Tyler Seguin has not played a game this season. The 29-year-old forward had offseason hip surgery and was expected to miss most of the 2020-21 campaign. However, he has started to skate with the team and joined them on their current two-game road trip in Detroit against the Red Wings. The Dallas Stars expect him to return by April 26.
Seguin will bring a lot to a depleted and fatigued Stars’ lineup that is in the middle of an intense playoff race. Dallas is just two points out of the final spot with three games in hand on the fourth-place Nashville Predators. Here is what Seguin will bring to help boost his club into the postseason.
Leadership & Experience
This is an area where Dallas excels. Their captain, Jamie Benn, is one of the best leaders in the league and Joe Pavelski was the San Jose Sharks’ captain for many years and has worn the ‘A’ in Seguin’s absence. Players like John Klingberg, Esa Lindell, Blake Comeau, Andrew Cogliano, Anton Khudobin, and Andrej Sekera further add to the experience and leadership on the roster.
However, leadership is more important near the end of the season and in the playoffs, and Dallas has missed that from Ben Bishop, Alexander Radulov, and Seguin.
Seguin offers plenty of experience dealing with adversity. He has been to the Stanley Cup Final twice, including a championship with the Boston Bruins, and was a big part of the Stars’ run in the Edmonton bubble last season. He has also learned from multiple coaching changes, internal drama, and losing seasons and can share his knowledge.
With players like Roope Hintz, Jason Robertson, Denis Gurianov, Jake Oettinger, and Miro Heiskanen carrying the load this season, Seguin should further help their development. This is especially true for the youngest players who have little to no playoff experience.
Seguin has been an offensive dynamo since he started in the league, and even more so since he joined the Stars in 2013. He is near the top in scoring every season and has multiple 30-goal campaigns in his career. He also brings 78 power-play goals, 52 game-winning goals, a 50 percent success rate on shootouts, and the Stars’ best faceoff percentage nearly every season.
Dallas has scored more recently, but with the demanding schedule coming up, they need players who can put the puck in the net consistently. Seguin is a pure goal-scorer and will help in that area.
However, Seguin’s game has developed most in his defensive play. He bought into organization’s system and developed into a talented two-way center. His goals-against at even strength have consistently dropped each season as his defensive responsibilities have grown.
Along with more ice time (averaging nearly 20:00 per game), he is also tasked with taking faceoffs in both zones and on special teams. The coaching staff trusts him to take the faceoffs on the penalty kill because of his 50 percent success rate while knowing that if he doesn’t win, he can handle the opposition in the defensive zone. His line is capable of playing against any line in the NHL.
With Radulov and Bishop ruled out for the season, the Stars will be shorthanded moving forward. However, if all goes well, they are on schedule to receive a boost from their alternate captain next week. Seguin will take a few games to get back to full speed, but once he does, he will offer a lot that the Stars have been missing.
Dallas is in a favorable position with the final 11 games remaining, and Seguin will have a chance to make a big difference in the playoff race and a possible playoff run.
Sam Nestler is a Dallas Stars contributor for the ‘The Hockey Writers’. Growing up in New Jersey, Sam has been playing hockey since he was 7 years old. Developing a love for writing in college, Sam uses his hockey knowledge to create analyses and articles on every aspect of the game. Sam also hosts his own podcast on Spotify, the “Slapshot Sammy’ podcast, breaking down action across the NHL and NCAA. Check out the podcast here, and give his latest article a read!