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Michael Bunting, Moritz Seider and Trevor Zegras were announced Wednesday as finalists for the NHL’s 2021-22 Calder Trophy, awarded annually to “the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League.”
Members of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association vote on the Calder. Winners of all NHL Awards will be revealed during the Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final at dates and times to be announced.
Toronto’s Bunting is the oldest rookie of the year candidate at age 26. He was drafted in the fourth round, 117th overall, by Arizona in 2014 but didn’t make his NHL debut for another four years. Bunting appeared in 26 NHL games for the Coyotes from 2018-21 before signing as a free agent with the Maple Leafs last summer. Bunting made an immediate impact on his hometown team, earning top-line placement with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner while tying for the second-most goals (23) and tallying the most points (63) among NHL freshmen through 79 games.
Detroit’s Seider took on a pivotal role anchoring the Red Wings’ blueline. Drafted sixth overall by Detroit in 2019, Seider paced the Red Wings in ice time this season (averaging 23:02 per game) and led all league newcomers (as well as all Red Wings’ defensemen) with 50 points. The 21-year-old was relied upon in all situations for the Red Wings, logging a major role at 5-on-5, on the power play and the penalty kill. Seider would become the first Detroit rookie to win the Calder since Roger Crozier in 1965.
Anaheim’s Zegras, 21, was one of the NHL’s most impressive — and fearless — forwards. Drafted ninth overall by the Ducks in 2019, Zegras turned heads this season with highlight-reel goals, including the now-famous “Michigan” play with teammate Sonny Milano, and finished second among rookies with 23 goals and 61 points in 75 games. That also set Ducks’ single-season franchise records for assists and points by a rookie, ahead of Cam Fowler and Bobby Ryan. Zegras paced all NHL freshmen with 19 multi-point outings and ranked second in average time on ice by rookie forwards (17:54). He becomes now the third player in Anaheim’s franchise history to be voted a Calder Trophy finalist, after Paul Kariya and Ryan. Zegras would be the first Ducks rookie to win the Calder.
Source: ESPN NHL