When you think Minnesota Wild prospects, chances are the name Nick Seeler isn’t very high up on your list for potential studs in the organization. The 24 year old left-shot defensemen has been in the organization since he was selected in the 5th round (131st overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, but has not cracked our T25U25 list in the past 3 seasons. Seeler’s addition to the list this year is more a product of subtraction than addition.
With prospects aging out of contention, and others finding new homes over the summer, Seeler has been thrust into the rankings because of the subtraction of players from the list itself over the addition of his skills through development. Seeler, an Eden Prairie native, paved a road a little less traveled to get to the NHL. After a couple seasons in the USHL, Seeler played for the University of Nebraska-Omaha for 2 seasons before transferring to the University of Minnesota, being red-shirted his true Junior season (college transfers are required to sit out 1 season) and finishing out his Senior collegiate season with the Gophers in 2015-16.
The 2016-17 season would mark his first professional year in hockey. Seeler played in 57 games for the Iowa Wild and led the team with 109 penalty minutes and scored the least amount of points (5) among skaters who played in at least 25 games for the baby Wild last season. If the 6’2” 200 pound defensemen is known for anything in his short career in the AHL, it would have to be when he knocked out Connor Brickley of the Charlotte Checkers after Brickley ran Zach Palmquist dangerously into the boards. Palmquist would skate away from the hit, Brickley was carried off the ice on a stretcher and would miss 7 games for the Checkers as a result of a concussion from the fight.
Seeler did not attend this summer’s Wild Prospect Development Camp, so gauging how he might have grown since his AHL season came to an end is not really an option. At seasons end however Wild GM Chuck Fletcher seemed like he’s going to have raised expectations for Seeler saying he was the organizations “most improved player.”
Despite Fletcher’s accolade, the book on Nick Seeler reads fairly light. His production value has slipped since high school. In Seeler’s most productive collegiate seasons point-wise he was unable to top 10 points. While he can skate pretty well, and obviously has no quarrels with dropping the gloves in defense of a teammate, Seeler doesn’t exactly jump off the page at you.
While we are still just starting our Top 25 Under 25 series, the fact that a guy like Seeler has found a place ion the list tells you a little about where the organization is depth wise across the board. Nobody is expecting a guy ranked at 24 to be the second coming of Bobby Orr, but even this deep in a ranking you would hope to find someone maybe a little younger, with a little more ceiling. Seeler will age out of our series next summer. So I suppose it’s fortuitous there was so much upheaval this summer, otherwise Seeler may never have found his way into the Hockey Wilderness Top 25 Under 25.
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