Makar Favored To Win Rookie Of The Year According To Calder Trophy Odds

The Calder Memorial Trophy is the award given to the top rookie in the National Hockey League on an annual basis as voted on by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association. Forwards have won this award in eight of the last nine years, including Auston Matthews in 2016-17, Mathew Barzal in 2017-18 and Elias Pettersson in 2018-19. However, it doesn’t appear as though that trend will continue with two defensemen currently at the top of this year’s NHL rookie class. Here is a look at a race for the Calder Trophy odds, which are already down to just three players on the board right now.

CALE MAKAR, COLORADO AVALANCHE
CALDER TROPHY ODDS: -200

Makar is the favorite to win the NHL’s Rookie of the Year award after recording 32 points and a plus-six rating in his first 35 games. Despite missing a handful of games due to injury, the 21-year-old has been a force for the Avalanche as the lone defenseman on their top powerplay unit and top pairing staple at even-strength. Averaging 20:32 in ice time for the season, the fourth-overall pick from the 2017 NHL Draft leads all rookies with four game-winning goals. Barring an injury or a major drop off in production, Makar will be the obvious choice to win the Calder this season.

QUINN HUGHES, VANCOUVER CANUCKS
CALDER TROPHY ODDS: +150

While Makar seems like the obvious favorite at this point, there really isn’t much value betting on him to win the Rookie of the Year award at -200 odds. The opposite is true for Hughes, who could be a value pick to surprise at +150. Hughes, who leads all rookies with 16 powerplay points, is up to 30 points in 41 games this season. In fact, the 20-year-old has actually played more minutes for the Canucks than Makar has for Colorado at 21:19 per game this season. The seventh-overall pick from the 2018 NHL Draft has also produced similar numbers to Makar despite the argument that he hasn’t played with the same level of talent around him in Vancouver. If Hughes continues to perform at the level he has, it might not take much for him to unseat Makar as the 2019-20 Calder Memorial Trophy winner.

VICTOR OLOFSSON, BUFFALO SABRES
CALDER TROPHY ODDS: +500

Olofsson’s chances of winning the NHL Rookie of the Year award took a major hit when he was sidelined for five-to-six weeks due to an upper-body injury. The seventh-round pick from the 2014 NHL Draft leads all rookies with 16 goals and 35 points in 42 games this season. However, with Olofsson sidelined for almost two months, it opens the door for Makar and Hughes to gain some separation in the rookie race. It also opens the door for dark horse picks like Nick Suzuki of the Montreal Canadiens or Martin Necas of the Carolina Hurricanes to make a run at the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Olofsson could very well return ahead of schedule and finish the year at a strong enough pace to rally and win the award. However, considering the production of both Makar and Hughes, combined with the fact that Olofsson is going to miss a fair amount of time, it’s clear why the Sabres rookie is now a long shot to win the Rookie of the Year award at +500 odds.

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