As the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs wind down to the top four teams, three of the NHL’s top rookies aim to put their name on a trophy they have just one shot at winning. The Calder Memorial Trophy is given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.” The three finalists are three of the most promising rookies, but the debate is heating up over who deserves it most.
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (+600)
As one of the most exciting players to make their way into the NHL, it should come as no surprise that Trevor Zegras finds himself in a top-three spot. If he wasn’t scoring Michigan-style goals and dazzling crowds with his stick-handling abilities, he provided the Anaheim Ducks with stability in their top six. He’s one of many reasons why the team will be one to watch for in a few years.
Zegras finished second in points (61), tied for second in goals (23), and third in assists (38). He averaged just under 18 minutes of ice time per night and shot at a 12.7% accuracy rate. He represents the top-three finalists with the lowest odds of winning the Calder, but his consideration shouldn’t be taken lightly. There is a very vocal crowd that believes he should take it home, not just based on his statistics but also from a pure entertainment standpoint.
Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs (+400)
There was some controversy regarding the candidacy of Michael Bunting. Under the rules of the award, he makes it into consideration, as he never played 25 games during a single season and turned 26 on September 17. Under those standards set by the league, there’s no argument to be made. Sure, he played alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner during the regular season, but his contributions to the Toronto Maple Leafs can’t be ignored.
Leading all rookies in points with 63, he also finished top five in goals (20) and assists (43). Head coach Sheldon Keith limited his ice time to under 16 minutes per game, but when he touched the ice, he was remarkable. There’s no denying his talent, and he deserves his spot. Bunting would be the first Maple Leafs player to win the Calder since Matthews did it in 2017.
Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings (-250)
As the heavy favourite to take the Calder Trophy home with him, Moritz Seider deserves all the praise and accolades he received this year. At 21, he stepped into a top-pairing role on a sub-par Detroit Red Wings team and took off. He played a pinch over 23 minutes per game, leading all rookies by a wide margin, and finished with seven goals and 50 points in 82 games. Beyond the offensive production, he was lights out defensively and one of the biggest reasons why the Red Wings were contending early into the season.
It’s almost a shame that fellow teammate Lucas Raymond wasn’t one of the top three finalists, as the two youngsters served as a beacon of hope for a team longing to escape from the basement of the NHL standings. Seider shot up to the top of the NHL’s best defensemen this season, and it won’t be long before he’s competing for a Norris Trophy against the likes of Cale Makar and Adam Fox.
Odds via SportsBettingDime.com
The Hockey Writers & THWBets promotes responsible gaming, and provides this content as opinion and analysis with no guarantees or assurances.
For more information about responsible gambling, including help for problem gambling behaviour, please visit these great resource pages:
If you’re in Canada, Rogers Sports & Media has put together a great information and resources page.
If you’re in the United States, MGMResorts has a great page for gambling problem resources.