The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler posted a list of his top 20 candidates for the Calder Trophy, the NHL’s award for the top rookie of the year, and he lists Moritz Seider in a surprisingly high spot:
I think there are decent odds Seider is the most impactful rookie in the NHL this season and doesn’t win the Calder. That’s because the reality is that defensemen rarely win the award. In fact, in the 88 times the award has been handed out, it has been given to a defenseman just 12 times. So defensemen represent 33 percent of the players in the NHL but have won just 14 percent of the rookie of the year awards, including just two times in the last 11 seasons (Cale Makar in 2020 and Aaron Ekblad in 2015). Traditionally, when defensemen do win it’s typically because their counting stats really pop (Makar had 50 points in 57 games in a pandemic-shortened season at the high end and Ekblad scored 12 goals and 39 points as a bare minimum). And while I think Seider’s likely going to put up point totals around that Ekblad season (though probably not from a goal-scoring point of view) throughout his career, I’m not convinced he’ll do that right out of the gate. I expect him to be really good in Detroit this year. He’s going to get to play, probably a lot, and he’s going to thrive no different than he did at world championships (or in the SHL, AHL and DEL before them). But goals are still going to be hard to come by for the Red Wings and that will impact him, rightly or wrongly, in the Calder race.
I agree with Wheeler that it will be incredibly difficult for Seider to win the award in a year where Cole Caufield and Trevor Zegras are both eligible for the trophy. Defensemen just don’t win the Calder Trophy unless they’re extraordinarily good.
Wheeler also suggests that Joe Veleno is an outlier as a dark-horse candidate, and he names Lucas Raymond as an “honorable mention”:
18. Joe Veleno, C/LW, 21 (Detroit Red Wings — 30th overall, 2018)
The Red Wings have a handful of rookies who are going to get to audition at some point this year but Veleno feels like the most likely of that group not named Seider to spend the full year with the NHL club. That’s likely going to be in a bottom-six role, which will limit his ability to produce, but I expect him to have a modestly successful first full NHL season, contribute in line with his minutes and begin to establish himself as a part of the future in Detroit. At this point on the list, that’s enough to warrant inclusion.
Continued; ah, yes, the old, “Detroit is still going to stink, don’t forget that part” warning…