Few predicted the Detroit Red Wings would draft Moritz Seider with the sixth pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Not even Seider was prepared for the announcement.
Now that the initial shock has subsided and blueliner is through his first development camp, he can take the summer to relax a bit and train for the upcoming season. But where Seider plays during the 2019-20 season remains to be seen.
Already signed to an entry-level contract, Detroit’s top defensive prospect is expect to come to camp ready to compete. Steve Yzerman and company will then decide Seider’s next destination – whether that’s a few hours south of Traverse City or across the Atlantic.
Let’s take a look at the four teams Seider could suit up for this season and evaluate which makes the most sense for his development.
Option 1: Detroit Red Wings
Remember when Dennis Cholowski had no chance to make the Red Wings? Given Detroit’s lackluster blue line, it’s entirely possible that Seider wins an NHL job out of camp. He may not stay there long – it’s usually a good idea to let young players’ entry-level contracts slide. But in the meantime, would you rather give a prospect a chance to showcase their skills or continue on with replacement-level defensemen?
Back to Seider – the blueliner showed great poise during the 2019 World Championships playing against the world’s best. With that being said, a few games in Detroit wouldn’t be too much to ask, especially if Seider’s minutes are sheltered.
Option 2: Grand Rapids Griffins
Skill-wise, the AHL might be the best fit for Seider. The NHL is clearly the best hockey league in the world. But the AHL tops the OHL and Germany’s top league in terms of talent. If Seider played in the AHL, he’d have to defend against high-quality competition night-in and night-out. In addition, he would be able to skate with Detroit’s prospects – and possibly line up alongside Cholowski as the top pairing of the future for the Red Wings.
However, the Griffins (and Red Wings) are already flush with defensemen, so earning a spot in the lineup may not be a given. With fellow right-handed defenseman and highly touted prospect Gustav Lindstrom already joining the fray, there might be a better option for Seider, who needs ice time to develop.
Option 3: Owen Sound Attack
With the Owen Sound Attack, Seider will absolutely see the ice – and a lot of it. After trading Los Angeles Kings prospect Sean Durzi, the Attack could certainly use a No. 1, all-situations defenseman like Seider.
Before turning pro, Filip Hronek spent a season in the OHL honing his craft. Hronek averaged over a point per game with the Saginaw Spirit and saw plenty of ice time as a top-pairing defenseman, earning recognition as an OHL Third-Team All-Star.
The drawback for a stint in the OHL, though, is the quality of competition. Of the four options for Seider, these are the least talented (and physically developed) players. How much will Detroit’s top defensive prospect actually gain if he’s not being challenged enough? Hronek acquired valuable experience, but Seider may but further along than Hronek in his development curve.
Option 4: Adler Mannheim
There’s nothing wrong with staying home for a year to figure things out afte you turn 18. It’s true in the United States and the same could be said about Germany.
If the Red Wings decide to return Seider to Adler Mannheim, he’d be playing valuable minutes for the defending Deutsche Eishockey Liga champions in a league that’s arguably stronger than the three Canadian major junior leagues. Seider could grow in a familiar setting alongside former NHLers and knowledgeable coaches who could help guide his development.
“We have an awesome group there, great performance coaches,” Seider told Hockeybuzz’s Bob Duff. “So why not train in my hometown?”
From there, Seider could join the Griffins for their playoff run after Adler Mannheim’s season comes to a conclusion. He could also skate for Germany in the 2020 World Junior Championships. Surely, another appearance in the end-of-year World Championships wouldn’t be out of the cards either.
Best Option for Seider?
Based on ice time, here’s how Seider’s four options would rank:
- Owen Sound Attack
- Adler Mannheim
- Detroit Red Wings
- Grand Rapids Griffins
But when you factor in quality of competition, things change. We’ll use Emmanuel Perry’s NHLe ratings as a proxy (with the NHL points-per-game conversion rate in parenthesis).
- Detroit Red Wings (1.0000)
- Grand Rapids Griffins (0.4241)
- Adler Mannheim (0.2949)
- Owen Sound Attack (0.1577)
Combining the two rankings can help determine the verdict: If Seider makes the Red Wings, great. If not, he should skate one more season in Germany before finishing the campaign with the Griffins.
Tony Wolak is based in the Washington D.C. area and covers the Detroit Red Wings for THW. As a former junior and college hockey player, Tony has a unique perspective on Red Wings topics.