NEWARK – The Bruins are not happy with Tyler Seguin.
The 21-year-old submitted a question mark of a third NHL season. Seguin scored 16 goals and had 16 assists during the regular season. In the postseason, Seguin recorded one goal and had seven assists. He showed sparing interest in being strong on the puck or entering the dirty areas.
Seguin is nowhere close to being the Steven Stamkos-like player the Bruins once projected him to become. The Bruins’ displeasure with the right wing is one reason they considered trade inquiries before Sunday’s draft.
“He’s got to commit his mind and focus on the one task at hand,” general manager Peter Chiarelli said. “He’s got to become more of a professional. And you know what? I can say that about a lot of 21-year-olds. I know he got criticized for playing on the periphery and all that stuff. He did. He’s got to commit to being a professional and focusing on the game. He does that, we don’t expect him to be crashing and banging. Just play your game.”
Seguin has few NHL peers when measured by speed and shot. His best year was in 2011-12. Seguin poured in 29 goals and had 38 assists while playing mostly on the No. 2 line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
But Seguin regressed in 2013. He did not display enough courage or smarts for his bosses’ liking. Too often, Seguin played like a youngster who never had to develop his battle level or hockey sense because of his great talent.
Chiarelli’s comments regarding professionalism underscore questions regarding Seguin’s maturity.
Seguin showed a flickering level of engagement in the playoffs and was demoted to the No. 3 line. The bottom-six rotation is not an acceptable landing spot for a former No. 2 pick who will carry the second-highest cap hit among team forwards next season.
On Sept. 11, 2012, the Bruins signed Seguin to a six-year, $34.5 million extension. They did not have to do so.
Seguin had one season remaining on his entry-level contract. But the Bruins followed Carolina and Edmonton, who extended Jeff Skinner and Taylor Hall, also drafted in 2010, to long-term contracts. The Bruins had faith Seguin would deserve to carry a $5.75 million annual cap hit, second only to Milan Lucic ($6 million). So far, it looks like a premature call.
“I hope it does,” Chiarelli said when asked if trade talk would command Seguin’s attention. “If it doesn’t, I’d be more concerned. We gave Tyler a big contract because he projects and he had good performance. I would expect that going forward.”
On Sunday, Chiarelli reiterated that he had listened to several trade inquiries. The GM was overwhelmed with calls once word leaked of Seguin’s availability. Inquiries withered after Nathan Horton declared his intention to test free agency. Despite Seguin’s flaws, it would not have served the Bruins well to lose two right wings.
“If I were to trade Tyler, it would be for an elite young prospect or player,” Chiarelli said. “He’s an elite young player who had an average year. He’s 21 and I expect big things from him. I wasn’t satisfied with his year. He wasn’t either. So we move on. He’s a [heck] of a player and will be a [heck] of a player.”
With their first pick, the Bruins drafted Swedish defenseman Linus Arnesson in the second round. The 6-foot-1-inch, 179-pound Arnesson played for Djurgarden in Sweden’s Allsvenskan (second tier below the Swedish Elite League) this past season. The left-shot Arnesson split time between Djurgarden’s men’s team and junior club.
Arnesson is a two-way defenseman. He scored no goals and had one assist while playing for the men’s team. On the junior team, Arnesson scored one goal and had three assists.
Arnesson compared himself with Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson. Arnesson will remain in Sweden in 2013-14.
Stars make pick
The Bruins originally traded a conditional second-round pick to Dallas as part of the Jaromir Jagr trade. That pick became a first-rounder for Dallas when the Bruins reached the Eastern Conference finals, and Dallas drafted forward Jason Dickinson with the No. 29 selection.
Dickinson had 18 goals and 29 assists in 66 games for Guelph this past season.
The Bruins tabbed Slovakian forward Peter Cehlarik in the third round. He is a left-shot forward who most recently played for Lulea of the Swedish Elite League. Cehlarik dressed for Lulea’s men’s and junior teams. For the juniors, Cehlarik scored 17 goals and had 20 assists in 38 games . . . The Bruins drafted forward Ryan Fitzgerald in the fourth round. The right-shot forward is the son of ex-Bruin Tom Fitzgerald. Ryan Fitzgerald (Malden Catholic) played for the EJHL’s Valley Junior Warriors in 2012-13. He scored 14 goals and had 16 assists in 26 games. The North Reading native will be a Boston College freshman this fall . . . The Bruins selected defenseman Wiley Sherman in the fifth round. The native of Greenwich, Conn., is a 6-6, 206-pounder who played for Hotchkiss in 2012-13. Sherman will be a Harvard freshman in 2014 . . . The Bruins picked forward Anton Blidh in the sixth round. Blidh had 17 goals and 10 assists in 43 games for Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League . . . Boston took forward Mitchell Dempsey with the third-to-last pick of the night. The 6-3, 204-pound Dempsey had a goal and four assists for Sault St. Marie (OHL).