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Seider's highlight-filled season impresses scouts before 2019 NHL Draft

Hopes to be first Germany-born defenseman taken in opening round

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor

Moritz Seider was hoping to make an impression on scouts during his NHL Draft season.

With championships at multiple levels and success against older, more developed competition, the defenseman with Mannheim in the DEL, Germany's top professional league, showed why he should be the first Germany-born defenseman ever to be selected in the first round when the 2019 NHL Draft is held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on June 21 (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVAS) and June 22 (1 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN).

"Lots of highlights," Seider said. "[World Junior Championship] B pool, we won that tournament to go back up again next season. Then the first playoff run (with Mannheim), we won the championship. I had the chance to play at the World Championship. It was an amazing season."

 

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Seider (6-foot-3, 208 pounds), a right-shot defenseman, is No. 6 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of International prospects for the 2019 Draft.

"It's his passing, his hockey sense and he's very strong," director of NHL European Scouting Goran Stubb said. "He's not overly physical but he's tough enough both along the boards and in front of the net. And his hockey sense is exceptional. ... Never panics. Makes very smart decisions on the ice. He can shoot, pass and he's a very good two-way player."

Seider started the season as Mannheim's youngest player at age 17 (he turned 18 on April 6). He had played four games with Mannheim last season, and Seider said that made his adjustment to a full season with and against older players far smoother.

"You always need a little bit of time, but the guys were awesome in Mannheim," he said. "They take away so much pressure from myself. They say, 'Come on buddy, just another game, you're at the pros but play your game, play your style and you'll be fine.' That was one of the key moments, and there was a lot of good things."

Seider had six points (two goals, four assists) in 29 games, the second-most points ever by an under-18 defenseman in the DEL (Yannic Seidenberg had eight points in 2001-02), and was named the league's rookie of the year.

In the playoffs he had five assists and a plus-6 rating to help Mannheim win the league championship.

"It was unreal to see what changes in the playoffs," Seider said. "You play that regular season just to reach the playoffs. It was such a nice feeling to run through that playoff series because it's completely different than the regular season, you fight way much harder than before. It was a really nice experience."

Along the way Seider helped Germany win the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Division I Group A tournament, which means it will play in the 2020 WJC in the Czech Republic. Seider tied for second at the tournament with seven points (one goal, six assists) in five games, had a plus-8 rating and was named the tournament's best defenseman.

"He just dominated any time he was on the ice," Stubb said.

Seider also scored two goals in five games for Germany at the IIHF World Championship, including his team's first of the tournament.

Watch: Moritz Seider Breaks Deadlock

"It was unbelievable, to be honest," he said. "It was so nice to stand right in front of those NHL players and know you're playing with them or against them. It was so amazing. So much fun to play there. There was no reason to be pressuring yourself. It was just fun. So nice to be part of that team."

He was especially excited to see Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski join the United States for the final two games of the tournament. Werenski is a player Seider patterns his game after.

"He's so calm with the puck," he said. "He's calm under pressure. He's so cool with the puck and how he handles it and how he's carrying it up to the offensive zone. It's fantastic."

Seider has had his own fantastic ride to the draft. He started skating when his kindergarten class would go on the ice once a week. When he was a bit older he got to skate with players from Erfurt, a team that plays in Germany's third division.

Those experiences sparked Seider's interest in hockey, but it's something he developed independent of his family.

"I'm the first one in hockey, so everyone was a little bit shocked when I told them because they only know hockey from fighting and roughing each other," he said. "That took a little bit of time to get them comfortable with the sport."

Now, thanks to his success and the purchase of a rule book, he said his parents and his grandmother are his biggest fans.

NHL personnel might be a close second.

"I think his upside is tremendous," one NHL scout said. "Physical package, size, skating, his willingness to get up ice. ... Maybe a little more raw than some of the other guys, but I think the upside is very good. He steadily improved. ... He's playing at the pro level, having success, had a real good playoff run, World Championship he looked comfortable. You look at him off the ice and he's still a boy, but just tremendous physical potential."

 

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