It’s officially been just over a year since Tyler Seguin was traded to the Stars. Seguin’s falling out with the Bruins seemingly carried off-ice implications, and despite what the then-21-year-old was able to produce, the organization felt a divorce was necessary.
What transpired to precipitate the Seguin trade is all well and good, and maybe it was time for the Bruins to part ways with the forward. A year later though, it’s clear the Stars got the better end of the deal.
For the Bruins to have come away with a haul even equal to what they were giving up in Seguin was a tall task to begin with. This was a player who had scored 56 goals in three seasons, all before turning 21. Seguin is one of the better goal scorers in all of a hockey — a rare talent the likes of which are hard to come by. It’s why players who produce as consistently as him are rarely dealt.
Wanted to see players similar to Evander Kane that have been traded recently (it's very rare) and what they went for. pic.twitter.com/BoVZjHuzC7— Adam Gretz (@AGretz) July 9, 2014
Evaluating this trade isn’t as simple as saying, “the combination of Loui Eriksson and Reilly Smith out-produced Seguin.” The Bruins parted ways with a top-tier talent, and didn’t get close to the same caliber player in return. And Seguin by himself almost equaled what Eriksson and Smith posted, as he scored more goals than both, and only fell four points shy of their combined 88.
Seguin is also still developing as a player. His 37 goals in his first year as a Star were a career-high, and fifth most in the league. Playing next to Jamie Benn, he’ll continue to post gaudy scoring numbers. Seguin has scored the 11th most goals of any player in the league since 2011. As he continues to score goals by the barrel in Dallas, this trade will only become more and more lopsided.
With the salary cap going up by the year, and Seguin’s production on a similar slope, he’s also ridiculously underpaid. Seguin’s contract goes through the 2018-19 season, and he’ll make $30 million over the next five years. That’s a steal when compared against what the market would pay Seguin now.
It’s also still a bit unclear just what exactly Boston got in return. Eriksson battled concussion problems last season, while he was a consistent scorer in Dallas, and was thought to be the most bona fide piece of the Stars package. Smith had a career year hitting the 20-goal mark, but he also had a shooting percentage of 13.7, nearly five points higher than his season prior. Whether or not Smith sustains that level of efficiency remains to be seen.
The other two players that came back to the Bruins, Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow, spent almost all of last season in Providence. Fraser, a career minor league stud, will probably get a chance to prove his NHL worth this season. Morrow is further down in the queue with the Bruins' depth of talent at the defenseman position. Add up all four players, and the return still isn’t in the same neighborhood as Seguin.
Rationales were thrown out, and arguments were crafted when the trade went down that really lacked logic -- like that Seguin couldn’t truly flourish in the Bruins system because of its forward depth, and that the Bruins simply spread out their scoring wealth. But it’s also very possible the reason the likes of Milan Lucic, Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, and David Krejci haven’t produced as many goals in a single season as Seguin is they’re not as good at scoring goals.
Then came the postseason that preceded Seguin’s Boston exit, one in which the Bruins fell two wins shy of a Stanley Cup, and a stretch that saw Seguin score one goal in 22 games. As many berated Seguin for his inability to find the back of the net—even pinning the Bruins lack of a title on his performance—he took 70 shots during those playoffs, sixth most in the league. His shooting percentage of 1.4 in that stretch was downright criminal, and a complete aberration. That lofty shot total also meant Seguin was involved offensively, and driving possession.
It wasn’t a lack of production during that playoff run that spelled Seguin’s end in Boston. A small sample size fueled by an uncharacteristic, meager shooting percentage means zilch in the larger scheme of things. The Bruins felt it was the right time to deal Seguin, but from a hockey perspective, it’s pretty clear the Stars got the better of the trade.