While it was another season of failing to reach the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the Detroit Red Wings, one amazing part of their season has been the emergence of rookie defenseman Moritz Seider, whom GM Steve Yzerman took with the 6th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Draft. And while fans and pundits were a bit confused at the time, any doubts were immediately put to rest thanks to his impressive 1st season in the world's best league.
As expected, Seider has been rewarded for his efforts by being nominated for the Calder Memorial Trophy, which goes annually to the NHL's best rookie. However, Red Wings fans noticed one notable snub, as Lucas Raymond was bypassed for a nomination in favor of 26-year-old Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting.
Of course, nobody in their right mind would argue that Bunting didn't have a fine season playing with the Leafs, as he put up 23 goals and 40 assists while mostly playing on Toronto's top line with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. We all remember former Red Wings forward Justin Abdelkader putting up career numbers playing on a line with the elite Pavel Datsyuk, only to completely crater in stats after the latter's departure, but that's beside the point.
Prior to his acquisition by the Leafs last offseason, Bunting had already appeared in 26 career games with the Arizona Coyotes, scoring 11 goals. And we're not the only outlet questioning those who voted for the 26-year-old Bunting as a nominee.
Meanwhile, Seider burst onto the scene in his first NHL action as a 20-year-old, immediately playing in all situations on the ice for the Red Wings with the poise of a veteran while leading the team with an average of 23:03 on ice per game. He also immediately became Detroit's top defenseman, playing in all 82 games while leading all NHL rookies with 43 assists. Additionally, he led all rookie defensemen with 50 points.
Should Seider ultimately win the award, he'd be Detroit's first to do so since goaltender Roger Crozier in 1964-65. The likes of Steve Yzerman, Nicklas Lidstrom, Sergei Fedorov, and Henrik Zetterberg were all denied the honor in favor of other players, which caused plenty of debate at the time of the announcements.
As it stands right now, Seider holds the best odds to win, according to Sports Betting Dime:
The Calder is Seider's to lose, and it will be yet the latest example of the NHL backhanding the Red Wings should he not win.
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