Seider is thriving in the role of Detroit’s top defenseman

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Moritz Seider isn’t just having a good rookie year with the Detroit Red Wings – he’s having a special one. The 6 foot 4 German has been given the role as the team’s top defenseman, and he’s excelling in the featured position.

Last year, Filip Hronek had to step up as the team’s top defenseman. He led the skaters in average ice time with 23:23, deployed in the key situations. Hronek was just okay in the position. He led the Red Wings in points, but both of his goals were empty netters and a good chunk of his assists were secondary (18 of 24). Hronek finished the season with a -6.3 goals above replacement (-1 expected) and -1.1 wins above replacement (-0.2 expected). While he wasn’t egregiously bad, Hronek never really seemed to fit into the role, never doing anything to prove himself as a true number one defender in the NHL.

This year, Seider holds the highest average time on ice among Detroit’s skater, with 22:39 through 46 games. Recently, he’s been on the ice even longer.  Like Hronek last year, Seider is consistently placed in the most important moments of a game, whether it be overtime or the final minutes of a tied game. However, the rookie has really stepped up to the plate. While he isn’t one of the best defenseman in the league (yet), he’s more than capable as a team’s number one.

Currently, Seider has four goals and leads all rookies in assists with 25. He holds a 7.8 goals above replacement (6.2 expected) and 1.4 wins above replacement (1.1 expected). Essentially, he’s been fantastic. Seider has the defensive savvy of a veteran (calm and intelligent) and the offensive mind of a playmaker (cycling the puck in the offensive zone, transitioning quickly from the defensive to offensive zone, looking for openings in the defense).

Seider has also stepped up as the team’s number one power play quarterback. While the power play hasn’t been great this year, Detroit’s top defenseman has done a good job commanding the unit, cycling the puck well and maintaining offensive zone possession.

All things considered, it’s no surprise Seider has been one of the Calder favorites all season. As a rookie, he’s Detroit’s best defenseman, and he looks like a capable top defender in the NHL.

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