Detroit Red Wings’ Moritz Seider finalist for Calder Trophy

Detroit Red Wings' Moritz Seider finalist for Calder Trophy

Detroit — Moritz Seider is a finalist for the Calder Trophy, as the NHL rookie of the year.

Somewhat surprisingly, his teammate Lucas Raymond is not.

Seider, Toronto’s Michael Bunting and Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras are the finalists, as chosen by members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

The winners of the 2022 NHL Awards will be revealed during the conference finals and Stanley Cup Final, with exact dates, format and times to be announced.

Seider paced rookie defensemen with seven goals, 43 assists and 50 points, a point total surpassed by only two rookie blueliners over the last 30 years (Quinn Hughes, 53 in 2019-20, and Vladimir Malakhov, 52 in 1992-93), and just two rookie defensemen in Detroit history (Reed Larson, 60 in 1977-78, and Nicklas Lidstrom, 60 in 1991-92).

Seider, the sixth overall selection from the 2019 NHL Draft, led all 2021-22 rookies (forwards and defensemen) in assists, power-play assists (19) and power-play points (21), while ranking among the top five in shots on goal (third; 187), points (fourth) and game-winning goals (tied for fifth; four).

Seider played in all of the Red Wings’ 82 games and led all rookies in total time on ice (1,889:22) and minutes per game (23:02) — franchise rookie records in both categories, which have been tracked since 1997-98 .

Seider is Detroit’s first Calder Trophy finalist since Jimmy Howard in 2009-10. Seider is vying to become the sixth player in franchise history to win the award and first since Roger Crozier in 1964-65.

When asked about potentially winning the Calder late this past season, Seider was ambivalent about the subject.

“It’s definitely an honor, but I don’t even think about that at all,” Seider said. “You want to win a Stanley Cup. Not a lot of defensemen (have won it) but I have to be honest, I don’t pay attention to that just because it’s a distraction, an unnecessary distraction from your game and not what I need now.

“I want to enjoy the moment and come to the rink with a big smile and not think about what people are thinking on social media. That’s something I learned pretty early. I just want to come to the rink and work hard every day.”

Seider’s ability to jump into the NHL and excel in so many different ways impressed forward veteran Sam Gagner.

“He’s an unbelievable player,” Gagner said. “He does it on both sides of the puck, running our power play, playing big minutes defensively, penalty kill, you name it. He does it all for us. Already at his age, he’s a leader for us.

“You see he has that ability to read a room and understand what’s needed from an off-ice perspective as well. He’s a great player, great person, and he’s going to continue to build.”

Bunting led all rookies with 63 points (23 goals, 40 assists) in 79 games to help power a Maple Leafs offense that ranked second in the NHL with 315 goals.

Bunting, 26, just met the Calder requirement of being age 26 or under on Sept. 15 of the players’ rookie season. Bunting spent five seasons in the American League before appearing in 26 games between two seasons with the Arizona Coyotes before signing with Toronto last summer as a free agent.

Zegras, who dazzled the hockey world with highlight-reel assists and goals, finished second among rookies with 23 goals, 38 assists and 61 points in 75 games — single-season franchise records for assists and points by a rookie.

Still, many analysts suspected Raymond would nudge into the finalists instead of the other two forwards — but did not.

Raymond had 23 goals (second among rookies) and 34 assists for 57 points (third), while playing in all 82 games and on the Wings’ top line with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi the entire season.

But in a talented rookie class, Raymond fell out of the top three with Bunting and Zegras both posting stronger finishes.

Twitter: @tkulfan

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