Detroit — There was little doubt how good Moritz Seider was in his rookie NHL season, but that became perfectly clear Tuesday at the NHL Awards Show.
Seider, the Red Wings’ outstanding first-year defenseman, won the NHL’s Calder Trophy, awarded “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition” by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Anaheim’s Trevor Zegras and Toronto’s Michael Bunting were the other finalists.
Seider ran away with the vote, earning 170 first-place votes among the 195 ballots cast for 1,853 voting points. Zegras received 15 first-place votes and was the second choice on 100 others for 1,191 points, followed by Bunting, who had 877 points (seven first-place selections).
“It’s crazy,” Seider said on a Zoom call with Detroit media afterwards. “But you’re thankful and honored. I’m very happy to bring something back to Detroit. I know it’s been a while.”
Seider’s teammate Lucas Raymond was fourth overall with 499 points. Raymond had one first-place, 10 second-place and 40 third-place votes.
Both Seider and Raymond were named to the All-Rookie team.
Seider led all rookie defensemen with 50 points (seven goals, 43 assists), a point totally passed by only two other rookie defensemen in the last 30 years: Vancouver’s Quinn Hughes (53) in 2019-20 and the New York Islanders’ Vladimir Malakhov (52) in 1992-93.
Only Reed Larson (60 points, 1977-78) and Nicklas Lidstrom (60 points, 1991-92) have surpassed 50 points as rookie defensemen in Red Wings history.
Seider becomes the first defenseman in Red Wings history to win the Calder Trophy. Seider is the sixth player in franchise history to be named the NHL’s rookie of the year, joining goaltenders Roger Crozier (1964-65), Glenn Hall (1955-56) and Terry Sawchuk (1950-51), and forwards Jim McFadden (1947 -48) and Carl Voss (1932-33).
“The locker room,” Seider said, saying his teammates were a key reason for his rapid development. “Once you gain confidence, it’s a lot easier to go out there. Every single night teammates were pushing me hard and I just enjoyed every single moment, so it was very easy to come to the rink and try to get better.”
Seider is the 13th defenseman in NHL history to win the Calder Trophy and only the third in the last 12 seasons, joining Colorado’s Cale Makar in 2019-20 and Florida’s Aaron Ekblad in 2014-15.
Chris Ilitch, governor, president and chief executive officer; Steve Yzerman, executive vice president and general manager; alternate governor Jimmy Devellano, and Dylan Larkin were among the Red Wings representatives who flew to Tampa for the presentation.
“Really cool surprise,” Seider said. “The whole organization flew (down) here and it’s real cool to see not only your captain and teammate has your back, but the whole organization. I’m very happy Larks sat next to me. It’s real cool to have him.”
Said Ilitch in a statement: “Congratulations to Moritz Seider on his well-deserved Calder Memorial Trophy as the National Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year. Mo immediately became an impact player and set numerous Red Wings rookie records this year, and I’m proud to join our team, fans and the NHL in saluting his accomplishments.
“We’re thrilled for Mo and his family, and look forward to his bright future as we all work towards our goal of bringing the Stanley Cup back to Hockeytown.”
Coincidentally, Seider was the sixth overall pick in the 2019 Entry Draft exactly three years to the date. Yzerman made a surprise pick in many analysts’ estimation drafting Seider so unexpectedly high.
But drafting Seider has proven to be the correct move.
“Moritz had a tremendous season for the Detroit Red Wings and is very deserving of the Calder Memorial Trophy,” Yzerman said in a statement. “He played his way into the role of a top-pair defenseman in the National Hockey League as a 20 -year-old which is extremely difficult to do. He had a profound effect on our team during his rookie campaign and we look forward to his continued development.”
Seider led all 2021-22 rookies (forwards and defensemen) in assists (43), power-play assists (19) and power-play points (21), while ranking among the top five in shots on goal (187; third), points (50; fourth) and game-winning goals (four; tied for fifth).
Seider played in all 82 games and led all rookies in total ice time (1,889 minutes, 22 seconds) and minutes per game (23:02).
“Playing in all 82 games, in the end you look in the mirror and (know) you gave your best,” Seider said.
Teammates were impressed with Seider and the way the rookie handled himself on and off the ice.
“Mo earned a ton of respect around the league, not only from his teammates but from opponents,” forward Sam Gagner said during his season-ending press conference. “Just the way he played, the way he carried himself. You look back to the first game of the year against Tampa and he was already kind of commanding that respect, and not afraid of the moment and he just continued to grow.
“It’s a long year when you haven’t played in the NHL before. There’s a lot of ups and downs. Specifically with our season, with the struggles we went through in the second half, it makes it feel even longer, and Mo just kept playing, kept improving. He really did it all for us.
“From an off-ice perspective, he’s already become a leader for us. He understands the leadership aspect and isn’t afraid to be himself. The sky’s the limit for him.”
NHL Awards winners
►Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP) — Auston Matthews, Toronto
►Vezina Trophy (goaltender) — Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers
►James Norris Memorial Trophy (defenseman) — Cale Makar, Colorado
►Calder Memorial Trophy (rookie) — Moritz Seider, Detroit
►Frank J. Selke Trophy (defensive forward) — Patrice Bergeron, Boston
►Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (most gentlemanly) — Kyle Connor, Winnipeg
►Jack Adams Award (coach) — Darryl Sutter, Calgary
►King Clancy Trophy (humanitarian contribution to hockey) — PK Subban, Montreal
►Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award (great leadership qualities both on and off the ice) — Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles