Red Wings: Moritz Seider is far more valuable beyond his offensive abilities

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /

Second-year Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider is off to a slow start offensively, but his value extends far beyond his offensive abilities.

Expectations had been sky-high heading into the 2022-23 season for the reigning Calder Trophy winner, awarded to the league’s top rookie. Seider became the sixth Red Wing ever to win the award. It had been 56 years since the last Red Wings player won the Calder Trophy. That was goaltender Roger Crozier back in 1964-65. The four other winners were Glenn Hall (1955-56), Terry Sawchuk (1950-51), Jim McFadden (1947-48), and Carl Voss (1932-33).

The 21-year-old German-born defender is off to a slow start offensively for the Detroit Red Wings this season recording just two assists over the first ten games. Seider is averaging over 22-minutes per game, about a minute less than Jeff Blashill used him as a rookie.

Don’t be alarmed by Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider’s slow start offensively.

Seider is one-half of Detroit’s top pairing playing alongside veteran defender Ben Chiarot. The duo makes up a rugged top pairing that poses a difficult matchup for any opponent’s top forward group. Seider is coming off a stellar seven-goal, 52-point rookie season but is struggling to find his way offensively thus far in 2022-23 despite Detroit adding a plethora of depth-scoring forwards.

Two of Detroit’s three top free-agent offseason forward additions are off to a phenomenal start. David Perron has recorded five goals and seven points, and Dominik Kubalik has notched four goals and 12 points. Andrew Copp is off to a slow start but recorded his first goal of the season this past Thursday night; he also added an assist. The Ann Arbor native has totaled five points on the season.

With the added offensive depth, the expectation wouldn’t just be a more prominent power-play and a boost in offense among existing Red Wings.

According to Evolving-Hockey, (subscription), Seider is playing on average two minutes less per game five on five this season compared to last year. Last season as a rookie, Seider earned an xWAR of 1.5 over 82 games; so far in 2022, his xWAR is at 0.1.

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Evolving Hockey also provides a very interesting dollar value calculation that takes a player’s overall worth and turns it into money. Last season Seider’s overall dollar value had been $11.2 million. His overall cap hit on his rookie deal comes in at just under $900,000. So far this season, granted we’re only ten games in, his value has significantly dropped to -$1.1 million. Yes, a negative value. That is a small sample size this season, and you need to add the human element to it. Seider is valuable to Detroit but is off to a slow start.

Head coach Derek Lalonde is using Seider more in the defensive zone starts this season. We knew Lalonde was a defensive-minded coach, but he’s trying to protect Seider, which is withholding some of the offensive capabilities he had shown last season. Seider is starting a whopping 65.5% of his five-on-five shifts in the defensive zone compared to just a touch over 50% last season under Blashill. Only 34.5% of the time, Seider begins a shift in the offensive zone.

Seider’s Corsi For Percentage over 60 minutes during five-on-five play is one positive that stands out. His increased that number to 53.6%, nearly a percent more than last season. His Relative Corsi For Percentage is a bit concerning, down to 0.2% from 4.3% last season.

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Again, Seider, along with Ben Chiarot, is being leaned on by their head coach in crucial defensive situations this season. Lalonde is clearly trying to protect his third pairing of Gustav Lindstrom and Robert Hagg, trying to keep them out of harm’s way the best he can. That third pairing has been atrocious for the Red Wings so far this season, and thankfully help is on the way in the form of Mark Pysyk, Jake Walman, and possibly Simon Edvinsson later this season.