GALLERY: Rock acquire Seguin’s rights

TIMMINS – The Timmins Rock have acquired the rights to forward Derek Seguin from the Brantford 99ers, of the GOJHL, in exchange for a player development fee.

By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)

Prior to the transaction, Seguin had been skating with his new Rock teammates to get ready to attend training camp with the Ontario Hockey League’s Hamilton Bulldogs later this month.

The 2000-birth-year Timmins native was drafted by the Bulldogs in the sixth round, 105th overall, of the 2016 OHL Priority Selection draft.

Rock coach Corey Beer is pleased with the prospect of Seguin wearing the maroon, gold and white this season if he doesn’t make the Bulldogs’ roster.

“Derek is obviously a very high-end player,” he said.

“He has a combination of grit and skill. He is in phenomenal shape and he showed that again during Thursday’s dry-land training.

“He has that scorer’s touch around the net and he is very creative. He is in the mold of a (Boston Bruins forward) Brad Marchand, maybe without the extreme pest side of him.

“He is going to be a guy, if we are lucky enough to get him back, who will be a key contributor for us. He is a Top 9 player, absolutely.

“He is one of those guys the opposition is going to have to be aware of where he is in the offensive zone, because he can make them pay at any time.”

Seguin, who attended the Bulldogs’ rookie camp and main training camp last year, intends to give making the OHL squad his best effort.

“They told me to go and get a year of junior hockey under my belt and come back next year,” he said.

“I think I have done my job and we will see how it goes there.”

If things don’t work out in Hamilton, Seguin will be quite content to play for the Rock this season.

“I think it would be a great experience,” he said.

“It would be nice to be home for a year and around the hometown fans and the hometown boys. I am really looking forward to it.”

Seguin has not played at home since his final year with the Northern Ontario Bantam ‘AAA’ Hockey League’s Timmins Eagles during the 2014-15 season.

That team, of course, was coached by current Rock assistant coaches James Daschuk and Marc Bisson, as well as current Rock assistant general manager Eric Paquette.

Seguin (40, 31-21-52, 68) was one of the offensive stars for the Eagles that season.

Current Timmins Rock forward Stewart Parnell and Evan Kentish-Stack who was with the Rock as an affiliate player last season and is hoping to crack the roster full-time in 2017-18 were teammates of Seguin with that Eagles squad.

“It will be good to see some familiar faces and some familiar coaching,” he said.

“I loved James, Marc and Eric back when I had them as coaches and I am sure they have only gotten better. I am looking forward to it.”

As a minor midget, Seguin (33, 29-19-48, 24) played for the Hamilton Huskies, of the AHMMPL.

Seguin (37, 3-8-11, 28), who technically still has one year of midget eligibility left, then played on season in Brantford.

“My game has changed a lot since I played here in Timmins,” Seguin said.

“I used to be more of a grinder and a hard-working type of player, but when I moved down south the style of game changed and I had to adapt my game to their style of play.

“I became more of a skilled player and a goal scorer and a kind of speedy centre.”

Seguin should fit in well with the speedy, skilled group of forwards the Rock have on their roster.

“The NOJHL is like a European style of league, with a lot of speed, a lot of skill and a lot of room for creativity,” Seguin said.

“With all the speed we have on the front end and the back end, I think it will serve us well this year, along with coach Beer’s systems.”

With the Rock training camp having just officially opened Thursday, obviously the coaching staff is nowhere near the stage where it will begin to start setting forward lines and defence pairings, but Seguin is confident his skill set will work well with whomever he is assigned to skate with this season.

“I think if I had to pick a dream line to play with, I would pick Stewart Parnell and Wayne Mathieu,” he said.

“Stewart is a real hard worker who can go into the corners and get pucks, while Wayne has plenty of speed and skill. I think the three of us would make a good line, for sure.”

Clearly coach Beer and his staff will have plenty of choices when they do get to the stage of formulating line combinations, as there is no shortage of speed or skill among the forwards currently in camp.

“When you have the capability of having four lines coming at the opposition all game long, it can be tiring,” Seguin said.

“A lot of teams lack the depth to keep up with you and they end up not being able to win games because by the third period they are exhausted.”

Seguin is excited about playing for a head coach who earned an RBC Cup championship while working as an assistant with the Cobourg Cougars last season.

“I have only known him for three days now, but he has really whipped us into shape,” he said.

“He seems to be very intense and very old school and I think we are going to do really well playing for him. He really lets you know if you are doing something wrong, but he really wants us to do well out there.”

Seguin, who was officially listed at 5-10 and 160 pounds last season, has begun to fill out.

“I have had a great summer and I gained a lot of weight,” he said.

“I have been eating right and going to the gym. I spent a month out in Goderich with Brian O’Reilly and he helped me out this summer.”