Name: Moritz Seider
Team: Adler Mannheim (DEL)
Stats: 29 games played, 2 goals, 4 assists, 6 points, 8 PIMs, +2 plus/minus rating
NHL Central Scouting ranking: 6th (European Skaters)
Comparable NHL players: Brian Dumoulin, Colton Parayko
If, hypothetically speaking, you had the chance to design the ideal NHL defenseman from scratch, what elements would you include for such a player to have?
- Skating ability is a given, considering how fast the NHL has become.
- Size is always nice, too, for a number of different reasons.
- Puck control? Absolutely.
- Can’t forget hockey sense, of course.
- Throw in some competitiveness and mental strength, too, for good measure.
- Oh, and if he could shoot right instead of the left that would be icing on the cake.
If you add all of those things together, what might such a player look like? Well, it would look a lot like 2019 draft-eligible prospect Moritz Seider.
When it comes to this year’s draft class, Seider might be the single biggest wild card. There seems to be consensus in the scouting community that Seider is a prospect with potential — but just how much potential?
The 6-foot-4 German defenseman is something of a mystery, mostly because of the competition that he’s been playing against over the past two seasons. Scouts are quite familiar with the KHL, the SHL, and the Liiga, where top prospects play all the time, but the DEL (Deutschen Eishockey Liga), where Seider spent his 2018-19 season? That’s far less of a prospect hotbed. There aren’t as many other players that you can compare Seider too in terms of the path they took.
Making matters even trickier is that Germany isn’t a big player on the international hockey scene, making it more difficult to watch Seider against top competition his own age in comparison to top prospects from countries like Sweden or Finland.
Well, so far, at least.
Back in December, the German squad won gold at the 2019 Division I World Junior Championship — and, more importantly, promotion to the main World Juniors group — and did so primarily because of Seider. In a tournament full of 18 and 19-year-olds (including some NHL draft picks), Seider, still just 17 at the time, picked up seven points in five games and was named both Germany’s top player (ahead of 2018 St. Louis Blues first-rounder Dominik Bokk) and the tournament’s top defenseman. Seider was also named Germany’s captain for the event, even though he was their youngest player and lone 17-year-old, which speaks volumes about his leadership abilities.
That wasn’t his only appearance internationally, however. Scouts still relatively unfamiliar with Seider received some incredibly good fortune when he was named to Germany’s roster for the World Championships, scoring two goals in five games and not looking out of place at all against NHL players. He, Jack Hughes, and Kaapo Kakko were the only 2001-birthday players in the tournament, so that’s pretty good company to keep.
So, just how did Seider get so good? His natural athleticism and fantastic work ethic are two big factors, but another one that doesn’t get discussed enough about him is his playing environment.
Adler Mannheim, his DEL team, had eight players on its 2018-19 roster that previously played games in the NHL, including a couple guys with Stanley Cup rings in Andrew Desjardins and Ben Smith. It should also be mentioned that these were primarily guys who made it to the NHL because of their hard work and determination, not their natural skill. With more than 1,000 combined games of blue-collar NHL experience in Mannheim’s locker room, one can easily assume that Seider learned a lot about the training and discipline needed to play in the NHL. That’s a huge advantage that not all 2019 draft prospects received, including some who played professionally in Sweden, Finland, or Russia.
When you look at the big picture of what Seider offers, it’s easy to become enthralled by his raw upside and potential. He might not excel at any one thing, but there’s just so much to like here, with regards to both his physical abilities as well as his mental approach to the game. Worst case scenario, you get a third-pairing defenseman who can do a little bit of everything. Best case scenario? It’s no guarantee, as his long-term development would need to be handled perfectly, but you could get a top-pair defender down the road.
Not only might Seider be the best player available if he still hasn’t been picked by the 18th spot, he’d be an incredible fit for what the Dallas Stars need going forward. Dallas can expect to rely on John Klingberg on the right side of their blue line for the foreseeable future. However, beyond him there are nothing but question marks on the right side, whether it’s at the pro level (Stephen Johns and Julius Honka) or at the prospect level (Joseph Cecconi, Jakob Stenqvist, and Dawson Barteaux are all good prospects, but none are locks for NHL duty). Suffice to say, this is a kid worth keeping a close eye on come draft weekend.