- BetOnline has Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (+100) as the favorite to win the Calder Trophy
- Canucks blueliner Quinn Hughes (+300) is a serious contender to claim the award for the league’s top rookie
- Jack Hughes (+1200) and Kaapo Kakko (+1400) are struggling in their age-18 seasons
With slow starts befalling Jack Hughes and Kaapo Kakko, the top two selections in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, a defenseman is poised to win the Calder Trophy for the first time in five seasons.
Cale Maker tops the field at +100 after a scorching November where he led all rookies in goals (7), points (16), game-winning goals (3) and plus/minus (+10), but Colorado’s rookie blueliner faces stiff competition from Canucks rearguard Quinn Hughes (+300).
Let’s review the latest rookie-of-the-year odds at BetOnline.
NHL 2019-20 CALDER TROPHY ODDS
|Cale Makar (Colorado Avalanche)||+100|
|Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks)||+300|
|Victor Olofsson (Buffalo Sabres)||+400|
|Ilya Mikheyev (Toronto Maple Leafs)||+1200|
|Jack Hughes (New Jersey Devils)||+1400|
|Kaapo Kakko (New York Rangers)||+1600|
|Martin Necas (Carolina Hurricanes)||+2000|
Through 26 contests, the Avalanche’s fourth-overall pick in 2017 is averaging a point-per-game with eight goals and 18 assists.
Makar recently became the first rookie defenceman with 20 points in his first 20 regular-season games since Hall of Famer Brian Leetch in 1988-89. Last year’s Hobey Baker Award winner is also on pace to top Larry Murphy’s rookie scoring record (76 points) for defensemen.
Let’s just appreciate this shot by Cale Makar ? pic.twitter.com/7E8eBUlmw1
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) November 29, 2019
Perhaps even more impressively, the 21-year-old Calgary native has yet to take a penalty despite logging more than 20-minutes-per-game while playing in all situations.
Even at +100, a wager on the NHL’s rookie of the month for November would be a smart bet.
Once known as “that other Hughes brother,” Vancouver’s 7th-overall pick in the 2018 draft is vastly outperforming his younger sibling Jack, who has just four goals and seven assists for the Devils through 24 games.
Sitting second in rookie scoring, Quinn’s 23 points put him only three back of Makar. Looking like an elite powerplay quarterback, the 20-year-old blueliner currently leads all NHL defenseman with 13 points on the man advantage.
Only one rookie defenseman in NHL history has registered more games with three assists in a single season than Quinn Hughes. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/Bg9Bb6QUV1
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 28, 2019
In fact, since the Canucks moved Hughes to their first PP unit, they have gone 23-for-75 on the man advantage, leading the NHL in power-play goals over that span.
If Hughes can overtake Makar, he’ll be Vancouver’s second-straight Calder winner after forward Elias Pettersson — the fifth-overall pick behind Makar in 2017 — won it last year.
OTHER CALDER CONTENDERS
Leading all freshman with 11 goals, Victor Olofsson (+400) has tallied at least one point in 11 of his last 13 games. The 24-year-old Swede followed up an impressive October (six goals, four assists) where he was named NHL rookie of the month with another 10-point November.
Flanking Jack Eichel’s left side, there’s nothing stopping the former seventh-round pick from keeping up his stellar production.
Blink and you’ll miss Victor Olofsson’s (@vickeo) Shot of the Night. Seriously, don’t.
NHL x @JagermeisterUSA pic.twitter.com/u1JwFzCTH0
— NHL (@NHL) December 3, 2019
Buried down on the list are the aforementioned Jack Hughes (+1400) and Kaapo Kakko (+1600).
Disappointing fans on both sides of the Hudson, the Devils’ and Rangers’ respective rookie picks have failed to light the lamp while proving to be defensive liabilities in their age-18 seasons.