Sometimes a player has so much talent that it’s easy to forget how young they are. Case in point: Tyler Seguin when he played for the Boston Bruins. They drafted him with the second-overall selection in 2010, watched him grow into the team’s top goal scorer two years later and handed him a massive $34.5 million deal.
Then, it seems, that the team left him alone with his new-found recognizably and millions of dollars as a 20 year-old. Why there’s a great mystery surrounding where Seguin’s game went is beyond comprehension.
When the Pittsburgh Penguins drafted Sidney Crosby, they knew that he was a long-term, major investment and they protected him like one. They didn’t stick him in a hotel in Pittsburgh and expect the small-town Canadian kid to just figure it out. No, they gave him a mentor in Mario Lemieux and had him sleeping in his basement for two years before feeling comfortable enough in Crosby as a man to let him go out on his own.
They taught him how to be a professional instead of just expecting him to be one right out of the box as a teenager making the jump into the NHL.
While some players are perfectly capable of doing that, the teams that fare the best with their prospects are the teams that know how to teach a player how to be a man and a professional. The Bruins never made those strides with Seguin. Instead, he got a few slaps on the wrist and some stern talking-tos.
There’s a feeling that Boston never treated Seguin like a man and never seemed interested in helping him become one. If the comments that the brain trust made during the “Behind the B” television special are indication, the Bruins straight up didn’t like Seguin as a person or a player.
No wonder his game went down the drain and he acted out. He’d been treated like a child as punishment for acting like a child and being young. Instead of Cam Neely setting up a strong example for Seguin to follow, they seemed to just spill oil on him. In short, the best thing that could have happened for Seguin as a man and as a player was to get traded out of a poisonous Bruins system where he wasn’t going to be given the opportunity to grow. Where the B’s never taught him to play the kind of hockey they wanted and replaced him on the second line with an aging, ineffective forward in Jaromir Jagr.
Yelling isn’t teaching. Being abrasive isn’t teaching.
Seguin shouldn’t have had his hand held, and that’s not what would have best for him. There’s a way to aid a young man grow into an adult, and posting a guard at his door and leaking stories to the media to make yourself look better in the press isn’t the way to do it.
There will be a point that Seguin will be a top-10 scorer in this league. Boston will maintain the posture that the deal wasn’t about goals and points. That the kid was just too soft and was too unwilling to get his face smashed in to be a Bruin. But in two years they won’t be a better team without him.