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Quinn Hughes (+100) Almost Even With Cale Makar (-160) in NHL Rookie of the Year Odds

Quinn Hughes celebrating
BetOnline lists defensemen Cale Makar (-160) and Quinn Hughes (+100) as the top contenders for the Calder Trophy as NHL rookie of the year. Photo by @TSNHockey (Twitter)
  • BetOnline lists Colorado Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar as its -160 favorite to win the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year
  • Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes (+100) is the second betting choice
  • Just one defenseman has won the Calder in the past nine years

Quinn Hughes wasn’t the Hughes sibling that oddsmakers anticipated would be the one in the running to win to the 2019-20 Calder Trophy.

When the first line on the contenders for the NHL’s rookie of the year award dropped on October 1st, Jack Hughes of the New Jersey Devils (+230) and Kaapo Kakko of the New York Rangers (+240), the #1 and #2 picks from the last draft, opened as favorites.

Instead, it’s a pair of defensemen – Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche (-160) and Quinn Hughes of the Vancouver Canucks (+100) – who are running neck and neck in the 2020 Calder Trophy odds.

2019-20 NHL Calder Trophy Odds

Player (Team) Total at BetOnline
Cale Makar (Avalanche) -160
Quinn Hughes (Canucks) +100
Victor Olofsson (Sabres) +1200

Odds taken Feb. 4

The last defenseman to win the Calder was Aaron Ekblad of the Florida Panthers in 2014-15.

The Hughes Corporation

Quinn Hughes is stepping up and rocking the boat in the Calder race. He’s recorded 21 points (6-15-21) in his last 28 games. That puts Hughes first among NHL rookies with 39 points (8-31-39).

Selected to the NHL All-Star Game, Hughes became the second rookie defenseman to score a goal in the game. Denis Potvin tallied once for the East All-Stars in the 27th All-Star Game in 1974.

Hughes was the fourth rookie defenseman to skate in the All-Star Games in the past 33 years.

With his participation in All-Star Weekend, the Canucks have become the first NHL team in the expansion era (since 1967-68) to have sent rookies to three consecutive NHL All-Star Games (Hughes, Elias Pettersson, Brock Boeser).

Petterson was the 2018-19 Calder recipient.

Making a Case for Makar

An eight-game injust absence for Makar in December enabled Hughes to close the gap in him both statistically and on the odds board. But Makar has collected 2-2-4 numbers in his past four games.

With his next goal or assist, Makar will break the Avalanche franchise record for the most points by a rookie defenseman in a single season. He’s currently tied with Bruce Bell, who had 37 for the Quebec  Nordiques in 1984-85.

Makar has already set the franchise rookie record for a defenseman with 11 goals, topping John-Michael Liles’ 10 in 2003-04. He leads all rookies with four game-winning goals.

It’s a Short List

BetOnline has already reduced its rookie betting market to three players with an implied probability of 119%, none of whom are early favorites Kakko or Jack Hughes.

Buffalo Sabres forward Victor Olofsson (+1200) is the only other player getting odds at the moment. Olofsson is third in rookie scoring (16-19-35).

Those on the outs include Chicago Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik, the rookie goal-scoring leader with 21.

Rare That Calder Goes to D

The fact of the matter is that the Calder is a match race between Makar and Quinn Hughes. That it’s a race between two defensemen is unusual.

Rearguards have won just three of the past 21 Calders. Though the trophy was first presented in 1932-33, it wasn’t until Toronto’s Kent Douglas in 1962-63 that a defenseman was the winner. The last time blueliners finished 1-2 in the Calder voting was Boston’s Bobby Orr and Chicago’s Ed Van Impe in 1966-67.

The Calder Trophy was first presented in 1932-33 but a defenseman didn’t win the award until 1962-63 in Toronto’s Kent Douglas.

If surprising Vancouver maintains its top spot in the Pacific Division, Hughes will win the Calder. But if the young Canucks fade, it’s Makar’s award to win.

Pick: Quinn Hughes (+100)

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