Maple Leafs rookie Michael Bunting among Calder Trophy finalists

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Toronto Maple Leafs left-winger Michael Bunting is one of the finalists of the Calder Trophy.

Detroit Red Wings defenceman Moritz Seider and Anaheim Ducks centre Trevor Zegras are the other finalists for the award “to the player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."

"It feels good," Bunting said Wednesday in Toronto before the team departed for Tampa, Fla., for Game 6 of their first-round playoff series with the Lightning.

"It was a lot of fun this season and I had some success, but I am more worried about the playoffs and (Thursday's) game.

"That can all wait until after the playoffs."

Bunting led all rookies with 23 goals and 40 assists to help power a Maple Leafs offence that ranked second in the NHL with 315 goals. He had the third-most points in a season by a Toronto rookie behind only Auston Matthews (2016-17) and Peter Ihnacak (1982-83).

He could become the 11th player in franchise history to capture the Calder Trophy and just the second to do so in the NHL’s expansion era (since 1967-68), after Matthews in 2016-17.

At 26-years-old, Bunting is older than most rookies. Arizona drafted Bunting in the fourth round of the 2014 draft, 114th overall, and he signed with Toronto last July.

Seider had seven goals and 43 assists, the most points of any rookie defenceman this season. He played in all 82 Red Wings games this season, leading all rookies in total time on ice (1,889:22) and minutes per game (23:02).

Zegras, who dazzled the hockey world with highlight-reel assists and goals, finished second among rookies with 23 goals and 38 assists. Zegras topped NHL freshmen with 19 multi-point outings en route to placing first among rookies with nine power-play goals.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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