| The Detroit News
The Detroit Red Wings haven’t played a game since March 10, but some reprieve is on the way for hockey fans in North America.
A handful of the Wings’ top prospects will play in the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championships, taking place in Edmonton and Red Deer, Canada, from Dec. 25 to Jan. 5, including Detroit’s No. 4 overall pick from October, Sweden’s Lucas Raymond.
One player notably absent from the German roster, though: 2019 Red Wings first-round pick Moritz Seider.
Seider, 19, is currently playing on loan with Rogle BK of the Swedish Hockey League and was ruled out of the tournament by Red Wings assistant general manager Ryan Martin in November.
The prized blue-line prospect told hosts of the “Locked On Red Wings Podcast” that the decision basically came down to the amount of games he’ll have the chance to play with his pro team in Sweden, vs. the amount of game action he’d see by representing Germany at the World Juniors.
“I think I would miss up to 16 games during (that) time,” Seider said. “We’re just finding the best way, personally, for me, was probably staying here and playing a lot of games, especially in December. It’s always busy around Christmas and New Year’s.”
Still, though, Red Wings fans should take his exclusion from the tournament as a positive sign. All reports coming back from Sweden have given the right-handed defenseman two firm thumbs-up, and if Seider was struggling at all in the men’s league, Detroit’s front office might be a little more inclined to get him some game action against competition his own age.
Such is not the case. Seider has not only handled his own playing on Rogle’s top defense pairing, he’s opened up his skillset offensively, has already picked up eight points in 12 games, and is getting time on the power play.
“I’m just enjoying myself, playing with an experienced guy” in former NHL player Eric Gelinas, Seider said.
“He knows what he’s talking about, and just having that kind of guy on my side, I think allows me to join up a little bit more and just take a couple more risks. I was coming from a different situation when I just got drafted. I was the seventh (defenseman), just rotating in, and at that point you don’t want to mess up anything. You’re just happy you have your spot, you’re happy you have some ice time.”
Seider racked up 22 points in 49 games with the Grand Rapids Griffins last season, his first season pro season in North America, and was an integral part of the team’s playoff push that was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Here are other highlights from the two-part “Locked On Red Wings” interview with Seider:
►On getting more power-play minutes: “It’s just nice setting up plays for your teammates, kind of being the quarterback there, just finding the open guy. I would describe myself as more of a pass-first guy. I like (to) open the holes in the defense and open up space for my teammates. Passing over to the one-timer side, it’s always nice. Getting time on the PP, I think that’s what every hockey player’s looking for in their game, and I’m really happy having that chance.”
►On what’s different about playing in the SHL vs. the AHL: “Almost everything is based on your skating abilities. Everybody can skate in this league and it’s freaking fast. Really talented, shifty forwards, they’re super skilled, you have to be really careful about how you’re using your stick. You can’t just throw your body over the ice, because then you will get beat, because of the big sheet (of ice). … That was the most challenging thing for me, adjusting my defensive game, just (reading) the game, when you’re able to join the rush, creating space for your teammates. All in all, I’m kind of split about what I should like a little bit more: The big ice or the small sheet in North America, because I think I can take both sizes to what’s my advantage.”
►On living in Sweden: “Having maybe a really cold winter, it’s something new for me, because in Mannheim, we don’t have snow at all. That was a cool thing, in Michigan too, and finally going out and having snow in December. It was actually a little snowy today too, so it was kind of like the Christmas feeling for the first time.”