Red Wings notes: Moritz Seider headed to Olympics; roster decisions looming

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News

Detroit — Moritz Seider has yet to play in an NHL regular-season game —  but he's headed to the Olympics.

Team Germany announced Friday that Seider is part of their three-man provisional list ahead of the February 2022 Olympics in Beijing.

Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider.

Joining Seider were Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl and Seattle goaltender Phillip Grubauer. All three players will be making their Olympic debuts in Beijing.

The IIHF and NHL/NHLPA have requested all participating teams to provide a list of three provisional NHL players ahead of the Olympic Games. The final team rosters will be announced in January.

Seider, 20, was selected sixth overall by the Red Wings in the 2019 NHL Draft. The young defenseman scored seven goals and had 28 points in 41 games with Rogle in Sweden last season, while being named the best defensemen in the Swedish Hockey League.

Seider is on track to make his NHL debut Thursday when the Red Wings open the season, playing host to the two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

It hasn't gone completely smooth this training camp — Seider was minus-3 one game and saw Columbus' star Patrik Laine undress him on another play. But Seider has largely been the poised, calm and talented young defenseman he's appeared for two years since being drafted by the Wings.

"In the third (period Wednesday in Columbus) he was excellent until the penalty-kill goal against (Laine's highlight-reel goal)," coach Jeff Blashill said. "When he was really good, he looked like a bit of a difference-maker around the ice. This is what the preseason is for. This is why he’s playing a lot of games, to gain experience in order to understand what a guy like Patrik Laine’s moves are, so he sees those.

“He’s had a ton of success in other leagues but you don’t see the level of player in those leagues like a Laine, like a (Auston) Matthews. We’re going to see those a lot, so it’s great for him to gain that experience."

Blashill feels Seider has been developed well the past several years to be ready for the NHL.

"He's as prepared as any young player at his age coming in," Blashill said. "That preparation through the (German League) into the American League into the (Swedish Hockey League) last year, for a kid his age, he's probably as prepared as anybody could be.

"And he's excelled at really each level, which is critical."

Seider's size (6-foot-4, 200 pounds), mobility and willingness to play a physical game give him the potential to be an elite defender.

"When he's engaged in people he's a really, really good defender," Blashill said. "But you have to work and think ahead to put yourself in that position, so that you're in the proper position to have really good gaps so you can get engaged in that guy quicker. Those are just learning things for young defensemen."

Seider has a power-play goal during this exhibition season, highlighting the hard shot from the point he possesses. But he already understands, at his young age, the importance of defense first and foremost.

"Just being a guy on the ice in all situations, moving the puck well, defend really, really well," Seider said early in camp about what he needed to show the coaching staff. "That's what matters the most I would say.

"Being really solid defensively and then offense will come automatically."

Thus far, Seider is the only Red Wings player to be named to any country's provisional list.

Detroit center Joe Veleno and Pittsburgh center Brian Boyle battle along the boards during the second period.

Down to the wire

While Seider's position on the roster is secure, forward Joe Veleno's spot remains murky.

Veleno, a 2018 first-round pick, had a tie-breaking goal and assist in Thursday's 4-2 victory over Pittsburgh, and has had a good, if not excellent, camp. He also didn't look out of place in a five-game trial with the Wings late last season.

But the Wings don't want Veleno to play scarce minutes and have a lesser role at the NHL level, if the alternative is to play big minutes in every situation in Grand Rapids and continue to learn and blossom.

The Wings also have a pool of players for the bottom-six forwards who are older and more experienced than Veleno, making a path to a roster spot difficult.

“He’s making his way to being close to being NHL-ready,” Blashill said. “There’s a lot of guys kind of in that mix and then it’s that next step that’s more important, (being) ready to help an NHL team be way better. That to me is what we’re looking for. How do you help the Detroit Red Wings be a way better team, not just how can you make our team?

“He’s worked his tail off for two years, he's changed his body, bought into being good on the defensive side of the puck. So, it depends on where he potentially fits in. Is he better than other guys?”

The Wings on Friday assigned forward Chase Pearson and defensemen Brian Lashoff and Ryan Murphy to Grand Rapids, while releasing defenseman Adam Brubacher from his professional tryout.

Detroit has 35 players on its preseason roster — 21 forwards, 11 defensemen and three goaltenders. 

Red Wings at Sabres

►Faceoff: 3 Saturday, KeyBank Center, Buffalo New York

►TV/radio: Stream on detroitredwings.com/97.1

►Outlook: The Wings (4-3-0) finish their eight-game exhibition schedule with a trip to Buffalo. ... The Wings defeated Buffalo in an earlier preseason game. ... The Wings need to get down to their 23-man roster by Monday at 3 p.m., with some intriguing battles among the forwards looming.

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ted.kulfan@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tkulfan