- Canucks forward Elias Pettersson is a heavy favorite to win the 2019 Calder Trophy as the NHL’s top rookie.
- The last Swede to win the Calder was Gabriel Landeskog of the Colorado Avalanche in 2011-12.
- The only Canuck to win the Calder was Pavel Bure in 1991-92.
Elias Pettersson’s first NHL season couldn’t have started much better. The Vancouver center was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Month for October and leads all first-year players in scoring with 10 points in eight games.
Sportsbooks are equally impressed listing Pettersson as the prohibitive favorite at -190.
Odds to win 2018-19 Calder Trophy
|Elias Pettersson (Canucks)
|Andrei Svechnikov (Hurricanes)
|Miro Heiskanen (Stars)
|Rasmus Dahlin (Sabres)
Just 19, Pettersson also leads all NHL rookies in goals (seven), and shares the lead in power-play goals with two. He’s tallied his seven goals on just 19 shots for a 36.8 shooting percentage, also tops among first-year players. All this despite missing six games due to a concussion.
He is just the second Canuck to be named the NHL’s top freshman for October. Vancouver’s Peter Schaefer won the honor in October 1999.
Thus far, there’s been no learning curve where Pettersson is concerned. He launched his NHL career with a five-game point streak, collecting 5-3-8 totals in that span, joining Don Tannahill (1972-73) as the only Canucks to begin a season with points in the first five games of the season.
Pettersson scored seven goals in his first seven NHL games, becoming the 21st player in NHL history to do so.
The Elias Points Bureau
Last season, Pettersson led the Swedish Elitserien in scoring with 24-32-56 in 44 games for the Vaxjo Lakers. His totals broke the single-season scoring mark for a teenager in the Swedish elite league (54 points, set by former NHLer Kent Nilsson in 1975-76).
But Pettersson, who averaged 1.27 points per game last season (and is at 1.25 per game so far this season), wasn’t done. He was named playoff MVP as he led the Lakers to the championship. Pettersson collected 19 points in 13 postseason games, averaging 1.46 points per game.
Patience Pays Off
The fifth player chosen in the 2017 NHL entry draft, that extra year of development back home is paying dividends. Expected to play right wing until he adjusted to the NHL, Pettersson slid quickly into the center slot for Vancouver.
Contrast that with the player most saw as Calder favorite entering the season, Buffalo Sabres defenseman and fellow Swede Rasmus Dahlin.
Elias Pettersson vs Rasmus Dahlin Statistical Comparison
The first overall choice in the 2018 draft, Dahlin has been slower to adjust to NHL life, another reason why Pettersson looks like the smart play for the Calder.