The Detroit Red Wings have loaned their top defensive prospect to Sweden, the Edmonton Oilers have loaned a former second-round pick to Austria, the Toronto Marlies have signed one of the OHL’s top defensemen to a two-year contract, and a recent Red Wings draft pick is off to a hot start in Sweden.
Red Wings Loan Seider to Sweden
The Red Wings have loaned defenseman Moritz Seider to Rögle BK of the Swedish Hockey League for the full season. Drafted 6th overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, he spent last season in the American Hockey League with the Grand Rapids Griffins where he amassed two goals and 22 points in 49 games played. He also starred for Germany in the 2020 World Junior Championships, posting six assists in seven games played. It was his first season in North America after coming over from Adler Mannheim in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga.
With the uncertainty regarding the start of the AHL’s 2020-21 season, it’s not surprising that the Red Wings found a permanent home for Seider until it’s settled. There was no mention of an NHL out-clause, but it could be that Seider will return to the Red Wings before the end of the SHL season. Either way, it’ll be good for his development to start playing immediately in one of the best leagues in Europe.
Oilers Loan Rodrigue to Austria
The Oilers have loaned goaltender Olivier Rodrigue to the Graz99ers of the Austrian Hockey League for the start of their 2020-21 season. Drafted 62nd overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, he spent the 2019-20 season playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Moncton Wildcats where he posted a 31-8-0 record with a 2.32 goals-against average and a .918 save percentage. He was also a member of Canada’s gold medal-winning team at the 2020 World Junior Championships, although he didn’t play a game.
It will be interesting to see how Rodrigue rises to the challenge of his first taste of professional hockey. He’s no longer eligible to return to the QMJHL, and it’s not clear if he’ll spend the entire season with the Graz99ers or if he’ll return to the Oilers when training camp begins.
Marlies Sign McCourt From OHL
Standout Ontario Hockey League defenseman Riley McCourt has signed a two-year AHL contract with the Toronto Marlies. Drafted 45th overall in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection by the Hamilton Bulldogs, he was traded to the Flint Firebirds midway through his first full season in Hamilton. He’s had tremendous year-by-year improvement throughout his OHL career, increasing his point total from 22 in 56 games played to 32 points in 47 games played, and finishing the 2019-20 season with 18 goals and 62 points in 63 games played.
McCourt was fifth in league scoring among defensemen and his 211 shots were tied for second, trailing only Brady Lyle of the Owen Sound Attack. He was third on the Firebirds in scoring and led the team in power-play points. Signing with the Marlies means the team now has two of the top three scoring defensemen in the OHL, after they signed Noel Hoefenmayer in April.
Red Wings’ Niederbach Off to Hot Start
After finishing one of the top scorers in Sweden’s J20 Nationell during the 2019-20 season, Theodor Niederbach is off to a scorching start this season. He finished last year tied for ninth in league scoring with 15 goals and 48 points in 40 games played. It all culminated in the Red Wings drafting him 51st overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Although he missed the entire 2018-19 season due to a knee injury, Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman wasn’t concerned.
Guys get hurt on all different levels along the way. It delays things a little bit for them, just getting up to speed,” he said. “He’s very smart, he’s got very good skills, he’s a smooth skater. In the long run, we’re not concerned. Obviously, we do our homework on all the players to understand the injuries. There’s a lot of upside to him.
He’s proven Yzerman and the Red Wings scouting staff right with his hot start to the 2020-21 season. Through his first ten games he has five goals and 14 assists for 19 points. That’s good enough for second in league scoring, trailing only Alexander Lundman. However, Niederbach’s 1.9 points per game leads the entire league for players who have played five or more games. If you needed some additional proof, here’s a clip from his two goal and two assist effort against Södertälje earlier today.
Either way, Red Wings fans have a lot to be excited about with Niederbach in the fold. With the way he’s started it’s only a matter of time before he’s promoted to Frölunda’s main team in the SHL. At that point, he would be playing with fellow Red Wings prospect and fourth overall pick Lucas Raymond. For a more detailed look at Niederbach, check out our 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Profile.