Detroit Red Wings: A quick look at the Calder Race

DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 01: Lucas Raymond #23 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third period gaol against the Seattle Kraken at Little Caesars Arena on December 01, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MICHIGAN - DECEMBER 01: Lucas Raymond #23 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates his third period gaol against the Seattle Kraken at Little Caesars Arena on December 01, 2021 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit won the game 4-3 in a shootout. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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The NHL season is in full swing, and as the playoff race starts to heat up, the Calder race is doing the same. Let’s take a quick look at the ongoing battle for rookie of the year.

The Red Wings trio

This iteration of the Red Wings is the best fans have seen in quite some time. Three rookies have been leading the team’s improvement: Alex Nedeljkovic, Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider

Although he’s been a key part of Detroit’s success, Nedeljkovic isn’t really up there with the other Calder candidates. He leads all rookie goaltenders in wins and starts, but his counting stats aren’t quite as good as some of the other rookies. If the Calder race was a bit more nuanced, Nedeljkovic might be considered – as he’s battled Detroit’s poor defensive play throughout the season – but he’s just not statistically impressive enough to really compete with some of the flashier candidates.

On the flipside, Lucas Raymond is not only the leading point (24) and goal (10) scorer among all rookies, he’s also the favorite to win the Calder (according to a handful of sports betting sites). Raymond has been a weapon all season for the Red Wings, lethal as a playmaker and a shooter. If the Calder trophy was awarded today, it would very likely head to the Swedish rookie.

While not as flashy as some of the other candidates, Moritz Seider could very well hoist the Calder trophy at the end of the season. He’s been one of the most consistent rookies in the league in a position that is often tough for younger players to adjust to. Seider has also been racking up points all year; his 16 assists is tied for first (with Trevor Zegras) in rookie scoring and his 19 total points is fourth among rookies.

Trevor Zegras

The biggest challenger to Seider and Raymond is Trevor Zegras. The rookie forward has been electric for the Ducks this season, with six goals and 16 assists so far. He’s been especially hot in December, now within just two points of Raymond’s 24. If he keeps this up, he’ll almost certainly nab rookie of the month for December.

If Zegras is this good down the stretch, it’ll be tough for one of the Wings rookies to dethrone him as favorite for the Calder. He’s already just two points short of Raymond’s 24, and he doesn’t look like he’s slowing down anytime soon.

The end-of-the-year Zegras highlight reel should also boost the rookie forward’s odds. His creative playmaking ability was on full display after an incredible assist against the Sabres.

If a Red Wing doesn’t win the Calder, it’ll be Zegras.

The “dropouts”

Heading into the season, there were a few rookies that seemed like surefire candidates for the Calder trophy. Just a few months in, and some of those names are already out of the running.

Topping that list was Canadiens forward Cole Caulfield. After a spectacular season in the NCAA with Wisconsin, Caulfield lit it up in the show as well, scoring four goals and an assist in the Canadiens run to the finals. However, he’s been highly disappointing this year. In fact, he was even sent down to the AHL for a stretch because of his lackluster play. Barring a spectacular run, Caulfield is essentially out of the Calder race.

Spencer Knight was another highly-touted rookie that could snag the Calder. The rookie goaltender was impressive in his four starts with the Florida Panthers last season. But this year, Knight’s stats aren’t even as good as Nedeljkovic’s. Knight has a .904 save percentage and 2.98 GAA, while Nedeljkovic has a .915 save percentage and 2.81 GAA. If you aren’t even the best rookie goaltender, you probably don’t have the best odds for the Calder.

Hockey is an unpredictable sport. In just a few weeks, this list could become extremely dated – but that’s part of the fun. This Calder race is going to be an exciting one, especially if you’re a fan of the Red Wings.

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