18-year-old Moritz Seider has been impressive in Grand Rapids
The Wings’ top draft pick, Moritz Seider, is not “walking on eggshells,” says Ben Simon, his coach at Grand Rapids. “He’s confident in who he is as a person and player.
Moritz Seider has not conducted himself like an average 18-year-old in his first season of professional hockey in North America.
Seider, who was the surprise sixth overall pick in last year’s NHL draft and Steve Yzerman’s first selection as Red Wings GM, has been effective and assertive on and off the ice with the Grand Rapids Griffins of the American Hockey League this season.
“Mo has done a real good job of playing with confidence since the day he walked in,” Griffins coach Ben Simon told the Detroit News. “For an 18-year-old kid, coming into the American League, playing with confidence, it’s atypical. He’s not walking on eggshells.
“He’s confident in who he is as a person and player. And for a foreign kid coming into this league, he’s assimilated very well.”
Seider, a native of Zell (Mosel), Germany, who played in his native country’s top professional league with Adler Mannheim last season, has two goals and 15 points in 36 games. He has also impressed teammates with his approach.
“You forget he is 18,” said Taro Hirose, who began the season with Detroit before being sent to Grand Rapids. “He’s 18, but he’s so composed and mature for his age. And the stuff he can do out there (on the ice). He’s not throwing pucks away. He wants to make plays and help teammates out.”
According to Yzerman, in an interview with Wings radio play-by-play man Ken Kal earlier this season, Seider will be called up to Detroit and play nine games before the end of the season. A 10th game would mean that his entry-level contract would kick in this season.
Further proof of Seider’s maturity is his reaction to his eventual NHL debut.
“You always will be excited and honored, but for now, I’m not even paying attention to all of it,” he said. “I don’t care what the other people are saying. I have to be focused in the locker room, and I have to be prepared for my practices and for my work and for my games first of all.
Seider emphasized his development this season with his play for Germany at the World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic in late December and early January. Serving as the team’s captain, he had six assists and was plus-6 in seven games. That performance earned his selection as one of Germany’s top three players in the tournament.
That was on the bigger international ice surfaces that Seider is more accustomed to. But he has already made much of the adjustment to smaller North American rinks.
“I knew it was going to be hard, and it is a little different,” he said. “You’re on a smaller (ice) sheet, and it’s a little bit faster and harder and the guys are competing a little bit more. The time and space factor is the biggest difference. You have to make quick decisions, and you have to be always in the right spot because if you’re not, the guys are so skilled (and will score).
“But overall I’ve adjusted pretty quick. I feel real confident on the smaller ice and playing against grown men that all want to get a job in the NHL.”
Seider is big at 6-4 and about 210 pounds and will add a few more pounds as he matures and even more with the daily weight training of the modern NHL.
“He’s definitely a talented, athletic kid, and we have to make sure he’s making sure he’s not doing too much,” Simon said. “When he’s effective, he’s picking and choosing his spots, not trying too much, not gambling or (doing anything) too high risk.
“He’s got to work on his strength. He’s not afraid. He plays with a bit of moxie and jam.”
But before Seider heads to the NHL for good, he has to show consistency in the AHL. Seider is putting in the time to make that happen as soon as possible.
“This is an everyday business up top),” Simon said. “And he has to be able to dominate every game, every day here before that’ll transition up there (to the NHL).
“He comes in and works hard every day he is around the rink.”