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Numbers Game: Stars get Seguin in seven-player deal

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Scott Cullen
7/4/2013 4:56:56 PM
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The Bruins and Stars hooked up for a blockbuster summer trade, a seven-player deal, headlined by a third-year scoring forward who was the second overall pick in the 2010 Draft.

Numbers Game breaks down the deal sending Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley to Dallas for a package of players including Loui Eriksson and three prospects.

The Stars Get: C/RW Tyler Seguin, C/RW Rich Peverley and D Ryan Button.

Seguin, 21, was maligned for his 2013 playoff performance, when he scored one goal in 22 games, yet has 45 goals and 99 points over the last two seasons. His 36 even-strength goals over the last two years is tied for 14th.

Despite that production, at that age, the Bruins were definitely not satisfied with Seguin and once his name had appeared in trade rumours, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli told the Boston Globe that he hoped it would serve as a wake-up call, that Seguin would, "Become more of a professional." Chiarelli continued, "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."

When Seguin is focused on the game, he's a dynamic offensive talent, with the speed and shot to be among the most dangerous offensive players in the league. Like many of the Bruins' top players, Seguin dominated in terms of puck possession over the last two seasons.

Moving to Dallas, Seguin figures to pair with Jamie Benn on the Stars' top line. Seguin has played right wing for the vast majority of his time in Boston, so an opportunity to play in the middle will be different. He played centre in junior, but hasn't yet had that responsibility in the NHL. Leading right wing candidates could be first-round pick Valeri Nichushkin, veterans Ray Whitney or Erik Cole or perhaps another addition to the Stars' roster this summer.

Seguin also figures to see a boost in ice time. He played just under 17 minutes per game over the past two seasons in Boston, but could easily see that push closer to 20 minutes per game with the Stars.

Seguin's six-year, $34-million contract extension kicks in this season, a $5.75-million cap hit per season. If he's a number one centre, scoring 70-plus points per season, that's a very reasonable return on investment. If he becomes better than a point-per-game guy, then that's a big win for Big D.

Peverley turns 31 next week and is coming off a poor season in which he, and Boston's third line in general, struggled. Since being picked up on waivers by Atlanta, from Nashville, in 2008-2009, Peverley has 191 points in 307 games (a pace of 51 points per 82 games), but managed just 18 points in 47 games last season thanks, in part, to a career-low shooting percentage of 6.3% (his 5v5 on-ice shooting percentage was an abysmal, and unlucky, 4.63%).

Where Peverley remains excellent, is in the faceoff circle, as he's won at least 55.0% of his draws in each of the last four seasons, including 58.4% last season, which ranked ninth among players with at least 200 face-offs in 2013.

With the Stars, Peverley will fit into a second-line centre role, where he will be expected to contribute more offensively. The opportunity will certainly be there for Peverley to bounce back.

Part of the incentive for Boston to move Peverley is that his contract still has two years, at a cap hit of $3.25-million per season, remaining. If he was producing, that would be one thing, but for a Bruins team without huge cap room, it made sense to include Peverley's contract in order to gain more financial flexibility heading into free agency.

Ryan Button is only 22, but has spent two pro seasons splitting time between the AHL and ECHL, so his inclusion in the deal is more about keeping room on the Bruins' reserve list than anything else. Perhaps Button gets some regular work in the AHL with Texas but, barring a sudden turnaround in his new locale, he's not going to be a factor when evaluating this trade.

Dallas took a swing for the fences, going after a young player who has already shown that he can score in the NHL. If Seguin pans out as a first line scoring centre -- and he should -- then it will be hard to argue that they didn't get what they wanted out of the deal.

The Bruins Get: LW/RW Loui Eriksson, RW Reilly Smith, D Joe Morrow and RW Matt Fraser.

Eriksson, who turns 28 in a couple weeks, has been a strong two-way player and regarded as underrated for so long that he's probably closer to properly rated now. He's able to play both wings, in all situations, and has logged just under 20 minutes per game for the Stars over the last five seasons, a time during which he's scored 130 goals, the same as Alex Burrows, two more than Patrick Kane and two fewer than Martin St. Louis.

With vacancies abound on right wing in Boston (in addition to Seguin and Peverley departing, Jaromir Jagr and Nathan Horton are free agents), Eriksson is likely to move into a spot alongside Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, one of the league's most formidable two-way lines.

Eriksson's contract runs for three more seasons and while the salary is a little higher ($4.6-million this year, $4.5-million in the last two years), the cap hit is an economical $4.25-million. In addition to being a quality player, Eriksson provides value relative to the salary cap.

A 22-year-old winger who scored 58 goals in 77 games in his last two collegiate seasons at Miami, Reilly Smith had a solid start to his pro career, scoring 35 points in 45 AHL games, before adding nine points in 37 games, along with strong possession stats, at the NHL level.

Ideally, for the Bruins, Smith would be able to step in and fill a scoring role next season, but that could be asking too much from an unproven young player. Smith is still on an entry-level deal that will pay him $900,000 in the NHL.

Acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Brenden Morrow trade last season, 20-year-old Joe Morrow had a bit of a rocky first pro season. The 23rd overall pick in 2011, Morrow is an offensive defenceman who needs time to round out the rest of his game if he's going to make the jump. He offers upside as a puck-moving, point-producing defenceman, but isn't ready to provide immediate help to a Stanley Cup contender.

A winger with good size who scored 70 goals in 135 AHL games over the last two seasons, Matt Fraser has also chipped in three points in 13 games with Dallas over the past two years. Fraser's defensive game could use some work as well, but with continued improvement in that regard, he could give the Bruins another option up front.

Sending a $9-million salary cap hit to Dallas, while taking back $4.25-million (not counting Smith's two-way deal), gives the Bruins room to maneuver financially. According to www.capgeek.com, they have nearly $56.9-million committed to the 2013-2014 salary cap for 19 players (including more than $4-million for Marc Savard, who will go on long-term injured reserve), leaving enough room to sign restricted free agent goaltender Tuukka Rask and bid for a scoring winger. There have been rumours about the Bruins having interest in older guys, like Daniel Alfredsson, or re-signing Jagr, but this move could also free them up to join the fray bidding on David Clarkson.

How the Bruins spend their money will go a long way towards determining the value from this trade because, straight up, it's going to be very difficult for Eriksson and prospects to provide more value than Seguin will deliver to Dallas.

It's understandable that the Bruins took the stance that they did on a young player that they didn't think was taking his job as seriously as he should, particularly when they have a veteran group that they expect to contend for the Stanley Cup, but it's very risky.

It's surely been happening forever but, in recent years, allegations and Deadspin reports have swirled around the likes of Patrick Kane, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, all of whom have been Cup winners, Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks, who didn't trade him after a highly-publicized weekend in Wisconsin last spring, and Carter and Richards with Los Angeles in 2012, after the Flyers reportedly had their own concerns.

Sometimes, a young player may need a trade to humble them and teach them just how high the stakes are in pro hockey, and if that happens for Seguin, the Bruins will come to regret the deal in the long run (if it happens quickly, then they could regret it even sooner). The decision they made, however, was apparently based on something that they weren't prepared to accept with their current group.

Scott Cullen can be reached at Scott.Cullen@bellmedia.ca and followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/tsnscottcullen. For more, check out TSN Fantasy on Facebook.

Brad Marchand Tyler Seguin (Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

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(Photo: John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
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