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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The verdict on Seguin

With Boston wrapping up the exhibition season with a 7-1 win over Liberec of the Czech Extraliga in Prague on Tuesday, the 2010-11 NHL season is upon us, and it looks like Tyler Seguin has passed his audition and will be in the big show at the tender age of 18.

He scored four goals in the preseason, albeit three of them coming against the Belfast Giants and Liberec Tigers. However, his snipe against Florida shows just how skilled and offensively savvy he is. The goals, while have to be taken in context, have no doubt done well to instill some confidence going into the season openers this weekend against Phoenix.

If you followed Seguin closely last season and in leading up to the draft where he was the second overall selection, then you already know that many scouts/watchers/observers did not predict instant stardom from him at the NHL level. And, although we've seen his elite skill level on display at times in the summer development camp, rookie games against the Islanders and main camp/preseason, I believe that he's made it known that there will be a learning curve for him. Now, I also said last year that he's a more mature and NHL-ready player than Joe Thornton was 13 years ago and I stand by that.

Seguin doesn't have the crushing, outrageous expectations that Thornton faced coming in, and I think it's a pretty good bet that barring anything unforseen, he'll rack up more than the pittance of seven points Thornton did as an NHL rookie. As long as he can play responsibly in all zones and learn from the mistakes he's bound to make, he'll be fine. And, if his rookie year is more Matt Duchene than Thornton, then so much the better. But, at this point, most B's fans would take a Steven Stamkos-like start as long as it means he progresses and develops.

Seguin also has the luxury of being on a pretty strong, balanced team that has been just one goal away from the conference semi-finals in each of the last two seasons. He comes into Boston with the opportunity to have his ice time controlled until he can better adapt and handle the challenges (read peaks and valleys) he's sure to face in his first campaign. And, don't forget that he got off to a rocky start in his first OHL season before getting comfortable and really turning it on over the last 1.5 years.

This kid is a winner, and I believe the B's got a player they will one day build around. That time is not now, but eventually, Seguin will justify his lofty draft position and be the kind of competitor and leader the team envisions.

So, on that note, the Seguin era in Boston has officially begun.

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