Yzerman, Blashill Considering Call-Up For Red Wings' Top Prospect

It sounds like he'll get a shot before the season's over.

Will Burchfield
February 20, 2020 - 5:42 pm
Moritz Seider

Alex Grimm / Staff

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As we await the end of another dreary season for the Red Wings, a tonic might be on the way. 

Jeff Blashill said Thursday that he and general manager Steve Yzerman have discussed calling up defenseman Moritz Seider from Grand Rapids. The sixth overall pick in last year's draft has acquitted himself well in the AHL. 

It doesn't sound imminent, and it likely won't be for long. The Wings are wary of disturbing the rhythm Seider has established in his first pro season in North America. He doesn't turn 19 until April. And they don't want to leave the Griffins shorthanded as they fight for a playoff spot. But it does sound like they'll give Seider a look before the end of the year. 

"Steve and I have had conversations about the possibility," Blashill said, "but we’ve made no definitive decisions on whether or not that will happen."

It would seem to work in Seider's favor that he's been up to the challenge in the AHL, after playing professionally last season in Germany. On top of his fine defensive play, he has 19 points in 45 games. And if he's indeed the Wings' next No. 1 defenseman, it would seem to behoove them to show him the ropes. 

"You can look at it in a number of ways," said Blashill. "One, if he’s developing really well down there, leave him there and let him continue to develop. Two, if he’s playing well down there, does it help him to come up and play a little bit? In the end, Steve will make the decision based on what’s best for his development and it’ll be solely based on that.”

The Wings expected Seider to adapt well defensively this season, with his powerful stride, poise under pressure and 6'4 frame. But they weren't banking on this much offense right away. Seider put up just six points in 29 games last season with Adler Manheim. But they've encouraged him to think offensively in Grand Rapids, and he hasn't held back. 

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“My understanding is he’s played really good hockey,” Blashill said. “I’m a big fan. I think he’s going to be a really good player. How good? We’ll see. I think he’s still learning the give and take of offensive risk management. It’s something that he didn’t get a chance to do a whole bunch last year because of the level he was playing at. It’s a learned process. But I think he’s getting better at it, and my understanding is he’s having a good, solid year.”

The Red Wings could be short a couple defensemen after Monday's trade deadline, depending on what happens with Mike Green and Trevor Daley. Green, at least, feels like a pretty good bet to be dealt. They've already called up one blueline prospect this month in Gustav Lindstrom​​​​​​, and Seider could be the next. 

Lindstrom, 21, earned the first opportunity because he has more pro experience and a "safer" style of play, Blashill said. 

"Not that Moritz isn't (a safe player), but he's getting the opportunity in the AHL to figure out how much offense he can bite off. That's not something you want to try to figure out in the NHL, and that's where it's been really good for him to be at that level. It's been a perfect level for him to continue to learn and get better defensively, but most importantly, figure out how much he can bite off on a consistent basis offensively." 

Should the Red Wings need an emergency defenseman in the days ahead, they're more likely to turn to Jonathan Ericsson. Dennis Cholowski is another option in Grand Rapids, with Blashill saying "he’s probably played his best hockey" since being sent down in December. And Filip Hronek, who's been sidelined since taking a shot to the head last weekend, figures to return next week. 

So don't start holding your breath for Seider, not just yet. But the Red Wings have 20 games remaining in this grim season, and their top prospect has been a ray of light a few hours to the west. He's answered his first challenge. He'd benefit from a taste of his next one. It could be Seider's springboard toward making the team next season, and boy if that wouldn't help wash this one down. 

Here's betting the Wings feel the same.