On Tuesday night in Dallas, the Bruins will be staring “what could have been” in the face. Tyler Seguin – the young, gifted forward who was traded away because of perceived off-the-ice issues – will face off against his former team as the Stars host the Bruins.

Seguin is still young. He’s just 22, and would be the third-youngest player on the Bruins’ roster. He’s still gifted. He leads the league with 28 goals and is one point back of Jakub Voracek for the overall NHL scoring lead.

Does he still have off-the-ice issues? Who knows? Hidden away in the Lone Star State, Seguin is freed of the microscope used to judge every movement of an athlete in a big-time sports market like Boston.

That’s why it’s tougher to lose Seguin than it is to lose a similarly gifted player like Phil Kessel.

Kessel is 27 now and is still playing at a high level – a Top 15 player in goals and points – but in Toronto, Kessel’s words and actions are judged frame-by-frame.

It’s so much easier to find peace with the deal that sent Kessel to Toronto, even though he has scored 376 points in 410 games with the Leafs. It’s easier because we hear the Toronto media blame Kessel for the firing of (now former) head coach Randy Carlyle. It’s easier because we’ve watched the Leafs win just one of the first six games played since that move.

It’s also easier because Dougie Hamilton, chosen with the 2011 draft pick that came in the Kessel trade, is blossoming into a No. 1 defenseman.

If all goes according to plan, Hamilton will anchor the Bruins’ blue line for many years to come.

Seguin, the pick acquired in the Kessel deal, is now a superstar in Dallas. Like Kessel, he was deemed a poor fit for the Bruins. He wasn’t defensively responsible enough. He liked to float in the offensive zone looking to score.

In other words, he didn’t fit the system.

He was also thought to be irresponsible. In December 2011, Seguin was benched after missing a team breakfast. A year-and-a-half later, he was criticized for a dubious tweet that appeared on his Twitter account.

So on July 4, 2013, the Bruins declared their independence from the blossoming forward and traded him for Loui Eriksson, Reilly Smith, Joe Morrow and Matt Fraser.

This trade hasn’t worked out so well for the Bruins. Eriksson has been given numerous chances to settle in on the B’s top line but is best suited on the third line (where he has clicked with Carl Soderberg.) Smith is a second-line winger. Fraser was waived and is playing in Edmonton. We haven’t seen much of Morrow yet.

Through it all, the Bruins have struggled offensively. They are averaging just over 2.5 goals a game – ninth worst in the NHL. Seguin has scored more goals and points than any two Bruins combined.

The Bruins won a Stanley Cup with Seguin (although some believe they won it in spite of him). He has blossomed as a center in Dallas, a top-line threat who is leaned on to score goals at important times.

While fans look at the trade as a “win” for the Stars, the Bruins still feel they have made the right moves over the past few years. They have a better record than Dallas and are back in possession of a playoff spot with just one loss in the last six games.

They are healthy and seem to be headed in the right direction. Perhaps we are finally seeing a glimpse of what this team can be.

On Tuesday night, the B’s will be staring at a player that could’ve been a star in Boston. We’ll never know if Seguin could’ve fit in here. We just know it’s been hard to replace his scoring punch.

Tom Caron is the studio host for Red Sox broadcast on NESN. His column appears in the Portland Press Herald on Tuesdays.