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Seguin Excited for Second Season With Stars

by Mike G. Morreale / Dallas Stars

NHL.com continues its preview of the 2014-15 season, which will include in-depth looks at all 30 teams throughout September.

Dallas Stars center Tyler Seguin said he never considered cutting ties with his friends and teammates from his time with the Boston Bruins after his scintillating offensive outburst in his first season in the Lone Star State in 2013-14.

He celebrated a Stanley Cup championship with the Bruins in 2010-11 and won't soon forget the work and sacrifices made for that dream to become a reality his rookie season.

"It's one thing to be on a team, but winning a Stanley Cup is something you never forget," Seguin said. "It's hard to just cut off those ties and those friendships and the feelings shared with those guys."

Seguin now is on a mission to help his new team experience the same thing he did with the Bruins. He believes that goal is attainable with the new acquisitions in place and Stanley Cup Playoff experience the team got last season.

"We're not the biggest team, but we're quick and fast and we work and compete and that's a huge stress point in our locker room," Seguin said.

The 22-year-old forward said he was pleasantly surprised when he learned general manager Jim Nill had traded for Jason Spezza and signed Ales Hemsky and Patrick Eaves.

"I thought it was just a rumor and couldn't believe that Jim pulled off [the acquisitions]," Seguin said. "It's very exciting to get Jason and Ales on board, and knowing that Patrick will only provide us more depth. We're filling pieces that needed to be filled, and knowing what we did last year these improvements will help even more.

"There are some teams that don't change and get worse but we've gotten better so right now everyone is wishing it was October because we're excited to get started."

After leading the team with 37 goals, 47 assists and 84 points, Seguin still feels there's a lot more he can do to become an even better player.

"There's a big difference between being a center in the NHL and playing center in junior," Seguin said. "I didn't realize how great a difference it was until doing it firsthand last year, but I'm looking forward to improving. And if I can improve I know the team will improve."

Seguin said he expects even more from a few young players who made an impact in 2013-14. At the top of that list is Valeri Nichushkin, who had 14 goals and 34 points as a rookie last season.

"I think Val's still figuring out North America but he was getting better as the year went on," Seguin said. "He's hopefully going to surprise a lot of people this season. He stepped into the NHL, earned ice time on the top line, learned this type of style in a short period and handled it a lot better than I would have as an 18-year-old."

Seguin laughed when asked how much better the team can be in 2014-15. Having played in both conferences, he feels the competition in the West is stronger than the East.

"I mean, we play in the easiest division [Central Division] in hockey, right?" he joked. "It's difficult and a grind but it's really good for you as a team. By the time the playoffs roll around, it's as if we're already playoff-tested because the Central is such a demanding division. I think if you survive that and make the playoffs, you'll be a lot more successful.

"We finished eighth in the Western Conference last season and were fighting for our lives, but that was the most fun I've had playing hockey in my life."

One thing is certain: Seguin knows captain Jamie Benn will play an integral role in any success the team has this season because "he's that good."

"He came back an even better player after his participation in the [2014 Sochi] Olympics and I feel he put himself on the hockey map as an even better player and leader," Seguin said. "He got his first taste of the playoffs and I'm looking forward to what we can accomplish as teammates for years to come."

After scoring two goals in six games to help Canada to an Olympic gold medal, Benn returned to the Stars lineup and had 12 goals and 28 points in the final 23 games of the regular season. He then had four goals and one assist in six playoff games.

"There's not much he can't do for a guy as big as he is," Seguin said. "I mean, I consider myself a fast player but Jamie has never been behind me. He can shoot, score, hit and fight, so he's pretty much as complete a player as you'll ever see."

Follow Mike Morreale on Twitter: @mikemorrealeNHL

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