The Calder Trophy race is red hot in the Motor City with the play of both Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings. However, while Seider’s play has remained consistently great, Raymond has begun to hit a bit of a speedbump during his rookie season. This is not something unexpected, as adjusting to the speed of the game at the NHL level is difficult for even the most talented of rookies.
Lucas Raymond Must Adjust His Play
The fourth overall pick in the 2020 NHL entry draft exploded onto the scene, assisting on a Tyler Bertuzzi goal in his first game in the NHL. He kept it up while playing on the top line and ended up being the November Rookie of the Month. However, the 19-year-old has begun to see his play regress. The left-winger has not scored a goal in his last seven games. Raymond has seen opposing teams defending him with more focus and now think that they may have his number. He will need to adjust to this which is the name of the game.
Raymond is certainly one of the leading contenders to win the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year in the NHL. While the Red Wings franchise has had much success during its storied history, the team has not had a Calder trophy winner since goaltender Roger Crozier in 1965, who had 40 wins and 6 shutouts in 70 games played.
He has had an increased role on the team since it returned from the COVID-19 pause. Raymond can now be seen on the bumper spot on the Red Wings’ powerplay. The bumper spot allows Raymond to use his ability to move the puck around the offensive zone and get the opposing team’s goalie moving from side to side. This is in response to a sudden downward trend for Jeff Blashill’s powerplay. The Red Wings powerplay was at 14.4% as of Monday. That is a slight improvement from last season that saw the team finish with a power-play percentage of 11.4%, more than eight points below the league average.
The Gothenburg, Sweden native is not the only rookie for the Red Wings that has played well during the 2021-22 season. Defenseman Moritz Seider was named the rookie of the month for the NHL in October of 2021. The 20-year-old from Zell, Germany’s reaction went viral when he was taken sixth overall in the 2019 draft.. Seider was surely not expecting to be drafted until the second round based on some mock drafts leading up to the draft. And now, he’s tearing up the NHL.
Beginning with playing for Rögle BK of the Swedish Hockey League during the 2020 season, Seider was known for being a smart hockey player and for his physical play. However, the physical play hasn’t necessarily been there during Seider’s introduction to the NHL game. Maybe this will happen as he becomes more comfortable at the NHL level. What matters is that he is playing defensively responsible hockey. Gone are the days of the “enforcer” being on the roster just to send messages to the opposing teams.
The two young Red Wings are near the top of the league in terms of scoring for rookies. Through 34 games played Raymond leads all rookies with 29 points and Seider has had 22. While they may not have had the flashiest assists like the one that Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks flipping the puck over the net, the two rookie players have been important to their team’s success.
Can Raymond and Seider Lead Red Wings to a Stanley Cup?
Both Raymond and Seider are young players and will certainly be the cornerstones of the Red Wings when they are in their “window” to win a Stanley Cup. This is certainly not expected to happen any time soon. Even the unexpected start to the 2021-22 season does not mean that the Red Wings will win their 12th Stanley Cup in franchise history. Before the league’s latest COVID-19 pause, they were in a playoff spot. This is in no small part due to the emergence of Raymond. Time will tell if he’ll regain that form.
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