No one should be surprised that the second player taken in the 2010 NHL draft would someday lead the league in goals scored.
Tyler Seguin, who was selected by the Boston Bruins and traded to the Dallas Stars two summers ago, predictably has evolved into one of the most dangerous forwards in the game and sits atop the board with 25 goals in 35 games.
What may come as a revelation is that the 22-year-old star, who left Boston in a spray of immaturity issues, is also a dependable two-way player, shouldering responsibilities often left to a team’s most mature leaders.
When the Stars beat the St Louis Blues recently, it was their No 1 scoring line, including Seguin and Jamie Benn, on the ice the majority of the time in the closing minutes, protecting a one-goal advantage.
“It’s a huge part of our game,” Benn told the Dallas Morning News, referring to his and Seguin’s ability to win face-offs, control the puck and play defence. “You want to be trusted to do the right thing. Being put in that situation is great.”
Seguin said: “The more you do it, the more natural it becomes.”
Scoring remains the most natural skill for the centre. Seguin did it from the beginning in Boston for three seasons, producing a high of 29 goals and 67 points for the Bruins in the 2011/12 season.
It was what they had expected when they traded high-scoring Phil Kessel to Toronto in 2009 for the following year’s No 2 pick.
Despite the production and the promise Seguin showed, the Bruins abruptly shipped him off in a six-player deal that brought them Loui Eriksson, a steady, two-way veteran. Eriksson suffered a pair of concussions last season and has not been an impact player since as Boston have dropped into the lower tier of the Eastern Conference.
Kessel remained one of the league’s top scorers for the Maple Leafs, while Seguin blossomed in Dallas.
“I feel like I’m home here in Dallas,” the Ontario native told ESPN.com. “I feel very comfortable, definitely happy to be a Star.”
While Seguin has not single-handedly lifted the Stars into play-offs contention, he and Benn, 25, have become the kind of young, attacking force a franchise can build around.
Seguin benefits by playing in Dallas’s free-wheeling scheme, posting career bests in goals (37) and assists (47) last season. But it was not at the expense of defence: he had a plus-16 rating a season ago and sits at plus-three this year.
Seguin may not inspire Selke Trophy nominations as the league’s best two-way forward but he appreciates the value of defensive skills in a scorer.
“It’s hard work,” he said, “and we have a lot of work to do.”
Call it the mature view.