Concern over the coronavirus pandemic has prompted the Detroit Red Wings to loan Moritz Seider to his old German club.
He’s not the only prospect who may have a change of address for the 2020-21 season.
Seider, who was general manager Steve Yzerman’s first pick in the 2019 draft, at No. 6 overall, has been loaned to Adler Mannheim with the understanding the Wings can bring Seider to Detroit when it looks like they will have a training camp in advance of next season. The NHL is tentatively hoping to start games Dec. 1.
“It’s a very fluid situation, but our agreement is we can recall him any time,” assistant general manager Ryan Martin told the Free Press on Monday. “We think he’s in a good spot — he’s on the ice, he’s practicing with Mannheim.”
Seider, the top defense prospect in the organization, played with Mannheim in 2018-19, producing six points in 29 games in Germany’s top league. He spent this past season with Grand Rapids, tallying in 22 points in 49 games. The Wings were planning to give Seider a few games with them when hockey leagues shut down March 12 because of COVID-19.
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The pandemic prompted defenseman Kasper Kotkansalo, a third-round pick from 2017, to decide not to return to Boston University this fall, and instead stay and play in his native Finland.
“A bitter sweet feeling of saying goodbye to BU,” Kotkansalo wrote over the weekend on his Instagram account. “Due to the COVID situation I’ve decided to stay in Finland for the upcoming season.”
Kotkansalo, 21, appears to have an agreement to play with Assat in Finland’s top league (that’s also where Otto Kivenmaki, a seventh-round pick from 2018, plays).
“It wasn’t a joint decision,” Martin said. “He informed us he was considering it, but there wasn’t a lot of communication from our end. I think he made this decision more with his family and in conjunction with BU as opposed to us. He asked our general impression as to the uncertainty of the college hockey season and how that would set him up for next year, and we gave him our thoughts in terms of where he stood on our depth chart and opportunity for next year.”
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Kotkansalo had eight points in 34 games with the Terriers this past season.
“When he got to college, he struggled a little bit with his identity and what role he was going to play,” Martin said. “When you go to a really deep program where they’re continuously bringing in really high-end players, you have to fight to stay in the lineup every night. You’ve got to figure out what your identity is and he had some challenges with that early on.
“To his credit, I think in his third year, he found more of what was going to make him successful and that’s being a simple, meat-and-potatoes, stay-at-home defenseman, a guy that can make a good first pass. Those are the things he’s going to have to do to have success at the pro level — be a guy who is hard to play against. Physically he is a strong player, he just has to find that consistency in his game like a lot of young players.”
Martin said other prospects have reached out to ask about next season, but so far no decisions have been made on anyone else.
Contact Helene St. James at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Men and Moments that made the Detroit Red Wings will be published in October by Triumph Books. To preorder, go to Amazon.