Cam Neely: Seguin 'a good kid'
BOSTON – The only key member of the Bruins organization that hadn’t weighed in on the Tyler Seguin trade with Dallas was Boston Bruins President Cam Neely, and the Hall of Famer finally did that on Tuesday afternoon.
Neely joined the Felger and Mazz Show, and referenced both on and off ice reasons for dealing the 21-year-old talent to the Stars along with Rich Peverley for a more affordable right winger Loui Eriksson and a host of young prospects. In essence, Neely painted the picture of a youngster in Seguin that perhaps needed something of a “wake-up call” in his career to reach his potential.
“There were a couple of factors that have been mentioned out there both on and off the ice. Personally I think Tyler is a good kid,” said Neely. “He’s got a lot of skill, but he needs to understand what he needs to do to be successful on the ice, and he needs a little understanding about what he needs to do off the ice to have a long and successful career.
“You’re dealing with a young kid, but there’s always the concern if he’ll understand what it takes to be the player, or the professional, that you’d like to see. Unfortunately what you normally see is a dramatic event in somebody’s life where it does give him that wake-up call.”
The head member of Bruins management also referenced a number of “conversations” the organization held with Seguin over the years, which included last season’s missed breakfast meeting in Winnipeg that resulted in a one-game suspension as well as a series of late nights out in Toronto during the first round of the playoffs. Neely didn’t speak of either incident specifically, but spoke of the balancing act between bringing along an exceedingly immature 21-year-old kid with the bare minimum needed to be a professional.
“It’s a difficult thing to move on from him. He’s a good kid, and he’s got a way about him where you really feel like he still is a kid. At that age you know there is a lot of upside there, and that makes it a difficult decision,” said Neely. “I don’t think there was any one thing. We’ve seen him develop over the last three years. I’m not going to get into specifics, but there have been a lot of conversations over those last three years about the way we’d like to see him mature and grow along the way.”
At the end of the day the lack of forward development on the ice in becoming a Bruins caliber player, the slow rate of maturity off the ice, the high cap hit of $5.75 million per year that was kicking in on July 1 and the lure of Eriksson plus prospects was too much for Boston to ignore. They pulled the trigger on the deal with Dallas once it was sweetened following draft weekend, and arguably have a better team in the short term because of the hockey trade.
“I wouldn’t classify it as a bail. We got a really, really strong return on Tyler. If it was a bail we wouldn’t have received that kind of return,” said Neely. “We all felt it was time to see and explore what we could get for Tyler at this point in his career, and if the return made sense then we would do something.