Calder Trophy: Bunting, Seider, Zegras are 2021-22 finalists

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Michael Bunting of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings, and Trevor Zegras of the Anaheim Ducks have been voted as the three finalists for the 2021-22 Calder Trophy. The award is given “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition.”

Members of the Professional Hockey Writers Association vote on the Calder Trophy at the conclusion of the regular season. Minnesota Wild forward Kirill Kaprizov won the award last season.

The 2021-22 NHL Award winners will be revealed during the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2022 First Round schedule, TV info]

The case for Michael Bunting: Bunting led all NHL rookies with 63 points in 79 games and was tied for second in goals with 23. He also was tied for first in even strength goals (21) and was tops in EV points (58) among rookies. The 26-year-old Arizona Coyotes draft pick was also the best of the bunch in expected goals for percentage (60.85%), according to Natural Stat Trick. Ten players in Maple Leafs franchise history have won the Calder with Auston Matthews (2016-17) the last to take home the award.

The case for Moritz Seider: Seider’s outstanding rookie year saw him finish fourth in scoring with 50 points, first in power play points (21), and first in average ice time (23:02) among rookies. Only three other defensemen in the last 30 years (Quinn Hughes, Cale Makar, Vladimir Malakhov) have hit the 50-point mark in their rookie season. Seider could become the sixth Red Wing in franchise history to win the Calder and first since Roger Crozier in 1964-65.

The case for Trevor Zegras: The sure-fire rookie of the year in the highlight department, the Ducks’ youngster was second behind Bunting in points with 61 and tied for second in goals with 23. His 38 assists and 61 points were Anaheim franchise records. Zegras led all rookies with 19 multi-point games and led NHL Calder candidates in power play goals (9), game-winning goals (5), and was second in even strength points (44). He could become the first Duck to win the award after Paul Kariya (1994-95) and Bobby Ryan (2008-09) was voted as finalists.

Finalists for the 2021-22 Hart Trophy, which is voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association, will be announced on Thursday.

NHL Award finalists announcement schedule:

Norris Trophy: Victor Hedman, Roman Josi, Cale Makar
Vezina Trophy: Jacob Markstrom, Juuse Saros, Igor Shesterkin
Thursday, May 12: Hart Memorial Trophy
Friday, May 13: Ted Lindsay Award
Monday, May 16: Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy
Tuesday, May 17: Frank J. Selke Trophy
Wednesday, May 18: Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
Thursday, May 19: Jack Adams Award
Friday, May 20: King Clancy Memorial Trophy

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.