The Toronto Maple Leafs have another Calder Trophy nominee in their midst in Michael Bunting. However, he won’t be another winner like Auston Matthews.
Unfortunately for Michael Bunting and the Toronto Maple Leafs, there are two many reasons why the Calder Trophy goes to either Trevor Zegras or Mortiz Seider instead of Bunting.
All of this despite Bunting have the highest points total of any NHL-defined rookie this season. The key there being the NHL-defined element.
You see, he hasn’t played enough games in either of his previous NHL seasons, nor met any of the other criteria for ineligibility and thus is a deserving candidate.
Frankly, if he doesn’t win the award, you can make a strong argument for the league to re-assess how it defines rookies. Again.
His loss of the award though won’t be solely on his age; there’s two Toronto Maple Leafs players among the five names that will prevent him from winning it.
Those five names, in my mind at least, are: Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, Artemi Panarin, Nathan MacKinnon and Moritz Seider.
Of those names, only one is nominated as a finalist for the award with Michael Bunting. The rest; well, there’s a myriad of reasons why they have or may have impacted voting.