The Detroit Red Wings boast not one, but three – count them, three candidates that are all in contention for the NHL's Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie for 2021-22.
The trio of forward Lucas Raymond, defenseman Moritz Seider and goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic have all made major differences in the fortunes of the Red Wings, who are now a game above the .500 mark midway through the campaign for the first time since the 2017-18 season.
Franchise legend Nicklas Lidstrom, a 7-time Norris Trophy winner and 4-time Stanley Cup champion with the Red Wings, has recently been hired by the team to serve as Vice President of Hockey Operations. And he's offered his thoughts on whom he believes will take home the distinction of the NHL's top rookie.
“The hottest rookies are Raymond, Seider and Zegras from Anaheim,” Lidstrom explained. “They're the three being talked about the most. Seider plays the toughest position, it's harder being a defenseman than a forward. So I have him a little bit ahead.”
Seider currently leads the Red Wings in ice time, and has already laid the foundations for what will certainly be an incredibly productive career. Of course, his main competition for the Calder Trophy is his own teammate in Lucas Raymond, who started his NHL career with a bang. His offensive production has cooled off in recent weeks, but he remains a key member of Detroit's top six.
Meanwhile, Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras is enjoying a fine rookie season of his own with 12 goals and 21 assists, including several plays that have found their way onto the highlight reels.
Regardless, the future Calder Trophy winner for 2022 has a clear frontrunner in Lidstrom's mind.
“Lucas Raymond or Zegras, it's hard to say who should be runner-up,” Lidstrom explained. “But I have Seider as the winner right now.”
– – Quotes via IceHockeyGifs Link – –