Flyers’ Seeler Is Fitting Perfectly In Philadelphia

NHL: MAR 16 Rangers at Wild
ST. PAUL, MN – MARCH 16: Nick Seeler #36 of the Minnesota Wild looks on in the first period against the New York Rangers on March 16, 2019 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Minnesota Wild defeated the New York Rangers 5-2. (Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire)

Chuck Fletcher needed to think quickly when injuries stockpiled against the Philadelphia Flyers. He went to an old well, rediscovering Nick Seeler.

Early on, while being labeled the most injured team in the NHL, Chuck Fletcher’s offseason acquisitions are paying dividends. No, this one isn’t about Derick Brassard filling in for Kevin Hayes (but that’s another good example.) We’re discussing the magnitude of defensive depth. Without Rasmus Ristolainen for two games, the original plan would have been to insert Samuel Morin. Morin isn’t available, so Fletcher went to the devil he knows.

Calling back to his time as the general manager of the Minnesota Wild, Fletcher had another wildcard up his sleeve. The best teams carry valuable depth players to fill the lineup with quality minutes. Last night, Nick Seeler properly welcomed the Seattle Kraken to the NHL. A plus-three in two games played, Seeler is bringing Broad Street to everyone and anyone.

With the Philadelphia Flyers, Seeler has been cutting his teeth on various defensive pairs. Each time, he did enough to earn the seventh defenseman position. With Morin still out, Seeler solidified his role above Adam Clendening in the 6-1 victory.

It’s more than fighting. Seeler has opened the eyes of many, turning into an upgrade over Morin (even if he were healthy.)

His tenacity and scrappiness aren’t an accident; it’s his fight to get back into the NHL after missing hockey for all of 2020-2021.

Seeler’s 2020-2021

The Chicago Blackhawks picked Nick Seeler off of waivers before he wound up to the AHL Iowa Wild. In his final season with the Minnesota Wild, Seeler played six games. He matched that total with the Blackhawks. Afterward, he had a falling out with Chicago before missing all of 2020-2021.

Already in two games with the Philadelphia Flyers, he’s exceeded expectations in comparison to his last seasons with the Wild and the Blackhawks.

What we’ve seen from Seeler, notably versus the Seattle Kraken, was relevant in Chicago. He never had an issue with approaching the game aggressively, including dropping the gloves.

So, what was the catalyst behind the falling out with the Blackhawks? For starters, Chicago could rest with Wyatt Kalynuk and other younger options over Seeler. A shift in direction within the organization meant a parting of ways between Seeler and the Blackhawks.

No one knocked on his door for the 2020-2021 season. Seeler missed an entire season of hockey. Chuck Fletcher never forgot who he had in Minnesota when he scoured for defensive depth. After clearing unconditional waivers, the Flyers took a chance. As the games go by, Philadelphia could favor Seeler as the seventh defenseman following his latest performance with an adjusted defensive unit during Rasmus Ristolainen’s absence.

Seeler Fits in Philly

Nick Seeler has maximized his role with minimal opportunities. He signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Philadelphia Flyers this season. By proxy, the signed deal means he would call the Lehigh Valley Phantoms home. Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault may rethink that, seeing the potential Seeler brings as the seventh defenseman.

Against the Seattle Kraken, Seeler stood toe-to-toe and went shot-for-shot with Jamie Oleksiak. Between his fight, Carter Hart’s early saves, and Nate Thompson‘s domination of Nathan Bastian, the Wells Fargo Center popped. A season ago, the Flyers lacked an identity on defense. Now, Philadelphia is bringing the heat on defense. Except for the second period against the Vancouver Canucks, the Flyers are finding their groove.

Seeler finished with a plus-three rating. He had “fun” during his scrap with Oleksiak. Comparably, Oleksiak is five inches taller and 54lbs heavier.

Though he looks slightly like Gary Busey when he’s fired up, Seeler could be as crazy. That’s a quick way to become a fan favorite in Philadelphia.

Travis Konecny put the icing on the cake:

“I was just saying to Seels on the way in that I’ve never heard the building that loud in like a long time.”

Travis Konecny; 10/18/2021

Seeler may have earned that seventh defenseman role in 2021-2022. In doing so, we could be witnessing a career renaissance.

Photo by David Berding/Icon Sportswire