The hardest part of being sidelined is not being able to engage in the day-to-day following of the Red Wings’ prospects, and, on Saturday, defenseman Moritz Seider’s partner, Rogle BK defenseman Eric Gelinas, spoke with Hockeysverige.se’s Uffe Bodin about being a “big brother” to the 19-year-old Seider.
What follows is roughly translated from Swedish:
“I try to be like a big brother to him”
There is a difference of ten years between them, but Eric Gelinas and Moritz Seider have still found each other both on and off the ice. It helps that Eric Gelinas is having hte best season of his professional career–and that he dares to dream of the NHL again.
Kodie (Curran) showed that you can get the chance even though you are a little older,” says the Rogle defenseman to Hockeysverige.se.
When Eric Gelinas was recruited to Rogle almost two years ago, he came to Angelholm with high expectations. The grown-up French-Canadian had a resume that included nearly 200 NHL games with the New Jersey Devils and Colorado Avalanche and wasn’t very old. In other words, there was reason for optimism about his recruitment.
But it has taken time for the 29-year-old defenseman to become the primordial force that many in Northwestern Skane hoped he would be. It’s only during this season that Gelinas has emerged as one of the league’s top defenders.
That it took a while has an explanation.
“Last year I had a concussion early in the season, and it was tough when I would come back after that. Then I had another injury in December, and it was difficult to get into the right rhythm, he says about last year, when he posted 18 points in 36 games.
FILLED THE VACUUM AFTER CURRAN.
In 2020-2021, he’s already posted 25 points in 34 games.
“During the summer, I set the bar very high for myself. We lost some very good players before this season and I knew I would have to take on a bigger role, both as a player and a leader. I challenged myself to play to the best of my ability and I am very happy with what I have achieved so far,” he says.
The player who has mostly disappeared was the scoring machine Kodie Curran. The Canadian was named the SHL’s best defenseman and MVP before being recruited by the Anaheim Ducks last year. In his absence, Gelinas is one of the players who has contributed to Rogle maintaining its top position in the league.
“The spotlight was on Kodie last year and rightly so, as he was the offensive guy for us. I didn’t need to feel any pressure to create offensively for the team. This season, I needed to step forward to help the team as much as possible.”
“Getting the defensive partner I have today has helped and made things quite easy for me on the ice. He’s already an NHL player as I see it. Playing with him is great fun.”
“CHEMISTRY CAME RIGHT AUTOMATICALLY”
“He” is 19-year-old Moritz Seider.
The German prospect has taken the SHL by storm since he joined Rogle from the Detroit Red Wings organization in October. Gelinas and Seider quickly found each other both on and off the ice, and have been one of–if not the very best–defensive pairs in the SHL this season.
“I actually didn’t know much about ‘Mo’ before he came here more than he’d been drafted very early. I had never seen him play, but once it became clear that he would come here, our coach Cory (Murphy) said that I would play with him. As soon as he came here, I tried to get to know him. He is single just like me and quite young so we have hung outu a lot and I try to be like a big brother to him. We get along very well,” he says.
“The chemistry between us came quite automatically. We play a bit in the same way with a little different style, but we have found a good way to read each other and that makes it easy to collaborate.”
Eric Gelinas wrinkles is nose a little when he is asked if he feels like a mentor to is ten-years-younger defensive colleague.
“Well, sometimes I watch what he does and then I learn things from him,” he says with a laugh.
“He’s just so heavenly talented in everything he does, an all-round player who is good in most things. But I try to share my experience as well, when to do certain things and when not to.”
DOES NOT CLOSE THE NHL DOOR
The experienced Canadian has another season left on his contract with Rogle. At the same time, the dream of returning to the NHL remains. He turns 30 in May and has not played an NHL game in four years. However, he has seen up close how another veteran has been contracted by a club in the world’s best league. Kodie Curran, of course.
“I think that the dream will never disappear. That’s why you play hockey, to play at the highest level,” he says of his view on a return to the ice in the NHL.
“I am here now and my goal is to help the team win Swedish Championship gold, so I Try not to look further than that into the future. But Kodie showed that you can get the chance even though you are a little older, so there will be opportunity even though I’m about to turn 30.”
“I’m probably having my best season in my professional career, and there are a lot of positives to take with me from this year. The teaem plays fantastic, I have a very good defensive partner and there are many games left to make an impression.”
Maybe Moritz Seider can help you with Detroit?
“It would be nice, really nice!” (laughs)