It's no surprise now, but the Detroit Red Wings have a star and generational staple on their blueline in Moritz Seider.
The 6-foot-4 defender has dominated this season as an NHL rookie, both physically and in driving offense for Detroit. His story has only just begun, and, thankfully for him and the Red Wings, more help is on the way.
Scouts have been closely monitoring 2021 sixth overall pick Simon Edvinsson. A 6-foot-5 juggernaut, Edvinsson, was ranked as the NHL's seventh best prospect in The Hockey News’ recent Future Watch and has been highly touted this season for his performance in the SHL with Frolunda.
And then there's William Wallinder, the 32nd pick in 2020. After Seider won the SHL's junior player of the year last season, Wallinder, standing at 6-foot-4, managed to do the same.
Before the campaign, Wallinder was seen as a player in need of strength and seasoning. If his results this season are any indication, which included scoring 19-points in 47-games while averaging more than 23-minutes on the ice for Rogle, the third tower is closer to NHL ready than some might perceive.
While Wallinder is still working to fill out his frame, the Red Wings can be patient with him. The team is still in rebuild mode, and that often means being patient with players showing potential, but not at the total pace you'd hope for.
A fabulous skater for his size, scouts were using words like “raw” to describe Wallinder's talent following the draft. That critique included a knock on his offensive upside. Wallinder, however, appears to have answered doubts this year putting together a stable campaign and showing the ability to not only play tough minutes against opposing top lines, but to contribute on the scoresheet.
With Seider having already arrived, and Edvinsson not far behind, Detroit’s brass has to be thrilled with where their blueline pipeline sits. Other defensive prospects for the Red Wings include Albert Johansson (second round, 2019), Eemil Viro (third round, 2020), Jared McIsaac (second round, 2018), Donovan Sebrango (third round, 2020), and Shai Buium (second round, 2021). It’s a diverse group that can easily fill out the available spaces beyond the Red Wings' top pairing in the coming years.
Of that group, Johansson appears the most NHL ready, although Jared McIssac will be nipping at his heels after a more consistent, and healthy season in the AHL.
With Seider, Edvinsson, and Wallinder - a trio of elite, mobile defenders standing 6-foot-4 or larger in the wings - opposing teams will need to find a new way to enter the Detroit Red Wings zone in the near future.