Bruins' Seguin to start season on wing

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Bruins' Seguin to start season on wing

By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs

Tyler Seguin led the Bruins in goal-scoring during the preseason and pried open plenty of doubting eyes along the way.

Its pretty clear the 19-year-old is going to get his chance to jump up and seize a much larger role with the Bruins in his second NHL season. That could be a very good thing for the Bruins as a more explosive Seguin goes a long way toward alleviating some of the Stanley Cup hangover discussion.

In fact Seguin might just be the greatest hangover cure since Gatorade and greasy food were entered into the equation.

It also appears that the journey toward NHL stardom for Seguin will start at the wing spot in his second season with the Bruins a fact that Claude Julien confirmed on Monday afternoon with the caveat that could evolve during the 82-game regular season.

Seguin will use his skating speed and searing shot to create scoring chances from all over the offensive end, and likely wont hit the middle unless injuries gnaw away at the center depth piled up with David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Gregory Campbell and Chris Kelly manning the pivot. The teenager has said often that his approach doesnt change offensively whether hes playing center or wing, but it wont be surprising if Seguin shoots the puck just a little more as a winger than he might have manning the pivot.

Perhaps that could be the difference between 15 goals or 25 goals for Seguin if hes given the power play time and ice time hes made it a mission to earn this season.

Youre probably going to see a little bit of center and wing from him, said Julien when asked specifically about Seguins position. Youve got to look at what we have at center and where they are--when you have a David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron and Chris Kelly, hes such a good two-way center-man, and Gregory Campbell.

In Tylers case you dont want him playing center-man on the fourth line . . . its not the role thats suitable for him. But at the same time its also not easy for him to come in and take David Krejcis or Patrice Bergerons spot, so the chances of him playing center would be from injures along the way.

It appears Julien has also switched into regular season mode, however, as he took Seguins situation as a ripe opportunity to challenge his current group of centers should they grow lackadaisical during the season. Seguin gives the Bs coaching staff a player that could thrive as a top-six center in the NHL if circumstances were a little bit different for Boston, and that gives Julien an effective cudgel when it comes to things like effort and compete level.

The coaches switch lines along the way to get peoples attention at times (as well), said Julien. The one thing we know is that he can play both and well find him time at each spot depending on the flow of the chemistry of our team. We understand too that Seguin is a high quality player with a high level or skill. I think right now with the way hes conducted himself in training camp, hes given himself the opportunity to bring a lot more -- to play a bigger role this year. A lot of that is going to depend on Tyler and how much he wants it.

If training camp was any indication, the 19-year-old coming off a Stanley Cup-winning season wants it pretty badly.

Joe Haggerty can be reached at jhaggerty@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Joe on Twitter at http:twitter.comHackswithHaggs.

Haggerty: Loss of Colin Miller not a significant one for Bruins

Haggerty: Loss of Colin Miller not a significant one for Bruins

There will be some that will absolutely crucify the Bruins for losing Colin Miller in Wednesday night’s expansion draft, and rail against an asset that was lost for nothing. Those people will also miss the absolutely essential point that the whole raison d’etre for an expansion draft is to remove assets from each of the 30 NHL teams, and do it without a cost for the benefit of the new franchise opening up shop in Las Vegas.

It could have been much worse for the Black and Gold as some teams were shipping first round picks to Vegas to shelter their own players from expansion selection, and other teams were losing essential players like James Neal, Marc Methot and David Perron from their respective rosters. The B’s didn’t entertain overpaying simply to avoid losing a useful player, and clearly, they did lose a talented, still undeveloped player in the 24-year-old Miller, who now may be flipped to the Toronto Maple Leafs in a side deal with Vegas.

But let’s be honest here. A whole lot of people are vastly overestimating a player in Miller that’s long on tools and very short on putting them together, and they’re also vastly underestimating Kevan Miller. The younger Miller can skate like the wind and has a bazooka of a shot when he winds up and fires his clapper at the net.

But despite those clear offensive talents, Colin had the same number of points as stay-at-home defenseman Kevan this season despite the bigger, stronger and older Miller playing three less games this season. Kevan also had more goals (five) and more points (18) than Colin did two years ago in his rookie season for Boston.

