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Column: Moritz Seider NHL Network Ranking Discounts Future Impact

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Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings

Would you trade Moritz Seider for Chris Kreider? How about Alex DeBrincat or John Carlson or Miro Heiskanen? Does Filip Forsberg do it for you?

Most Detroit Red Wings fans, and maybe most hardcore NHL fans, would say ‘no’ to those deals. And that’s why many have difficulty accepting that Seider is the NHL’s 49th best player. That was Seider’s spot when the NHL Network released their first installment of their Top 50 NHL Players.

Thus far, the Network has only released the bottom 10: 41. Jack Eichel; 42. John Carlson; 43.Chris Kreider; 44. Alex DeBrincat; 45. Miro Heiskanen; 46. Gabriel Landeskog; 47. Filip Forsberg; 48. Juuse Saros;  49. Seider; 50. Jack Hughes.

In fairness to the NHL Network, the NHL.com story didn’t explain the criteria for its ranking. Based on the ranking of Seider and Hughes, we might conclude the NHL Network has opted not to consider potential in its ranking.

But how can you not consider “potential” in ranking the top 50 players?

The NHL Network recently had Seider at 11th on its ranking of NHL defensemen. Maybe fans and bettors have a better handle on Seider’s current value: According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Seider is tied for the seventh-best odds to win the Norris Trophy.

Of the six defensemen with better odds, four (Cale Makar, Adam Fox, Roman Josi and Victor Hedman) have already won the Norris Trophy. No one can argue their ranking ahead of Seider. They have already accomplished what we are only projecting Seider will accomplish.

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But beyond all of that, the No. 49 ranking doesn’t properly reflect the uniqueness of his ability. He is a luxury defenseman, an athlete who comes with more options than we usually see on the standard model.

The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Seider is big, strong and mean. He can be a punishing physical performer. If you watched him closely last season, there were multiple occasions when would-be checkers seemed to bounce off him. It’s like moving granite when you encounter him along the boards.

He can defend. Seider is still a work in progress, but the instincts are there. He’s only 21 and yet he already has a high level of respect for his defensive responsibility. You didn’t see Seider involved in too much risk-taking.

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Seider’s Calder Trophy triumph speaks to his well-rounded first NHL season. Seider’s seven is a modest total, but his 43 assists for an offense that ranked near the bottom of the NHL. He has the shot, and the passing knack, necessary for significant offensive numbers. He’s not Cale Makar offensively, but boasts enough skill to be an offensive catalyst for many years.

Seider is also a natural leader. Even at his age, teammates look to him for confidence. He is already a tone setter for the Red Wings.

Because the full NHL Network hasn’t been revealed. it’s hard to say where we should place Seider on a Top 50 list. Analysis of potential is highly subjective.

But we know this for sure: there are not 48 other NHL players that Detroit Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman would accept in a trade for Seider.

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