Notes: Seider impressing through prospect tournament, start of camp
Hirose looking to build on tournament success and last spring's stint with Wingsby Dana Wakiji @Dwakiji / DetroitRedWings.com
TRAVERSE CITY -- The Red Wings might have surprised many people when they took German defenseman Moritz Seider sixth overall in June's NHL Entry Draft but it is beginning to look like Seider could be on the fast track to Detroit.
Seider, 18, was a driving force behind the Detroit team that won the NHL Prospect Tournament, defeating the Dallas Stars this past Tuesday.
While playing heavy minutes -- much as a 20-year-old Dennis Cholowski did a year ago -- Seider had four assists and was plus-4 in the four games.
"I think he did very well, 18-year-old defenseman, he logged a lot of ice time, played in all situations," said Steve Yzerman, executive vice president and general manager, on Friday. "And he's only 18 years old. It's a big step coming into this tournament, you watch the guys that do well in this tournament generally turn out to be pretty good players in the NHL. But obviously he's 6-foot-3, he shows good hockey sense most importantly, he showed good skills and what we really were impressed with is just it's a different style of hockey on a smaller rink, he seemed very comfortable with the physical game and played with an edge and was very aggressive.
"So we were pleased with his first week. He's young, he's smart so he'll figure out what he can and can't do. But overall, I was really pleased with how he performed in the four games."
Seider was also pretty pleased with how the tournament went, for obvious reasons.
"First of all, a championship, I would say," Seider said Saturday after the second day of camp at Centre Ice Arena. "It was great to be a part of that team. We will never play again, we had great chemistry and I mean, I played a lot of minutes, it was nice being on the power play and that was probably one of the things I took out of the tournament."
Wings coach Jeff Blashill got a chance to watch Seider in a couple of the prospect tournament games and then the first two days of training camp.
"I thought Seids did a real good job in the prospects tournament of showing his skill set," Blashill said. "He didn't always manage his game great. In the last game I thought he was really tired. But certainly a different side of him than I saw in the World Championship, when he was playing real safe because of the role he was in as a young kid playing in the men's Worlds. I thought he attacked the game here. He's got real good instincts, real good brain, can move, he's big. Let's see when it starts to get more real."
During the tournament, Seider announced that he would prefer to remain in North America to play this season, whether that is in Detroit with the Red Wings or in Grand Rapids with the AHL's Grand Rapids Griffins.
"I think it all depends where I can play the most," Seider said. "I'm thinking that's probably in Grand Rapids if I'm not making the team. First of all, you're here to make the team and you want to be part of the NHL team soon. I don't know what's coming after camp, I can't tell right now."
Yzerman is not closing off any options just yet.
"I'm not sure where he's going to play," Yzerman said. "He's here this week, he's going to play in the preseason. We're going to take it a step at a time. Let's get through preseason, we have options. The options are Detroit, the American Hockey League, the NHL, the American Hockey League and or back to Europe. All three are potentially good options and we'll take it one step at a time."
One thing that is apparent is that Seider carries himself with a maturity that belies his 18 years.
"He's a very mature person, for sure," Blashill said. "There's no doubt. The minute he came into the box with his family at the draft, his parents don't speak much English so he had to carry his parents a little bit and he did an unreal job of it. You could just tell he's comfortable in his own skin. Those are the guys that have true self-confidence.
"And he carries himself with a moxie and he's got a little leadership Pied Piper to him where guys of the same age want to follow him around. So he's got lots of real good qualities. I think he's a real good prospect."
Seider joined many of the other Wings prospects by remaining in metro Detroit for most of the summer to work out together.
"I had the opportunity to train with a lot of guys in Detroit already so I'm used to it," Seider said. "The speed is pretty high, I think we had great intensity out there already and I think everybody's looking forward to the (Red and White) game."
Seider also took advantage of his time in Detroit by seeing some of what the state of Michigan has to offer.
