It was announced on Tuesday that 2011 Wild draft pick Nick Seeler would not return to the University of Nebraska-Omaha Mavericks for his junior year. I had waited to write anything about it, hoping that we’d get an explanation, because with the information available when it was announced this blog post would have basically just been that first sentence, but not much more information has been revealed.
The Mavericks head coach Dean Blais made the announcement via press release, saying that Seeler was leaving for “personal reasons,” adding, “We wish him well in the next chapter of his hockey career and his life.”
The announcement was a surprise so close to the start of the season and when Seeler is 21, too old to go and play juniors and it’s too late to join another NCAA team for the coming year. Though he could play in the NCAA for the 2015-16 season.
The Eden Prairie, MN native was a fifth round pick for the Wild back in 2011 and played a total of 70 games for Omaha, leaving the Mavs having to replace three of their top four d-men from last season. The team also lost Jaycob Megna (who played a few games for the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL last season, affiliate of the Ducks) and Michael Young (played one game with the Admirals last season as well).
In a blog post on the Star Tribune website Thursday, Michael Russo notes that the announcement also “caught the Wild off guard.” Russo notes of the “personal issues” that “there are apparently no off-ice issues and just a decision made by the family to leave the program.”
Russo quotes Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher on the situation:
“We’ll have some conversations with Nick and his family,” Fletcher said. “[Director of Player Development] Brad Bombardir has already had a lot of conversations with Nick and his family and we’ll just continue that dialogue. We’ll try to figure out the best path for him and his career, whether that’s going to a different college or turning pro. I think every option is on the table. We’ll just try to sit down and decide what ultimately makes sense for Nick and the organization. This just kind of happened. The timing, the middle of August, isn’t what you’d normally expect, but it is what it is, and we’ll just kind of deal with it and make the best decisions we can for his development. At this point, nothing’s been decided. We’ll take a little time. Ultimately, Nick will have to decide what he desires to do and then we’ll have to make the decision for everybody.”
Here’s a post-draft interview with Seeler from 2011.