The Boston Bruins on Tuesday signed forward Tyler Seguin to a six-year contract extension worth an average of $5.75 million a year, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli announced. The deal starts after this season and runs through 2018-19.
Seguin, 20, drafted second overall by Boston in the first round of the 2010 NHL entry draft, was set to become a free agent after the upcoming season and had expressed a strong desire to stay in Boston.
"I've started my career here and I fell in love on my first visit," he said in a conference call Tuesday afternoon. "I'm a Bruin and I'm happy to be a part of this group of guys and I consider them my brothers and I'm happy to start a life here.
"It's a great feeling to know that Mr. Chiarelli and the organization have faith and trust in me and how they think I'm going to become and how I am. That's probably the best feeling you can really have. It's not only the years and the money but the feeling that the organization has trust in you, who you can become and who you are."
Seguin, who collected just 11 goals and 22 points in 74 games during his rookie season, had a breakout sophomore campaign in 2011-12. He led the team in goals with 29 and points with 67 and became the youngest player to hold the club's scoring title.
Seguin also was selected to play in the 2012 NHL All-Star Game.
"He is maturing before our eyes and I feel that the hard work he's shown us and the willingness to put in that hard work continues and the sky's the limit for Tyler," Chiarelli said. "It's the second of a couple of deals we've done on extensions as we try to lock up our core in the face of the labor situation at this time. We feel very strongly at this time about our team. Part of this deal is projecting and we're projecting Tyler to be a terrific young player. So we're very happy to have him signed at this point in time."
Late last week, the Bruins locked up Brad Marchand to a four-year, $18 million contract extension. Marchand's deal was set to expire at the end of this season.
"Part of my job is to plan for this team within the context and within the parameters of the league, the league rules and the CBA," said Chiarelli. "I just feel that we have flexibility with some of the guys coming up and it doesn't mean we won't sign those players later on but I just feel we've placed more of an importance on getting some of these (younger) guys under contract. We talk openly about the second contract problem and we're trying to fix it. But I try and do my job and I try and move forward and these are some of the core players I am trying to lock up."
If the current collective bargaining agreement expires on Sept. 15 without a new deal, there will be a freeze on all player personnel transactions and the league is likely to lock players out.
The 6-foot-1, 182-pound Seguin, a native of Brampton, Ontario, realizes that along with his new contract come increased expectations.
"I think as it is, I have high expectations of myself," Seguin said. "I like to say I adapt to situations well and I'm confident. I think that I have a lot more improvement still to come and I am confident that I can earn a lot more respect both from players and also management. That's what's going to keep me motivated and that's my game plan."
He also expects increased leadership responsibilities.
"I think that's where I am now in my career," Seguin said. "I've settled in the last two years and I don't look at my age as a factor. I want to be a leader even at the age of 20. Being situated with the boys and learning everybody and everyone in the organization, I feel that I can step into those leadership roles and step into those shoes. Whether it's new guys or not, just being a good example on the ice, that's what I want to do."
He had said on Monday that if there is a lockout, he would think about playing elsewhere to stay sharp.
"I'm not sure," he said. "I'm headed to New York for two days to see what's going on and then talk to my agent a bit more. Obviously I want to be playing hockey, NHL first, and then I've thought about AHL, thought about going overseas, but nothing I can confirm on right now."