ESPN’s Wyshynski checks in with first-month NHL Awards finalists, and Moritz Seider earns his Calder pick

ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski offers his NHL Awards favorites and finalists after the first month of the 2021-2022 NHL season (in an article for ESPN Plus), and you’ll not be surprised by his pick for the Calder Trophy as the NHL’s best rookie:

Calder Trophy (top rookie)

Leader: Moritz Seider, D, Detroit Red Wings
Finalists: Bowen Byram, D, Colorado Avalanche; Lucas Raymond, LW, Detroit Red Wings

First, we should note who isn’t in the Calder race at the moment: Cole Caufield, the heavy favorite for the award entering the season after his outstanding run with the Montreal Canadiens in the 2021 playoffs. The 20-year-old was demoted to the AHL after amassing just one assist in 10 games, skating to a minus-3.

His absence has opened the door to a pair of Detroit Red Wings rookies. Seider, the 20-year-old from Germany, has the early advantage with eight points in 10 games while skating 22:26 per contest.

His defensive game has been a little more refined than his offensive one, but given the competition he has faced it’s a heck of an opening month. Which, not coincidentally, ended with him being named rookie of the month for October.

Through Wednesday night’s games, Raymond led all rookies with nine points in 10 games, just ahead of Byram and Seider (both with 8). The 19-year-old Swede has an interesting story, in that his play at rookie camp and in the preseason all but forced the Red Wings into putting him on the roster instead of percolating in the minor leagues. He has rewarded their trust, and helped create one of the best lines in the NHL during the first month of the season with Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi (67.1 expected goals percentage).

Byram has split time with former Calder winner Cale Makar and veteran Erik Johnson this season, and has outpaced both of them. He’s right there with Seider in leading rookie defensemen in scoring, although he has been a bit more protected with 61.5% of his shifts starting in the offensive zone. (Seider is at 54.6%.) A solid start for the fourth-overall pick in 2019.

Among the other candidates are Spencer Knight of the Florida Panthers, whom one expects will crack the top three by next month; Jonathan Dahlen of the San Jose Sharks; elder statesman Michael Bunting of the Toronto Maple Leafs; Cole Sillinger of the Columbus Blue Jackets; Dawson Mercer of the New Jersey Devils; and Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale of the Anaheim Ducks.

Continued (paywall); the last two paragraphs scout the competition more than anything else, but I thought they were useful for completeness’ sake.

I fully believe that Cole Caufield will return successfully from the AHL, scoring enough goals to give Seider and Raymond significant competition, but I’m hoping that the Red Wings’ Calder duo keep their games up over the course of the long 82-game season (and possibly the Olympics).

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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.