Tyler Seguin has tallied better than a point-per-game in each of the last three seasons as the Stars #1 center and has also totaled 107 goals during that time. It would seem foolhardy to move the skilled pivot to any other position but Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News thinks the idea might have some merit.
In a recent chat, Heika fielded a question on Seguin and suggested he will be watching the six-year veteran to see how he plays at RW for Team Canada at the World Cup. With 11 natural pivots on the Canadian roster, several centers obviously will be forced into duty on the wing and it appears Seguin will be among those. Heika feels if Seguin performs well on the wing it might prompt the Stars to move him off the center position and elevate Cody Eakin into a more prominent role.
Eakin scored 16 goals and 35 points in 82 games for the Stars in 2015-16, while averaging nearly 16 1/2 minutes of ice time per contest. It was the third straight campaign Eakin recorded at least 16 goals and 35 points. Jason Spezza, fresh off a 33-goal, 63-point performance, is also likely slated to fill a slot on the top two lines giving the Stars plenty of depth at the center position.
It’s worth noting that Dallas also boasts plenty of offensive talent elsewhere among the forward group, meaning the club has no real need to move Seguin to the wing. The Stars recently inked Jiri Hudler to a one-year deal and he will join Jamie Benn, Patrick Sharp, Ales Hemsky, Valeri Nichushkin and Mattias Janmark in giving Dallas all kinds of options on the wing. Time will tell, of course, but the ability to role out Seguin, Spezza and Eakin, in that order, gives the Stars a strong group of pivots and one few teams can match in terms of talent. It simply wouldn’t make much sense to break that unit up.
Elsewhere in the NHL:
- Even though RFA RW Nikita Kucherov remains unsigned, Tampa Bay GM Steve Yzerman remains confident a deal will get done prior to the 2016-17 season kicking off, as Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times writes. There is no understating how critical Kucherov is to the success of the Lightning, particularly given how good he has been in the playoffs. Kucherov has contributed 21 goals and 41 points in 43 postseason games over the last two seasons, helping the Lightning to a Stanley Cup Finals berth in 2014-15 and an Eastern Conference Finals appearance this season. He’s also posted seasons of 66 and 65 points over the last two regular seasons. The Lightning are in a bit of a pinch in terms of the salary cap with just less than $6.3MM in space remaining and only 12 forwards, six defensemen and two goalies under contract. Smith points out that Filip Forsberg and Vladimir Tarasenko, two players he identifies as possible comparable cases, each signed deals recently that come with annual cap charges of $6MM and $7.5MM respectively. Given the situation, it’s plausible the Lightning will have to make a trade to clear some cap space if that’s the range Kucherov is looking to land in, and Smith singled out Ben Bishop, Valtteri Filppula and Jason Garrison as players the team could look to move if necessary.
- Despite stories – including this one which is in Swedish, and this one – suggesting New York Rangers superstar goalie Henrik Lundqvist had sustained an injury while golfing, Larry Brooks of the New York Post reassures the team’s fans that “the King” is just fine. Brooks tweet does indicate that Lundqvist took a puck to the ribs and is “sore” but it’s nothing to be concerned about. Of course any rumor regarding Lundqvist’s health is sure to grab the attention of Rangers fans everywhere. “Hank,” has been the backbone of the team since he debuted all the way back in the 2005-06 season and the five-time Vezina finalist gives the Blueshirts a chance to compete every year. If he were to miss significant time due to injury, the Rangers playoff chances would drop considerably.