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Getting to know: Tim Stuetzle

German forward looking to follow in the footsteps of Red Wings' Seider, Oilers' Draisaitl

by Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji /

Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman may have surprised some people at last year's NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver when he selected German defenseman Moritz Seider of Adler Mannheim with the sixth overall pick.

But no one would be too surprised to see Yzerman take another player from Adler Mannheim of the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) this year.

Since the league is in a pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has not decided yet on what will happen with the rest of the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs, the draft lottery remains on hold.

So the Wings have to wait and see where they end up picking.

On April 8, NHL Central Scouting released their final rankings and ranked Adler Mannheim forward Tim Stuetzle first overall among international skaters.

"Stuetzle played a very mature game the whole season and impressed more and more playing regular shifts with a top team," NHL Director of European Scouting Goran Stubb told "Tim had a big role on the team, used in all game situations. An exceptional talent with a great set of tools including speed and excellent understanding of the game."

NHL Central Scouting ranked Rimouski Océanic Alexis Lafrenière first among North American skaters.

"With both of these players, their ability to perform under pressure, particularly on the world stage in most situations really stands out," NHL Central Scouting's Dan Marr said of Lafrenière and Stuetzle on a Zoom conference call. "But it's their consistency to play and compete at a high level and consistently produce those results. I always keep in mind that both of these players have been the younger players on most of their teams coming up the line and they played major roles."

Lafrenière, Stuetzle, forward Quinton Byfield and defenseman Jamie Drysdale all answered questions on a Zoom conference call the day the final rankings came out.

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Meet four of the top prospects for the 2020 #NHLDraft:Alexis Lafreniere, No. 1 North American SkaterTim Stuetzle, No. 1 International SkaterQuinton Byfield, No. 2 North American Skater (@byfield55)Jamie Drysdale, No. 3 North American SkaterZoom chat:

Byfield and Drysdale are ranked second and third, respectively, among North American skaters.

Stuetzle, who turned 18 on Jan. 15, had seven goals among 34 points in 41 games and was named rookie of the year in the DEL.

Like Seider the previous year, Stuetzle credited playing with men for helping him develop.

"Playing with men and training with men all the time was a big part of my life and they helped me out a lot, they wanted to make me better and I'm so thankful for my teammates," Stuetzle said. "It was just great, they helped me out and I could learn a lot from the veterans. It was just a great season for me."

Stuetzle played with Seider in the 2020 World Junior Championship for Team Germany, recording five assists in five games.

While everyone is projecting Lafrenière to go first overall, Stuetzle was asked to make a case for a team to take him in that spot.

Tweet from @NHL: Top prospects Alexis Lafreniere and Tim Stuetzle make their case to be the top pick in the 2020 #NHLDraft.

"I hate to lose and I want to win every game and I want to be the difference maker," Stuetzle said. "I want to play a good night every day. I'm humble and a hard worker so I want to get better every day, too. A lot of good players in the draft and I'm just honored to be part of it."

While Lafrenière, Byfield and Drysdale are working to stay in shape with whatever workout equipment they have on hand at home, Stuetzle has a little bit of an advantage back in Germany.

"I'm a little bit lucky," Stuetzle said. "In Germany we can do one-on-one practices. One of my parents' friends has his own gym and he is a personal coach so I am allowed to practice there with him and do my workout stuff.

"Tough situation right now but I think it's very important that everybody stays healthy right now in a bad situation and stays at home for sure. It's going good. It would be better to play the playoffs for sure."

Unfortunately, Stuetzle and the other prospects aren't able to participate in the playoffs.

But unlike a lot of North Americans, Stuetzle isn't spending his non-workout time binge watching Tiger King.

"I don't really watch a lot of Netflix, I mostly play Fortnite with my friends," Stuetzle said. "For my workout, I like to hear hip hop, rap music, but American, not German."

Stuetzle was asked on the call to reveal something that people might not know about him.

"I played soccer so then I had to decide," Stuetzle said. "I think I was pretty good in football - in soccer. It was a tough decision for sure but I think it was the right decision to stay in hockey."

When it comes to his favorite players, Stuetzle might surprise people just a little bit.

"My favorite player is Connor McDavid, for sure," Stuetzle said. "He wants to win every game, too, and he wants to be the difference, make a difference. It's just awesome to see how he skates and how he has the puck skills.

"For sure as a German guy, I need to go with Leon (Draisaitl), too. He's doing great and definitely a guy I look up to."

Tweet from @PR_NHL: Looks like No. 1-ranked international skater Tim Stuetzle of @adlermannheim catches a lot of @EdmontonOilers games. He lists Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl as two players he models his game after. Full story: #NHLDraft

The 2020 NHL Entry Draft was supposed to take place in Montreal June 26-27 but has been postponed because of the novel coronavirus.

But when the draft does take place, Stuetzle has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Seider and Draisaitl (No. 3 in 2014) to become the third German-born and trained player to be chosen in the top 10.

"It would be a great feeling to get drafted as high as possible," Stuetzle said. "To be honest, doing a great job over there and I'm just honored to be play such a big role in the draft and I'm looking forward for the draft and for sure, playing in the NHL."

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