Tyler Seguin: What If?

It was June 29th, the eve of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. I was sitting comfortably on my couch, watching the always excellent TSN panel preview the draft and discuss potential trades that were brewing then.

Carolina was shopping their 5th overall pick and were looking for a defenseman in return. Vancouver was working on trading a goaltender (wrongly presumed by many, including myself, to be Luongo) and the Bruins were in serious discussions with a few teams in regards to dealing Tyler Seguin. Oh yeah, and the Flames were one of the teams in on the former 2nd overall pick.

Whoa whoa whoa, back up the bus. The Flames? The CALGARY Flames? At first thought, that was unbelievably exciting and a tantalizing opportunity for a rebuilding franchise. The ability to add a young, potential cornerstone center who was all but guaranteed to breakout sooner rather than later was not an opportunity that presented itself with regularity and needed to be capitalized on immediately. The initial rush of Seguin potentially landing in the Stampede city made me completely disregard any thoughts of what the return might look like and if it might be too much, even for what Seguin offered. There was no mention from any of the Insiders at that point of what the return for Seguin would be from Calgary – or even what the asking price was in general.

So, using the power of Twitter, the Internet and the very limited sources I had, I dug around for anything I could find regarding the Flames and Seguin. In the end, I was able to patch bits and pieces of information I was able to scour up and somewhat narrow it down to the Flames’ 6th overall pick, Johnny Gaudreau and one other piece (I believed it to be a decent roster player) for Tyler Seguin as the bare bones of the deal, at that point. Really, a far cry from the complexity of the eventual Seguin deal to Dallas that involved seven players and no draft picks. I have no way of confirming that the package above was indeed the offer on the table from the Flames, but I imagine it’s not far from the truth.

The talks and rumours were white hot for the extent of the draft but nothing materialized – some speculating due to Flames ownership not allowing the trigger to be pulled. Nonetheless, a little time later the speculation heated up again (sad Note: I decided to write up a piece about Seguin and Calgary at that point – it was a good 2000 words – but woke up the morning after writing it to news of Seguin being shipped to Dallas and my piece becoming ineligible and irrelevant. I was pretty mad at the two organizations for total disregard of my feelings but whatever, I’m over it).

However, Seguin’s eventual deal to Dallas left many of us in Calgary wondering: what if the Flames had moved in on the rumoured deal and traded the 6th overall pick (Sean Monahan), John Gaudreau and a roster player – let’s use Lee Stempniak just for arguments sake – in exchange for Seguin? That would have been quite the hefty package (even without the knowledge of Monahan and Gaudreau’s starts to the 13/14 season) going to Boston and although Seguin has had a good start to this year (12 goals, 23 points in 23 games), would he be worth all that? In the previously mentioned piece I wrote at time, I thought he very well could be:

He’s shown at times an ability to dominate using his speed and skill and if he can add some muscle to his 6’1”, 182 pound frame – he’d be able to add physicality to his extensive list of attributes.

Not only do Seguin‘s stats (both advanced and otherwise) look impressive as is, he managed them playing mostly 3rd line minutes. The disadvantage of being a young guy on a powerhouse is you won’t get as much opportunity as you would on say, a rebuilding team. He has seen time on the second unit PP from time to time and although power play time has come with a little more frequency as he’s matured, a truly good opportunity has still been hard to come by for Seguin in Boston.

Even with the restrained circumstances, he has still been able to impress and flash his impeccable potential and ability. Imagine if he got a real opportunity, I’m talking top line, first unit power play minutes like he’d get with the Flames. Outright scary. The potential for dominance is definitely there and all it could take is an opportunity to see it realized. That for two questions marks and a replaceable NHLer? Looks pretty good to me.

But now, my opinion has shifted more towards the "no, he’s not" side of the spectrum.

While he has had flashes of dominance – specifically that one night in the Dome where he chewed up the Flames for four goals, he hasn’t been consistently dominant in Texas to this point. The elite potential is definitely still there and he appears to have taken another step towards just that this season. The question is , hough, would he have started the season the same way if he were in Flames silks? Meaning no Jamie Benn to share the heavy lifting with and a bit of a lack of other quality NHLers to be surrounded with. I’m inclined to say no, he wouldn’t have replicated this start in Calgary. In theory, the Flames’ two best wingers with which he could play with would probably be Curtis Glencross and Mike Cammalleri – but Glencross had an atrocious start to the year and Cammalleri didn’t even have a start to the year until late October because of injury.

The package that would’ve been given up is looking even heavier now than it did then. Sean Monahan – the fruit of the 6th overall pick – looks like he just started his third or fourth NHL season rather than his rookie campaign with his mature and impressive play. Johnny Gaudreau is torching the NCAA even more than he did last year and the roster player, arbitrarily assuming it was going to be Lee Stempniak, has been one of the very best forwards to the club to this point. Furthermore, Sean Monahan’s early impression seems to indicate a ceiling similar to that of Seguin‘s, lopsiding the deal in Boston‘s favour even more.

