Tyler Seguin (Getty Images)
The Stars pivot is coming off an exceptional first year with Dallas and has spent his summer studying up for his return to a team that now includes another dangerous center in Jason Spezza.
To say that Tyler Seguin's first campaign in Dallas was a success would be an understatement. Despite being the centerpiece of a major trade with Boston, the young center broke the point-per-game mark for the first time in his NHL career, making magic with power forward Jamie Benn in 'Big D.'
So a summer filled with fun would be understandable. And though Seguin was mixing business with pleasure at the annual BioSteel camp in Toronto, he has also been doing his homework again during his time off.
Last summer, Seguin watched tons of video of Benn, his soon-to-be linemate in Dallas. Clearly that paid off. This time out, the new center in Dallas is Jason Spezza, the former Ottawa stalwart brought in to help the Stars forge a path in the very rugged Western Conference. And since Spezza and Seguin both play center, Seguin gave himself a different assignment.
"The scouting for me this summer has been watching faceoffs around the league from other centermen," he said. "Learning a bit more about the position. It was my first year and it's a lot harder than you think, switching positions in the NHL."
Indeed, Seguin was utilized as a winger in Boston, which makes his maiden season down the middle in Dallas all the more impressive in terms of offense. Faceoffs were an issue, but his new buddy down the middle was top 20 in the NHL, so that will help ease the pressure. And even though he isn't watching tape of Spezza, Seguin knows what the gifted pivot is capable of. They played on Team Canada together at the Spengler Cup during the last lockout, plus they both hail from the Toronto suburbs.
"I've been watching him since I was a little kid, so I know his game," Seguin said. "I've been talking to him a little since the trade and I know he's excited to get going."
And while it's amusing to think of NHL players from different teams fraternizing with each other during the summer, that's exactly what Seguin has been doing at the BioSteel camp. He's one of the captains this summer, along with New Jersey's Mike Cammalleri, Philadelphia's Wayne Simmonds and recent Flyers signee Michael Del Zotto.
In fact, Seguin and Del Zotto have been living together during the off-season and Seguin is excited for his buddy, who was dropped by the Nashville Predators and had to wait an agonizing amount of time before Philadelphia put a pen and a contract in his hands.
"I think he's going to blow people away this year," Seguin said. "He had quite the summer, but he's a very focused guy. I've always known him a bit and this summer we've become close and I think he'll surprise people. He's going to have to earn every inch of ice he gets and every second, but I'm looking forward to him having a good year."
While Seguin has less to prove to the world, the stakes will be higher, since his Stars will have to fend off tougher competition in the West. Dallas gave Anaheim everything the Ducks could handle in the playoffs this past season and with Spezza and Ales Hemsky joining the offense, the Stars won't be regarding themselves as underdogs. If Seguin can repeat his early success in Dallas, the team will have no reason to doubt themselves in any scenario.