Does Tyler Seguin want a Bruins reunion? Does Boston?

BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24 : Tyler Seguin #19 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 24, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - JUNE 24 : Tyler Seguin #19 of the Boston Bruins skates against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Six of the Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden on June 24, 2013 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Tyler Seguin may look to greener pastures if the Dallas Stars can’t achieve any movement on his contract extension. Could those pastures be situated in his old stomping grounds of Boston?

Tyler Seguin is a little less than two months away from entering the final year of his contract with the Dallas Stars — the six-year, $5.75M deal the Stars took on in a trade with the Boston Bruins five years ago.

Since the NHL free agency period opened on July 1, Dallas Stars fans have been waiting with bated breath to see if Jim Nill can get Seguin locked down long-term. There’s no question that $5 million and change for the last five years has been one of the NHL’s best bargains — Dallas knows it, and Seguin knows it.

Seguin is, understandably, ready to cash in on his 76.8 points per year average with the Stars.

But as the weeks roll by with little progress, the rest of the league is starting to perk its ears up a bit.

Pro Hockey Talk’s James O’Brien listed Seguin as his player under pressure in a recent column on NBC Sports, pointing out that “at 26, Seguin’s never received a chance to choose where he plays NHL hockey. Maybe he wants to at least explore his options?”

A laughably cheap contract hasn’t kept Seguin from being one of the Stars’ biggest, well, stars. Since the 2013 season, Seguin ranks sixth on the team in points with 384 and second in goals, often outshining linemates Jamie Benn and Alexander Radulov.

Benn received a hearty pat on the back from the Stars in 2016 to the tune of $76 million over eight years, an average annual value of $9.5 million.

Seguin would command at least that much, and likely more thanks to the Toronto Maple Leafs, who gave center John Tavares a seven-year $77 million contract and reset the center market.

Now, Benn’s contract is the neighborhood in which the Stars would likely have to land in order to lock Seguin down. If he waits until he’s an unrestricted free agent — and if all those teams who lined up to bid for Tavares’ services are still in need of a game-changing center in a year’s time — he will undoubtedly receive a bigger contract.

Indeed, this may be the reasoning behind the crickets from either the Stars or Seguin’s camps since July 1.

If new bidders are going to get involved, perhaps it’s actually an old team that Seguin will look to return to — the team that drafted him, the only other team for which he’s ever played. That’s what Joe Haggerty suggests in Morning Skate.

But do the Bruins want Seguin back? More importantly, does Seguin want to return to Boston?

It’s no secret that the parting between the two was anything but pleasant back in 2013. Seguin was one of the league’s brightest rising stars when the Bruins shipped him off to Dallas in 2013 for chump change.

At the time, then-general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a press conference:

"He’s a 21-year-old that played as an 18-year-old, and I think he was just a 21-year-old kid. He was maturing and growing up, and he liked to have fun like the rest of them. I don’t really think it was such a big deal. But when I said earlier about focus, just about little things, about preparing to play, it was nothing about extracurricular activities."

In that same presser, Chiarelli would not admit that any of Seguin’s off-ice activities (his reported partying, which earned him a hyperbolic “problem child” reputation) affected the decision to trade him, but he also said this: “There are no strict on-ice decisions on any decision you make with a hockey player. So no, it’s not a strict on-ice decision.”

Of course, five years later, Seguin has changed. Since arriving in Dallas, he has founded Seguin’s Stars and embedded himself in the community. Earlier this year, he was nominated for the nominated Tyler Seguin for the King Clancy Memorial Trophy, awarded each year to the player who best exemplifies leadership and humanitarian efforts on and off the ice.

So, too, have the Bruins. Chiarelli is gone, replaced with Don Sweeney. The last five years haven’t been especially kind to Chiarelli’s reputation, either.

Coach Claude Julien — whose system never did maximize Seguin’s talent — is gone, too, replaced with Bruce Cassidy. Seguin’s former linemates, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, are still earning top-line minutes, but they’ve since been joined by David Pastrnak to form inarguably the league’s best line.

Seguin is, clearly, a natural center, but Boston played him on the wing to give him more minutes. Even now, looking at the Bruins’ roster, there’s a question of how the team would fit Seguin into its top six. Bergeron and David Krejci are penciled — penned, really — in at the center positions on the top two lines currently.

However, when the Bruins were a name being bandied about for the services of Tavares, the thought was that they would look to trade Krejci to get it done.

Would that be enough to land Seguin — and would Seguin be enough of an upgrade there? There’s always the option for him to return to the wing, but would it net him the kind of contract he wants? The list of the league’s highest-paid players is incredibly center heavy, with the Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid and Tavares coming in at Nos. 1 and 2, respectively.

Back in 2015, Seguin reflected on the trade with Mike Hogan and Bill Hayes on TSN Lunch, saying, among other things, that he was happy to play the role he did in Boston but that he enjoyed being a “go-to guy” in Dallas. He said he enjoyed being part of a winning culture — and if we’re honestly evaluating each team’s chances of winning a Cup in the next few years, Boston is leagues ahead Dallas there.

But Seguin also said, “Boston is always going to be a part of me. I’m just not a part of it anymore.”

Would he say the same today, if asked?

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Time heals all wounds. But the way the Bruins so unceremoniously parted ways with Seguin five years ago — even though it was the work of a completely different organization — may simply be too much for him to forgive.