You can’t properly evaluate this potential deal at the moment because, for one it didn’t actually happen and things would play differently with Seguin in Calgary than in Dallas, plus everyone involved still has tons of hockey to play and in the end it’s the hockey they play that determines how the value shakes down.

I would conclude that it’s a good thing for the Flames that this deal fell through, because although Tyler Seguin makes them a better team now, losing Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau would be a big hit to their future. Both posses immense potential and will arrive at their peak when this team is presumably out of the rebuild and onto competitive hockey, meaning their chances to succeed will be higher than that of Seguin right now, with this current line up.

This "what if" question is definitely tons of fun to play around with – although it’s completely useless and meaningless because Seguin‘s a Star for the foreseeable future – and everyone seems to have a different opinion on it.

Would you have pulled the trigger on a 6th overall pick, Gaudreau and roster player for Seguin

  • Brent G.

    I definitely would not have done the deal. It’s so early to make proclamations about our prospects but I think Monahan will be better than Seguin. He reminds me of a Toews type of player. He may not put up the same points as Seguin but Toews is so valued because of his leadership, defensive prowess etc.

    JG looks like money right now. I can’t picture him not being the real deal in the nhl and being a very solid 2nd liner for the foreseeable future.

    Stempniak going the other way is somewhat moot to the future of the organization.

  • 24% body fat

    Yes you pull the trigger.

    Overvaluing Monahan based on a high shooting percentage, cherry minutes and a quick start is ridiculous. 90% of highly touted rookies start off great and regress due to easy minutes and luck. Wait until the minutes get harder, the team gets worse and luck and shooting percentage run out.

    Seguin was considered a candidate for first overall pick. The majority of the time these guys are head and heels above the next tier.

    • piscera.infada

      I actually don’t think that many of the posters on here overvalue Monahan – we understand what he is. But add that he’s played just a hair over 20 NHL games, and you can see the growth.

      I’m not saying it’s cut and dry, but any deal for Seguin was always going to be expensive (and rich in future assets), it’s not exactly something a team at the outset of a rebuild needs or wants to give up. Add to that his perceived “maturity concerns” (rightly or wrongly, I think wrongly personally, but it is what it is), and maybe the pendulum swings a little further the other way.

      Long story short, Seguin probably makes the Flames better now, but the future is far from certain in that regard – maybe Monahan turns out to be amazing, maybe he flops, maybe Gaudreau turns out to be a legit top line winger, maybe he doesn’t sign here. I think given the timing and position of the team, I wouldn’t have taken the deal.

      • 24% body fat

        The thing is a lot of people see a great rookie year and think the player progresses smoothly at that pace,

        Skinner, Gagner, Couturier, Henrique, Hagelin

        and call others bust when it takes time,

        Kadri, Johansson, Schenn, JVR.

        Flames fans think that Monohan is going to keep growing like this, and based on advanced numbers there is a lot of luck and situational opportunity this year for him suggesting a regression possibility next year.

        It comes down to what percentage of his potential do you think he is already playing at. For Monohan he is likely playing at 80% his offensive potential.

        In the rookie years people said Ovechkin was better, but I could see that his 2 years older and his style of his game that he was likely playing around 90% of his game, while crosby was more like 75%.

        Because a player gets off to a hot start does not make him elite, the scouting on seguin was it was going to take some time, and it did.

        Do not expect a continued growth like this for monohan.

        • SmellOfVictory

          Thing is, Seguin is the one who’s a couple of years older than Monahan and Monahan is the more cerebral player rather than relying primarily on physical talent. If you’re talking an Ovechkin vs Crosby rookie season argument, then Seguin is more like Ovechkin, and Monahan is more like Crosby.

          • 24% body fat

            Im am not comparing them to Crosby and ovechkin, i am comparing the idea that people think prospects grow at an even linear pace.

            If you think Monohan is going to continue at this pace your head is up your arse. Everyone over values their players and young prospects; fact of life.

            Monohan was as old as you can get for his draft year so he is close to being a draft plus 1 year. Seguin was on a stacked team and did not get the playing time. Seguin does not use his physical stature he uses his brain.

            Not one GM other than feaster would rather have monohan (maybe Chirelli) than seguin. So when you get a chance to get the better player and he is no where near his prime you take him.

            Yes Mono is good, probably a 65 point guy, but he is not and will never be in the same class as Seguin.

    • Truculence

      Wow, somebody get this guy a job at TSN. His insights are so provocative and insightful! I mean who would have thought that a rookie’s points may decline as he faces tougher minutes and competition!

