The Dallas Stars reunited Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin for Sunday’s contest against the Ottawa Senators, but not in an attempt to jump start the offense or shake up the lines. Benn was tacked onto Seguin’s wing because the typical center (Seguin) has been absolutely awful in the faceoff circle so far this season.
Dallas went out and traded for Seguin to give him the chance to be a top-end center in the NHL after watching him play lousy minutes as a third-line wing with the Boston Bruins. Seguin had been drafted as a center after all, and he is much more comfortable playing that role.
From a production standpoint, the change has worked marvelously. He has 14 points in 13 games for the Stars and is on pace to push the 90-point barrier for the first time in his career. While the offense has been there, Seguin needs to improve in the circle before he can be considered among the league’s top centers.
We’ve seen this before with youngsters in the NHL. Most notably, Sidney Crosby was terrible on draws during his rookie season, yet he identified that weakness, worked hard at correcting it, and now he’s not a detriment to his team in that regard. Seguin needs to take a similar path and fix up the biggest hole in his game.
He’s only finished better than 50% in the circle on two occasions this season, and held up an awful 7.14% against the Senators on Sunday. For a guy that’s getting a ton of offensive zone starts, winning the draw (or at least tying up the opposing center and waiting for a wing) and keeping the puck is incredibly important.
Seguin is posting some strong numbers, but a few steps forward in the circle would only improve his value and his ability to score for the Stars. In the meantime, not-a-center Benn will take draws on a line with Seguin while he works out the kinks on the dot.