I reverse my longly held position that Edmonton Oilers made a mistake not drafting Tyler Seguin. He's not a better player than Taylor Hall, and I'm starting to think it isn't that close.
Tyler Seguin can do three things at an extremely high level: He can skate like the wind, he has a fantastic snap shot, and he's lethal on breakaways. But this season it's been increasingly obvious to me what Tyler Seguin cannot do at a high level:
- He has no idea how to enter to offensive zone with the puck. Seguin regularly turns it over at the blueline, either by bumping into teammates along the way, drop-passing it to no-man's land, or simply fumbling it out of his possession at the most harmless looking poke-check.
- Even if he does enter the zone with the puck, he almost never manages to create opportunities for his teammates beyond a burst of speed to the outside and heaving it across the middle or back to the point when the D over-commits. If the play evolves to anything more complicated than just an outside rush to the net, he's ends up wandering through the offensive zone on the weak-side waiting for a pass that never comes or he's in support on the strong side, stationary, and ends up collecting a pass and chucking it to the point like he’s a robot.
In other words, Tyler Seguin has no hockey sense. He has no feel for his teammates and no creativity when he has the puck in his hands and he has no feel for the play without the puck. The only thing that makes Seguin a top player is the fact that he can absolutely bury the opportunities that he does get, and his speed is world class. When it comes to stick-handling, when it comes to shaking a defender by outsmarting him or working with a line-mate to get into opportunistic spots, he’s hopeless, and you know what? I don’t think it will ever change.
Look around the NHL, do you see players that really substantially change their games at any point in their career? Sure, guys get stronger. But do you ever see players that were not scorers become snipers, or players that could not stick-handle become great with the puck, or guys that can’t pass become playmakers? No, you really don’t. I don’t think Tyler Seguin has the hockey smarts to be that player that we need him to be. Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, and Milan Lucic have way more hockey sense than Tyler Seguin, and from what I saw, Ryan Spooner does to.
Does that mean I want Seguin out of here? No, I like him and I think he’s a great asset to the team, but I no longer think it’s a problem that’s he’s playing wing (because he may not have the sense to play center), and I no longer think he’s the future of the franchise. Tyler Seguin is a good supporting player; he’s a second tier 1st line wing. That’s just fine for this team, but lets just stop calling him the best player on the team. He’s the best shooter, and the best skater, that’s really it.