Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond want to show Detroit Red Wings 'are taking big steps'

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They live together, carpool together, reminisce about their time in Sweden — and form the basis of the Detroit Red Wings' rebuild, as authored by Steve Yzerman.

Defenseman Moritz Seider and forward Lucas Raymond, first round picks from 2019 and 2020, respectively, are poised to make their NHL debuts when the Wings open the 2021-22 season Thursday at Little Caesars Arena against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Seider comes to the Wings after being named the Swedish Hockey League's defenseman of the year; and Raymond was so good in the preseason he earned a spot on the roster.

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Detroit Red Wings players Moritz Seider (left) and Lucas Raymond shown during 2021 preseason action.
Detroit Red Wings players Moritz Seider (left) and Lucas Raymond shown during 2021 preseason action.

“It’s good for our team,” captain Dylan Larkin said. “Like everyone, they have 82 games to prove themselves. Right now, it looks like what’s best for them is in our lineup, and that’s great for our organization and our team right now, because I believe they make us better. They are two great kids that are going to continue to work and elevate their game. They are going to learn pretty quick what the NHL is about, and it’s exciting for them.”

Raymond, 19, and Seider, 20, both play an intelligent, skilled game. They handle the puck well, are responsible defensively and don’t shrink against physicality. Seider was a lock to be on the team; he has played in men’s leagues for three years, from his native Germany in 2018-19 to Grand Rapids in 2019-20 to Sweden's Rögle last season. He’s 6 feet 4 and shoots right, and already has command of one of the power play units. Raymond secured his spot in his third exhibition game, when he put up a goal and an assist in a game against a Chicago Blackhawks team loaded with NHL regulars.

“The game against Chicago was a big statement game for him, where they brought in a really good roster and he had a great showing,” coach Jeff Blashill said. “He got tired over the course of the next three games but that’s part of this league, too, is learning how to play when you’re tired, because lots of times you’re not going to feel great and you have to find ways to still play solid hockey.

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“The level of 'B' and 'C' game he has, meaning even when he’s not producing offense, or it doesn’t look like he’s doing a whole bunch offensively, he’s very solid defensively. That allows him to continue to go on the ice.”

Blashill said Raymond and Seider both have a chance "to become great NHL players, and we’re going to work like crazy to help them become that."

Raymond’s spot on the opening roster became official Monday.

“He deserves it,” Seider said. “I truly believe he will be an outstanding player for this team for a really long time. He’s been working so hard every day in practice and the gym, to put that jersey over his shoulders and walk out there. It’s really cool opportunity for both of us.”

Raymond looks like he’ll help the Wings produce more offense, which has been a definite weakness the past couple seasons. So will Seider, with the way he can handle the puck.

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“Both those players have a chance to have a positive impact on the power play,” Blashill said. “Moritz has done a really good job of being on the top of that power play. He’s got real good simplicity but yet deception to his game — he’s really efficient offensively in his game on the power play.

“There’s a number of areas where Seids can help us. He’s going to go through growing pains, so for any of us to think this is going to be easy, we’re fooling ourselves. There’s going to be nights he looks great, and there’s going to be nights he struggles. That’s the reality of it. It’s magnified when you’re young and learning those lessons.”

Seider and Raymond both have a blend of determination and easy-goingness that bodes well for adjusting to the rigors of an NHL season. They have support within the organization, of course, but they also have each other. When Raymond made the team, Seider invited him to stay at his place.

“Nobody wants to stay in a hotel room 24/7,” Seider said. “I have enough room to take him a little bit under my wing and joke around. We are having a great time together.

“We just come to the rink to become better hockey players. We want to show the world that the Red Wings are taking big steps ahead and are really excited for this season.”

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Moritz Seider, Lucas Raymond 'taking big steps' with Detroit Red Wings