      FYI: If a nineteen-year old is in consideration for the Calder and is hanging in with the big boys as a center, history tends to indicate such players usually become elite or at least first-line players by the time they reach their prime.

      • 24% body fat

        First line players sure, elite no. Seguin has a chance to be elite, monohan slim to outside chance. Flames fans are basing this on a 20 game sample. Have fun with that.

        • BurningSensation

          Have to disagree with you about the chances that Monahan will be ‘elite’.

          At the draft two years ago the consensus for top pick in this draft was….Monahan.

          Why did he ‘fall’ to sixth? Drouin emerged (almost from nowhere), and Barkov and Lindholm established themselves as possible top tier pivots.

          Monahan was unfortunately forced to run in place in Otawa as the team stripped itself down of assets.

          Lastly, Monahan’s first 20 games were not just pretty good, but VERY good, and he’s flashing a skillset that holds the possibility of PPG+ offensive ability (especially his passing skills – which are exceptional).

        • acg5151

          I’m not sure why everyone keeps trashing yo comments. You might be wrong, but anyone saying Monahan has the potential to become Seguin is basing it on a whole lot of hope.

          Dustin Penner is clipping along at point per game and leads the NHL in +/-. I don’t see anyone taking this sample size to say he is suddenly a superstar all-star. And he actually has done that sort of pace several times before.

          Its pretty crazy to start extrapolating a rookies first games, with all ozone starts, soft parade qualcomp and never playing against the other teams top 2 d men and say he is a superstar.

          To answer the original question, I’d be right on the fence about doing the trade. Its HARD to get elite players. Perhaps impossible. We have ZERO, and are praying Monahan turns into one. He might, but Seguin is. I’d probably rather wait a year and see. But its not as cut and dry as the koolaide crowd are making it sound.

          • piscera.infada

            I have no idea why my whole post didn’t post.

            Essentially I was saying that perhaps you’re missing the point just a bit. I really don’t care if MacKenzie et al, or the fan’s of any other team deem him elite. My money isn’t on Monahan being an “elite” player, but I definitely believe he’ll be an “impact” player. The kid is ahead of where most players his age are in terms of defensive responsibility and the way he thinks the game – those are his two most valuable traits. He doesn’t need to score 100+ points to be elite in my eyes. To each his own though.

  • Christian Roatis

    @Brent G. – Stempniak was just someone I arbitrarily named, it could’ve been anyone, really.

    @Overpaid Wild: Would you not agree that Monahan and Seguin share similar star center potentials? Seguin is just further along in his development.

  • Christian Roatis

    Another interesting wrinkle I suppose is that the deal was for the 6th overall pick not Sean Monahan. Therefore it was up to Boston’s discretion whether or not they pick Monahan. Could’ve been Nichushkin. Or Nurse. Who knows?

  • T&A4Flames

    Easy to say no in hindsight. However I wouldn’t have given up the 6th pick at the time either, not in yr 1of a rebuild. It was considered a very strong draft and I felt good about who we could get whether it was Mony, Barkov or Lindholm.

    That said, I wouldve given the other 2 1sts and Gaudreau but not much else for Seguin straight up.

    • BurningSensation

      Bingo – I agree with all of the above.

      Here’s a thought experiment, if the Flames had made a deal for Seguin that DID NOT include the #6 overall pick, would you still have taken Monahan at #6, or would Nichuskhkin, or Nurse been the call?

      (I still take Monahan, and rebuild with him and Seguin as the #1-2 punch down the middle).

      • T&A4Flames

        I agree. At this point our future up the middle would be set and that is a huge headache out of the way. That’s the biggest reason why I would have wanted to hang onto the 6th overall.

  • Lordmork

    An interesting aside to this would be Seguin’s off-ice behaviour. I heard it whispered around the time of those trade rumours that Seguin was involved in drug use and excessive partying, which was part of the reason why Boston was trying to offload him. I don’t know the truth about that, but I wouldn’t want anything to do with a young player with those kinds of problems. Even the rumour of them would be enough to scare me off. In short, no, I wouldn’t have made the above trade.

  • I think if you’re Jay Feaster and you’re presented this offer you have to ask the following question.

    1. Why is Boston (A competitive team) willing to give up on a former 2nd round pick so soon?

    2. How much is the 6th overall pick worth to your organization (especially after trading your franchise captain)?

    Take into account the Johnny Gaudreau was a 4th round pick if he turns into an NHLer who plays anywhere in your top 9 you’ve won. The fact that he could potentially be a superstar top 3 forward in my opinion gives him an even higher value than a 2nd overall pick with “off ice issues” and attitude problems.

    When you’re building a team I think you need to look at the whole picture and not just the first over all pick. It takes a variety of skill sets and personalities to make a championship team. This is something Edmonton fails to understand. They picked the best player every year and now they have a ton of skill in their top 6 but not much depth beyond that. No players who can fill the roles you need to be competitive.

