WILMINGTON, Mass. — It’s debatable whether Bruins rookie Tyler Seguin, who has put up 2-2-4 totals in his four games since consecutive healthy scratches, will now get enough ice time to continue to flourish if he’s skating on the fourth line to start Boston’s upcoming four-game road trip.
Seguin had been centering Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler prior to Friday’s trade with Atlanta. For practice today, head coach Claude Julien went ahead with his plan to mix Ryder with newcomers Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley, while dropping Seguin to a line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton (with Daniel Paille mixing in).
Should the Bruins opt to dress Seguin in Calgary Tuesday night for the trip opener, Julien doesn’t expect the speedster to be limited in his duties.
“I think if he is [in the lineup and on the fourth line], that’s one thing. The other thing is, you can spot him in different areas too,” said Julien, who noted that post-power play and post-penalty kill situations should open up ice time for the No. 2 overall pick.
If Seguin is in there and skating alongside Campbell and Thornton, he won’t lack for offensive opportunities with that duo’s ability to get the puck deep and keep teams hemmed in their own end. If Seguin’s on his line, Campbell’s looking forward to having the improved first-year pro at his right.
“Ty’s got exceptional skill; I mean that’s obvious,” said Campbell. “And he brings a lot of speed. So with me being a centerman and him being a centerman, we can kind of interchange as far as communicating together on the ice and supporting each other. I think it can be a good fit. He’s been playing real well lately.”
With standings points at a premium and Boston’s top nine filled up (in Julien’s eyes anyway) after the recent trades with Atlanta and Ottawa, Julien and his staff might be hesitant to go with Seguin over Paille in a fourth-line role. But at this point in his development, especially in light of his recent more-engaged play, any ice time for Seguin would be better than none. Sitting the kid after he got his act together post-scratches really doesn’t send the right message.
We’ll find out if Julien agrees when the team take the ice Tuesday in Calgary.