An in-depth look at Tyler Seguin’s special Game 2 performance

When we discussed Sean Bergenheim’s playoff run on Monday, it was all about unexpected heroes. Few people should be surprised that Tyler Seguin had a great playoff game since he was the second pick of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. What was surprising, however, was the timing of that breakthrough. If Bergenheim is an unexpected hero, then perhaps Seguin is a premature hero.

Either way, the 19-year-old forward burst onto the scene by scoring six points in his first two playoff games, including an astounding four-point performance (all in the second period) tonight. To underscore just how special a start Seguin is producing, here are a few interesting bits about how his start compares to others in playoff history.

  • Seguin’s four points are the most by a teenager in any single playoff game, according to Versus.
  • Only Barry Pederson (also a Boston Bruins forward) scored more points in his first two playoff games, notching seven in 1982. Seguin is tied for second all-time with six points, joining the likes of Dale Hawerchuk.
  • Seguin managed his two goals on just three shots in Game 2.
  • Overall, he scored two goals and two assists in just 13:41 of ice time. Talk about making the most of your time on the ice. (Honestly, Joe could still make the argument that Seguin deserves more time on the ice.)
  • He was also a +3, so it’s not like he just fed off of power play production, either.

It’s not just that Seguin scored, by the way. The kid did it in style. Check out this montage from Versus.

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That’s two straight games in which Seguin scored highlight reel goals. He scored two points in Game 1, including this beauty of a goal.

Here are a few excerpts from Seguin’s post-game press conference.

Q.  Your first goal tonight looked a lot like the goal the other night.  Were you seeing the same things, the same opportunities?  What was ahead of you there?

TYLER SEGUIN:  I kind of saw the same thing.  Really, with my time off over the last couple of weeks, I’ve been working on driving the net hard and picking up speed in the neutral zone.  And that goal today, I just kind of cut to the neutral zone and they were two deep and I tried to beat them with my speed.  I wanted to mix up the move and not do the same thing that I did the last game, and it worked out.

(snip)

Q.  Your play spoke for itself tonight.  I’m just wondering, because sometimes the fans, the media, are not always aware about conversations that are had on the bench, in the locker room between periods or in down-times.  Can you share maybe a story where somebody on the bench, a coach, a teammate said something, either tonight or another night, that really made you feel good about yourself and helped you keep believing in yourself?

TYLER SEGUIN:  There were a few times where guys who do have experience like Recchi and I remember a specific time where Shawn Thornton came up to me in the second round and he said:  Look, kid if we’re going to the Cup, you’re going to get opportunity to play just because injuries are part of the game and have fun with it and enjoy the ride and take it all in and use it as a learning experience.

So I looked at it up top as an opportunity as well.  It was tough watching but I tried to take it as an opportunity and I got the chance to come in, I just wanted to seize it.

No doubt about it, Seguin is seizing his opportunities. Joel Micheletti caught up with Seguin following the game.

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Canucks avoid arbitration with Boucher, Horvat remains RFA

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The Vancouver Canucks still have some work to do this summer, but at least none of their players will take part in salary arbitration hearings.

After coming to an agreement with Michael Chaput, the Canucks reached a one-year, $687,500 deal with forward Reid Boucher on Monday.

Boucher, 23, has 112 regular-season games under his belt. He spent most of his career (82 of 112 games) with the New Jersey Devils before bouncing to the Nashville Predators (3 games) and then the Canucks (27 games) last season. He averaged a little more than 12 minutes per night with the Canucks, much like with the Devils in 2016-17.

While the arbitration hearings are covered, the Canucks face two lingering RFA situations: Brendan Gaunce, and most importantly, Bo Horvat.

Coyotes sign Langhamer, so only Duclair needs a deal

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The Arizona Coyotes handed a one-year, two-way contract to goalie Marek Langhamer on Monday.

Langhamer would be paid $660K at the NHL level and $67,500 in the AHL, according to AZ Sports’ Craig Morgan.

Langhamer turned 23 on Saturday. He got about the smallest cup of coffee you could ask for with the Coyotes last season: he appeared in one game for 16 minutes, allowing a goal on eight shots.

It was quite the year for the Czech-born goalie, who played seven games in the ECHL and 25 in the AHL along with that brief NHL appearance. He also played in the AHL and ECHL during the 2015-16 season, so he’s been bouncing around.

As a seventh-rounder (184th overall in 2012), Langhamer likely doesn’t take opportunities for granted.

The netminding situation is interestingly fluid in Arizona. Both Antti Raanta and Louis Domingue stand ahead of Langhamer – at minimum – but those two only have one year remaining on their current deals. If nothing else, there’s likely a “prove it” vibe at multiple levels now that Mike Smith is in Calgary.