    ON the other hand you look at Calgary’s last 3 drafting years and they’ve accumulated a full range of players with a variety of skill sets by looking beyond just their position on completely arbitrary scouting lists. They’ve occasionally gone off the board from the traditional WHL favourite (in the case of the Poirier pick) and it looks as though that might also be a big payoff. In years past going with the safe traditional pick (Greg Nemisz) hasn’t really worked out for them.

    So my last questions Jay needs to ask then is if you take into account that you’re rebuilding the whole.

    3. Does removing one of those parts (gaudreau or monahan or both) cause the entire structure to collapse?

    Maybe just maybe the Flames see the bigger picture here and they see the pieces they’ve collected as parts to a greater whole. What you lack in ‘individual ability you make up for in the aggregate of the parts.’ So while it might be nice to have a star talent with that skill set does he fit into the whole of the greater team structure though?

    • BurningSensation

      Agree with your perspective. To build a great team you need to have a core of; 2C, 2W, at least 1D, and a G to build around.

      If Gaudreau projects as a top 6 foward (and I think he certainly does), then you are giving up two core pieces to get one (Seguin).

  • BurningSensation

    Dallas managed to get Seguin and Nickushkin. Combined with Benn they look promising in the future.

    I don’t think trading the 6th overall, Gaudreau, or any one like Gillies, Sven or Brodie would be beneficial for the rebuilding Flames. Even if it was for Seguin, that is too significant of a haul to part with during a rebuild.

    Two high end assets plus a mid-level asset in potentially Stempniak for 1 high end asset is not good asset management.

    I’m happy to know Monahan and Gaudreau are here. They, in my opinion, should amount to more combined than just Seguin.

    Good non-trade!

  • Truculence

    When I heard about the speculation of us trading for Seguin, as much as it intrigued me, it spooked me. Then hearing after what the price probably would have been, I have not lost any sleep on that deal not happening. I am in the camp that this type of trade was not a timing fit for the Flames. It was a great fit for the Stars & the ones that should have really been in the thick of it was the Oilers, who should have dangled Yakupov & chances were the Bruins may have done a straight up trade at that time. If Oilers could have gotten Seguin & still added Nurse, whoa, MacT would have made his big splash.

  • acg5151

    I feel like Tyler Seguin has been good in Dallas. Jamie Benn definitely isn’t doing everything – Tyler Seguin has done a solid job complementing Benn and vice versa.

    Sean Monahan, while he’s been good for Calgary, we don’t know how he will pan out. He may be better than Seguin or worse. Johnny Gaudreau, same. I definitely think that this trade would have been a poor one for the Flames. It was definitely a good trade for the Stars, who have most of the pieces they needed to be competitive. They gain a first line centr for a long time. The Flames haven’t had a real first line center in … a while. We all know how hard they can be to come across.

    Right now the Flames are starting a rebuild. They need to be drafting as many quality picks as possible, not taking a few amazing pieces. All three first round picks this year have good shots at being NHLers. We’ll see what happens but Tyler Seguin wasn’t the right piece for the Flames right now.

    And I question the widespread belief that Monahan is going to be elite. While possible, we can’t know for sure, and he was projected more than anything to be an awesome 2nd line center in the NHL rather than a first liner – kind of like a what Ryan Kesler is.

  • piscera.infada

    One thing I did not notice in the discussion about him landing in Dallas is the impact playing with Benn and all the other skilled players they have had on his season. There is no telling if he would have had that chemistry with anyone here. The cost would have been to high.

  • RexLibris

    I was originally in the “draft Seguin” camp in 2010.

    Did a little bit of research and listened very carefully to his interviews, etc and changed my mind.

    Now, there are many trades that you win by not making. Hindsight is 20/20, and all that cliche’d stuff.

    However, remember also how there was talk of the Kings offering Brayden Schenn (and perhaps something else) in return for Iginla back in 2011?

    There are also trades you lose by not making.

    The Flames have, recently, been notoriously reticent to consider deals that would result in delayed success.

    I understand the desire to favour “your guy” over someone with rumoured attitude issues. And I too place a premium on centers over wingers. However, ignoring what a player has accomplished in nearly four seasons because of what another has accomplished in 20-odd games is foolish.

    Should the Flames have made the deal? Probably. Is it a better long-term result that they chose not to? Perhaps. Let’s get back to this discussion five years from now and see.

  • The Last Big Bear

    I wouldn’t have done it.

    Not because of any kind of hindsight, but because there was too much talent in the top end of this draft.

    This draft was sick. There were 4 guys who would have gone 1st overall in most other years, and a very real chance that one of them would fall to 6th.

    The draft was just too good to give up a top-10 pick, even for a sure-thing player like Seguin.