The Canuck Way’s 2019 NHL Draft prospect-profile series continues with a look at right-shot defenceman Moritz Seider. The Vancouver Canucks could select him in the second half of the first round.
Maybe Canucks GM Jim Benning is feeling tipsy, too, especially after such a successful 2019 Ice Hockey World Championship in Germany last December, when a 17-year-old Seider captained his under-20 team to a Division 1A victory and a promotion to the main division in 2020.
Seider led all Div 1A defencemen with one goal and six assists, celebrating his international success on home ice. According to the various rankings noted by Eliteprospects.com, Seider is a bonafide first round pick who ranks anywhere from 10th to 26th overall.
As recent as June 5th HockeyProspect.com ranked him 10th overall, while on June 6th Craig Button’s List pegged him as the 26th-best talent. As predicted in my own mock draft, Seider could be selected 17th overall by the Vegas Golden Knights, a team that would love to find a big, top-pairing defenceman to lead the way.
If any of these rankings prove true, Seider will become the highest-ever-drafted-German defenceman, passing current leader Michael Heidt, who was selected in 1982 at 27th overall in the second round by the Los Angeles Kings.
Yet Moritz is an enigma wrapped in bacon.
Hailing from the lesser known Deutsche Eishockey Liga, finding useful comparables to Seider is more difficult, and projecting his ceiling requires a bit o’ black magic, which is why the German product from Zell may have the highest boom-or-bust potential of the entire first round.
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Boding well for the teenager is that he’s already spent a season playing professionally against full-grown men in the DEL, where he held his own at plus-2 over 29 games, scoring 2 goals and 4 assists.
Can Seider develop his pro game to a top-pairing anchor, or merely a middling man? That is the puzzlement only Seider can answer as he matures into an NHL Spieler.
And while we’re asking the tough questions, what’s more fun to say, Moritz Seider or Keyser Söze?
Some months ago former The Canuck Way contributor Chris Faber wrote an interesting article where he projected Seider as a top-four defender who would pair well with Olli Juolevi, and dared to compare him to pending free agent and giant Winnipeg Jets defender Tyler Myers.
Seider seems something of a risky pick, which could keep him from being drafted too high, even while he may deserve the confidence.
Researching stats and sifting through all the video highlights for top-round prospects might leave you thinking Seider is in the sixth tier of first-round talents, joining the likes of Arthur Kaliyev, Samuel Poulin, Thomas Harley, Spencer Knight and Cam York, who could all fit into that draft range of 16th-to-21st overall.
That said, the eye test is all-important, and unfortunately there just isn’t enough video available on Seider to confirm good habits or consistency, and no doubt only a small fraction of scouts will have spent much time rinkside actually watching his play to know for sure.
What limited video you can find shows that his skating is excellent for a big guy – long powerful strides that are quick to reach full speed, agile and balanced, very athletic. Seider will jump in on the rush and put himself in a good position for the one-timer. He’ll use his size to play an aggressive game along the boards and to drive the puck to the net.
He has the tools to carry the puck up ice and enter the zone himself or to make that first quick breakout pass. Seider’s strength translates into a hard point shot and one-timer. To reach his ceiling his next few offseasons will need to be dedicated to the gym building strength and density.
Perhaps someone will have the balloons to take Seider earlier – someone who’s convinced that he’ll play a top-pairing role for their team.
Like Brock Boeser in 2015 who was taken late in the first round, if Seider is selected in a similar range then he too could become one of those first-round overachievers during his next few years of development.
It’s for good reason that the 18-year-old, 6’4″, 207-pounder has his German fans excited. The standout was the baby of the bunch, scoring two goals in five games for Germany’s silver-medal-winning team.
Once an NHL team gets behind his training and Seider adds more strength and explosiveness to his game, he’ll be a force to reckon with.
Kinda gets you thinking, wouldn’t this kid from Zell look great in those traditional flying-V colours?
To land the first-round enigma, Benning could trade down from his first pick and get back an additional asset, such as a B-level prospect or another attractive pick. Or perhaps if Seider is still on the board late in the first round, Benning could trade up from his second-round pick by including an asset like Ben Hutton or Nikolay Goldobin.
Whichever team is fortunate enough to draft the “most gregarious player” at the 2019 NHL Scouting Combine – where Seider was second and fourth overall in the aerobic fitness tests and third in wingspan – that team will be getting a great teammate and a talented but raw defenceman who projects to be an eventual impact player and has the potential with his powerful frame to develop into a prized playoff performer.