Revisiting The Tyler Seguin Trade: Did Boston Make The Right Choice?
Photo Credit: Associated Press
By Mitch Cole (@DirtyWaterBuzz)
Exactly one month ago, the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars announced that they had agreed on a trade that sent budding superstar Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas in exchange for winger Loui Eriksson and a trio of prospects (Joe Morrow, Reilly Smith, and Matt Fraser). The trade made headlines throughout the league, and it wasn’t long before a multitude of reasons for the Bruins to have made such a deal surfaced.
Reports came out shortly after trade rumors surrounding Seguin surfaced about off-ice issues. It was no secret that the Bruins suspended Seguin for one game in 2012 for failing to attend a team breakfast in Winnipeg, but 2013 brought a whole new onslaught of problems.
It began in late April, when Seguin was listening to a new song that his roommate and his friend were about to release. After giving it a listen, he decided to tweet about it, which seems all well and good. However, after saying the song “gave him goosebumps”, Seguin proclaimed “no homo”, apparently feeling that getting goosebumps from his buddy’s song somehow misleads people to think that maybe he could possibly be gay (goosebumps? Really?). It didn’t take long for Seguin to delete the tweet and issue an apology, but by that point the tweet had already been seen by millions of twitter users and had gotten the attention of the You Can Play Project.
The social media issues continued for Seguin not long after, as a tweet went out on his account stating “Time to come out of the closet….”. This again stirred up controversy, and again caught the attention of the You Can Play Project. YCP co-founder Patrick Burke once again spoke with Seguin, who told him that his twitter account had been hacked, and that he had no knowledge of the tweet until Burke brought it to his attention.
During the playoffs, Seguin didn’t have any off issues that were made public, but reports surfaced after the Bruins made the trade that the team had forced Seguin to stay at a hotel in Boston, as opposed to his house, and had hired a security guard to stand outside of his room in both Boston and Toronto so as to prevent him from going out and partying at night. Over the course of the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup Final, Seguin’s play was, well, underwhelming to say the least. He finished the 2013 postseason with one goal and seven assists, while also playing to a +/- of -2 in 22 games played. There are many instances in which a player plays much better than his stat line, but not in this case. For the majority of the playoffs, Seguin’s play was awful. In fact, he was invisible for the most part, as there were many games in which it was easy to forget he was playing.
The problems continued for Seguin after the postseason, as he was the subject of a flurry of trade rumors leading up to and during the NHL Entry Draft. When asked about the rumors, GM Peter Chiarelli told the media, “He’s got to commit his mind and focus on the one task at hand. 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.”
“I hope (the trade talk) does (get Seguin’s attention)”, Chiarelli said. “If it doesn’t, I’d be more concerned. We gave Tyler a big contract because he projects and had good performance. I would expect that going forward.”
“There were a couple of factors that have been mentioned out there, both on and off the ice”, Bruins President Cam Neely told 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston the week after the trade. “Personally, I think Tyler is a good kid that has a lot of skill. He needs to understand what he needs to do to be successful on the ice and also needs a little understanding of what he has to do off the ice to have a long career.
“We saw him develop over the last three years, and I won’t get into specifics, but there were a number of conversations in those three years how we wanted him to mature along the way as well. We all felt that it was time to see and explore what we could get for Tyler at this point in his career. If the return made sense, then it was time to do something. There’s always some concern of will he really understand what it takes to be the player or the professional you’d like to see.”
While Neely’s comments aren’t particularly damning, they are telling of just how immature Seguin is at this point in his career. While one could say “Well, he’s just acting like any other 21 year old kid would act”, there’s a difference between Tyler Seguin and any other 21 year old kid: Seguin is a professional hockey player, and with that comes a level of responsibility and higher expectations of how to carry yourself as a person than there are with any other 21 year old.
It doesn’t stop there, though. On July 4, Seguin was on Cape Cod in Massachusetts and celebrated Independence Day by throwing what has been referred to by his friends as a “trade party” at his Cape house. Oh, the irony. While Seguin was undoubtedly one of countless people who were out partying on the Fourth of July, no one else was dealt on the same day after reports of his excessive partying surfaced. Pictures, such as the ones below, surfaced of Seguin drinking, partying and, well, “getting his grind on” with one of the female attendees.
Photo Credit: Larry Brown Sports
Photo Credit: Larry Brown Sports
Photo Credit: Larry Brown Sports
The problems continued for Seguin when his parents came out in the media defending their son’s drinking and partying ways, even going as far as to accuse the Bruins of “making up stories”.
“With all due respect to David Krejci or Milan Lucic, when the game is over, they go out with their family and hang out in the back of a restaurant”, Seguin’s father Paul told The Star. “They’re nice and quiet and no one tweets about it. Tyler looks to his friends for comfort, and where do his friends go? They go to the local bar.”
“You know what’s happening?”, his mother Jackie said. “Boston is now trying to justify why they’re getting rid of Tyler. Obviously, they don’t want backlash against (GM Peter) Chiarelli. Now they’re making up stories.”
Any Boston resident who has been around the city’s bar scene a few times can likely recall instances in which Seguin partied with friends, and probably got more than just a little bit intoxicated. The Cask ‘N Flagon, a popular Boston bar, sent out a tweet after Seguin was traded taking a shot at the former Bruins forward:
@TheCasknFlagon: The Boston nightclub scene will be better w/o #tylerseguin demanding entry
While the tweet was deleted and The Cask gave an explanation, saying it was “intended to be humorous”, it isn’t very difficult to fathom Seguin using his celebrity status around the city to gain entry into bars.
Then, just days after being traded, the social media problems continued to pile up. Seguin tweeted the following on July 6, just two days after being traded:
Once again, the tweet stirred up a great deal of controversy, even more so than before due to the recent trade, and once again gained the attention of You Can Play Project co-founder Patrick Burke, who tweeted the following shortly after:
The tweet caused the Dallas Stars to release the following statement:
In no way, shape, or form does the Dallas Stars organization condone or agree with the message that was sent out through Tyler Seguin’s Twitter feed last night. We’ve addressed the issue directly with Tyler and we’ll continue to work on educating our players regarding the importance of their conduct on all forms of social media.
Once again, Seguin blamed the tweet on “hackers”, saying that his twitter account had once again been hacked. Sure, Tyler. Your twitter account was hacked twice in a matter of weeks? You’re either really stupid, or you need to get some better friends.
At the end of the day, the Bruins made the right choice in dealing Seguin. While he may very well develop into the Steven Stamkos type player that they had projected him as at the 2010 draft, the fact of the matter is he just wasn’t a fit for this Bruins team at this point in time. Boston is a team that is built to win now, especially with captain Zdeno Chara getting closer to the end of his career. The Bruins weren’t willing to wait for Seguin to develop, and rightfully so, especially with all of the off-ice issues that come along with him. The acquisition of Loui Eriksson makes the Bruins a better team in the present, making it a very good acquisition for them as they chase a second Stanley Cup since 2011. That along with the trio of prospects they acquired in the process, as well as they shedding of $4.75M in salary makes this trade the right move for the Bruins, in both the short term and, quite possibly, the long term as well.