How Blake Wheeler's arbitration could effect Tyler Seguin's immediate future

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seguinchiarelli.jpgWe talked a bit about the Bruins’ potential arbitration case with forward Blake Wheeler earlier today. What happens there, should he not sign before his hearing tomorrow in Toronto, will affect the Bruins immensely as far as their salary cap is concerned. While the Bruins certainly have many things to consider when it comes time to trim things down, one other area they’ll be concerned with is how the situation will effect matters with 2010 first round pick Tyler Seguin.

Seguin, if he’s to play with the Bruins next season, will likely sign an entry-level deal with the Bruins worth around $3.25 million a year. That’s not a number I picked out of the air, it’s the going rate for #2 overall picks in the draft. There’s no doubt that that salary coupled with what Blake Wheeler’s possible reward in arbitration will be will put the Bruins over the cap. Ahh, but there are always solutions and one of them is one that Bruins fans seeking immediate satisfaction on Seguin may not want to hear about. Neate Sager of Yahoo’s junior hockey blog Buzzing The Net says that things might not turn out so bad if Seguin isn’t squeezed into the Bruins lineup this year.

Much greater hockey minds seem divided on whether Seguin is ready now or could buy some time by remaining in a developmental league.

Point being, there is a win-win-win on the horizon. In Major League Baseball, teams and the media always talk about players’ controllable years and their free-agency clock. Having Seguin play in Plymouth keeps the clock rolling through a little more of what should be his NHL prime. He might have little left to prove in the Ontario Hockey League after beating out Taylor Hall for MVP honours, but that’s not really the question.

Mind you, this exact possibility for the Bruins to be able to have Seguin go back to Plymouth is something that they should be OK with doing. The Bruins are/were a playoff team, they’re a team with a lot of depth at center, they’re a team that’s pressed up against the cap. They’re a team with a lot of ugly money coming off the cap next season. Is there any harm at all in being patient while they’ve got the opportunity? No way.

As Sager notes, Seguin might not have much else to prove in the OHL but the Bruins have the option of having him return there if they so choose. The question for the Bruins then becomes: Are they better off with Seguin in the lineup regardless of whether he plays center or wing or can they wing it this season with what they’ve got having added Nathan Horton up front? I can say that I’m glad I’m not Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli and have to make these decisions.

Of course, the Bruins can always just send someone packing somehow and make the room for Seguin but trading guys is a bit tricky, especially in a market where finding buyers willing to take overpriced spare parts is awfully difficult.