Quinn Hughes (+100) Almost Even With Makar (-130) in Latest 2020 Rookie of the Year Odds

Vancouver Canucks' rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes skating off the ice
Quinn Hughes is closing in on Avalanche blueliner Cale Makar in the 2020 Calder Trophy race. Which player should you bet on heading into the final stretch of the season? Photo by @NHL (Twitter).
  • Cale Makar’s 2020 Calder Trophy odds have steadily dropped since midseason
  • Quinn Hughes remains at +100 despite being named NHL Rookie of the Month for February
  • Which player should you bet to win Rookie of the Year?

The battle for the Calder Trophy is shaping up to be a very intense two-horse race. Colorado’s Cale Makar has seen his 2020 Calder Trophy odds fall from a season-best -238 to -130 over the past two months, while Quinn Hughes has improved from +213 to +100 since January, despite stagnating over the last four weeks. No other rookie is shorter than +5000.

With about 15 games left before votes are submitted, which player should you bet on to win NHL Rookie of the Year?

2019-20 NHL Calder Trophy Odds

Player (Team) Odds
Cale Makar (Avalanche) -130
Quinn Hughes (Canucks) +100
Dominik Kubalik (Blackhawks) +5000
Victor Olofsson (Sabres) +6600

Odds taken March 2.

Makar has 12 goals,  47 points, and a +11 rating in 56 games, while Hughes has eight goals, 51 points, and a -9 rating in 64 games.

Makar On The Decline

Once considered the prohibitive favorite to win the trophy, Makar’s Calder Trophy odds have steadily dropped since the midpoint of the season. The 21-year-old has gone from -238 (Jan 3) to -160 (Feb. 3) to -130 (Mar 2).

Makar’s odds are dropping because he’s no longer producing at the elite level he was earlier in the season. He’s recorded just one goal and 10 points in 15 games since the All-Star break after racking up 11 goals and 37 points in his first 41 games of the season.

Makar is still the favorite as he’s scored four more goals than Hughes despite missing some time with injury. He also has a much better plus-minus rating and a slight edge in points-per-game (0.84 vs. 0.78).

Hughes Takes Flight

Quinn Hughes isn’t getting much love from oddsmakers despite turning in an incredible month of February. The 20-year-old is still being listed at +100 despite racking up two goals and 15 points in 13 February games to earn the NHL’s Rookie of the Month honors.

Makar was certainly the better player in the early goings of the season, but Hughes has arguably been the best rookie since the New Year. Since the calendar switched over to 2020, Hughes has dominated with five goals and 23 points in 25 games. Not only does Hughes lead all NHL rookie blueliners in that span, but those 25 points are the most among all NHL defenseman.

Hughes is also more valuable to the Canucks than Makar is to Colorado. The Avalanche are a better team than the Canucks and Maker has had better defense partners and offensive talent to work with. Hughes also holds a slight edge in some key statistical categories, including TOI (21:45 vs. 21:00) and XGF% (53.41 vs. 53.24).

It’s A Pick’Em

This is shaping up to be one of the closest Calder races in NHL history. With how identical the two player’s production has been this season, the trophy is likely going to be won in the final stretch of the season. 

Hughes is gaining great traction right now, but Makar could easily re-assert his dominance with a big final stretch. In fact, despite Hughes’ recent strong play, a poll conducted by 18 NHL.com writers published on Feb. 25 still has Makar in front with a nice cushion. The Avalanche rookie received 11 first-place votes and 82 points in the poll, while Hughes received only six first-place votes and 77 points.

Considering how good both of these blueliners have been, you have to look for upside and value when placing your bet. That’s where Hughes takes the cake. The Canucks are still battling for playoff position and have lost starting goalie Jacob Markstrom and forward Brock Boeser to injury.

Hughes has the chance in these last 15 games to put the Canucks on his back even more and carry the team into the postseason.

Best Bet to Win the 2020 Calder Trophy

This two-way race for the Calder could really go either way, but the better value lies with Hughes. He’s been the better player since the New Year and has been more valuable to Vancouver than Makar has been to Colorado.

The Canucks are going to need their best defenseman more than ever in this final stretch, while the Avalanche are already a lock for the playoffs and will be just fine if Makar’s production continues to tail off.

Pick: Quinn Hughes (+100)

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