Seguin/By S. Bradley

There seems to be no ceiling on the expectations readers of have for Bruins forward Tyler Seguin.

Entering his sophomore season after scoring 22 points (11 goals) in 74 regular-season games as a rookie, the public wants to see what Seguin can do skating next to Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

Who should replace Mark Recchi on the Bergeron Line?

  • Tyler Seguin (52%, 182 Votes)
  • Rich Peverley (27%, 95 Votes)
  • Jordan Caron (18%, 62 Votes)
  • Someone else (write in comments section) (3%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 348

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Seguin won the vote in overwhelming fashion, nearly doubling his closest challenger Rich Peverley’s vote total.

Unfortunately, at least to start the 2011-12 campaign, readers are probably going to be disappointed. There are two things working against Seguin filling the right-wing spot on Bergeron’s line vacated by Mark Recchi’s retirement.

One, the Bruins’ best bet is to start playing Seguin at center on a regular basis in an effort to get him to blossom into the all-around talent they believe he can be. Two, with the Bergeron line receiving a large amount of ice time in defensive situations, there’s no way head coach Claude Julien is going to trust a teenager to fill that spot based on one full season and an exhibition schedule.

Peverley is probably the early favorite to win that job, which he held for short stints after he joined Boston last season. While Peverley is only an average defender at best, he’s shown a willingness to be responsible and his faceoff aptitude could take some heat off of Bergeron.

Down the road, Caron would project to be the type of player that could be a perfect fit in this type of role. But coming off just one pro season, which was spent mostly in the American Hockey League, Caron is going to have to go above and beyond just to make the team. So a spot in Boston’s top six is unlikely to be his right off the bat.

Going back to Seguin, the Bruins’ depth up front is such that he can play his natural center position now and have plenty of back-up on his wings from guys, especially Peverley and Chris Kelly, who have played plenty of center in their careers. In Kelly’s case, as a left-handed shot, he could help out the right-handed Seguin by splitting the faceoffs. And whatever combination of Peverley, Kelly or Daniel Paille fills the wings next to Seguin can hold their own in the defensive zone and tutor Seguin.

In fact, if I was going to play Seguin on wing this season, I might experiment with him on David Krejci’s line, with either Milan Lucic or Nathan Horton dropping onto Bergeron’s line. While he would still have plenty of defensive responsibility on his plate, Seguin would have an even better chance to explode offensively with Krejci setting him up. He could also build a chemistry with Krejci that could carry over to the power play.

It’s a bit risky to break up the chemistry Krejci’s line enjoyed last season, but things could also get stale after around 100 games together.

So on this point, I disagree with my readers about Seguin filling Recchi’s spot this season. However, you can expect to see a lot of different combinations in training camp and when the exhibition schedule starts as Julien tries to figure out how to make up for the loss of Recchi and Michael Ryder, and get his team’s juices flowing early on in its defense of the Stanley Cup title.