A highly anticipated award in the NHL is the Calder Memorial Trophy, “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition in the National Hockey League,” and this year there are some hot candidates in the pursuit of the coveted trophy. While the last winner was Kirill Kaprizov, this year the award could really go to a player in just about any position on the ice, as there are some major standouts in each position. Without further ado, here are our candidates for the 2021-22 Calder Memorial Trophy and how they have performed so far this season.
Calder Memorial Trophy Candidates
Lucas Raymond; Detroit Red Wings; 11G-24A-35P
Raymond has really taken on a goal-scoring leadership position with his team and has helped to make the Red Wings a team that looks like they could make it into the Stanley Cup playoffs, which wouldn’t have been something many would predict at the beginning of the season. Defensively he hasn’t sat back, but due to his position on the left-wing, he isn’t necessarily right in the heart of the action and as such he hasn’t gotten to showcase his full defensive capabilities. His +/- sits at zero for the moment and could really be higher if his line gets the full chemistry in their defensive end, which really requires time playing together to gain.
Moritz Seider; Detroit Red Wings; 4G-25A-29P
Staying in Detroit, Seider has been amazing from his defensive position this season. So far he leads the rookie class in assists and has made his presence known on the ice. His passing game is top-notch and it almost seems like he has some kind of third eye for the open passing lanes. The defenseman has performed his defensive duties well, however, the team around him still isn’t a top-class team, which makes his +/- be negatively impacted, and sees it sitting at a -2 so far this season. If Seider keeps up his performances he seems like a likely candidate to hoist this award at the end of the season.
Trevor Zegras; Anaheim Ducks; 12G-20A-32P
Zegras has been spectacular with the Ducks this season and has put up some amazing goals that are already going down in history. Although John Tortorella is not a fan of the player and his showy style, it has brought results for the ducks, with 20 assists on the season so far and 12 goals. The young forward became only the third player in the NHL to score a lacrosse goal, and one of the first-ever to use the technique to get an assist.
Zegras has quickly become a fan favorite, and regardless of if he wins the Calder or not, he looks like he has a promising career ahead of him as an elite-level center. In terms of defense, his game has been a little lacking, as he currently sits at a -10 in terms of +/-, and that is the big drawback that sees Zegras move down in our ranking so far for the Calder this season.
Anton Lundell; Florida Panthers; 10G-22A-32P
Lundell has surprised many this season, as he has joined a team that has made an impressive push, that sees them currently sitting on top of the league. Overall, Lundell has been noticeable in the team, a huge reason why he has moved up and down the lines and has really been able to fill in for some big names when the Panthers were going through an injury crisis earlier this season.
Perhaps the most impressive feature of Lundell’s stats is that he holds a +25 in his +/-, one of the highest among the league, and the highest in this rookie class by a long shot. Overall, the young center has a bright future ahead of him, and could really make a case for the Calder should his team make it deep into the Stanley Cup playoff’s where it looks like they are serious contenders from their current run of play.
Michael Bunting; Toronto Maple Leafs; 13G-16A-29P
Bunting is the oldest player on this list, at 26 years old, and still manages to be a player that has stood out for the first time in the NHL. Currently, the forward plays on the first line with the Toronto Maple Leafs, playing alongside Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner, which has seen him create a lot of chances for the team. The real star feature of this player is how he is always able to play in gritty areas of the ice, and doesn’t shy away from playing a physical style of game when he has to.
Overall, Bunting has been a big help to the Maple Leafs in an unexpected way, as he has taken over the role the was left behind when Zach Hyman went to play for the Edmonton Oilers. If Bunting can manage more points, such as in his surprising hat-trick performance against the Red Wings that sparked his team to come back and win the game in the third period, he could be a serious contender for the Calder.
But what do you think? Did we miss a name that you expect to be in the running for the Calder Memorial Trophy? Let us know, as only time will tell if one of these players has what it takes to be the next name honored with this award. For more hockey news and updates on these players, stick around on Overtime Heroics Hockey.
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