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Detroit Red Wings’ Moritz Seider Still Needs a Coat of Polish

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Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings
Detroit Red Wings rookie defenseman Moritz Seider is paired with Nick Leddy with the hope that Leddy will mentor him this season

No matter how much skill you boast, hype you create, or attention you draw, athletic greatness doesn’t occur overnight. It’s still a process to go from prospect to star. That is true if you are Doug Harvey, Nicklas Lidstrom or Moritz Seider.

“(Seider’s) got a good package and he’s going to be a good player and our job is to help him become the best player he can become,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said.

The not-so-hidden message in Blashill’s quote is Seider is not yet the difference-making defenseman he will be. Not even close. Blashill has been careful not to expand the expectations for Seider because they are probably too high for a 20-year-old player who hasn’t played an NHL game.

Opponents don’t care that Seider is considered the No. 1 prospect not currently in the NHL.

It’s not that the Red Wings don’t believe he will be a special player. They do believe that. But 20-year-old defensemen, no matter how talented, will make mistakes. Blashill seems to be trying to lower fan expectations just a bit because young players need time to learn how to be successful in this league.

Someone asked Blashill after Monday’s preseason game against the Chicago Blackhawks whether it was the best Moritz Seider has looked in the preseason. He had his first goal, guiding a shot past Marc-Andre Fleury. He also registered an assist.

“I thought Mo had moments when he was really good and moments when he could have been way better,” Blashill said.

That quote could have been a summary, not just of that game, but how Seider has looked during the preseason. Some moments he looks like the tower of strength and power he is, and other moments he looked like the rookie he is.

Seider Nets First NHL Preseason Goal

In the game against Chicago, he posted those two points. However, he was minus-3. A couple of times, he couldn’t sort out the defensive coverage, contributing to a Blackhawks’ goal.

But that doesn’t mean Seider won’t someday be Detroit’s No. 1 defenseman. That might happen quicker than we think. But he still has to work hard to get there. That’s another point Blashill seems to be making to Seider.

“I don’t want him to be a solid player,” Blashill said. “I want him to be a really good player.”

That’s why, Blashill said, “we make sure we are driving and pushing him.”

 Red Wings hope Moritz Seider learns from Leddy

The Red Wings had him working with Niklas Kronwall early in training camp. What did they talk about?

“Playing really good defensively,” Seider said. “Setting yourself up in good spots in the D zone.”

The reason why the Red Wings are pairing Seider with Nick Leddy is they hope some of New York Islanders’ defensive culture will rub on Seider. Leddy played seven seasons on Long Island, the past three for defensive-minded coach Barry Trotz.

This sounds like a Yoda-Luke Skywalker narrative from Star Wars, but mentoring has long been a favorite teaching tool for NHL coaches. They are big on culture.

“Nick has been around for awhile,”  Blashill said. “He’s got a veteran presence to him and he’s a great skater. But he’s also come from a team that I think does it right as much as anybody in the NHL. Their attention to detail is great. So I think he can he can bring some of that wisdom not just to Seider but to all our guys on our team. They’ve introduced some young defensemen over there in New York the last couple of years. I think Led’s has seen those guys develop, so I think he can impart some of that wisdom to Seids as well. Seids is a real smart, confident person, too. I think there’s probably give and take. I’m sure there’s some things that some of our defensemen can learn just through the interaction with Moritz. We think it could potentially be a good pairing.”

To his credit, Seider is also trying to keep it real. He doesn’t have lofty goals for his first NHL season. He seems to understand it’s a challenge just to learn how to compete in this league.

“Just being on that opening roster,” Seider said “I think that will be a dream coming true. That’s for everyone. Other than that, there will always be a solution for everything. I want to be there on opening night.”

It seems like the Red Wings are handling the Seider arrival well. It’s probably helped that most media attention has been on Lucas Raymond’s efforts to make the roster.

“Moritz has a chance to be a real good player,” Blashill said. “How good and how quickly? We’ll see with time. He’s big, he’s smart, he’s got confidence. He’s got some toughness to him. He can play in a lot of situations. I think he’s got the opportunity to be a really good player and we’re gonna give him that opportunity and then he’s gotta grab it by the horns.”

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