Calder Trophy Power Rankings: Red Wings' duo showing promise
Today marks our first installment of theScore's 2021-22 Calder Trophy Power Rankings. These will be published, along with the other major awards, once a month until the regular season ends.
5. Spencer Knight, Panthers
Small sample sizes were an obstacle for our inaugural rankings, but we feel Knight deserves some recognition for his body of work so far this season. And make no mistake, he's certainly a candidate to move up the list as the campaign progresses.
Between last season's brief NHL stint and this year's hot start, Knight has shown he has all the makings of a true No. 1 for the surging Florida Panthers. Unfortunately for him, and the organization to a degree, Sergei Bobrovsky is on Florida's books for $10 million per season until 2026. Knight will likely need to steal the starting job to have a real shot at the Calder.
4. Dawson Mercer, Devils
Mercer has made a tremendous impression early into his tenure with the New Jersey Devils. The 20-year-old has stepped up to play key minutes down the middle of the ice with Jack Hughes sidelined, and he's delivered some strong results to boot. On top of ranking third in rookie scoring, New Jersey owns 76.25% of the goals and 55.88% of the shot attempts with Mercer on the ice at five-on-five.
3. Bowen Byram, Avalanche
It appears the Colorado Avalanche have another young defenseman ready to dominate the scene. Byram remains rookie eligible in 2021-22 after playing only 19 games last season, and he's off to a roaring start this campaign. Colorado has put the 2019 fourth overall pick with Cale Makar on the top pairing for most of his minutes, and the dynamic duo has influenced a 64.44% expected goals rate when sharing the ice.
Byram ranks second among all rookie blue-liners in points and average ice time, while he also places third in shots on goal.
2. Moritz Seider, Red Wings
It appears Seider is on the fast track to superstardom if the first month of his NHL career is any indication. The 2019 sixth overall pick has flashed potential to be a franchise cornerstone in Detroit's rebuild by contributing offense, physicality, and poise beyond his years.
Seider leads all freshmen in average ice time by almost a full minute and sits second in scoring. He's posted assists in seven of nine games - four of which came as the quarterback on the Red Wings' No. 1 power-play unit - and currently riding a five-game point streak.
1. Lucas Raymond, Red Wings
Steve Yzerman appears to have landed a gem in Raymond, who the Red Wings selected fourth overall in 2020. Raymond has burst onto the NHL scene after spending a development year in Sweden. Now he's showcasing his elite shot and offensive instincts on a nightly basis for a Detroit squad that is routinely surprising its opponents.
Raymond is tied for the rookie lead in goals, highlighted by a hat trick in only his sixth NHL game. He's also the only first-year player to be operating at a point-per-game clip. So far, he's the leader in the clubhouse to bring home some hardware come awards season.
Honorable mentions: Anton Lundell (FLA), Jonathan Dahlen (SJ), Filip Gustavsson (OTT)
(Analytics source: Evolving-Hockey)