Cale Makar Widens Lead as Rookie of the Year Favorite; Quinn Hughes Moves to Second

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is the favorite to win the Calder Trophy in 2020. Photo By @Avalanche (Twitter)
  • Colorado defenseman Cale Makar is leading all rookies in scoring through 26 games this season
  • Vancouver blueliner Quinn Hughes has seen his odds surge from +1200 to +350, second only to Makar
  • No defenseman has won the Calder Trophy since 2015

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar’s odds to win the Calder Trophy as NHL’s rookie of the year shortened this week.

Makar, who leads all rookies in scoring with 26 points through 26 games this season, is listed as the +200 favorite to capture the Calder Trophy in 2020.

Can Makar hang on the rest of the way and become the first defenseman in five years to claim rookie of the year or will another first-year player outduel the former Hobey Baker winner?

Here’s a closer look at the Calder Trophy odds as well as current stats for the 2019-20 season.

2020 NHL Calder Trophy Odds

Player Position GP Points Odds
Cale Makar (Avalanche) Defense 26 26 +200
Quinn Hughes (Canucks) Defense 27 23 +350
Victor Olofsson (Sabres) Forward 27 20 +400
Ilya Mikheyev (Maple Leafs) Forward 27 17 +600
Martin Necas (Hurricanes) Forward 26 16 +600

Odds taken on Dec. 2

When the odds for the Calder Trophy opened at the beginning of the season, the top-two picks in the 2019 draft (the Devils’ Jack Hughes and the Rangers Kaapo Kakko) were favored. Makar was next on the list  at +500 when the odds were reported on Oct. 1. Since then, Makar has been the NHL’s best rookie, which is why his odds shortened, first, to +430, then to +240, and now to their current price.

Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks also saw huge movement in Calder Trophy odds, opening as a +1200 dark horse and settling at +350.

Kakko got off to a sluggish start but has heated up of late with six goals and 11 points in 23 games played. Can the Finnish scorer put himself back into Calder Trophy contention?

Calder Trophy Race Between Defensemen So Far

This year’s rookie class isn’t star-studded. While Kakko has the potential to overtake both Makar and Hughes in the rookie of the year odds, the Calder Trophy race at the moment is between the two defensemen.

By the time the award is announced in 2020, Makar or Hughes could become the first blue-liner in five years to take the honor. The last time a defenseman won the Calder Trophy was 2015 when Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers was named rookie of the year. Tyler Myers, who won the Calder in 2010, is the only other defenseman to capture NHL ROY honors in the last ten years.

The question is, can either Makar or Hughes maintain this scoring pace all season long?

Makar is the reason why Colorado GM Joe Sakic decided to trade Tyson Barrie to the Maple Leafs in the off-season. It’s a decision that turned out to be the right one for the Avs, who are second in the Central Division after 26 games.

Makar has been a huge part of Colorado’s early success, scoring eight goals and 26 points during that stretch. Makar also has a plus-10 rating and has 10 points on the power play this season.

According to ESPN’s stats forecast, Makar is currently on pace for 25 goals and 57 assists this season.

Don’t Count Out Hughes

Makar has the edge with more goals at this point of the season, but don’t count out Hughes, who has made tremendous strides early on in the season. With 23 points in 27 games, Hughes has showed he can contend for a Calder Trophy in 2020. According to ESPN’s stats forecast for Hughes, the Canucks defenseman is on pace for 69 points this season.

Looking to bet on the best forward to win the Calder Trophy?

Swedish winger Victor Olofsson has emerged as a frontrunner with the Sabres. Playing on a line with Jack Eichel for most of the season, Olofsson is on pace for 30 goals and 61 points. There’s excellent value in taking Olofsson at +400 with much more season to go.

However, Makar is on a young Avalanche team that loves to score and will likely remain on pace to win NHL ROY in 2020.

Pick: Cale Makar (+200)

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