Everyone understands that as young defenseman Moritz Seider goes, so go the Detroit Red Wings. But sometimes it’s forgotten that the reverse is equally true.
As the Red Wings go, so goes Seider. That’s the price he pays for being the go-to guy of the Red Wings’ defense. He draws the toughest matchups, and logs the most minutes, against the best opponents. If the rebuilding Red Wings aren’t at the top of their game, or the goalie isn’t sharp, or someone misses an assignment, his plus-minus suffers even if he’s not at fault.
That’s why Lalonde hasn’t fretted that Seider sits at -13 as the Red Wings approach the halfway point of the season.
Moritz Seider matched the @DetroitRedWings franchise record for assists in a game by a defenseman and became the club's first blueliner with four assists in a contest since Mike Green on Oct. 5, 2017 (0-4—4 vs. MIN).#NHLStats: https://t.co/2vwSiLN8nK pic.twitter.com/sLGsZnAhEt
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 11, 2023
“He’s had some off nights and some that just turned into some turnovers and some puck play for him but he’s been pretty darn consistent,” Lalonde said. “Maybe an uptick of late.”
The uptick included a Red Wings-record tying four-assist game to trigger a 7-5 win against the Winnipeg Jets. It felt as if the Red Wings needed every one of Seider’s assists.
Seider became the first Detroit defenseman to record three assists in a single period since Nicklas Lidstrom did so in the third period on March 23, 1998 vs. Chicago. He was the first Detroit defenseman to record four assists since Mike Green did it against the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 5, 2017.
“(Against the Jets), he was by far our best player,” Lalonde said.
Seider is the fourth active NHL defenseman to record four assists in a game at age 21 or younger, joining Samuel Girard (0-4-4 on Jan. 2, 2020), Cale Makar (0-4-4 on Nov. 16, 2019) and Drew Doughty (0-4-4 on Jan. 4, 2010).
“He’s got a crazy level of confidence,” his defensive partner Jake Walman said. “You can see it anywhere on the ice. I try to give him the puck and then in the O zone, I think we work well that way. I kind of feed off him, he feeds off me and like I said I think the biggest thing I’ve noticed is in the D zone . . . me, I try to be tenacious but he – I love just watching him battle guys. It’s fun. He’s a beast.”
Lalonde’s decision to pair Walman with Seider is paying off for them. Walman looks confident playing more minutes in the top four and Seider seems to be raising his level of play. Walman sounds like a person who won the Powerball Lottery. He loves playing with Seider.
Doing It All
“He’s a world-class player,” Walman said. “I love it. He doesn’t get enough credit for D zone, too. It’s real easy playing with him. He can break the puck out on his own. He’s a one-man wrecking crew back there. It’s fun playing with him. We worked really well off the ice. I just want him to keep going.”
Lalone has said Seider’s underlying numbers have been strong all season, which is another reason why he’s unconcerned about an ugly plus-minus. He grades Seider on a different set of factors.
“Defending, puck play,” Lalonde said Tuesday after his four-assist game. “Tonight special teams, obviously great on penalty kill, was good on the power play. Just the complete game. For me, we want to avoid egregious turnovers. Some of those games he struggled earlier in the year he was turning the puck over a lot, put himself in bad situations. He was just a complete player tonight (against the Jets). He’s 21, there’s going to be some inconsistency in his game, especially with how much we ask of him.”
Point Production Down
Even with four assists, Seider’s offensive production is below his output last season when he registered 50 points. This season, he’s on pace for 35 points.
Several factors have contributed to that, including the fact that Filip Hronek has had a strong offensive season and has spent time as the No. 1 point man on the power play. But mostly it’s been about Seider trying to concentrate more on being a complete player.
“With the matchups we’re asking of him, we don’t want risk in his game,” Lalonde said. “…Maybe it’s a little more emphasis on some of those other areas of the game on the offensive side. He got rewarded with four assists (Tuesday). He deserved it because he was great.”
Seider says he is playing a “more mature” game this season. That means picking the right times to be offensive.
“Finding the right spots to just jump into the offense,” Seider said. “Staying on the defensive side against the top lines every night. I think it’s been working out pretty well.”
Coaches always say if you play defense the right the offense will come organically. Based on Seider’s four-assist game, Walman has a different theory on why Seider had a four-point game.
“I go to Texas Roadhouse before every game and sit at the bar, have my steak and shrimp and potato and salad,” Walman said. “And Mo came with me before last game. I’m not sure if that’s his type of place, but look what happened. That’s all I’m saying.”