Finally, the only proper reason why Michael Bunting is highly unlikely to win this year’s Calder Trophy and that is Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider.
The NHL is an incredibly challenging league to enter as a rookie defenseman, not least as a rookie defenseman on a team still in a rebuilding phase.
Finishing fourth in rookie scoring with a 50-point campaign as a defenseman is remarkable enough in itself. Perhaps the more impressive part of his year has been just how much the Red Wings have come to rely on him – he averaged 23:02 ice-time per game in his rookie year.
Among rookies playing on their team’s penalty-kill, he also ranks fourth this season, averaging 1:53 per game playing short-handed.
He also led the league in rookie powerplay time with 237:01 total time, amounting to 61.7% of the Red Wings’ total powerplay time this season and notching 21 powerplay points in doing so.
To accomplish all of that as a defenseman, realistically makes him a far stronger candidate no matter how Toronto Maple Leafs fans look at it.
Absolutely, Michael Bunting has has a tremendous campaign and does indeed lead all rookies on points. However, the odds have to some degree been stacked in his favour ever since he fought his way onto Matthews’ line.
Moritz Seider in Detroit has literally been told that he needs to become the leader of a blue-line that is still very much a mosaic of veterans and spare parts on a team that wholly doesn’t represent a finished product yet.
His challenges outweigh those that Michael Bunting has overcome this season and thus as much as we hate to see it, the Toronto Maple Leafs won’t be adding another Calder Trophy winner to its’ record books.