Moritz Seider. Photo: Imago Sport
Scouting Reports

COHEN: Is Moritz Seider the most interesting player in the draft?

The 2019 NHL Draft is months away, but some players are shining on and off the ice.

Moritz Seider is one of those players and he’s doing it in Germany.

German defenseman aren’t new to the NHL. I covered Dennis Seidenberg back when he played for the Philadelphia Phantoms. He was a 2001 draft pick, a sixth-rounder, back then he was one of a few but he, Uwe Krupp and Christian Ehrhoff, were thought to be the gold standard until Seider.

He could be the best, he has a long way to go before we see if that shakes out but he’s off to a great start.

The Adler Manheim defenseman had two goals and six points in 29 games this season as a 17-year-old. He had a point in his first two playoff games as well. At 6-4, 198 pounds, he has the kind of frame teams love. He’s at the start of his potential, not the end. There’s a lot of room for growth.

There have been a few teams scouting him recently. He plays a good, simple game and he’s a very down to earth guy. Many are talking about his calmness on the ice, another really good 21st-century trait that teams really like. To potentially draft a defenseman, who is low maintenance, with this kind of size, that puts him on a lot of teams’ radar for sure.

He could be a top 15 pick before it’s all said and done.

Seider is playing against men and having success. He’s already had really good success at the International level, so this was a good year for him in regard to his development and him getting some recognition as we get closer to the NHL Draft.

In a field of four other players, Seider was up for the DEL Rookie of the Year Award. I’m sure many felt he had a really good chance to win the prestigious award and he did just that. Once again this speaks to the resume and intrigue that’s growing. Leon Draisaitl was called “The German Gretzky” and well all wrote about it and said it when it was getting close to the draft. Seider hasn’t earned some sort of nickname just yet. None that might translate here. That’s probably the next thing that will happen in the evolution of his story.

He’s had to overcome some adversity this year. He had a shoulder injury early on and that cut down the number of his games. Nobody seems to be worried about it so that’s not going to drop him in the draft. Now add the award that he’s won and couple that with the fact that he’s a right-handed shot, and now you have someone who doesn’t seem like he will drop out of the Top 20.

Defenseman are a high form of currency in a teams’ organization these days. If you develop them, you get the benefit of having one of six in your everyday lineup. If you draft a promising defenseman but find yourself in a situation where you have to trade one. The value of a good one is very high and extremely desirable. Most aren’t available in free agency, so teams mostly get them in trade, or they draft them.

After the draft, Seider will likely come over and either play junior hockey or even play in the AHL. Owen Sound has his draft rights so that’s one option for sure. The fact that he has a physical side to his game and he already has good size, I don’t think the AHL is out of question. Some teams would really like that because they’d be able to get him playing their way right away and that’s proved to be an effective way to bring along some players. William Nylander did it successfully. Kevin Fiala as well. Hampus Lindholm and Oliver Kylington played in the AHL when they were just 18 as well. Those two are especially good examples because they’re defenseman.

You never know at what age a prospect will make their NHL debut unless they are a top 2 pick, those players you have a better idea. With Seider, you get the idea that he needs further development, but the curve may not be as long as a typical defenseman. He doesn’t seem like a typical defenseman, and not because he’s German, he’s just different. He seems to be ahead of schedule mentally and physically he’s got the size part all worked out as he waits for his man strength to work its way in.

When that happens, he could be a scary player to face. I expect a lot more stories to come out about him before June. We’re still just scratching the surface in learning about him.

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