This isn’t to say that Colin doesn’t have more discernible offensive skill than Kevan when it comes to moving the puck or creating offense. He does, but all that talent hasn’t manifested into real points, real offense or anything else for the Black and Gold over the last couple of seasons. At a certain point, a prospect like Colin needs to put all the tools together into production on the ice if he wants to become the sum of his hockey parts, and that hasn’t happened in two full seasons in Boston.

Instead, Miller continues to struggle with decision-making with the puck, consistency and finding ways to turn the quality skating and shot package into any kind of playmaking on the ice. Miller had his challenges defensively and he was never going to be the most physical guy on the ice, but those could have been overlooked if he was lighting it up in the offensive zone on a regular basis.

Plain and simple that wasn’t happening, and over the last season 20-year-old Brandon Carlo and 19-year-old Charlie McAvoy passed Miller on the organizational depth chart for right shot defenseman, and either Adam McQuaid or Kevan Miller would slot in as the third pairing D-man on the right side. It’s clear at this point that Colin Miller needs more time and patience if he’s ever going to develop as a late-blooming defenseman at the NHL level, and he wasn’t going to get those opportunities to develop in Boston.

So how good can Colin Miller really be if he was about to get buried on a Boston defensive depth chart without much hope of being in the starting six every night unless he was able to magically transform himself into a top-4 guy on the left side?

Clearly, there is risk here as Miller could move on to Toronto, develop into the player that posted 19 goals and 52 points in the AHL a couple of seasons ago and torment the Bruins for the next five-plus years. It would become another arrow in the quiver of those critics looking to hammer GM Don Sweeney and President Cam Neely at every turn, and it would generate massive “Why can’t we get players like that?” homages to the legendary Bob Lobel all across New England.    

But there’s just as good a chance that Kevan Miller will still be throwing hits and soaking up heavy minutes of ice time for the Bruins three years down the road, and that Colin Miller will be out of the league after never harnessing together his considerable talent. Perhaps Sweeney could have been better about securing an asset for Miller ahead of the expansion draft if he knew he was going to lose that player for nothing to Vegas.

The bottom line is that the Bruins were going to lose somebody to Las Vegas in the expansion draft, and the Golden Knights weren’t going to do them any favors by taking on misfit toys like Jimmy Hayes, Malcolm Subban or Matt Beleskey. They did instead lose a player with plenty of raw talent in Colin Miller, but it’s not exactly somebody that’s going to be missed in Boston once Carlo and McAvoy start showing just how bright the B’s future is on the back end starting next season. 

Bergeron makes Bruins history with fourth Selke Trophy

Bergeron makes Bruins history with fourth Selke Trophy

Patrice Bergeron made hockey history on Wednesday night at the NHL Awards Show in easily the best moment of the evening for the Bruins.

That’s right. Boston’s beloved No. 37 won the fourth Selke Trophy of his career at the NHL Awards presentation recognizing the standouts from the 2016-17 season, and in doing so Bergeron became only the second player in NHL history (Bob Gainey) to win the defensive award in four different seasons. The Habs legend Gainey made the presentation of the award to No. 37 at the event, and it certainly felt like the passing of the Selke baton from the best defensive forward of the last generation to the best defensive forward of this generation.  

“I’m humbled. It’s a huge honor. It’s also a huge honor to get [the award] from Mr. Gainey. He’s somebody I looked up to and he was a great role model for kids when I was growing up,” said Bergeron. “It’s a huge honor that I couldn’t do without everybody back home in Boston.”

This particular award had to be extra sweet for the 31-year-old Bergeron after playing injured for the entire season while battling through the discomfort of a sports hernia, and in doing so helping to lead the improving B’s back into the playoffs.

Clearly, Bergeron’s teammates were pumped for him as Brad Marchand tweeted out a little line love after the awards were announced.

Bergeron was the NHL's busiest player in the face-off circle for the third consecutive season, leading the league with 1,812 draws and 1,089 winning face-offs. His draw winning percentage of 60.1% ranked third in the NHL, and he did so while continuing to score high in the puck-possession statistical categories across the league. Bergeron finished with 71 first place votes ahead of second place Ryan Kesler, and third place Mikko Koivu with 28 first place votes.

In the other good news department, Bergeron told reporters in Las Vegas that he’s feeling good physically following surgery and should be healthy and ready to go at the start of next season.