The sun was shining and so was Moritz when the 21-year-old defender of the Red Wings was named the winner of the 2021-22 Calder Trophy on Tuesday night. The great German was the first Red Wings player to win the Calder in 47 years and the first Red Wings skater to win it since Jim McFadden in 1947-48. It’s something so many Winged Wheel legends have failed to do, including Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov and Niklas Lidstrom, who have all been second in their respective rookie seasons.
So, if Seider is doing something that all of these legends have failed to do, the question becomes: how is he based on that? Having 50 points as a rookie defender while playing at an elite level is a very high bar to set. Building on that and growing up is certainly not going to be easy, and it’s not just Mo to get the most out of his potential. He’s also on GM Steve Yzerman and any coaching staff he brings.
The fact that Moritz Seider has had such an incredible season despite being constantly dragged down by the player next to him on the blue line is a testament to how good he is. Whether it was Danny DeKeyser, Nick Leddy, or Jordan Oesterle, he didn’t always have a man next to him who looked like a top-pair NHL defender. This is a problem that Steve Yzerman will have to solve. Or, he may have already solved it.
Many have pencil drawn Simon Edvinsson’s sixth pick overall in 2021 as Mo’s partner for the future. The 19-year-old Swedish d-man has had a very promising season with SHL’s Frölunda, winning the Young Player of the Year championship after averaging nearly 20 minutes on ice per game and amassing 19 points in 44 games. He has already signed his three-year entry-level contract and has a very good chance of joining the Red Wings opening day roster. The question is, will he be ready for top pair minutes immediately like Mo was? Hard to say, but it’s a tall order for such a young player.
– IcehockeyGifs (@IcehockeyG) April 1, 2022
So, at least for 2022-23, the Red Wings will have to look at who can join him. Right now, the only left-handed defender under contract for next season is Oesterle who, as previously mentioned, in no way resembles a first pair defender. Unfortunately, there aren’t many quality left-handed defenders available in free agency as the best options are the likes of Olli Maatta, Nikita Zadorov and Ben Chiarot. It will be a tough challenge for Steve Yzerman to decide what to do.
What does Mo have to work on?
Look, we love Mo, but we can recognize he’s not perfect … yet. There are some things he will have to work on alone and with the new coaching staff this off-season. The first noteworthy is his shot. He only scored seven goals and spat a 3.7% shot rate. These are both numbers you would like to see rise over the next two seasons. Mo doesn’t need to be a 20 goal scorer in any way, but 15 would be a very good and consistent number for him to hit, especially if he ends up becoming a 60 assist guy.
The other main thing Mo has to work on and has shown a bit towards the end of the season is his crew in front of the net, especially on the penalty spot. It obviously makes it a lot harder when your d-partners are traffic cones. However, there have certainly been a few times where he was caught watching the puck in front of the net and lost his man to him, especially towards the end of the year. It is something that cannot let that happen. He is a very good one-on-one defender, but defending in the zone is something he will need to improve on a bit and hopefully whoever the coaching staff will help him with that.
Mo Seider has just had one of the best seasons as a rookie defender of the past 30 years. There is no question and the potential of him is there to be a defender of the likes of Hall of Fame, award-winning Norris. It’s up to the Red Wings organization and Mo himself to make that potential a reality for the next 15 seasons, and that starts with an impressive following in 2022-23. We can only hope that there are many more sunny days in sight.