After selecting Moritz Seider sixth overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Detroit Red Wings executive vice president and general manager Steve Yzerman was clear about the potential he saw in the young German defenseman.
“We think we got an excellent prospect,” Yzerman said on June 22, 2019. “Somebody who will really fit into what we’re doing and that our fanbase will really enjoy watching.”
The 21-year-old lived up to that billing throughout his debut NHL season in 2021-22. And now, Seider’s standout campaign has officially been recognized as the best among the NHL’s newcomers.
The league during announced Tuesday’s 2022 NHL Awards show that Seider was named the winner of this season’s Calder Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to the league’s top rookie as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers Association.
Video: Mortiz Seider wins Calder Trophy for best rookie
Seider received 1,853 voting points, including 170 first-place votes, edging Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (1,191 points) and Toronto Maple Leafs winger Michael Bunting (877 points) for the award.
“Congratulations to Moritz Seider on his well-deserved Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year,” said Christopher Ilitch, Detroit Red Wings governor, president and CEO. “Mo immediately became an impact player and set numerous Red Wings rookie records this year, and I’ I am proud to join our team, fans and the NHL in saluting his accomplishments. We’re thrilled for him 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.”
Seider is just the sixth player in franchise history to win the Calder Trophy, and the first since Roger Crozier in 1964-65.
“Mo had a tremendous season for the Detroit Red Wings and is very deserving of the Calder Memorial Trophy,” Yzerman said. “He played his way into the role of a top-pair defenseman in the NHL 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 of it.”
Video: Moritz Seider wins 2021-22 Calder Memorial Trophy
This season, Seider led all rookies in assists (43), power-play points (21) average time on ice (23:03) and was one of only three first-year NHL players – along with Red Wings teammate Luke Raymond and New Jersey Devils forward Dawson Mercer – to play in all 82 games.
“Every night, he was in the spotlight,” Red Wings goalie Alex Nedeljkovic said about Seider in his end-of-season media session. “Every night, he was being talked about. He showed up every single night and did something special.”
Seider opened his rookie campaign on a high note with two assists in his NHL debut on Opening Night against the two-time defending Stanley Cup-champion Tampa Bay Lightning. It was the first time a Red Wings player had multiple assists in his NHL debut since Vyacheslav Kozlov did so at St. Louis on March 12, 1992.
“It was special to watch,” Robby Fabbri said in his end-of-season media session. “It’s not every day you see a defenseman like that come in and have the impact on each and every game – in the D-zone, in the offensive zone – that he had for our team.”
Seider continued to shine, becoming the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for October after notching eight assists in his first nine games. It marked the first time a Detroit rookie tallied at least eight helpers in a calendar month since January 2002, when Pavel Datsyuk had eight in 13 games.
“I think I’m really comfortable with what I’m doing right now,” Seider said on Oct. 23. “I just want to build my own name.”
Video: DET@BUF: Seider scores game-winning goal
That confidence never wavered, with Seider becoming the second player – and first defenseman – in Red Wings history to score his first career goal in overtime on Nov. 6 at Buffalo, joining Mud Bruneteau (Dec. 14, 1935 at Toronto).
“I wasn’t looking for something. I wasn’t shooting for something. I was just happy to finally get it,” Seider said after the Nov. 6 win.
As Seider established himself as one of the NHL’s top rookies, he continued etching his name throughout the Red Wings’ record books.
From Feb. 9 – March 4, Seider set a franchise record with the longest point streak by a rookie blueliner, collecting 12 points with a plus-6 rating in eight games. It was the fifth time a Red Wings rookie, of any position, recorded an eight-game point streak and the first Detroit defenseman to accomplish the feat since the legendary Nicklas Lidstrom did so twice in 2010-11.
“The highlights are the highlights, but he’s done it consistently,” Red Wings captain Dylan Larkin said on Feb. 12. “We’re really gonna need him to take a step and I think he has it in him.”
In the second period of the Red Wings’ regular-season finale against the New Jersey Devils on April 29, Seider scored Detroit’s second goal to become the fifth rookie blueliner in the last 32 years to record 50 points in an NHL season, joining Quinn Hughes (2019-20), Cale Makar (2019-20), Vladimir Malakhov (1992-93) and Lidstrom (1991-92).
“I think Mo earned a ton of respect around the league, not only from his teammates but from opponents,” Sam Gagner said in his end-of-season media session. “Just the way he played, the way he carried himself.”
Video: NYI@DET: Seider rips a slap shot glove side
Now that Seider has made a name for himself in the NHL, Marc Staal believes the young defenseman will draw “a lot more attention from opposing teams and forwards.”
Fortunately, Staal views Seider as a young player who will rise to the challenge.
“He has the mental makeup and physical gifts to be able to deal with that in an outstanding way,” Staal said in his end-of-season media session. “I look forward to keep on watching him improve and dominate like he has been.”