Its only natural for Bruins fans to look at Tyler Seguin absolutely lighting it up in Switzerland, and wonder if theyd be watching him blossom into an NHL superstar this year if there hadnt been a lockout.
The 20-year-old Seguin potted a jaw-dropping 20 goals in his first 20 games skating for EHC Biel in the Swiss-A League, and overall has 32 points and 20 penalty minutes in 21 games for Biel. Hes adapted nicely to the speedy European League, and leads all NHL players in the Swiss League with his 20 goals. Thats more goals than an impressive list of Rick Nash, Joe Thornton, John Tavares, Logan Couture, Jason Spezza or Patrice Bergeron, who are all skating in the top Swiss League right along with Seguin.
In fact one could make the argument that Seguin has been the best, most valuable NHL player while in Europe over the last few months during the lockout. Seguin struggled slightly coming out of the gate when he first arrived in October, but he steadily improved before Blackhawks refugee Patrick Kane arrived to form a dynamic scoring duo with the Bruins prodigy. With nothing but European food that's a little different and bad "Dear John" episodes playing on the only English channel on his television, it appears Seguin is fully focused on hockey.
"I had no idea what to expect when I came to Switzerland," he told the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper recently. "The league is very competitive -- the speed and the talent level of the players has surprised me. It took me some time and effort to get used to it.
"Scoring goals is never easy; I didn't do very well at the beginning. Now I just hope to continue playing well like I have been lately.
Amazingly Seguin has also been a part of Biels penalty kill special teams unit something that never happened in his first two years skating under head coach Claude Julien and is killing penalties for the first time in his pro career. Seguin even tweeted about it after scoring on a short-handed goal following a shot that he blocked to start the scoring opportunity: something that never happened in Boston.
"Got a shorthanded goal the other night. Wonder if @NHLBruins will see it. blockshots" tweeted Seguin.
Clearly Seguin wouldnt be a goal-per-game player in the NHL this season, but many talented youngsters really make that ascension to something special during their third year in the league. In terms of recent Bruins players Phil Kessel exploded for 36 goals and 60 points in his third and final season in Boston before forcing his way to the Toronto Maple Leafs, and seemed to finally come into his full scoring powers as he turned 21 years old.
So its natural to wonder how much better Seguin would be than the All-Star forward that finished with 29 goals and 67 points last season, and project how good hell be if the NHL lockout lifts in December or January. Dont be surprised to see Seguin around Boston in the next few weeks as Biel goes on another lengthy break from games between Dec. 9-17.
But hell go back to piling up hat tricks in Switzerland if nothing is accomplished with the CBA by then, and Seguin simply just wanting to play hockey.