Michael Bunting, Moritz SeiderAnd Trevor ZegrasWednesday's announcement made them the finalist for the NHL's 2021-22 Calder Trophy. The trophy, which is presented annually to the player who was the most proficient during his first year playing in the National Hockey League, was announced Wednesday.
Calder votes are cast by Professional Hockey Writers' Associates. The Conference Final and Stanley Cup Final will reveal the winners of all NHL Awards at times and dates to be announced.
At 26 years old, Toronto's Bunting is considered the oldest rookie of year. Arizona drafted him in the fourth round in 2014, at 117th overall. He didn't make his NHL debut until four years later. Bunting was a part of 26 NHL games with the Coyotes in 2018-21, before he signed as a free agent for the Maple Leafs last year. Bunting was a major contributor to his hometown team, and earned him top-line status with Auston MatthewsMitch Marner, while also tying for second-most goals (23) et tallying the most points (63) among NHL rookies through 79 games.
Seider from Detroit was a crucial anchor for the Red Wings blueline. Seider was drafted sixth overall by Detroit in 2019. He paced the Red Wings in terms of ice time (averaging 23.02 per game) this season and also led all league newcomers (assisting all Red Wings' defencemen) with 50 points. Seider, 21 years old, was a reliable player for all Red Wings situations. He played a significant role at 5-on-5, the penalty kill, and on the power play. Seider would be the first Detroit rookie to win Calder since Roger Crozier's 1965 victory.
Anaheim's Zegras was 21 years old and one of the NHL's most fearless forwards. Zegras, who was drafted by the Ducks ninth overall in 2019, turned heads with highlights-reel goal including the now-famous “Michigan” play with a teammate Sonny MilanoHe finished second among rookies, scoring 23 goals and scoring 61 points in 75 games. It also set Ducks single-season franchise records in assists and points for rookies, which was ahead of Cam FowlerAnd Bobby Ryan. Zegras was the fastest NHL rookie with 19 multi-point games and ranked second among rookie forwards in average time on the ice (17:54). After he was voted as a finalist for the Calder Trophy, he is now the third Anaheim player to do so. Paul KariyaRyan. Zegras would be Zegras' first rookie Duck to win the Calder.