By Joe Haggerty
CSNNE.com Bruins Insider Follow @hackswithhaggs
MONTREAL The growth spurt for Tyler Seguin was expected to be expansive in Year No. 2 for the budding hockey prodigy.
Well, its been so far, so good in training camp for the Black and Golden Child and his Bruins.
Seguin followed up a multi-point performance and highlight-reel goal in Halifax by collecting a goal in his second straight game en route to snatching the games No. 1 star at the Bell Centre Monday night in a 2-1 victory. His teammates have certainly taken notice.
I knew he was going to come here and be excited to contribute this season, said Patrice Bergeron of Seguin. I remember my second year I felt that way. I knew I could play in the league and I learned a lot.
Hes a smart kid and he made sure he was going to be ready even though it was a short offseason. You could tell right away that his skating it was good before was even better and he has a bit more confidence to finish off some plays.
Hes done all this while bouncing between playing center for one set of teammates and right wing for David Krejci and Milan Lucic on the Bs No. 1 line Monday night and taking it all in stride.
Seguins only misstep during this entire camp was a subpar game in Ottawa when the entire squad seemed to suffer a bout of tired legs and camp fatigue simultaneously, but Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli has token note of his bright prospects upward trend throughout camp. Seguin was sharp in drills among his veteran teammates in the opening few days
There were a couple of days where there might have been a little fatigue, but hes been very good throughout camp, said Chiarelli. Seguin has been one of our best players in camp this year.
Thats a long way from the raw young skater that made his debut in the very same Bell Centre last September as an unsure rookie going through everything for the first time. Seguin is a more confident, stronger version of himself going through the NHL dog and pony show for the second time, and the 19-year-old is the living, breathing, shooting and scoring embodiment of exactly how the Bruins can avoid a major Stanley Cup hangover this season.
I was going in blind last year, said Seguin. I looked at it as there would be things that I didnt know. It could get kind of annoying because you wanted to know everything, and you wanted to have results. But sometimes you have to go with it and keep learning and take a step back.
There were certain decisions made at first where I was like this sucks, but you learn, you adapt and you have to realize that youre not always going to jump into this league and be a top-line guy. Youve got to go slow, learn it and get some experience under your belt before you can do some things. But Im feeling a lot more comfortable and confident this season than last. It feels good when it finally pays off whether its on the score sheet or getting scoring chances.
The Bruins have been quick to point out that 17 members of last years Stanley Cup winning core are back this season for another crack, but the single biggest growth area on the team likely resides with Seguin.
If the teenager can develop into a 25-goal scorer with explosive skills and power play prowess this season, Seguin would take a great deal of pressure off the players that carried the heaviest playing load last year.
Hes looked like that more often than not, headed into training camp with an additional 10 pounds of muscle and a calmer approach to puck control, watching plays develop and distributing to others for offensive chances. Seguin set up Jordan Caron for multiple scoring chances in Halifax with cross-ice passes concocted with rare ice vision and a newfound sureness that his passes will hit their desired target rather than create a negative play.
The duo finally connected for a Caron score on a long stretch pass in the third period on Sunday night, and its unequivocally the kind of set up Seguin would have been hesitant about attempting as a rookie finding his way. It was a little risky and a little dangerous, but it was also more than a little effective at springing his line mate for a goal.
Horton was wheeling down the boards and had a couple of guys with him, and I kind of posted up just inside the blue line, said Seguin. I received the puck and I heard Caron yelling for it. I made kind of a dangerous pass where they -- if it didnt get through -- they could have gone. But lucky enough it got through and Caron took the one-timer without making a mistake.
Its that kind of unpredictable playmaking and willingness to execute offensive plays that will take Seguin to another level this season provided he gets the ice time and perhaps a few power play reps as well.
To those watching Seguin ascend in his second camp, its plainly and simply about believing in everything that hes doing out on the ice.
Tyler is playing with more confidence this year. He has a year under his belt and he knows what he has to do in this league, said Julien. Confidence and experience do a lot of things for players in this league, and you see it with Tyler.
He did that again tonight with precision dishes that gave Milan Lucic and Caron opportunities to rip shots at Carey Price, and a right place at the right time goal created by the rebound of a Matt Bartkowski shot from the outside of the right face-off circle.
So Seguin has scored two preseason goals in two days with one on a thrilling rush up the right wing while playing center, and a second on Monday night while scraping around the net and beating Habs defensemen to the free puck.
Seguin is by no means a finished product in his second NHL season before being legally able to drink alcohol or rent a car without hassles in the United States, but hes ready to be a difference-maker for a Bruins team fighting back a massive Cup hangover.