If a crowd at the NHL Draft is booing, they’re either reacting to their biggest rivals, or Gary Bettman. If a crowd at the NHL Draft lets out an audible gasp, it’s because the draft pick goes “off the board.”
Defenseman Moritz Seider wasn’t totally off all first round draft boards by any means, but when brand-new Detroit Red Wings GM Steve Yzerman announced his selection at sixth overall, the crowd in Vancouver audibly gasped. Heck, the crowd of one in this makeshift home office audibly gasped.
Seider was clearly surprised, too:
This screen grab of the Sportsnet telecast says it all:
— Ryan Allen (@RyanHockey16) June 22, 2019
Habs Eyes on the Prize averaged out a wide array of NHL Draft Rankings lists, and Seider averaged at the 16th pick. People wondered if there might be some strange picks after Bowen Byram became the first defenseman to go in this draft at fourth to the Colorado Avalanche, and … this seems to be the case. Not only did Seider get generally forecasted at 16th, but people projected Phillip Broberg and Cameron York ahead of Moritz as other defensemen aside from Byram.
Now, look, none of this means that Seider won’t be any good. For all we know, it could work out wonderfully, as many of Yzerman’s drafts went during his Tampa Bay Lightning days.
Still, you can’t help but wonder: could the Red Wings have traded down in the draft and still gotten their guy in Seider? Sometimes, it’s not just about judging the quality of draft selections, but also “reading the room” and managing assets properly. At this very moment in time, the Red Wings opened themselves up to a ton of questions.
As with every pick, we won’t really know until years from now. Particularly with defensive prospects, we may not know for several years.