It’s been abundantly clear from the get-go of the 2021-22 NHL season that Detroit Red Wings rookie defenseman and Calder Trophy favorite Moritz Seider was the exception to the rule. In many ways, it’s turning out as things are unfolding even this late into his first campaign.
In general, hockey hierarchy dictates a rookie’s assignment to a pairing with a savvy veteran who ends up serving as both mentor and occasional babysitter. Even legendary Red Wings defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom learned the ways of the league from Brad McCrimmon during the 1991-92 campaign, Lidstrom’s first in the NHL.
“He was my partner for every game my first year,” Lidstrom explained of McCrimmon in our book The Pursuit of Perfection. “He was a great partner and I learned a lot from him that first year.”
— Red Wings Rant (@BODHockey) April 13, 2022
In contrast, Seider is proving to be more of a swinger when it comes to rearguard partners. The season has seen him skating in four different pairings as an NHL rookie. He started the season alongside the since-traded Nick Leddy. Seider has also cycled through pairings with Danny DeKeyser, Jordan Oesterle and even Marc Staal for a couple of games.
The Moritz Seider Quartet
“For the most part he’s played with a veteran,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “I would say with any of the guys, one thing we’ve been fortunate with is that we’ve been able to pair him with different players that all have real good attributes as veterans.
“Even a guy like Jordan Oesterle’s been around the league now a bit, so he’s played with guys that have experience – Marc Staal, Danny DeKeyser, Nick Leddy, Jordan Oesterle – they’ve all got experience. I think it still allows him, no matter if it’s the same person or a different person, (for) Seids to be with someone whose been around and can help.”
Seider’s played two games alongside Staal. The Wings were 0-1-1 in those games. Seider, though, was collecting three assists and a +1 rating pairing with Staal.
Starting the season, Seider was skating in tandem with Leddy. After five games, Blashill was opting to split up that pairing. However, he went back to that duo, teaming Seider and Leddy up again in March until Leddy was sat out and ultimately traded to the St. Louis Blues.
In 13 games together, the Wings were a dismal 3-8-2. Although Seider was regsitering 1-9-10 numbers, he was also -3.
The season has also seen Oesterle and Seider as partners for 21 games. Detroit is 10-8-3. Offensively, Seider is 1-10-11 working with Oesterle and a +4.
His most common teaming is with DeKeyser, working 37 games in a pairing. The Wings are 15-18-4. Seider’s offensive output is 3-19-22 and he’s -11.
Who’s Helping Who?
Perhaps there’s another question that is in need of posing based on all of this analysis. That would be which defenseman is the helper and which is the helpee?
Even Blashill seeming to be pondering that notion.
— Detroit Red Wings (@DetroitRedWings) April 13, 2022
“The reality is Seids doesn’t need much help,” Blashill said. “He’s done a real good job with his game and he’s had a big impact on a night to night basis.
“The stuff that he needs to continue to get better at, we’ve done through coaching. And I also think that the players that he’s played with have helped him with that.”