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Steve Yzerman explains why Detroit Red Wings drafted Moritz Seider at sixth overall. Filmed June 21, 2019 in Vancouver, British Columbia.
     James, Detroit Free Press

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Steve Yzerman put his first imprint on the Detroit Red Wings, adding what he sees as a valuable fit to the rebuild.

Speaking after Friday's first round of NHL draft at Rogers Arena, Yzerman acknowledged the selection of German defender Moritz Seider at the sixth overall was a bold decision. Seider had been projected to go in the 12-to-20 range, and Yzerman has been exploring trading a few spots. When he could not find a deal he liked, Yzerman walked onto the stage and announced his first draft pick as general manager of the Wings, confident in his selection

"We think he has excellent hockey sense," Yzerman said. "He's a big kid, 6-foot-3, and a real good skater.

"I know our fans do not know much about him, but if people come to the development camp and see him move, Google him, watch him play a More: Here's why Wings picked Moritz Seider: He makes pressure plays

Moritz Seider, center, with GM Steve Yzerman, left after being selected sixth overall to the Detroit Red Wings in the first round of NHL draft at Rogers Arena, June 21, 2019 in Vancouver (Photo: Anne-Marie Sorvin, USA TODAY Sports)

Seider has personality and potential. He wore a bow tie with his suit; it stuck out over the Wings sweater he donned on stage. He expected himself to be drafted between 15 and 20, and when his name was called at sixth, his face showed surprise. Both men said a very good interview at the combine signaled the Wings' interest

"I spent some time with him, talked to his coaches, talked to a lot of people," Yzerman said. "I'm sure he had a little bit of inclination that we were interested in."

Seider did, but still there were very talented forwards in Dylan Cozens, Trevor Zegras and Vasili Podkolzin after Jack Hughes went first overall to New Jersey, Kaapo Kakko second to the Rangers, Kirby Dach third to Chicago, Bowen Byram fourth to Colorado, and Alex Turcotte fifth to Los Angeles.

More: Upset about Red Wings picking Moritz Seider? Remember Tyler Bertuzzi

The Wings had drafted forwards with five of their last six first-round picks.

"I look at it, I did not really go by position," Yzerman said, "I think that we would have picked we would have felt we would need it. he's a big, good-skating, smart d-man – that's his potential, and I think he's a very valuable asset

"I think he's a good, solid two-way guy. I think he'll play with your top players and play against your top players, because he can move the pocket, but he can not be Erik Karlsson weaving through the traffic, but he can " More: Steve Yzerman could accelerate Detroit Red Wings rebuild in NHL draft

Seider played last season for Adler Mannheim of the German Eishockey Liga, Germany's highest league, as a 17-year-old. He had six points in 29 games plus five assists in 14 playoff games as Mannheim won the DEL championship, contributing five assists. Moritz, who shoots right, is listed as 6-foot-4, 207 pounds.

He first caught Yzerman's attention in December.

"When I first saw him, I was surprised," Yzerman said. "You go to see a young kid in Germany, I did not expect to see the IQ hockey I saw. He handled it well in a men's league against a good team. They played in the World Championship on a men's team, against Czechs, Slovaks, NHL players. More: Yzerman's surprise first Wings pick his own draft in 1983

Moritz will join recent Wings draft picks at development camp starting Tuesday at Little Caesars Arena. If he ends up spending another season in Mannheim, that's fine with Yzerman.

"We think we have a great prospect and someone who will really fit in what we're doing, "said Yzerman," and that our fan base will really enjoy watching and getting to know. "

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com @helenestjames Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter