Sunday, November 23, 2014

Tyler Seguin No Longer Haunts Leafs

"Does it hurt to watch Tyler Seguin?"

That's a common question many Leafs fans get, especially as Seguin launches an offensive assault on the league.

You may have heard this before, but the Maple Leafs traded the draft pick that eventually became Seguin. The Phil Kessel trade is rarely discussed so don't feel bad if you didn't know this fact. Oh, what's that? You've heard that before. Of course, because by law the Kessel-Seguin swap needs to be brought up EVERY SINGLE DAY. For eternity.

But unlike other painful trades of the past that continually hurt Leafs Nation's collective psyche (like the Tom Kurvers-pick-that-became-Scott Niedermayer deal that everyone was reminded of as Cody Franson crept up on a Kurvers points streak record), the Seguin trade doesn't hurt. And I'm not just saying that because the Leafs have killed off any feelings I still might have inside of me.

The Seguin trade doesn't hurt because the pains of a trade diminish as each successive team trades the player in question. Leafs fans may have regrets, but so too do the Bruins. The more teams that share in your misery, the better.

And at this point, the misery is almost solely on Boston. The Seguin deal represents Phil Kessel in Toronto—a player with the second-most points in the league over the past four seasons. In Boston, however, the Seguin trade represents Loui Eriksson (less than 50 points in two years in Boston), Reilly Smith (a decent complementary player) and Matt Fraser (a bottom line forward). Regrets? Oh yeah.

More importantly, the major difference between the Leafs and the Bruins when it comes to Seguin is that the Bruins knew what they were getting rid of when they made the deal. They had already seen glimpses of Seguin the superstar before he turned 21. They knew what he was likely to become and they got rid of him anyways. The Leafs never had Seguin, they dealt a draft pick, and even though that pick became Seguin, there is no guarantee the Leafs would have used the pick on Seguin, or that he would have even become what he is today, had the Leafs kept that pick. In fact, the self-loathing Leafs fan inside all of us probably believes the Leafs would have actively ruined Seguin had he been drafted by Toronto.

So Seguin may be on pace to break the 50-goal barrier this season and he may have 100-point seasons in his future, but each time the red light goes off Leafs Nation need not feel pain. The Bruins, on the other hand? The aging, fading Bruins? The ones that could desperately use an injection of game-breaking youth? Ask them about the Seguin trade and the answer might be much different.

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