Who doesn’t love a good superlative?
They’ve become a staple of late-night television, bring a bit of fun to any topic, and at the end of the day, they are the perfect way to not take things too seriously. In the world we live in, it’s always good to find time for some goofy fun so why not take a break from the day and take a trip around this year’s NHL rookie class:
D Moritz Seider, Detroit Red Wings
Most Likely to Make Grown Man Cry
This goes back a couple of years now as we have been watching highlights of a young Moritz Seider absolutely laying massive, clean hits on men in every league he’s played in from the DEL to the SHL, and now to the NHL. Whether he is throwing a reverse hit or laying an opponent out as they enter the defensive zone, Seider loves to engage physically.
As one of the favorites to take home the Calder trophy, Seider’s highlight reel of hits is just the beginning of the argument for the young German blueliner. His offensive production and overall maturity in his first NHL season have been amazing. He’s stepped in as a number one defender, albeit on a lackluster team, and looked more than comfortable. The impact defender is going to be a pillar for Detroit to build a future contender around and he will leave a path of crying men in his wake.
LW Michael Bunting, Toronto Maple Leafs
Least Likely Rookie to Actually be a Rookie
The Maple Leafs’ latest rookie is older than most of their young core. The 26-year-old Michael Bunting has found a home in the Leafs’ top-six bringing an element of annoying the hell out of the opponent while also having the finishing ability to play with the likes of Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner. He is the pest that many feel Toronto has been missing.
The leading rookie goal-scorer has been one of the best bargain signings of the off-season. Many will look at Bunting’s age and professional experience, having played games in two previous seasons, and dismiss his case for the Calder. Others will say that rules are rules and he deserves his flowers. At the end of the day, Bunting likely doesn’t receive enough support to find himself a Calder finalist, but the oldest rookie in the class deserves some praise.
RW Lucas Raymond, Detroit Red Wings
Most Likely to be Hurt by the Betrayal of his BFF
Back a few months ago, the Detroit Red Wings put out a graphic with some “Getting To Know” questions posed to rookie defender Moritz Seider. In that graphic, the question of “Who would you want to be stuck on an island with?” was posed and Seider’s answer was simply “Not Lucas Raymond”.
Everyone in Red Wings land had a good chuckle at the joke. The Red Wings social media team did a great job of keeping the answer short and sweet and it got everyone laughing because the two rookies were roommates to start the season before Raymond got his own place once he knew he was in Detroit to stay.
What came more recently was Raymond questioning his good pal on just why that is. Unfortunately in this short clip, Seider avoids the question but you can be sure that the tasty answer we are all looking for will be on the full episode of the MoJoe Show (a little video series hosted by Mo Seider and Joe Veleno with the Red Wings). The betrayal hurts but the NHL’s leading rookie point-getter shouldn’t take it too hard, he and Seider will likely be stuck together on the Wings for a long time.
C Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks
Most Likely to Star in a Hollywood Movie
I mean, he literally plays for the team formerly known as the Mighty Ducks. Zegras combines his boyish good looks with some of the most impressive hands and puck skills in the entire NHL. Zegras also paid tribute to the cinematic masterpiece “Dodge Ball” at the NHL All-Star festivities when he threw on the Average Joe's uniform to perform what should have been the winning entry in the All-Star Shootout. Hollywood shouldn’t be out of the picture for this kid.
Zegras is one of the NHL’s most entertaining players and quickly has become one of the most marketable. He already has a Michigan goal and the first successful Michigan assist, too. Zegras is a star in the making and showing more personality than just about any player in the league already.
C Anton Lundell, Florida Panthers
Most Underrated Athlete
We need to talk about Anton Lundell more. It feels like everyone is obsessed with the Red Wings rookies and Trevor Zegras’ flash and flair but no one is talking about Lundell. The Panthers’ rookie has been one of the most productive rookies in the league over the last month and his defensive impact is as good as many had expected when he made the trek from Finland.
Currently tied for third in rookie scoring, Lundell has been a bit of a surprise offensively for the juggernaut Florida Panthers. Far too many analysts misjudged his offensive game as a draft-eligible forward who was consistently putting on display his 200-foot game in the Liiga, oftentimes referring to him as a defensive forward with limited offensive upside. He always displayed an above-average shot and his intelligence played up at every level, giving him legitimate playmaking ability. It’s safe to say that Lundell looks better than almost anyone expected.
LW Matthew Boldy, Minnesota Wild
Most Likely to Show up Late to the Party
Nice of you to show up Matthew. This might be a bit unfair because he can’t really control when his team calls him up to the NHL but Boldy has been on a tear since his arrival. He has hovered around a point-per-game through 17 games and has been able to play a solid two-way game as well. Finding chemistry with Kevin Fiala with the Minnesota Wild, Boldly is looking like the offensive punch that the Wild could use as they look to push towards a long playoff run.
With that said, Boldy was a bit late to the party despite the fact that he has only been outproduced by Lundell since his call-up. He may have one of the best points-per-game of any NHL rookie when the season ends but playing ~30 fewer games may prevent Boldy from getting into the Calder discussion in any serious way, even if he probably could be.
RW Cole Caulfield, Montreal Canadiens
Most Likely to Sneak onto a Rollercoaster
This isn’t even the height joke that you are all expecting me to make about Cole Caufield. It’s about how incredibly up-and-down the Montreal Canadiens season has been after he rode along to their Stanley Cup Finals berth last season. Caulfield started the year with offensive struggles, matching the rest of the team in general, and was eventually sent down to the AHL where he was just in time to participate in team picture day. He was all smiles.
The ups have been fun as well for the Canadiens’ prized prospect. With Martin St. Louis taking over as head coach recently, Caulfield has had someone in his corner and he’s been given a bit more rope to play his game. With six goals and ten points in the seven games since St. Louis took over behind the bench, Caufield is yet again on the upswing. He’s been on a rollercoaster ride since he made his Canadiens debut.
Now if only he didn’t have to sneak onto the Leviathan Coaster at Canada’s Wonderland.