He carries with him the pressure of living up to being the second overall pick in the 2010 draft. He carries with him the stigma of being called immature by his former team. He carries with him a sweater that is adorned by no letters. He is Tyler Seguin and he is handling the pressure, outgrowing the immaturity and could care less about the letters.
All Seguin did in an All-Star first half of the season was tie for the league lead in goals while finishing second in points. You bet he deserved an All Star nod. “He’s had a phenomenal first half,” Jason Spezza said. “It is nice to see your teammates get recognized, he’s one of the bright young stars in this game.”
Seguin proved it again on Sunday when he tallied four points (2 goals and 2 assists) in a record setting All-Star game. This was his third trip to the mid-winter classic and finally he is feeling like he belongs. “I grew up watching Ovechkin and Crosby and got a chance to meet them. That is the most nervous I have ever been in my life,” Seguin confided as he recalled his first All-Star experience. “This is my third time so now I’m more experienced.”
Clearly he was not nervous either, as he was among the best of the best Sunday which is exactly where he wants to be. “It has changed a little bit, because now I want to be the best player in the game,” Seguin said when asked if he is still star struck by the best players in the game. “But that has only been for the last year or two.”
As you watched a parade or enjoyed fireworks on July 4th, 2013, Tyler celebrated his independence too. He was traded that day from Boston with Rich Peverley and Ryan Button to Dallas for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow. In part to justify trading the second overall pick away, Bruins management was critical of Seguin on the way out the door, claiming he was immature. Seguin was so happy that he had a party that night on Cape Cod with one of his best buddies rapper Mike Stud.
Tyler has never looked back, nor has he shown any of the immaturity that caused Bruins management to make such a lopsided move. In addition he was better than a point a game guy last season with 84 points in 80 games. He has developed great chemistry with linemate and captain Jamie Benn who is very happy that Tyler was the lone Star at the All-Star Game. “He definitely deserves it this year,” Benn said. “He’s been having a great year – obviously he has a knack for scoring goals. He’s been a pleasure to watch this year.”
Stars fans agree and attendance at the arena is up. Ratings on Fox Sports Southwest are up. Still, no one wants to see this team take a step backwards, after returning to the playoffs last year the expectations are rising. If the playoffs started today, the Stars would be left out thanks to an inconsistent first half of the season. “We were losing, especially early on, 6-5 and 5-4,” Seguin said. “We really had to get back to the drawing board and focus on our D-zone.”
With 35 games left the reality is the Stars need points, and like the Stars of the late 90s before them, that may start with defense. Not too much defense, but neither can they be overly offensive like early in the year. What these offensive minded players must achieve is a two way game, and Seguin believes he has made progress toward finding one. “One hundred percent I think I have,” Seguin said. “Maybe sometimes I am thinking too much D-zone. Myself and the team have to find that balance, but growing my two-way game has been a huge factor for me the last couple of years.”
Sound familiar? Long time Stars fans remember that Mike Modano had to do the same thing. And how did that turn out?