The NHL's Calder Trophy Finalists have been declared, and this is a contentious vote. On one hand, you have Michael Bunting, the 26-year-old playing with two of the best offensive players in the NHL, though he contributes a lot on that line. You also have Trevor Zegras, arguably the most exciting rookie since Connor McDavid, with his absurd stick handling & dynamic scoring touch. Then you have Mo Seider, the big defenseman tasked with arguably the hardest job of any rookie this season.
This is an incredibly exciting time to be an NHL fan with so much young talent on the rise. Moritz Seider deserves the Calder because he had the hardest job of the three & performed really well with it. Bunting is 5-6 years older, but he's still a true rookie. That said, he pulled his own weight & then some on Toronto's top unit, but probably doesn't win the Calder. Zegras is interesting because he's so flashy & scores a ton of goals out of thin air, but is it enough?
Seider drives play more than Bunting or Zegras despite playing tougher competition with worse teammates. 200ft play-driving is super valuable for a defensman. Especially a right-handed one, which for some reason are hard to come by. Seider plays against some of the toughest competition in the NHL & scored 50 points in his rookie campaign. He also suited up for every game this season, which is worth consideration. He will probably win the Calder, realistically, as he was the best rookie this season.
Bunting ought to be number two, regardless of age. He had a phenomenal campaign individually. Obviously the game comes a little easier on Auston Matthews' wing along with Mitch Marner, but Bunting's individual contributions cannot be overlooked. He's a play driver who creates more than gets created for, meaning that a lot of the offense the aforementioned trio generates comes from Bunting. In turn, he also has lots to offer defensively, which everyone knows the Maple Leafs need. His 63 points also led all rookies, which can't be ignored either.
Zegras led the NHL in lacrosse goals, lacrosse assists, & blindfolded shootout goals this year, so naturally he earns a spot on the ballot. The Ducks' prized prospect had an exceptional rookie year totaling 61 points in 75 games, good enough for second among rookies. As one might expect, Zegras is more offensively inclined, but his defensive impact isn't as low as you might guess. He's third on this list, but he will be a major component of the Ducks' future.
Calder - Seider (DET)
1st Runner-Up - Bunting (TOR)
2nd Runner-Up - Zegras (ANA)