Tyler Seguin deserves his spot atop Central Scouting's final rankings. He's a skilled and accomplished center who plays a well-rounded game and has proven he can finish as adeptly as he sets the table for teammates. While he and his Plymouth Whalers club were swept by the powerhouse Windsor Spitfires led by Taylor Hall in the second round, Seguin had nowhere near the support Hall enjoys. It wasn't a great series for Seguin, but he also put up 10 points in five games in the opening round against Sault Ste. Marie. The kid is a gamer.
I hooked up with Seguin on Thursday, and chatted with him a bit about his past, present and future.
Bruins 2010 Draft Watch: How did the season go for you?
Tyler Seguin: It was great. Coming into the season, my biggest objective from a team standpoint was to get farther than we got last year, losing to Windsor in the second round. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but there was a lot to learn from and build on; I got much better defensively and improved my faceoff skills, so I think that overall, we had a good year even if losing to Windsor again was a big disappointment for us.
B2010DW: You obviously want to be the top pick in the draft, but if that doesn't work out, what are your thoughts on going second to Boston?
TS: I want to go to the team that really wants me. First overall would be dream come true, but it’s not my main goal, so if I’m not first then I want to go to Boston. One of my good friends has told me all about what a great city Boston is, and it would be exciting to become a part of the hockey tradition there
B2010DW: What was the biggest challenge you faced this season?
TS: Getting cut from the World Jrs.- that was probably the biggest challenge I faced. I think I came to camp gripping the stick too much and not playing my game. It was the first time I got cut from anything in hockey, so it was something big for me, and it helped my learning curve. I went back to the OHL, and I was determined to apply myself. It worked out pretty well; I finished the month strong to win OHL Player of the Month for not only December, but January, so in the end, I think getting cut gave me the motivation to go out and prove that I could play at a high level while allowing me to refocus my effort and energy on my season with Plymouth.
B2010DW: Your dad (Paul) played hockey at the University of Vermont; how much of an impact has he had on your own development and game?
TS: My whole life, even when I was younger, he’s been pushing me in a very positive way. Although he didn’t make it to the NHL, he taught me about being passionate for the game, but having fun with the role I play for my team.
B2010DW: How did the experience at the summer's Ivan Hlinka tournament where you won gold for Team Canada help prepare you for your OHL season?
TS: Off-ice, I had a busy summer. I was working out five days a week and it (the tournament itself) was a 25-day experience. We had our camp in Calgary and then went over and played great as a team. Winning the gold medal was a great experience. Coming into the (09-10 OHL) season, I read that some (scouting, hockey publications) had me 10th, one was 6th-- I wasn't one or two (at the time), so for me, playing in Slovakia gave me an opportunity to test myself against the Europeans and other top players from the U.S. I got to see where I was at, what I needed to do to get better at the center position.
B2010DW: How do you see yourself as a player? Biggest strengths?
TS: My whole life, my dad’s been saying, ‘Make everyone around you look good; if you can make other players better, then the team is going to be successful.’ I’ve just tried to live that by going out and dishing the puck and being a playmaker.
B2010 DW: What do you think Boston fans will like best about your game?
TS: I think they'll like the fact that I'm a complete player. I can score and set up the play, but I work hard defensively, too. My defensive play is I think the biggest thing I improved on this season.
B2010DW: Do you have any strong feelings about playing center versus wing? If Boston asked you to play wing, how would you feel about that?
TS: I'm a natural center, but I can play the wing and have done it with some good success. It comes down to the coaches and how they see me and what kind of role they want me to play. I just want to be able to contribute, so if it's at center, then great. I'm most comfortable there. But, if I'm needed more on the wing, then that's where I'll play and I'll do my best with it.
B2010DW: What are your thoughts on the coaching you've had in Plymouth?
TS: Coach (Mike) Vellucci and coaches (Joe) Stefan and (Brian) Sommariva have been great. Coach Vellucci was especially helpful last year, when I was in my first OHL season, and he would have a lot of little talks with me about what I was doing and how I could be even better for the team. He was the one who told me that my NHL dream could become a goal; he said that I had the tools and enough talent to get there, and then pushed me to play my best. I can’t say enough about how great everyone has been here in this organization.
B2010DW: Do you see yourself in the NHL next year?
TS: Yeah, I do. I think I have the tools. Come summer, I’m going to keep working to add some pounds (to my frame). All I can ask for is the opportunity (to play in the NHL). If that opportunity comes, I think I can take advantage of it.