The Detroit Red Wings selection of Moritz Seider raised a few eyebrows when his name was called with the sixth selection of the 2019 NHL Draft. Seider was the first pick of new general manager Steve Yzerman.
Detroit wanted to beef up its defence, but Bowen Byram fell to the Colorado Avalanche with the fourth pick. Many thought the Red Wings would go after a forward, but Yzerman surprised everyone by taking the German blueliner.
Seider was projected to be taken in the 15-20 range, but he was picked at six. Varying opinions came in about the pick. Some think the Wings reached and could have gone in a different direction. However, some admired Yzerman taking a gamble on a player with a high upside.
Wings Take Swing with Moritz Seider
The 6-foot-4, 198-pound defenceman even told the media that he was surprised that Detroit took him so early in the draft.
“Amazing,” Seider said minutes after having met everyone at the Red Wings’ table. “I’m still in shock. I had no idea. My hands were shaking and legs were shaking. I looked at my mom and she was so shocked, she was way more nervous than I was.”
The big question is why Detroit wouldn’t go after elite forwards like Dylan Cozens, Cole Caufield and Trevor Zegras. Those players had higher ratings according to draft experts and would have helped the Wings’ scoring issues.
However, the Red Wings have taken forwards five of the last six years and they have younger players like Filip Zadina and Michael Rasmussen developing. The defence was a major sore spot with the club as they have ageing veterans and younger defenders being thrust into the spotlight that may not be fully ready.
The main reason that Yzerman took a risk with Seider is that he makes pressure plays. Yzerman said that the team had the young German on the radar since the IIHF World Junior Championships. Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill also like what he saw from Seider at the IIHF World Championships.
Blashill, who coached Team USA at the Worlds, like that Seider was able to close off opposing forwards. Seider also added two goals and five assists for his country. He was also able to make big plays in the German league with Adler Mannheim. Seider was a younger player and shutting down the older competition.
Yzerman was quick to remind doubters to “Just Google Moritz Seider” to see his highlights. Seider is often seen making key plays and stopping forwards.
Ben Kerr of Top Shelf Prospects said that Seider has the potential to be a great player, but it will take time.
Seider’s combination of size, offensive skills, physicality, and mobility mean that the sky is the limit. He could become a franchise defender. However, his game is unpolished and getting him to reach that level is no guarantee.
What it Means for the Future
Taking Seider was a risk, but it could yield huge rewards. He has plenty of raw potential, but it will take time to develop him into a top player. Yzerman considered trading down, but couldn’t get a deal done.
Seider can be a top-four defenceman, but hopefully, Red Wings fans can show patience with him. The Wings did have a great draft according to experts and Yzerman’s gamble on the young German may make the first draft one of his best as a general manager.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA – JUNE 21: Moritz Seider reacts after being selected sixth overall by the Detroit Red Wings during the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft at Rogers Arena on June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)