Calder Trophy Finalists announced, is Trevor Zegras the favorite to win it?

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The NHL announced on Wednesday their three finalists for the Calder Trophy. Among them are Toronto Maple Leafs forward Michael Bunting, Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras, and Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider.

Of the three, most hockey fans will be familiar with Zegras simply because no other player in the league had more eye-popping highlight reel goals than the Ducks rookie.

But is he the clear cut favorite? Not by a long shot actually.

Calder Trophy odds

When it comes to who is the odds on favorite to win in Vegas, Detroit’s impressive rookie defender has a lot of folks in hockey circles talking.

Per Vegas Insider:

  • Moritz Seider (Detroit) -300
  • Michael Bunting (Toronto) +500
  • Trevor Zegras (Anaheim) +750

Seider, 21, was the 6th overall selection in the 2019 Draft. This season, he posted 50 points with 161 blocks and 151 hits. He also played in all 82 games to show off his durability.

Among rookies, he was the leader in assist (43), power play assists (19) and power-play points (21).

Toronto’s Bunting is a rookie by the rulebook but at 26 years-old, he is a lot more mature than Seider and Zegras. This past season, he potted 63 points in 79 games and helped ease losing Zach Hyman to the Edmonton Oilers via free agency.

Why I think Zegras will win

trevor zegras calder trophy
Jan 27, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (46) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens with teammates right wing Troy Terry (19) and defenseman Jamie Drysdale (34) during the second period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Zegras, 21, was the No. 9 overall pick in 2019 Draft and got a taste of the NHL last season. He finished with 61 points on the strength of 23 goals in 75 games this year. For his young career, he has 74 points in 99 games.

Now let’s put all these points aside and tell me which of these three rookies made more headlines than Zegras. And while that’s not part of what’s taken into account when voters from the Professional Hockey Writers Association cast their ballots, I bet many will be thinking of his wizardry with the puck.

Zegras had five-game winning goals for the Ducks this season and set a team single-season rookie record for both assists and points. However, it’s his lacrosse-style goals and over-the-net passes that had the hockey world buzzing and even caught the attention of former coach John Tortorella on ESPN.

“I’m not trying to be difficult about it. It’s fun to watch, it’s really cool but I just think our game has gone so far away from what the game should be. A hard game, an honest game. It’s almost gotten to showman,” Tortorella said. “I know you need to have it, you need to sell the game but I’m from the ilk that an honest hockey game needs to be played.”

This critique of the play was not intended to be a shot a Zegras and his ability, so Torts wanted to clear things up.

“What bothers me is the media – my comments have been taken out of context trying to pit me and Trevor against one another” Torts explained. “I feel terrible about that and I reached out to him and his coach. I hope he does it again quite honestly.”

And he did, with an amazing lacrosse style goal around his own teammate in the process.

For the record, that pass by Zegras that Torts was discussing had over 50 million views online. Somehow, I have to think that’s going to factor for on the fence on these three excellent candidates.