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.

Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

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Saturday, Aug. 27: Adding toughness Habs' priority

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, after a busy morning celebrating my 3-year-old’s birthday at the trampoline park. Yee-ha.

*PHT writer Joey Alfieri says that adding toughness was a big offseason priority for the Montreal Canadiens.

*There’s at least one big fan of the Edmonton Oilers trade that brought defenseman Adam Larsson from the New Jersey Devils, and that fan’s name is Mark Letestu.

*Here’s everything you need to know about the Ice Guardians movie premiering this fall that takes a long, balanced look at the NHL enforcers.

*Roberto Luongo has an alibi for the robbery in Winnipeg with one suspect getting away in goalie equipment, and it’s funny as you would expect it to be.

*CSN Washington takes a look at the New York Rangers in their season previews for the Metro Division.

*I’m not entirely sure whether this “RIP Harambe” thing is genuine or meant to be ironic by the largely millenial group that seem so enamored with it, but I think it’s just stupid. I think the same with the crying Jordan meme…also stupid.

*For something completely different: a look at how Triumph the Insult Comic Dog learned how to poop on Trump’s politics.

 

Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

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Countdown to camp: Danton Heinen

Click here for the gallery.

From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2016-17 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.

Danton Heinen exploded into a high-profile prospect for the Bruins after finishing among the NCAA’s top scoring players a couple of years ago as a freshman along with a couple of guys named Jack Eichel and Dylan Larkin. 

Since then, Heinen has continued to produce offense at the University of Denver and continued to create offense that leads to points. Now, the 21-year-old Heinen will be entering the professional arena for his first full season with the Bruins and he’ll be attempting to transition from the prospect phase to a regular gig in the NHL. That’s the challenge for a talented player who appears headed into a very good opportunity in NHL training camp.

 

What happened last year

Heinen was every bit as explosive in his second season for Denver as he was in his brilliant freshman campaign. He improved on his scoring with 20 goals and 48 points in 41 games. Then Heinen signed with the Bruins at the end of his sophomore season and played in a couple of pro games in the AHL with Providence as a tune-up for this first full pro campaign with the Bruins organization. Heinen finished with two assists and a plus-1 rating in four games with the P-Bruins and showed the coaches in Providence that he was ready to play and produce with more talented players. If Heinen surprised a little bit as a breakout freshman two years ago, his sophomore follow-up in Denver last season proved to everybody that he wasn’t a fluke.

 

Questions to be answered this season

The real question surrounding Heinen is about his ceiling as an NHL player and just how good he can become as a player with the skills and playmaking abilities to be a top-six forward. He’s proven he can dominate at the collegiate level while admittedly playing with some pretty good teammates at Denver. Heinen showed at the end of the season in Providence that the pro scene might not be much different for him. At this point, Heinen simply needs to go out and prove it against the best players in the world and show that his speed, playmaking and hockey sense are all elite in the AHL or NHL. Heinen’s biggest obstacle might be his size. He'll need to survive as a targeted skill player despite not being much more than the 6-feet, 180-pound range for a forward. It’s about average for a playmaking wing in the NHL, but the hits and attention will be at a much more intense level than anything he faced in the NCAA world.

 

What they're saying

“He’s the type of player that he can play with good players because he’s got high hockey IQ and he’s got really good skill. I think anywhere you put him, he’s smart enough to figure it out. I think you’ll notice him during training camp. It will definitely be up to him, but I think he’ll push some guys.” –Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo on Heinen during last month’s development camp where Heinen soared as a performer.

 
Outlook

While Heinen still has some things he’ll need to prove before he’s a regular contributor for the Bruins, he comes into the Boston fold as an experienced player following two very good seasons at the college level. So, Heinen should be a little closer to plug-and-play for Claude Julien than some of the other young players that have come through the system in the past couple of years. Heinen will still need to flash in camp while being handed a big spot to perform with high-end veterans Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci and Brad Marchand potentially off playing in the World Cup of Hockey. Heinen also has a much greater chance of winning an NHL job sooner rather than later after the Bruins lost out on the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes and still have a top-six forward opening that somebody is going to fill. Heinen and Frank Vatrano are the two biggest favorites to fill that position, which became vacant when Loui Eriksson departed for Vancouver. Whichever winger loses that battle should be also be a strong candidate for a role on the third line, as well, barring any late veteran signings by the B’s. That set of circumstances leaves a very good situation for Heinen to potentially walk into with the Black and Gold, but he'll still have to show he’s fully capable of seizing his good fortune and good timing.