Why I’m predicting Detroit Red Wings’ Moritz Seider will win Calder Trophy on Tuesday

Detroit Free Press

Moritz Seider’s impact on the Detroit Red Wings was summed up by his teammates and former coach in mid-February, when they pointed to the young defenseman as the biggest reason they were in the conversation for a wild card spot.

Even as the Wings slid down the standings and missed the playoffs for a sixth straight year, Seider’s superiority was on display: He scored his seventh goal in the season finale to finish with 50 points, the first time a Wings defenseman has topped that marker since Hockey Hall of Famer Nicklas Lidstrom in 2010-11.

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Seider rightfully finished as a finalist for the Calder Trophy, and Tuesday (7 p.m., ESPN) will finally reveal whether he’ll be the Wings’ first winner since goaltender Roger Crozier in 1965. The NHL’s annual awards show will air live from Tampa, Florida, between Games 3 and 4 of the Stanley Cup Final. The winners of the Hart Trophy, Norris Trophy, Vezina Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award also will be revealed.

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association voted on the Calder, Norris and Hart; NHL general managers on the Vezina, and members of the NHL Players Association on the Lindsay. All are regular-season awards, and votes are cast before the playoffs began.

Calder Trophy

The other finalists for rookie of the year are Trevor Zegras (Anaheim Ducks) and Michael Bunting (Toronto Maple Leafs).

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Prediction: Seider. To do what he did largely at age 20 (he turned 21 April 6) as a defenseman is phenomenal. Seider had poise with the puck, didn’t back down physically (remember when he got in Sidney Crosby’s face during a game in January), and played in all situations. No matter how much was asked of him, he delivered. Zegras (who turned 21 in March) had the goal-scoring highlights, but excelling as a young forward isn’t the same challenge as excelling as a young defenseman. Bunting paced the rookie scoring race with 63 points, but he played on a high-scoring team and he’s 26.

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Hart Trophy

This award  recognizes the player most valuable to his team. Finalists are Connor McDavid (Edmonton Oilers), Igor Shesterkin (New York Rangers) and Auston Matthews (Maple Leafs).

Prediction: Matthews. When he scored twice on the Wings on April 26, Matthews became the first player in a decade to reach 60 goals (and the first U.S.-born player ever). That should give him a slight edge over McDavid, who paced the NHL with 123 points (44 of them were goals) in 80 games. Matthews had 106 points in 73 games.

Norris Trophy

This award  recognizes the top defenseman (Lidstrom won it seven times). Finalists are Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche); Roman Josi (Nashville Predators); and Victor Hedman (Tampa Bay Lightning).

Prediction: Makar. He led league defensemen with 28 goals and was second in points with 86, behind Josi’s 96 points. Makar is incredible to watch — a combination of skating, vision and passing — and he’s only 23 years old and 5 feet 11, 186 pounds. Josi (2020) and Hedman (2018) have both won it before, but Makar should win it this year.

Vezina Trophy

This one goes to the best goaltender. Finalists are Jacob Markstrom (Calgary Flames); Juuse Saros (Nashville Predators); and Shesterkin.

Prediction: Shesterkin. He posted a 2.07 goals-against average and .935 save percentage, both tops in the league for goalies with a minimum of 50 appearances, and had 36 wins in 52 starts.

Lindsay Award

Finalists for this award, essentially the PA’s version of the Hart, are McDavid, Matthews and Josi.

Prediction: Matthews. Same reason as Hart.

Contact Helene St. James at hstjames@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @helenestjames. Read more on the Detroit Red Wings and sign up for our Red Wings newsletter. Her book, The Big 50: The Detroit Red Wings is available from AmazonBarnes & Noble and Triumph Books. Personalized copies available via her e-mail. 

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