Why this prospect likely will join the Detroit Red Wings’ rebuild next season

Detroit Free Press

Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider have been the best part of watching the Detroit Red Wings this season, their youthful arrival infusing confidence in the rebuild.

Raymond, a top-line forward at 19 years of age, and Seider, at age 20 already the team’s best defenseman, have played so well they’re both in the early conversation for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the rookie of the year. Their play also leads into this edition of the mailbag, thanks to a question from Mike B. He wrote to ask, “Helene, who is going to be the hot rookie next season, like Raymond and Seider?”

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Seider’s dominance is not a surprise, given that he spent the previous three seasons playing in men’s leagues (his native Germany in 2018-19, the AHL in 2019-20, and the Swedish Hockey League in 2020-21). Higher-ups in the organization thought Raymond might need to start the season in Grand Rapids as he acclimated himself to North America, but he aced the audition when given a chance at camp to play with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi and has not sagged as the season has rolled into the second quarter.

Being a regular in the NHL is tough, especially on a rookie, but my early money is on defenseman Simon Edvinsson joining the rebuild next season.

General manager Steve Yzerman selected Edvinsson at No. 6 in 2021, at which point the top centers — Matty Beniers, Mason McTavish, and Kent Johnson — all were off the board. (It’s a safe bet Yzerman would have chosen one of them if he could have: High-end centers are rarely available via trades or free agency, so teams have to draft them when possible.).

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Edvinsson spent part of last season with Frölunda in the Swedish Hockey League, where he was teammates with Raymond. Yzerman billed Edvinsson as a “big, rangy D that can really skate. He’s got good puck skills. We just see his potential to be a left-shot defenseman that can log a lot of minutes and be a defender that can add some offense to the game as well. We like his skating ability, his size and his reach.”

Edvinsson is similar in size to Seider, standing 6 feet 5 and 207 pounds. That’s an advantage, especially for young players, making it less likely opponents try to intimidate them as they adjust to the NHL. Edvinsson is highly skilled, too. He’s enjoying a really good season with Frölunda, with whom he has one goal and 10 assists after 18 games. He has played as much as 25 minutes some nights, and averages about 20 minute of ice time. That’s an impressive pace for an 18-year-old in his first full season in the SHL.

Yzerman has been firm the Wings won’t rush prospects, but Raymond was brought over at 19, and he has looked like he belonged in the NHL from his first game. Defense is a harder position, but Edvinsson has that same poise that allowed Seider to succeed in men’s leagues at an early age.

[ Why Yzerman saw Simon Edvinsson as the best pick for the Wings this year ]

Yzerman has done a masterful job integrating young players, making sure they have a veteran to help ease the transition. Seider and Filip Hronek mostly have played with a rotation of Danny DeKeyser, Marc Staal and Nick Leddy.

Next season is long ways off, but Edvinsson projects to be a part of it with the way he has played so far in the SHL. A season or so past that, the Wings may have a top defense pairing of Edvinsson and Seider — one that, given their ages, could be defending Detroit’s blue line for a decade.

Need a gift?

What: “The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings.”

Author: Helene St. James, who has covered the Red Wings at the Detroit Free Press since 1996. Foreword by Chris Osgood, winner of three Stanley Cups as a Wings goaltender.

Publisher: Triumph Books.

Pages: 336 pages (paperback).

Price: $16.95.

Availability: Available in leading bookstores and online from booksellers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

About the book: “The Big 50” brings to life the men and moments that made the Red Wings such a dynamic and iconic franchise for nearly a century. The book features never-before-told stories about the greats such as Howe, Yzerman, Lidstrom and Lindsay, the near-greats beloved by fans and the great memories of Fight Night, the Fabulous Fifties, the Team for the Ages, the Grind Line, The Joe and much more.

Get it signed! For a personalized copy of “The Big 50,” contact St. James at hstjames@freepress.com

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. 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 Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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