"I would say, first of all, great universities," Seider said. "We had the chance going to a Michigan game in the Big House. It was unbelievable. It was a great atmosphere. It was nice, you can go fishing, you can go out on the water a lot of times. I heard a couple guys have a couple boats so I think it's going to be a fun time."
Seider also got to know some of the other prospects through the summer and the prospect tournament.
"I know Mo pretty well now," Taro Hirose said. "We've been hanging out a lot. He's an awesome guy, real good character guy. I think you can tell he's going to be an unbelievable player in the league.
"For sure, he has a lot of confidence with the puck and he's one of those D-men that, as an offensive-minded guy, you want to play with because he's not just going to be dumping the puck in, he's going to be making plays and looking for you, so I think that's what you want from a D-man and it's good to see him doing that so young."
While Seider is mature for his age, he's also smart enough to know he has a lot to learn.
"I think I'm 18, I can improve a lot of things. That's why I'm here," Seider said. "First of all, I'm a prospect and I want to get better and I think in every situation on the ice, I can do a little bit better job.
"You want to get more mature. I think you're around older guys, veteran players. (Trevor) Daley is going into his 17th season, I think. Those guys earned their spot and you just want to be thankful to be around them."
HIROSE CONTINUES AFTER PROSPECT TOURNEY: Forward Taro Hirose turned some heads when he signed as a free agent out of Michigan State and then recorded one goal and six assists in 10 games.
"I thought Taro came last year and made lots of plays," Blashill said. "In the end, I thought he earned the opportunity to come to camp in a pretty good spot. Whether he stays in that spot, I think there's some question marks on that line - is there enough shooters, is there enough hardness at the net? Those are things we got to wait and see. But I think Taro's earned a chance to come to camp and show in greater capacity what he can do.
"He's real smart, he makes real smart decisions with the puck. He's not the biggest guy, he's not the fastest guy, so he has to be ultra-smart, he's got to be efficient when he does it. I thought he did that for the most part last year."
After winning the Matthew Wuest Memorial Cup in the NHL Prospect Tournament, Hirose is now set on winning a job with the Wings.
"I think everyone here is competing for a job and is serious about it, but at the same time we're looking out for each other and the experience from last season, I'm not looking too much into it because it was the end of the season," Hirose said. "Just trying to show them my game and what I can do."
Last spring Hirose had the chance to play with Andreas Athanasiou and is getting a chance to skate with Valtteri Filppula in camp.
"(Athanasiou's) obviously an unbelievable player and one of those guys you have to get the puck," Hirose said. "He can make something out of nothing, so it's easy to play with him. I think I can find guys in open spaces and create chances for my teammates. With Filppula it's the same, he's a real good player. I've been real impressed skating with him. So it's been a really good first two days for me."
That 10-game experience with the Wings plus participating in the prospect tournament gives Hirose a bit of an advantage.
"Just being familiar with the systems and the way Blash likes guys to play, gives me a little step over some of the guys who haven't played at that level before," Hirose said. "But at the same time, with the new general manager and a lot of new management and new faces, you have to prove yourself every day."
RED AND WHITE GAME SUNDAY: On Sunday the Wings will play the annual Red and White Game at noon.
Blashill said he doesn't expect anything out of the ordinary.
"Just a good, solid game," Blashill said. "Camp the first two days went really hard and competitive. So for me to have an expectation it's going to be a super, super hard game physically, I wouldn't say that. Just to be smart and see how guys stand out."
ALUMNI AND CELEBRITY GAME: It's always a fun event for fans to come out Saturday and see some of the Wings alumni and celebrities join forces with the Guns N' Hoses, a team of local Traverse City police and fire department employees, for a charity game.
Guns N' Hoses is a non-profit organization that assists those in need in the Grand Traverse Community.
Among those who will be playing in the game is Blashill, who said he only dons his goalie pads once a year.
"I guess we're splitting up our squads so it'll be a fun game to be a part of," Blashill said. "I want to make sure I get my pads on on time. There won't be any pre-game jitters for sure. It'll be fun though.
"I just want to end up not injured."