Peter Chiarelli would like to see some larger numbers on Tyler Seguin's stat sheet, and admits that he expected a bit more in the kid's rookie season. But by and large, the Bruins general manager is quite satisfied with the debut season by last summer's No. 2 overall pick in the NHL draft.

"Better stats would have been better," Chiarelli said. "I came in thinking he'd get better stats — not much better, but better."

Seguin played his 73rd NHL game yesterday in the Bruins' 3-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators at the Garden. With one regular-season game left to play today at the New Jersey Devils, he has modest totals of 11 goals and 11 assists.

The 19-year-old took the spot of Patrice Bergeron, who, with little on the line for his team, was given the day off. Seguin centered Mark Recchi and Brad Marchand, and was scoreless on the day. He is also expected to play against the Devils today — and then he could be sitting for a while.

Chiarelli points out that Seguin's chance to put up more offense was reduced by his relatively limited ice time (12:11 average before yesterday's 13:05) and sparse appearances on the power play.

"In fairness to Tyler, he didn't get the significant ice time," Chiarelli said. "Of course, a lot of that is based on merit; there's a chicken-and-egg thing. But he didn't get it. He's comfortable with that and we're comfortable with that."

Still, Chiarelli said he has seen essential improvement in Seguin, in his play, his understanding of the game and his maturity as a player and person. "That's the thing you have to look at, the areas of his game we felt he had to improve going into this year," he said. "He wouldn't have improved if he wasn't here, if he was back in junior. You've seen where he had to improve: In the battle areas, on puck possession. From an improvement and development standpoint, I'm happy with Tyler this year."

It should be noted that the brass has been fairly gentle in its public comments about Seguin. Even if there was unhappiness in some elements of his game — and there was — management may figure it wouldn't do his confidence any good to see one of them saying so in the press.

Unlike, say, Bergeron, Seguin did not arrive in Boston as one of those remarkably mature 18-year-olds, with an adult understanding of what pro hockey would entail. A necessary step for him was, and remains, simply becoming more mature.