As a high school hockey player Nick Seeler was one of the most accomplished players in Minnesota during his days at Eden Prairie.
The defenseman was a part of two Minnesota AA State Championships with Eden Prairie during his sophomore and senior seasons, while also being a First-Team All-State selection, an All-Metro First Team choice, All-Lake Conference and a member of the All-Tournament Team in the State Tournament.
Oh yeah, he also led all defenseman in the state tournament with six points (2-4=6) in three games. This helped convince the Wild to select him in the 5th round (131st overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
After graduating from Eden Prairie, Seeler had committed to play hockey for Head Coach Dean Blais at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. The blueliner just finished up his freshman year at UNO, but before hitting the college ranks he took the route he thought would best prepare him for the rigors of playing in the WCHA: juniors hockey in the United States Hockey League.
“Going from high school to the USHL, it’s important,” Seeler said. “The guys are bigger and faster and you get that experience under your belt before you go to college.”
During his one year in the USHL, Seeler played for the Muskegon Lumberjacks before being traded to the Des Moines Buccaneers mid-season. In his first 32 games with Muskegon he totaled two goals and added 13 assists, while contributing two goals along with 11 assists in 26 more games in Des Moines.
Playing in the USHL was the first time in his life Seeler had been away from Eden Prairie on his own for an extended period of time and he believes that helped him mature as a player and person.
“[Being on my own] that was one of the things that was a great experience, a learning curve,” Seeler said. “If you want to be a pro, they travel all the time. In Muskegon we had 20-hour bus trips to Fargo.
“It might not be the most fun thing, but you have to do it and it’s a good experience to learn how to be a pro.”
During his senior season in high school Seeler had a growth spurt springing from 5-foot-11 to 6-foot-2. Playing a year of junior hockey prior to beginning his collegiate career in at Omaha was beneficial for him. It allowed him to develop his game against bigger and stronger players, and also grow into his body.
“The first month or so you’re getting used to the game [in juniors],” Seeler said. “I was still a kid back then, I’ve finally started growing into my body. You had to work harder for simple things and I thought I adjusted really well.”
Also helping him was the fact he had been participating in summer workouts at 1st Athlete located in Edina doing a short, explosive training regimen geared towards hockey.
During his year in the USHL, Seeler didn’t have any academic responsibilities and could put forth more time and energy to fine-tuning his body.
Seeler, who turned 20 years old earlier this month is listed at 193 pounds and is a physically imposing player. In his rookie season with Omaha he played in 31 games, recording 9 points (2-7=9) and was plus-7, while Omaha was eliminated in three games in the first round of the WCHA Playoffs.
The defenseman wrapped up his third Wild Development Camp this summer, and his ultimate goal is to skate on the blue line of Xcel Energy Center for Minnesota one day. One of his biggest fans is Wild Director of Player Development, Brad Bombardir.
“The things he does well are the things you have to do well in the National Hockey League,” Bombardir said. “He’s one of the best skaters we have here in camp, he wants to be a part of big moments in games and always go well.
“[Seeler] wants to be physically engaged and go to war for you every shift, he has come a long way in a couple years.”
Seeler still has a long way to go before he’ll get a shot a slipping on a Wild sweater, but the preparation he’s put in—starting in high school, moving onto junior hockey and now at UNO—has placed him on the right track.
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