Giving out awards to the 2021–22 Red Wings MVP, LVP, and top rookie

Photo credit:Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Scott Ony
2 years ago
The 2021–22 season was another disappointing year for the Detroit Red Wings, but there remain plenty of reasons to be excited about the future.
@Moritz Seider and @Lucas Raymond look to be well on their way to becoming superstar players. @Dylan Larkin and @Tyler Bertuzzi had the most productive seasons of their respective National Hockey League careers.
The Jakub Vrana-for-Anthony Mantha trade still looks like a steal. Better yet, 2021 first-round draft picks Simon Edvinsson and Sebastian Cossa both had strong first seasons after being selected by the Red Wings.
With the season now behind us, let’s take a look back at the year that was and hand out some awards.
Most valuable player: Dylan Larkin
Finalists: Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Moritz Seider
Choosing between Larkin and the other finalists was difficult but, ultimately, the edge went to the player who led the team in both goals and points while also being its No. 1 center and team captain.
Larkin finished the year with 31 goals and 69 points, both his second-best career totals behind only his 32-goal, 73-point 2018–19 season (during which he played in five more games).
After a down year in 2020–21, Larkin proved this season that he is capable of being a high-end center in the NHL. He provides scoring on a nightly basis while also being the team’s most dependable players in the face-off dot.
Larkin will be 26 in July. He was born in Michigan, played NCAA hockey at the University of Michigan, and now captains Michigan’s NHL team. Even with Seider showing so much promise, Larkin remains the backbone of this Red Wings team moving forward.
Least valuable player: Danny DeKeyser
Finalists: DeKeyser, Thomas Greiss, Joe Veleno
Once upon a time, DeKeyser was one of the Red Wings’ steadiest defenders. Unfortunately, he’s become close to unplayable over the last few seasons.
Evolving-Hockey‘s model lists DeKeyser as having provided the Red Wings with -1.7 total wins above replacement (WAR) in 2021–22, the worst figure on the team by a significant margin. The 32-year-old defender scored just 11 points (all assists) in 58 games with Detroit this season.
Red Wings fans and team accountants alike will be relieved when DeKeyser’s $5 million-AAV contract finally expires this summer. It’s been tough to watch him gradually decline over the years and get to the point where he constantly loses track of opposing players in the defensive zone.
Make no mistake: DeKeyser has had good times as a Red Wing, and — judging by the “A” on his sweater — he’s clearly been a leader for the team in the locker room. Nevertheless, even considering the Red Wings’ shallow pool of left-handed defenders, there’s little reason to consider re-signing DeKeyser — even at a league-minimum contract.
Rookie of the year: Moritz Seider
Finalists: Seider, Lucas Raymond, Alex Nedeljkovic
It’s not often a team has three rookies make as significant of an impact as these guys did with Detroit in 2021–22. Both Seider and Raymond played in all 82 games, whereas Nedeljkovic outplayed @Thomas Greiss by a sizeable margin.
Despite impressive performances from Raymond and Nedeljkoic, Seider wins this award and it’s not close (as should be the case at the 2022 NHL Awards, where Seider is up for the Calder Trophy).
After dominating in the SHL and being named that league’s top rookie, Seider came to the NHL and didn’t miss a single beat. According to Evolving-Hockey, he and Tyler Bertuzzi tied for first on the team with 2.4 total WAR in 2021–22.
Seider averaged a team-leading 23:02 per game as a rookie (mostly alongside DeKeyser) and finished fourth in team scoring with 50 points. No other Red Wings defenseman even reached 40 points (@Filip Hronek came closest, with 38 in 78 games).
Seider possesses everything you could ask for in a young defenseman. He thinks the game at a high level, produces offense consistently, and is responsible with the puck in all three zones. Oh, plus he’s 6’4″ and hits like a truck.
With Seider anchoring the back-end and several up-and-coming prospects like Simon Edvinsson in the system, the Red Wings’ defensive corps looks to be in good shape going forward.
We’ll be back tomorrow to hand out awards to the Red Wings’ most improved player, biggest surprise, and top fan favorite player from the 2021–22 season.

More from WingsNation


Looking to up your fantasy hockey game? DailyFaceoff has the tools you need for both daily and season-long fantasy leagues, including a lineup optimizer, daily projections, and a whole lot more. Sign up for the DailyFaceoff tools here.

Check out these posts...