Lucas Raymond's Calder Trophy snub 'a disgrace', says NHL podcaster Ryan Whitney

Detroit News

Former NHL defenseman Ryan Whitney wasn't too happy that Detroit Red Wings forward Lucas Raymond wasn't included among the three finalists for the Calder Trophy, awarded to "the top player selected as the most proficient in his first year of competition."

In Thursday's edition of the Spittin' Chiclets podcast, Whitney said "it was a disgrace" that 26-year-old Michael Bunting of the Toronto Maple Leafs was chosen ahead of 20-year-old Raymond, who equaled Bunting's 23-goal output this year.

Oilers defenseman Ryan Whitney (6) checks Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40) during the third period of a game at Joe Louis Arena in 2012.

The other finalists were Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider, 21, and Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras, 21.

"I don't want this to be an attack on Michael Bunting because that is a great player who has helped out the Leafs a ton and had more success than Zach Hyman (Michigan) on that line," said Whitney, who played 481 career games in the NHL with the Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers and Florida Panthers.

"He (Bunting) had the same amount of goals (23), six more points than Lucas Raymond but he's six years older than Raymond for rookie of the year. The tweet that blew my mind: Nathan MacKinnon won rookie of the year in 2014. Michael Bunting may win it in 2022. What is that? Eight years? They're born two weeks apart. That's crazy.

Toronto Maple Leafs left wing Michael Bunting, right, smiles as he skates past Detroit Red Wings goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic (39) after scoring his third goal of the night during the third period.

"It's not fair. Look at the season Raymond had as a 19-year-old. Bunting was playing with (Auston) Matthews and (Mitch) Marner. If he's not on the Toronto Maple Leafs, is he even in the top three?" 

Bunting was drafted in the fourth round by the Arizona Coyotes in 2014 and played 26 NHL games from 2018 to 2021 before signing as a free agent with the Maple Leafs last summer.

To be considered for the Calder, a player cannot have previously played more than 25 games in any single season, nor have played in six or more games in each of any two preceding seasons. 

Calder winners must be 26 years old or younger on Sept. 15 of their rookie season. Bunting turned 26 on Sept. 17.