Trophy Tracker: Seider, Zegras top picks for Calder as NHL rookie of year

To mark the end of the 2021-22 regular season, is running its fifth installation of the Trophy Tracker series. Today, we look at the race for the Calder Trophy, given annually to the NHL rookie of the year as selected in a poll by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.

Moritz Seider is hoping to become the first player from the Detroit Red Wings since 1965 to win the Calder Trophy voted as NHL rookie of the year.

Goalie Roger Crozier won the award in 1965. The Red Wings also had winners in 1956 (Glenn Hall), 1951 (Terry Sawchuk), 1948 (Jim McFadden) and 1933 (Carl Voss).

Seider is the favorite among 17 writers to win the Calder this season, receiving 76 voting points including 14 of 17 first-place votes. Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting finished second with 57 points (one first-place vote). Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras was third with 50 points (two for first place). Boston Bruins goalie jeremy swayman was fourth (24 points), and Detroit forward Luke Raymond was fifth (24).

Seider leads NHL rookie defensemen in points (49), assists (43), power-play points (21) and blocked shots (159), and is fourth in hits (146). The 21-year-old’s six goals rank second among rookie defensemen (Martin FehervaryWashington Capitals, eight), and he leads all NHL rookies in average ice time (23:02) and is sixth with 0.61 points per game (minimum 60 games).

“We stayed in the mix for a while, over half the season, and he was an all-situations defenseman for us,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. “He was one of the first guys out on the power play, first out on the penalty kill, 5-on-6, 6-on-5, and he played against the other team’s best. That’s a lot to ask of a young player and he’s done a good job.”

Seider was the No. 6 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft and the second defenseman selected behind Bowen-Byram (No. 4, Colorado Avalanche).

“We’ve tried to make sure to keep pushing him to be better and that’s not always easy,” Blashill said. “He’s taken the information, processed it well and tried to become a better player without it affecting his confidence, or forcing him to play hesitant. I think the really good players find a way to take in coaching, get better, but when they’ re on the ice, do what they think is best every time and that’s what he does.”

Seider scored 22 points (two goals, 20 assists) in 49 games for Grand Rapids of the American Hockey League in 2019-20. In 41 games with Rogle of the Swedish Hockey League last season, he scored 28 points (seven goals, 21 assists), led the team with 91 hits and was third with 45 blocked shots. He was named the top defenseman in the top professional men’s league in Sweden.

“I had a chance to watch Moritz for a decent amount prior to him coming to us,” Blashill said. “There’s not a lot that necessarily surprised me; he was a heck of an AHL defenseman as a young player. He had a heck of a season in Sweden, so there’s not a whole lot that necessarily surprised me, statistically, or just on the surface from watching with my eyes.

“I know these conversations are coming because of the Calder, Rookie of the Year and those types of things, but that’s not ultimately what he wants to be or what we want him to be. We want him to be a great player on a great team and so, for that, there needs to be continued work. I think he’s got the work ethic and the drive to do that.”

Voting totals (points awarded on a 5-4-3-2-1 basis): Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings, 76 points (14 first-place votes); Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs, 57 (1); Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks, 50 (2); Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins, 24; Lucas Raymond, Red Wings, 24; Tanner JeannotNashville Predators, 15; Anton LundellFlorida Panthers, 10; Matt BoldyMinnesota Wild, 3; Cole CaufieldMontreal Canadians, 2.


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