The past few years have been quite a bit miserable for the Detroit Red Wings.
That's what happens when decades of success depletes your prospect bay, and GM Steve Yzerman has been left to try and make a new dynasty after building up the main core of the Tampa Bay Lightning that won the past two Stanley Cups.
But with despair typically results in an improved farm system, and the Red Wings are starting to reap the benefits of just that. In 2021-22 alone, the team has seen the emergence of its top two prospects: Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider.
For Seider, it's especially a big deal. The big German blueliner has the chance to become the team's top defenseman since Niklas Lidstrom, but many fans weren't too thrilled about his selection in the first place. While many public services projected Seider to go outside of the top 10 of the 2019 draft, Seider instead was taken sixth overall.
The move surprised some at the time because Seider didn't play a ton in the top German men's pro league. The signs of his talent - mixed in with his unteachable size – were there, but the ice time wasn't. And that's not uncommon for top European prospects, specifically in Sweden and Russia. Players like Raymond and Vasili Podkolzin have adjusted to North America well, but only after some growing pains with limited minutes back home.
But ever since, Seider has emerged as one of the best players out of a strong draft class.
Seider had a wonderful AHL debut the following season, recording 22 points in 49 games as one of the league's most impressive rookies. He then moved over to Sweden, where he won the SHL's top defenseman and best junior player award before winning the top defender title at the men's World Championship in the spring. All in a day's work, and there was no doubt in anyone's mind that he was ready for NHL duty.
And, oh boy, the wait was very worth it.
Seider had two assists in his NHL debut on Oct. 14, a 7-6 overtime loss in an absolute wild affair with Tampa Bay. Seider followed it up with an assist against Vancouver two days later, skating in 22:55 of the game. Seider has always loved getting extra minutes and playing against top talent doesn't seem to phase him. That's the steady presence the Red Wings need, and he's only 20.
Playing alongside veteran Nick Leddy, Seider already looks like a seasoned NHLer and not a young kid getting his legs under him. Of Detroit's top four, Seider's 40.48 Corsi-for percentage at 5-on-5 is the best (although, not great compared to the rest of the league). There isn't too much you can take from stats after just two games, but the eye test definitely suggests he's already one of Detroit's better two-way players and his game has transitioned nicely from his tenure in Sweden.
So, where can Seider go from here? He's clearly the team's D-man of the future. From a mobility perspective, Seider has a bit of Chris Pronger in him, just with a little less physicality. Some Red Wings fans say he reminds them of Vladimir Konstantinov. Others liken his overall ability to Marc-Edouard Vlasic in his prime.
Overall, there's a lot of hope that Seider can become a star for a team that needs one on the blueline. Seider can be that man as the team continues to move towards the future – one that should see the team become a true contender in the near future.