NHL.com’s Mike G. Morreale compiled a list of the best rookies from the Atlantic Division, and, as you might expect, the Red Wings earned a double mention:
Lucas Raymond, F, Detroit Red Wings: The 19-year-old left wing leads all rookies in points (nine) and even-strength points (seven), and is tied for first in goals (four) in nine games. Raymond, who was the No. 4 pick in the 2020 draft, is also averaging 16:07 of ice time while playing on Detroit’s top line with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi. In a 6-3 win against the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 24, Raymond (5-11, 182) became the second teenager to score a hat trick in Red Wings history, joining Steve Yzerman, who did it twice (Dec. 23, 1983, and March 30, 1985). The same game, he also became the third Red Wings teenager to record a four-point game, joining Yzerman (Dec. 23, 1983) and Gordie Howe (Dec. 17, 1947).
“He’s getting … an opportunity, No. 1,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “And he’s earned some of it in the NHL at a young age, which not lots of guys get the chance to do. And No. 2, he’s playing with real good players on a real good line and getting important minutes. I think, obviously, he’s capitalized on that. There’s opportunities that he’s getting, and he’s got to keep making sure he does a real good job in the minutes that he gets.”
You can guess who the other Red Wing is:
Moritz Seider, D, Detroit Red Wings: The 20-year-old, who was selected with the No. 6 pick in the 2019 draft, has been paired with either Danny DeKeyser or Nick Leddy this season and leads all rookies in assists (eight), power-play points (four) and average ice time (22:26) in nine games. He also leads all rookie defensemen from the Atlantic Division with nine hits, 11 blocked shots and six takeaways. Last season, Seider (6-4, 197) scored 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists) with Rogle BK and was named the top defenseman in the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional men’s league in Sweden.
“I think for his personal development, one of the things that we’ve tried to do here, that we’ve done since (former general manager) Ken Holland was here and certainly with Steve (Yzerman), is try not to bring players up until they’re really ready to make an impact,” Blashill said. “I think when you do that, you get into a position where you’re not playing minimal minutes. You’re playing more minutes and that’s going to help you grow. And certainly, Moritz has done some really good stuff. He’s got some real good abilities. I think there’s definitely room for growth, and we’re going to help him grow and try to become a great player. I don’t want ‘Seids’ to be a good player, I want him to be a great player. And we’re going to push him to try to become a great player.”
Coach Blashill has a narrow road to walk with both Raymond and Seider; they’re creative players, so they don’t need to be stifled, but they definitely need to continue to be molded as they build toward the players they’re going to become as they gain more experience. It’s about reinforcing good habits and not punishing “learning mistakes” too severely.