106 points. His 48 goals were 25 more than anyone on the team and he helped the Whalers reach the second round of the playoffs.
But before he was embarrassing junior goalies, he was doing the same thing to Paul and his friends.
"Over Christmas-time we rent the ice and all the boys come out and play," Paul said. "Tyler came out when he was 12 or 13 and he could skate like the wind. Tyler was a lot smaller, he didn't grow until he was 14 or 15, but regardless, he always played up with older kids and could always skate, even when he was that young. The guys' claim to fame was they played NCAA and they were great players, and then this 12-year-old comes out on the ice and he can skate around you."
As solid as the offensive part of his game is, Tyler knew he had to improve the defensive aspects of his game to become a top draft prospect this season. That's where advice from dad has come in pretty handy.
"Tyler sees the game to a whole different level then I ever saw it," Paul said. "He sees things in a different way. He's a different player than I was. Usually the only times we talk about his game … we're talking about his defensive play as a centerman. That's one of the things he really tried to focus on this year. Any pointers I gave him were on that side. What side of the puck when you were on during that play? Did you see how it reversed and you were on the offensive side and that's why the play went the other way? If you were on the defensive side you could have helped stop it."
It certainly helped as Tyler finished with a plus-17 rating this season. But that's not all Tyler says he's learned from his father.
"He doesn't really know what it takes to get to the NHL, but he's definitely been pretty close. All growing up, my whole life, he taught me about passion, desire."
Paul Seguin might not have been the offensive force his son is, but a hard-edged style is something both players have in common.Contact Adam Kimelman at firstname.lastname@example.org