How Detroit Red Wings are faring at Worlds: Moritz Seider is thriving, Jakub Vrana isn’t

Detroit Free Press

Just as he thrived in the NHL, Moritz Seider is thriving at the IIHF World Championship.

The Detroit Red Wings‘ top rookie leads Germany’s defensive corps with three points and a plus-3 rating after three games. The Germans have beaten Slovakia and France and lost to Canada in the tournament in Finland, which runs through May 29. Germany’s next match is Thursday against Denmark, which is rostering former Wings forward Frans Nielsen.

Seider, the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, has a goal and two assists, mirroring the production Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, the No. 1 overall pick in 2018, had after three games. Impressively, Seider’s points came against Germany’s toughest opponent so far, Canada in the Germans’ tourney opener. Seider came into the tournament as a Calder Trophy finalist after producing seven goals and 43 assists in 82 games with the Wings. 

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Seider is among a handful of current and former Wings at the international event. Wednesday was a good day for forward Pius Suter, who had two assists as Switzerland beat Slovakia, 5-3. Suter has a goal and four assists, and the Swiss are 4-0, leading Group A with 12 points.

Goaltender Magnus Hellberg, who signed a contract with the Wings late in the NHL season and appeared in one game, was in net Wednesday to lead Sweden (first place in Group B with four wins, three of which came in regulation) to a 3-2 shootout victory over rival Finland. He was also in net for a 5-3 victory over Czechia and a 6-0 victory over Great Britain. He has a 1.62 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Hellberg, 31, is angling to play in the NHL next season after five years in the KHL, and has expressed hope it will be with Detroit.

Wings forward Lucas Raymond turned down an invitation to play for Sweden, citing a need to recover from the grind of an 82-game NHL season. 

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Neither forward Jakub Vrana nor defenseman Filip Hronek have points for Czechia (1-1-1). Hronek didn’t have a good season, posting 38 points and a minus-29 rating in 78 games, but Vrana going pointless through three games is a surprise. After missing the first 56 games of the 2021-22 season recovering from shoulder surgery, Vrana pumped in 13 goals in 26 games down the stretch for the Wings. He had four points in seven games at the 2021 World Championship.

Former Wings coach Jeff Blashill is an assistant with the U.S,, which is 1-1-1. Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic had to pull out of the tournament with a lower-body injury, and was replaced by Bruins goalie Jeremy Swayman after Boston was knocked out of the NHL playoffs. 

The U.S. is in Group B along with Sweden, Finland, Czechia, Austria, Latvia, Norway and Great Britain. Group A comprises Canada, Switzerland, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, France, Italy and Kazakhstan.

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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