Detroit Red Wings’ general manager Steve Yzerman shocked the hockey world in the 2019 Entry Draft when he chose German defenseman Moritz Seider. The gasps in the audience indicated that this pick was a surprise to most; many expected Yzerman to choose a forward like Trevor Zegras or Dylan Cozens. While the pick seemed to be a shock at first, reports of Yzerman and assistant GM Pat Verbeek repeatedly attending Seider’s games this past season make it abundantly clear that Seider was their guy from the get-go. Today, we’ll go over what makes Seider such a great pick, where he came from, and what he can bring to a Red Wings’ team desperate for defense.
Seider’s Season in Review
Seider spent his last year playing for Adler Mannheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). He won a slew of awards in the 2018-19 season including DEL Rookie of the Year, U20 World Juniors (D1A) Best Defenseman and Top Player on Team. While he only put up two goals and six points during the regular season, he turned on the jets during the playoffs, putting up five assists in 14 games. His strongest showing was with the U20 German team, where he put up an impressive 13 points (two goals, 11 assists) in just 12 games.
Seider is only 18-years old but managed to quickly put himself on the map with his responsible play and ability to compliment his team. His confidence shown through the second half of Mannheim’s season as he was given an increased role on the penalty kill and larger minutes on the ice. In terms of play style, he’s frequently compared to Brandon Carlo of the Boston Bruins and Darnell Nurse of the Edmonton Oilers.
What Makes Seider Special
Seider has been lauded for his hockey sense. He’s able to anticipate plays long before his opponents can put them together, using his backward speed and mobility to cover gaps in the neutral zone. His defensive soundness allows him to work the penalty kill, seizing the gap and taking advantage of quick reaction times. In fact, fellow countryman and NHL All-Star Leon Draisaitl praised Seider for his demeanor on the ice:
“He plays like a 35-year-old, almost…he’s so calm and so collected. It’s pretty fun to watch. Hopefully he keeps developing the way that we think he will and you know he’s going to be a special player.”Leon Draisaitl, Forward, Edmonton Oilers
While he didn’t leap off the page offensively in his last season, his impact was felt throughout the lineup. When watching moments in Mannheim’s season, you could visibly notice when Seider wasn’t on the ice. He was one of those players that made his presence noticeable by diving into play, making responsible moves, and playing big minutes in key games. He’s been frequently touted as a smart player that blends physicality with high processing speed and decision-making skills. He stays solid on defense, while taking part in the rush. As far as defensive prospects go, the Red Wings seem to have made an excellent decision with Seider.
What Seider Can Bring to Detroit
At just 18-years-old, the sky’s the limit for Seider. His development into a top-pairing defenseman will be invaluable in the Red Wing’s rebuild as they work to build on the blue line. His 6-foot-3, 208 pound frame at his age suggests that there’s still more to his potential than meets the eye. As he grows, he’ll adopt more to his frame and improve the facets of his game that need work. While he’s still got a lot of work to do before he can crack the team in the NHL, he’s definitely on the right path for his development.
On a Detroit roster struggling for defensive output, Seider should be able to fight his way onto the lineup within the next couple years. He’s fierce, mature, and defensively responsible — factors that the Red Wings’ front office admires. Barring an incredible showing at development camp, Seider is projected to start the season in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins. He has the opportunity to return to Mannheim to continue his development in the DEL, but it seems more than likely that Yzerman will want him to adjust to North American ice to put him one step closer to cracking the roster.
What do you expect out of Moritz Seider next season? Are you excited about the Red Wings’ choice at sixth overall? Let us know in the comments!