With Langhamer settled, the Coyotes only have one RFA left to sign, but it’s a tricky one with forward Anthony Duclair. When it came to Duclair, GM John Chayka kept it pretty vague with the Arizona Republic’s Sarah McLellan.

“We’re still trying to determine the best value for the player and the team moving forward,” Chayka said.

Predators are one Johansen deal away from a salary cap work of art

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If you need to kill some time, play this game: which Nashville Predators contract is the biggest steal?

If Viktor Arvidsson is as much of a difference-maker as his limited NHL reps indicate, his $4.25 million cap hit over seven years is certainly in the running. Still, there are plenty of choices.

  • The defense alone is bargain-filled, making P.K. Subban‘s $9 million cap hit easy to stomach.

Ryan Ellis‘ $2.5 million cap hit doesn’t run out until after 2018-19. Mattias Ekholm‘s less of a “well-kept secret” following Nashville’s run to the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, yet his $3.75M steal runs through 2021-22. Roman Josi can be a bit polarizing but at $4M for three more seasons, it’s not controversial to say that he’s probably at least worth the money.

  • The offensive bargains begin with the top line.

Arvidsson has the makings of a legit first-line winger, and that deal is highly likely to be regrettable … for his agent and accountant.

Filip Forsberg‘s $6M isn’t as audacious as some of those defensive steals, but it’s still pretty nice. That total also makes it easier for the Predators to try to control costs for their one remaining big consideration: Ryan Johansen, who still needs a deal as an RFA.

  • Calle Jarnkrok is a pretty nifty get at $2M per season, especially if he grows with a contract that runs through 2021-22.
  • Scott Hartnell took quite the homecoming discount at $1M for 2017-18.
  • As you go deeper, the Predators enjoy some nice deals on players who are under ELC’s or second contracts: Kevin Fiala ($863K), Frederick Gaudreau ($667K), Ponuts Aberg ($650K) and Colton Sissons ($625K) could all be helpful contributors at low costs.

This tweet really sells the point, in case this post hasn’t: GM David Poile hasn’t been slowing down much since being named GM of the Year. And he might just be the best executive in the NHL right now.

  • It’s all pretty immaculate; even if you’re not a fan of Pekka Rinne, his $7 million cap hit expires in two seasons. By then, the Predators could very well transition to Juuse Saros, possibly echoing the Penguins with Marc-Andre Fleury and Matt Murray along the way.

Overall, it’s an enviable situation, as Nashville’s clean cap ranks with Pittsburgh and few others as the best-looking in the NHL. That’s especially true when you consider the fact that the Lightning are allocating $8.8 million to the shaky duo of former Rangers in Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi.

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Still, the Predators aren’t done for the summer, as Johansen stands as a tricky situation. They don’t have the helpful deadline of arbitration looming, so the two sides are just going to have to figure something out … eventually.

Even so, Cap Friendly pegs them at $13.43 million in cap space, so they have room to work with their first-line center.

While teams like the Penguins and Blackhawks stocked up on high draft picks, the Predators’ greatest moves have largely come through shrewd drafting, savvy trades, and forward-thinking contract extensions. One can debate which setup is the best, but Poile’s work places Nashville in the upper crust, and their built to stay there for years to come.

Related: Matt Murray, Jake Guentzel could help Penguins compete for years.

Okposo to fans: ‘Thinking about your support brings a tear to my eye’

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In a lengthy and heartfelt letter, Kyle Okposo thanked the hockey community – especially but not only Buffalo Sabres fans and teammates – for their support after his hospitalization.

Okposo also shared some personal details about how a seemingly innocent hit affected his sleep and caused alarming weight loss, dropping him below 200 lbs. for the first time since he was 17. He said he checked into a hospital expecting to get help sleeping, only to go to ICU after a negative reaction to medication.

As scary as that experience was, it helped him put his career and life in perspective. Okposo also realized just how much fans, teammates, and people associated with the sport can help each other in times of need.

It’s a really great letter and worth reading in full (especially considering his praise for new Sabres management), but here’s one of the more inspiring excerpts:

When I turned my phone on, I had 500 messages waiting for me. Current players, former players, former coaches – everyone reached out. Even now, fans see me in Minnesota or Buffalo and say, ‘I’m just really glad you’re doing OK.’ It’s overwhelming, and it makes me proud to be a part of the hockey community. We’re a tight-knit group and we stick together. Thinking about your support brings a tear to my eye.

The messages from my Sabres teammates meant a lot in particular. I’ve only played with those guys for one year, with Matt Moulson being the exception, and we didn’t have the type of season that we wanted. The fact that all of them were so supportive through this shows that the bond between teammates really does transcend what happens on the ice.

Okposo noted that he appreciated playing in “Da Beauty League” last week, even though his team got “whacked.”

Read more about him being involved in that here, and how happy Zach Parise and others were to see him play in this article. Okposo also reaffirms the belief that he’ll be ready to go for Sabres training camp in that letter.