NHL Draft - A Great Promise - Sport
18-year-old Moritz Seider joins the Detroit Red Wings in the NHL. The expectations of the youngster are high, but a temporary return to Germany is also in the room.
When his name was called, many things happened in Moritz Seider's face in a very short time: his eyes widened, his lips formed a pointed hill, then his mouth opened slightly, but already two hands covered him. Seider looked as if he had seen a giraffe ice skating. The crowd at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver whispered that she was obviously as surprised as Seider, 18, born in Zell am Mosel, currently the biggest talent in German ice hockey. No, that's right: one of the greatest talents in ice hockey ever.
On the night of Saturday, at this year's Draft, the National Hockey League talent fair, the Detroit Red Wings selected defender Seider in sixth place in the first round. Essentially, the draft works in the same way football teams do at the schoolyard: each team can choose one player in turn, and the best and most talented are by nature the most sought after and are therefore chosen early. Seiders position - six - is very early. Never before has a German defender been rated higher. Only the name of Leon Draisaitl, now one of the best players in the world, was proclaimed earlier in 2014 - third.
"I was shocked, my whole body was shaking," Seider said, after hugging his mother and father and climbing onto the stage, where Detroit manager Steve Yzerman handed him the red jersey of the Red Wings, which he wore against his jacket exchanged. It was a big moment, you could tell.
The predictions estimated Seider ranked 15 to 20
Of course, over the past few months Seider had noticed that the scouts and experts appreciated his qualities. The talent scouts sat on the tribune as he won the championship with the Adler Mannheim in the German ice hockey league, scribbling observations into their blocks. In the rankings and forecasts in the run-up to the draft, his name was relatively far ahead. The fact that a club would choose him in the first round, was considered safe. That he would make it into the top 20, as likely. The predictions leveled off between 15th and 20th place. This is very respectable - but still a bit behind the top talent Jack Hughes, the New Jersey Devils expected as the first chose. Or behind the Finn Kaapo Kakko, the New York Rangers Rangers secured second place.
The fact that Seider was then called only three names later, called the trade magazine The Hockey News as a "shocker". However, this could also be because European talents are less known in North America than the native ones. Steve Yzerman, since this summer manager of the Red Wings, has in any case worked intensively with the 18-year-olds. In December he watched him for the first time in the league, later in the playoffs. What he saw, he liked: a 1.93 -meter defender with enormous reach, who can run fast over the ice and has a look for the teammates. "We think he has an excellent sense of ice hockey," said Yzerman. Several times the manager and the talent talked. Yzerman, Seider told me, wanted to know everything, every detail. For example, about his parents, who gave up their jobs to move to Mannheim, so that the son found better training conditions.
Seider could temporarily return to Mannheim again
"He is very bright and bright," said Yzerman, "people will be pleasantly surprised." What could have also spoken for Seider: that he has already demonstrated his abilities in the adult area. For Mannheim, he played 29 times in the DEL last season, 14 times in the playoffs. And he was at the World Cup in Slovakia for the German national team, in which he scored two goals in five games and defended against gifted striker - even against those who already play in the NHL. "He did not seem out of place," said Yzerman. And Detroit coach Jeff Blashill emphasized his ability to play under pressure the liberating pass "through the opponents": "That's what the best defenders do: they do not see the attacker, they see their options."
Such players could use Detroit just fine. The most successful time is already a while back, recently, the Red Wings missed three times in a row the playoffs. Although the club boasts highly talented players like striker Dylan Larkin, on the other hand, the defense is pretty old. That Seider can be part of the solution, but by no means agreed.
The Draft is always a bet on the future. No expert knows whether an 18-year-old talent develops into a seasoned NHL player. Some never make it. Strictly speaking, the NHL clubs on the night of Saturday, once only the rights to the players. What Detroit is up to with Seider is pretty much open. Seider will join the Red Wings training camp next week. The fact that he manages to make the leap into the NHL team is not excluded, but with such a young player rather the exception. Often, talents are placed in the underclass leagues where they can develop. For example, Leon Draisaitl, before becoming a landmark player at the Edmonton Oilers, played in the second-rate American Hockey League for the Bakersfield Condors. In Seiders case, a temporary return to Mannheim to the eagles is conceivable. "He would be in a good environment, a very good team," said Yzerman. "We'll see what's best for him."
For now, Seider remains a big promise - but one that has grown even bigger this weekend.