Julien: We don't expect Seguin to become a defensive player

Julien: We don't expect Seguin to become a defensive player
February 27, 2013, 3:15 pm
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WILMINGTON -- Don't get it confused.

The Bruins are a defensive-minded team. But Tyler Seguin is an offensive talent.

Amidst the B's 12-2-2 start to the lockout-shortened season, Seguin has been the subject of questions from the outside, the biggest question being, "Why does he only have three goals in 16 games?"

It's a fair question, for sure. He's coming off a 29-goal season, and he was thought to be one of the few players who would be more prone to a quick start, given the fact that he played at a high level overseas during the lockout.

But he started was slow, and the goals still aren't coming at the pace most in Boston would like.

On Tuesday night, Seguin made the type of play that not many will talk about, mainly because it didn't result in a goal in Boston's 4-1 win over the Islanders.

But his forechecking effort and playmaking ability created Adam McQuaid's blast from the right point that trickled through Evgeni Nabokov and into the net for the first goal of the game.

"His whole game has been pretty impressive, the way he's back checked, the way he's played defensively," said coach Claude Julien. "[Offensively], things are starting to come around for him. His line is producing. Marchand is a guy that benefits a lot from those goals, but Seguin is there too. He's in those dirty spots, even in front of the net at times, battling. So I think it's just a matter of time.

"A lot of those situations, when a guy starts to score, they often come in bunches. So no doubt he'll catch up to his numbers, as far as goal scoring is concerned."

Seguin didn't catch up on Tuesday night in Long Island. But he portrayed the type of effort combined with his sometimes overlooked playmaking ability to beat Islanders defenseman Travis Harmonic to a loose puck in the offensive zone, take the puck back up the boards, toe drag on an Islanders forward, and send a risky pass underneath a stick and to McQuaid at right point.

It's that type of play that signifies Seguin's offensive worth.

When the goals aren't coming -- and they're not -- Seguin's harshest critics point at his defensive game. And while that has certainly improved, it's not what he's known for.

Nor should it be.

Seguin was drafted for his offense. Like so many other skilled forwards throughout the NHL, that type of offensive talent trumps any and everything he does in his own end.

His play that created the first goal of the game on Tuesday night was another example of that.

The Bruins expect Seguin to break out and start putting the puck into the net at some point. Seguin expects it to happen too. But in the meantime, don't overlook Seguin's other offensive qualities.

Don't get it twisted. Seguin is an offensive player. And he always will be.

"The one thing I don't want you guys to get confused about, is that, we don't expect him to become a defensive player," said Julien after Wednesday's practice. "He's a goal scorer. He's an offensive player. And we want him to thrive in those areas. But for him, to become a real good two-way player and take as much pride on the other end of the rink, is a bonus for us.

"He's making a lot of things happen . . . It's just a matter of time before he starts to score. That's why we drafted him, for his offensive skills. So that has to continue. As I've often said to the young players that come in, 'We're not trying to change you, but if there's certain things we can add to your game, without subtracting, that's the benefit of becoming a better player.'"