The Detroit Red Wings knew that they had a special player in young German defenseman Moritz Seider when they selected him with the 6th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. It was Steve Yzerman's first selection as general manager of the team that he returned to in April of '19, and so far, it's proven to be one of the best selections in recent memory.
Of course, new head coach Derek Lalonde had plenty of opportunities to see Seider in action as a former member of Detroit's division rival, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seider's skills were plenty evident, but it's a completely new experience being able to coach him, and going so far as to say he's "better than expected".
"That’s the exact way to put it. You get an appreciation for a player playing against him and he was awesome whenever we played him," Lalonde said on the latest episode of the Spittin' Chiclets podcast. "But then when you get here, a little more athletic than I even thought, a little more skilled than I probably gave him credit for, but passion, man. He wants to be a player."
"It just goes to show, he wants it. He wants to be great. He wants to win. He just has drive. Again, just getting to know him, but he feels like an absolute star in the making," said Lalonde. "He’s still young, there’s going to be some growth within his game, but man, he feels very, very special in what little I’ve seen so far."
Moritz Seider is drawing rave reviews from coach Lalonde
Seider burst onto the scene in his first NHL action as a 20-year-old, immediately playing in all situations on the ice for the Red Wings with the poise of a veteran while leading the team with an average of 23:03 on ice per game. He also immediately became Detroit's top defenseman, playing in all 82 games while leading all NHL rookies with 43 assists. Additionally, he led all rookie defensemen with 50 points.
The Detroit Red Wings faced off against the Montreal Canadiens in the first half of a back-to-back matchup, with Michael Rasmussen leading the charge for the Wings. Rasmussen's recent strong play and history against the Canadiens proved to be the key to victory for Detroit.