Much was expected of Tyler Seguin in 2013. Coming off a sophomore season in which he scored 29 goals on 242 shots for the Boston Bruins (both team highs), while also chipping in 38 assist for a total of 67 points on the year (also a team high), many assumed that Seguin would continue his meteoric rise to stardom during his third full season in the NHL.
Stalled by the lockout, Seguin took his game overseas and scored 25 goals in 29 games playing for Biel of the Swiss-A league, a tour of duty that included a Spengler Cup Championship alongside Bruins line mate Patrice Bergeron. But while those lofty numbers really aren’t sustainable at the NHL level, few would have predicted that Seguin would be sitting on a grand total of 3 goals after 14 games played (one of which includes an empty netter), especially in light of having the benefit of staying fresh during the lockout.
So what’s the story here? Is Seguin’s lack of production tied in to a lack of effort and opportunity? Or, is it simply a matter of the puck not going into the net with as much regularity as in the past?
Well, consider the numbers stated above. In 2011-12, Seguin scored 29 goals on 242 shots in 81 games played, for a shooting percentage of 11.98%. In 2013, Seguin has scored 3 goals on 43 shots, which amounts to a shooting percentage of 6.9%, basically a 5% drop off from a year ago.
In a shortened season, Seguin is on pace to score 10 goals on roughly 147 shots. Extrapolate that over a full 82-game season, and Seguin would be tracking towards 17 goals on 252 shots. This would amount to a -12 goal differential as compared to last season, but on an additional 10 shots on goal. (stats courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)
Another important thing to note is Seguin’s TOI numbers, with help from BehindTheNet.ca. In 2011-12, Seguin ranked 3rd among Bruins forwards (behind David Krejci & Milan Lucic) with 1138.28 minutes played, an average of 14.05 per game. On the PP, Seguin bumped up to second in terms of TOI (behind Patrice Bergeron), with 190.8 total minutes (or 2.35 per game).
In 2013, Seguin again ranks 3rd among Boston forwards at even strength (again averaging around 14 minutes per game), behind David Krejci and Nathan Horton (who missed a large part of last season due to injury) and basically deadlocked with Milan Lucic. On the power play, Seguin is 3rd among forwards, behind Krejci and Lucic and slightly higher than Horton. While it might appear that Seguin’s production could be hindered by the presence of Horton, it’s worth noting that he actually scored the majority of his goals in 2011-12 with Horton in the lineup, and not after his season-ending injury.
Finally, let’s compare Seguin’s situation with that of Brad Marchand, for example. In 2013, Marchand has a team-high 9 goals for the Bruins, on just 20 shots, for a ridiculous shooting percentage of 45%. A year ago, Marchand scored 28 goals on 167 shots, which works out to a shooting percentage of 16.8%. Traditionally a line mate of Seguin’s, Marchand routinely plays less minutes, but was essentially able to match Seguin’s production of a year ago and is on pace to equal those 28 goals even in the shortened season.
What does this all mean? In short, Seguin is getting his minutes and putting the puck on net, but just hasn’t been able to cash in on those opportunities; same amount of playing time, more shots, but less goals. And while Marchand’s goal total is inflated by an unsustainable shooting percentage, one would have to conversely assume that Seguin’s will rise at some point, and that the situation will level out at some point in the near future.
The Bruins next game is Sunday in Florida, followed by a Tuesday evening tilt with the Islanders. If ever there was a time for Seguin to start padding that shooting percentage, it’s now.