Wings' Moritz Seider ready to make NHL debut, with roommate Lucas Raymond
Detroit — Moritz Seider was thrilled to see his teammate, and current roommate, Lucas Raymond make the Red Wings' opening-night roster.
Seider offered Raymond a place to stay, with Raymond not having a permanent abode right now.
"It's great, he deserves it," Seider said Wednesday. "I truly believe he'll be an outstanding player for this team for a long time. He's been working so hard in practice every day and in the gym. So to finally put that jersey on over his shoulders and walk out (Thursday), it's a real cool opportunity for both of us."
Seider and Raymond got to know each other last season playing in the Swedish Hockey League.
"In the end, nobody wants to stay in a hotel room 24/7," Seider said. "I have enough room to take him in a little bit under my wing, and joke around a little bit. We're definitely having a great time together."
The rookies will be making their NHL debuts Thursday when the Wings open the season against two-time defending Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
The two young players are considered cornerstones in the Wings' rebuild. Expectations from fans are high.
Seider said he doesn't feel any extra pressure.
"We're just coming to the rink to become better hockey players and show the world the the Red Wings are taking big steps ahead," Seider said. "We're excited for this season and you'll see that probably Thursday night."
Seider, 20, has already spent a professional season in both Grand Rapids (AHL) and Rogle in the SHL. He had above-average seasons in both.
That experience, along with Seider's mental make-up, should give him an edge, according to coach Jeff Blashill.
"He seems to be really strong mentally and that can help in a number of ways," Blashill said. "One of which is not being wowed by anything, wowed by playing in the NHL or (being) in the moment. He can just go out and go through the different challenges that young players will go through.
"He is mentally tough enough to get back up when he gets knocked down, with his confidence intact."
Paired with veteran defenseman NIck Leddy, Seider developed a comfort level and got acclimated to the NHL style of play during the exhibition season.
"It was a good start," Seider said. "I got to know all the guys a little deeper and we got connected pretty well. I'm excited for my first NHL game. I've been bonding with Nick pretty well there and spending time off the ice, too. We've got a good chemistry."
Seider's parents remain in Germany, with the borders still closed due to the pandemic. He is sure everyone back home will be watching his first regular-season game.
"My dad always watches every single game. Definitely they will be having a little party going on back home," Seider said.
With the first large post-pandemic crowd, the Lightning in town and the debuts of Seider and Raymond, it should be a dynamic atmosphere at Little Caesars Arena.
Blashill wants his roster to enjoy the excitement.
"Every day is special in this life and certainly every day when you're a player or coach in the NHL, you should savor it," Blashill said. "It's the excitement of a new year, there's a lot of energy around the building and it's great, enjoy it.
"Certainly focus on when the puck drops and focus shift by shift, but this is a special time, enjoy it."
DeKeyser, Staal alternate captains
The Wings named defensemen Danny DeKeyser and Marc Staal as alternate captains.
The two defensemen replace Luke Glendening, who signed in free agency with the Dallas Stars, and Frans Nielsen, who was bought out of the final year of his contract.
DeKeyser, 31, is entering his 10th season in Detroit. An undrafted free agent from Western Michigan, the Macomb native has played in 488 games, all with the Wings.
Staal, 34, was acquired in 2020 from the New York Rangers, along with a second-round pick to create cap space for the cap-strapped Rangers.
Staal appeared in all 56 games with the Wings last season — only Staal and Filip Hronek did so — and re-signed in the offseason on a one-year deal worth $2 million.
The Lightning will come into LCA in a bad mood, given their 6-2 loss Tuesday at home to the Pittsburgh Penguins after a championship banner ceremony.
"One game doesn't make a season and I'm sure they weren't pleased with it," Blashill said. "It wasn't their best game. (But) there's zero doubt they're one of the best teams in the league."
Lightning at Red Wings
►Faceoff: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Little Caesars Arena
►Outlook: In goalie Andrei Vasilevskiy, defensemen Victor Hedman and Ryan McDonagh and forwards Nikita Kucherov, Brayden Point and Steven Stamkos, the Lightning have some of the best players at their position in the NHL.
— Ted Kulfan