WILMINGTON, Mass. — Although he’s been a healthy scratch for three of the last five games, Bruins forward Tyler Seguin thinks he’s still getting a fair shot to earn time and feels a part of the team.
“Really, it’s like a tryout every practice. Every practice you’ve got to go out there and try to show your stuff,” said the 2010 No. 2 overall pick after a pre-road trip practice at Ristuccia Arena. “Being in and out of the lineup definitely sucks, but I still feel a part of this club. We’re a very big family and I feel part of that. I support the boys no matter what I’m doing to be a part of it.”
In 61 games, Seguin has produced 10 goals, 21 points and a minus-1 rating in a little more than 12 minutes per game on average.
He’s gone seven games without a goal, but part of that can be attributed to playing wing on Boston’s fourth line, which hasn’t exactly been racking up the points lately. In fact, in four of his last five games Seguin has skated on a line with Gregory Campbell and Shawn Thornton. He hasn’t gotten a sniff of power-play time since the first half of the season.
In his expansive answer Sunday about where Seguin fits in on his team, Bruins head coach Claude Julien emphasized that he doesn’t see the 19-year-old as a fourth-line player and Boston’s top nine is just too crowded to fit Seguin in. Julien turned his feelings into actions by skating Seguin on the third line with Mark Recchi, Michael Ryder and Chris Kelly the last two days instead of on the fourth line. Barring a major injury or drop-off in performance by any of the Bruins’ top nine though, it’s unlikely we’ll see Seguin featured in more than a bit role through the end of the season.
At least publicly, Seguin says he understands the situation.
“I understand. We do have our top three lines, there’s so much skill on those lines, and they’ve already come up with the chemistry,” Seguin said. “I understand why he’s not going to just pop in the young kid on that line. I’ve got to try to get all the stuff I can get. I’ve got to do more with less, just try to get through.”
Admittedly, Seguin’s struggles in his first year of pro hockey have been about more than just production. He lacks a physical element to his game and hasn’t done enough battling in front of the net or in the corners to justify a regular spot anywhere among Boston’s dozen forwards.
To his credit, every day he stays out extra long after practices and morning skates and tries to show the coaching staff that he’s ready to get another chance. Seguin hasn’t show the ability to carry over the accumulated knowledge and improved skills to the games, so you can’t blame the Bruins’ coaching staff for keeping Seguin sidelined with points at such a premium down the stretch of the season.
Even as he continues to sit — and there’s no reason to believe he’ll get a chance to play even on the upcoming three-game road trip — Seguin says the right things and doesn’t ruffle any feathers.
“It’s definitely tough. But I just try to do everything I can to really get back in the lineup,” he said. “[Daniel] Paille’s been playing well and it’s hard to compete with that when you’re sitting in the stands. You’ve just got to do what you’ve got to do and try to get back in there.”
If Seguin subscribes to his “do what you’ve got to do” theory for the long haul, he’ll be able to turn all his sitting into something positive for his career down the road.