Moritz Seider warming to life in Michigan, adjusting to pro hockey

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Traverse City — Moritz Seider, as it turns out, is a fan.

A fan of college football.

The Red Wings’ first-round pick from Germany was able to attend his first college football game recently, as it turns out, at The Big House.

Seider, 18, was still gushing over the experience Saturday at the end of practice.

“Unbelievable,” said Seider, of the experience. “It was a great atmosphere.”

Seider carried that enthusiasm into the recent NHL Prospect Tournament.

First-round pick Moritz Seider is expected to be in the lineup when the Red Wings open exhibition play Wednesday against the Blackhawks.

The 6-foot-3 defenseman was one of the Red Wings’ best players on the team that won the tournament, leading into this training camp, and now has fans excited about what the future may hold.

It’s doubtful Seider would open the season in the NHL, the jump from German hockey to the NHL being so very big.

But it wouldn’t be shocking to see Seider begin the season in Grand Rapids, in the American Hockey League, with returning to Mannheim, and playing with his German team, a distant third option.

General manager Steve Yzerman and coach Jeff Blashill both have preached patience during this start in camp, regarding Seider.

As for Seider, as many 18-year-olds basically are, he’ll be happy wherever he is, playing hockey.

“I don’t really care where I’m staying,” Seider said. “To be honest, I just want to become a better player and person and I don’t care where that is.”

Yzerman was pleased with what he saw of Seider in the prospects tournament.

“He did very well,” Yzerman said. “As an 18-year-old defenseman, he logged a lot of ice time, and he played in all situations. It’s a big step coming into this tournament, and you watch the guys who do well in this tournament, and generally, they turn out to be pretty good players in the NHL.

“I’m not sure where he’ll play (after the exhibition season). He’s here this week, he’s going to play in the preseason, and we’re going to take one step at a time. Let’s get through the preseason. We have options, Detroit, the American Hockey League (in Grand Rapids) or back to Europe. All three are potentially good options.

“We’ll take it one step at a time.”

Blashill, while coaching Team USA during May’s world championships, had a chance to watch Seider, who played for Germany.

“He was impressive,” Blashill said. “You don’t get the same forecheck pressure, but man, for an 18-year-old, he did an unreal job when facing pressure. When he had it, he made real good, poised plays and managed his game great.”

Some scouts have questioned Seider’s offensive upside and ability to transport the puck, but Blashill feels that’s not fair.

“He’s played against men,” Seider said. “If he was playing high school last year, nobody would have questioned it. There’s a skill set there, he’s a real prospect for sure, and let’s see how he does in exhibition.”

The largest adjustment for most young Europeans is adjusting to the smaller NHL ice surfaces and the speed of the game.

Seider got a taste of that during the prospects tournament.

“It’s a lot faster, but in the end, it’s hockey,” Seider said. “Everybody can play and it doesn’t matter if you come from Europe or North America, in the end, it’s just hockey. You have to play your game and it’s not like a lot of changes.”

Blashill indicated Seider will play in Wednesday’s exhibition game in Chicago.

“You train all summer to be on the ice for the first couple of games and I’m real excited and looking forward to put the jersey on for the first time,” Seider said.

Glendening honored

It was a whirlwind summer for Luke Glendening.

The veteran forward got married, went on a honeymoon, then arrived at training camp and was named an alternate captain, replacing Niklas Kronwall.

“It was a great summer,” Glendening said. “Finding out when I got here (about wearing an "A”), obviously it’s very humbling, I’m very honored. To be part of the tradition of the Red Wings, it’s great.”

Glendening has always been one to lead by example rather than speaking up, and though that might change a bit, wearing a letter isn’t going to change Glendening much.

“I don’t think it changes who I am,” Glendening said. “Maybe a bit, maybe more comfortable speaking up when I have something to say, but it’s not going to change who I am. I’m going to try to lead by example and that’s what I’ve done my entire career.”

Almost done

The Wings will have the annual Red-White intrasquad scrimmage Sunday.

They’ll conclude the Traverse City training camp portion of the preseason Monday with a practice, then head home to face Chicago Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena in the first of nine exhibition games.