The World Cup of Hockey is a week away, and one member of the Dallas Stars in particular has a lot to prove.
In eight days, the city of Toronto will be hosting professional hockey once again. The World Cup of Hockey will take center stage, with six countries and two continents stepping into the limelight.
Among the teams for each country are four Dallas Stars who are preparing to shine as bright as possible.
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One of those players is superstar center Tyler Seguin. The 24-year-old Canadian will represent Team Canada during the two week tournament as they try to work their way to the championship and gain dominance.
Perhaps the biggest thing the Stars will be watching is whether Seguin will be ready to play on the right wing. He is expected to start the tournament on the right wing and potentially play there for the entire tournament.
He played on the wing early on in his career with the Boston Bruins. Once he was traded to the Dallas Stars in 2013, his days on the wings ended. Under direction of new head coach Lindy Ruff, Seguin moved to the center position for the Stars.
He has thrived in the role over the past three years, putting up 107 goals and 127 assists for 234 total points in 223 games. Seguin contributes at the center position both at even strength and on the power play.
His face-off win percentages are strong as well. After a rough transition year between the positions in 2013-14 that left Seguin at 41.5 percent overall in the dot, his numbers have skyrocketed. Seguin finished with a 53.8 win percentage in the dot in 2014-15, as well as a career-high 55.6 percent last season when he won 470 total.
Basically, he’s a talented enough player where you can put him anywhere in the lineup and he will still find a way to contribute in an effective way.
But will he stay in the dot this coming season? Or will he be moved out onto the wing so new centers can come in and snatch up the openings?
At the current moment, the Dallas Stars have four natural NHL-ready centers on their roster. They are Tyler Seguin, Jason Spezza, Cody Eakin, and Radek Faksa. Mattias Janmark can play center when needed, but has transitioned for the most part to playing naturally on the left wing.
The biggest problem is deciding on who gets to play where. All four of the names above are strong at the center position and have a pool of talent to offer. So one of them has to be a fourth line center, even though it just does not seem right.
If Seguin stays at center, it would not be the end of the world. Spezza would still back him up as the number two center, and Eakin and Faksa would filter into the bottom two lines.
But if Seguin moves out to a wing, a new world of opportunity opens up. Eakin proved during the postseason last year that he can play first line minutes if needed. The veteran Spezza is also a name that can be trusted. The Dallas Stars would also not have to break up the Roussel-Faksa-Hemsky line that put on a clinic during the playoffs last season if Seguin moved to the wing.
Moving Seguin to the wing would also open up a center spot on the fourth line, which Devin Shore and Jason Dickinson could battle for.
Overall, Seguin’s performance in the World Cup will decide a lot about how the Dallas Stars offense will configure this coming season. The Stars have proven that they need little help with offense, especially over the last two seasons.