Calder Trophy Power Rankings: Everybody loves Raymond
In our second edition of theScore's 2021-22 Calder Trophy Power Rankings, we feature two new freshmen making their marks early on this season.
5. Dan Vladar, Flames
Previous rank: N/A
Show us someone who had Vladar on their Calder Trophy radar heading into the season, and we'll show you a liar. Despite a hot start to his first season with Calgary, Vladar is a long shot as a backup to take home any individual hardware. Still, his recent body of work deserves some credit.
Filling in behind starter Jacob Markstrom, Vladar has been brilliant for a Flames team making plenty of noise in the Western Conference. Along with a sterling save percentage, Vladar has notched two shutouts in the early going. He's making a case for the most underrated signing of the offseason, as well as a long-shot push for top rookie.
4. Dawson Mercer, Devils
Previous rank: 4
Mercer's fourth-place ranking is far from a knock on his play, as the Devils freshman remains a steady contributor in his first season. However, he hasn't quite done enough to usurp the top Calder contenders on our list. Mercer sits in a tie for second in rookie scoring while also ranking second among all New Jersey skaters.
He's earned enough trust from his coach to play top-six minutes - which is no small feat for a first-year center - and he's made the most of his opportunities to make a lasting impression. Mercer was one of three first-round picks the Devils made in 2020, and it appears they struck gold with at least one of them.
3. Moritz Seider, Red Wings
Previous rank: 2
Seider's offensive production has slowed down a touch since our last rankings, but he's still contributing in every facet of the game on the Red Wings' top defensive pair. The German stalwart leads all rookies in average ice time by a significant margin and ranks second among Detroit's rearguards in even-strength minutes.
Additionally, Seider is still tied for second in rookie scoring despite the relative dry patch, and the majority of his production is coming at even strength. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Seider's debut campaign to date is his play in the defensive zone. He's provided a ton value in shot and scoring chance suppression, leading Detroit's regular defensemen in goals against per-60, Corsi against per-60, and expected goals against per-60.
2. Trevor Zegras, Ducks
Previous rank: N/A
After a modest start to a debut season with sky-high expectations, Zegras has begun to heat up. The supremely skilled star-in-the-making vaulted up the rookie scoring race to second thanks to a near point-per-game clip in November.
Zegras is on the positive side of many key metrics, and if he continues to put up points for a surprisingly competitive Ducks squad, he'll be a strong Rookie of the Year candidate all season.
1. Lucas Raymond, Red Wings
Previous rank: 1
Through two months, the Calder is Raymond's to lose. He leads all rookies in goals, points, and shots while routinely showcasing electrifying game-breaking talent for a Red Wings team that wouldn't be anywhere near a wild-card position without him in the lineup.
Raymond is a weapon at even strength and on the power play thanks to a lethal release that can beat any goaltender clean. Combine his shot with elite hockey IQ and deft playmaking, and it's clear Raymond is bound to become a special player.
Honorable mentions: Michael Bunting (TOR), Seth Jarvis (CAR), Bowen Byram (COL), Stuart Skinner (EDM)
(Analytics source: Evolving-Hockey)
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