When Tyler Seguin steps onto the ice at TD Garden Tuesday night in Boston, it will be not only as an opponent, but as the once future face of the Bruins.

Though he played only three seasons in Boston, the current Dallas Stars center will forever be linked to the Bruins probably one of two ways. It could either be as the underachiever the Bruins were right about or the superstar Boston gave up on too soon.

It will take years for the results of the Seguin trade that also sent Rich Peverley and prospect Ryan Button to Dallas in exchange for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith and prospects Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser. Seguin is playing in Dallas on the first season of the six-year, $34.5 million deal the Bruins signed him to just prior to the lockout last season and at just 21 years old, he may still be figuring out what kind of player he is supposed to be in the league.

For the Dallas Stars, presently, Seguin is a first-line center who is supposed to generate offense and lead the scoring charge alongside Jamie Benn. So far, despite struggles at the faceoff dot, Seguin is producing.

He has 15 points in 14 games heading into Tuesday's action and has been a consistent threat with his speed and skill level, just like you'd expect a former second-overall pick to look.

Now he returns to Boston, where he set the bar so high in his second NHL season with 67 points in 81 games. It was also there where he was much criticized for a sub-par postseason performance in which he scored only one goal during the team's run to the Stanley Cup Final last year. It is also the city that seemed to turn on him rather quickly when allegations of late-night partying and a lack of professionalism started creeping into local columns and even out of the mouth of his own general manager.

Seguin may have been traded fair and square, but from the outside it almost seems like he was run out of town. Even as he was out the door, more and more kept coming out about why the Bruins traded him.

The Bruins' decision to trade Seguin has probably been oversimplified in the months since it happened. The alleged out-of-control partying, or the subpar season, or perceived lack of professionalism, or the one goal in the playoffs, or his style of play have all been labeled culprits for why he was dealt. In reality, it's probably a combination of those many factors that led to Seguin's end as a Bruin.

One thing that really hasn't changed since the Bruins made Seguin the second-overall pick in the 2010 NHL Draft is the vast potential that Seguin possesses. Even after last year's dip in production, it's hard to label Seguin a bust. It might not even be fair to judge Seguin on last season with the lockout-shortened campaign.

Development is not always linear. A player is not always going to be better the next year than he was the last, even though it's only natural for a team to hope he would be.

In the NESN series “Behind the B,” cameras were in the room with Boston's management team as it discussed the possibility of trading Seguin.