BOSTON -- Now that Tyler Seguin is no longer a member of the Boston Bruins, general manager Peter Chiarelli isn't about to call out the character of the 21-year-old forward just because he was traded to the Dallas Stars as the centerpiece of a seven-player deal on Independence Day.
Less than a week ago, Chiarelli told reporters after the NHL draft that Seguin needed to be a better pro. After the trade was complete, Chiarelli reiterated his comments but added nothing but praise for the former No. 2 overall pick in 2010.
"I think what's important to remember about Tyler is that he came here with much pomp and circumstance and he played very well for a young player," Chiarelli said. "This year wasn't his best year, but it was a trying year and a weird year to assess players. Tyler's a real good kid. I know I see the Twitter-verse, whatever it's called, and a lot of these reports about his extracurricular stuff, and I've made comments that due to his professionalism and acting more like a professional, but what has to be remembered in all this is that he's 21 years old. He's a good kid, and he's a terrific player. He's probably better suited for center. He was very good for us as a winger."
Chiarelli made it a point to say this trade had nothing to do with any off-ice issues the Bruins were concerned about, but he did seem to question Seguin's preparedness.
"I don't want to really play that up too much. He's a 21-year-old that played as an 18-year-old, and I think he was just a 21-year-old kid. He was maturing and growing up, and he liked to have fun like the rest of them. I don't really think it was such a big deal. But when I said earlier about focus, just about little things, about preparing to play, it was nothing about extracurricular activities."
Chiarelli was asked whether this was strictly an on-ice decision.
"There are no strict on-ice decisions on any decision you make with a hockey player. So no, it's not a strict on-ice decision," he said.
Asked whether the Bruins were fed up with Seguin's so-called off-ice issues, Chiarelli again downplayed it.
"I don't think so. I mean, we're talking about a good player. Our job -- my job as a manager, our coach's job, we have to get the best out of our players. ... No player is perfect, either as a player or an individual. His -- all his stuff mushrooms into a proliferation of items on social media and I get overwhelmed by the number of stuff that comes out. Maybe some of it is true, but I know not all of it is true.
"And this kid -- Tyler is a 21-year-old, he is a good kid, he's got a good heart and he is going to continue to grow up."
The Bruins had been shopping Seguin before the draft, so when the trade was announced Thursday afternoon, it did not come as a shock.
"I definitely heard the rumors," Seguin said during a conference call. "When the trade was announced, I don't know if I was surprised. As far as the professional comments, I talked with Peter about it right after the trade happened. I come to the rink every day and act professional and work my hardest. My first three years so far have been a big learning curve, and I look forward to getting better every day, and I'm more motivated coming to a great city like Dallas.
Chiarelli was also asked whether the condition of Seguin's hip factored into why the Bruins wanted to trade him.
"No. That's really a condition that's troubling a lot of players. He's managed it, and the doctors talked. There's no issue," Chiarelli said.
After the Bruins lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup finals, Seguin acknowledged that a physical ailment was bothering him during the playoffs and said he would have it checked out by medical staff. That ailment was believed to be his hip.
As far as what the Bruins are getting in return for Seguin and Rich Peverley, Chiarelli believes this deal works well for both teams. Dallas GM Jim Nill sees Seguin as a pure center and will use him as such with the Stars. Chiarelli believes Seguin could thrive in that role with the Stars.
"Tyler was quiet for most of the playoffs. He's a tremendous package of skill and speed, so yes it will go north," Chiarelli said. "His game is more conducive to that. The ice on both sides of them, when he's in the middle, he will have to play defensively there as he did here. Lindy [Ruff] likes to take care of his own end, so that won't change, as far as that responsibility. In fact it'll be more, as a center man you have more defensive responsibility down low. Jimmy likes Tyler. Loves Tyler as a player. He's followed him a long time being in Detroit when Tyler was in Plymouth, so it was a good fit for them."
Seguin's offensive production drastically declined during the Stanley Cup playoffs. He had only one goal in 22 games in the postseason. When asked how he felt about playing in Dallas and what he learned during his time in Boston, Seguin said: "It's a refreshing feeling I get to go and start from scratch with a new organization, a new home. Whether it's on or off the ice I definitely want to succeed in the expectations that are given towards me."
Joining Seguin in Dallas will be Peverley, who was also part of the deal.
"I think Tyler was under the microscope here in Boston and I've heard a lot of things in the past 24 hours about Tyler that I don't think is true and it's unfortunate that it's coming to people talking like that," Peverley said. "He works very hard. He's gotten a lot more mature in the years I've known him. He commits himself to the game and getting better. I don't see any reason why he can't continue to improve all the time. He works very hard and he's a committed individual and it's going to be no different going forward. For Boston to let him go at a young age, I'm sure he's going to be really motivated to do well. I'm excited for him because it's new start, a fresh start and I'm sure he's excited."
"Well, he's a good two-way player," Chiarelli said of Eriksson. "He knows where to find the spots to score. Has a good shot, good release from either side, can play on the PP. ... He can play the right side, and he has left-shot skill. He spreads out your power play. He's a fast and a good two-way player. There's a lot of his game that fits into how we play."