Seguin ‘giddy’ about Hitchcock’s plan to turn him into true No. 1 center

Posted: 17/04/2017 in NHL, Sports
Tags: , , , , , ,

Dallas Stars v Toronto Maple Leafs

Ken Hitchcock wants Tyler Seguin to become a permanent top-line center, and to say the Dallas Stars‘ points leader is looking forward to attaining his new head coach’s goal is an understatement.

“It gets me giddy. It gets me giddy,” Seguin told Mark Stepneski of the club’s official website.

“Since I’ve come to Dallas, I’ve wanted to be a number-one centerman,” he added. “I still want to be. I want to be a number-one centerman and a two-way guy.”

Hitchcock, who was re-hired by the Stars on Thursday, already has a list of responsibilities he hopes Seguin will eventually be able to fulfill full time.

“I’ve got to work hard in the summer to get Tyler to start thinking like a (number-one center),” the veteran bench boss said.

“That means he’s got to be out there in critical spaces all the time. That means he’s got to kill penalties, he’s got to play against the other team’s top players, he’s got to be out there at the start of games, and he’s got to be out there at the end of games. He’s got to take key faceoffs. He’s got to do everything to become a (number-one center). That’s what a (number one) does.”

There’s no doubting Seguin’s offensive gifts. He scored 37 goals in each of the two seasons before this one, averaging more than 80 points. The 25-year-old had his worst campaign in the last four from a production standpoint in 2016-17, but still tied Jamie Benn for the team lead in goals (26) and edged him by three for the club lead in points (72).

It’s on the defensive end that Seguin acknowledges he still needs improvement.

“I am a goal scorer, and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I know when I have a goal or a couple of assists. That’s human nature,” he said. “But ultimately I am big into if we are winning or losing and I know I need to improve the two-way side.”

Hitchcock agreed that his star forward has to bring more to the rink than his scoring and playmaking abilities.

“I need him to act, think, and behave like a number one,” the coach said. “That means he is going to have to set the competitive direction, not the skill direction. There’s a big difference. His skill level and his talent get us to the floor, but it’s going to be his compete and his character that’s going to take us to the ceiling.”

Despite boasting two of the NHL’s most productive offensive players, Dallas missed the playoffs for the second time in four seasons under Lindy Ruff, who was fired Sunday.

Hitchcock led the Stars to a Stanley Cup championship in 1999, and spent parts of seven campaigns with Dallas in his first NHL head-coaching stint from 1995-96 to 2001-02.

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