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The NHL Draft provides unforgettable moments, and Friday night’s first round was no exception. There were picks we all saw coming, such as Jack Hughes (New Jersey) and Kaapo Kakko (NY Rangers) going #1 and #2. However, there was a major surprise in the top ten that even left the player selected with a shocked expression. Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman took to the podium to announce that the Wings were picking German blue liner Moritz Seider (pronounced Seed-er) with their 6th overall selection. This move created quite the audible reaction:
This move was not expected. The belief was that the Wings may go after one of the available centres such as Dylan Couzens or Trevor Zegras. However, defence is a position of need for the Wings. While he was projected to go between #12-25, Seider marks the second defenceman the Wings have drafted in their last six first rounds. He was named Rookie of the Year with Adler Mannheim in the DEL, Germany’s top men’s league, this past season.
Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill got a front row look at Seider in May at the IIFC World Championship. The 18-year old German had two goals in five games for his country, and obviously made an impression on the American bench boss.
“He’s big, he’s efficient, and he’s smart,” Blashill stated. “He made plays under pressure. For me, that’s what the best defensemen do.”
“We felt the top five kind of went somewhat as we expected, and this next group of players, including Moritz, they’re very good prospects. Ultimately, what we liked is he’s a a big defenseman who can skate and has excellent hockey sense,” Yzerman told NBC Sports Network after announcing his selection. “There’s a lot of players to choose from. It wasn’t a no-brainer, but we’re excited to get him.”
Seider is a big, two-way defenceman who has an intelligence for the game that’s advanced for his age. The Wings believe he’s akin to Brandon Carlo, with a bit more offensive upside. There aren’t many glaring mistakes in his game. He plays calmly and with a bit more maturity than a kid his age. His wrist shot was on display at the World Championship and he showed promise as a powerplay quarterback. This is a case of a front office liking a player and taking that player. You cannot deny this was a reach, but whether that reach was justified is the question that only time can answer.
Featured Image: Detroit Red Wings via Twitter