The buzz surrounding defenseman Moritz Seider’s upcoming first season with the Red Wings may be the greatest fan response to a drafted defenseman the team has ever known.
The Red Wings haven’t truly had a top prospect defenseman since social media raised the ante on hype. Fans were not as excited, and definitely not as knowledgeable, about Nicklas Lidstrom when he showed up in Detroit as a rookie in 1991-92. Niklas Kronwall’s fan response came after fans saw him play some games.
Seider will be 20 years and six months old when the NHL season opens. He posted seven goals and 28 points last season in the Swedish League. He also played confidently against NHLers at the World Championships. But it’s still challenging to predict what his production will be. Could he score 10 goals? How about 40 points? Will he lead the Red Wings in hits? Is he ready for the power play?
As a basis for comparison, here is a look at the rookie output for some of Detroit’s top defenseman
Lidstrom was 21 years, six months in his first NHL season.
He scored 11 goals and registered 60 points. Lidstrom finished second to Pavel Bure in the Calder Trophy race. He was on the league’s All-Rookie Team.
Kronwall was 22 years, 11 months when he made his Red Wings’ debut on Dec. 10, 2003
Kronwall didn’t have a traditional rookie season. He played 20 games that season and contributed five points. The following season, he produced nine points in 27 games. He didn’t play a full NHL season until 2006-07 when he managed 22 points in 68 games. Like Seider, Kronwall boasted a physical game that stirred up the fan base.
Vladimir Konstantinov was 24 years and seven months when he debut for Detroit in 1991-92.
Vladdie made the all-rookie team after posting seven goals and 26 assists for 33 games. But most fans remember him as an aggressive defender who liked to step into puck carriers.
Reed Larson was 20 years, eight months when he left the University of Minnesota to join Detroit’s lineup in 1976-77.
Tough, rugged and owner of a wicked slap shot, Larson played 14 games. His real rookie season was 1977-78 when he scored 19 goals with 60 points. He was fifth in the Calder voting. Larson was a formidable force.
Willie Huber was 20 years and nine months when he played his first games for the Red Wings in 1978-79.
Fans were excited about Huber because he was 6-foot-5, 225 pounds. But Huber was more finesse than physical. In his first season, he registered seven goals, 24 assists and 114 penalty minutes.