- A +230 favorite to win the Calder Trophy in the preseason, New Jersey’s Jack Hughes is not even included in the latest odds
- The 2019 no. 1-overall pick has seven points in his last six games
- Colorado defenseman Cale Makar is the new favorite at +240 odds
While Vancouver Canucks center Elias Pettersson ran away with the 2019 Calder Trophy vote, so far it appears the 2020 race will be much more competitive.
The favorite entering the season – first-overall pick Jack Hughes – has already been taken off the board, leaving defenseman Cale Makar of the Colorado Avalanche as the current favorite in the 2020 Calder Trophy odds.
2020 Calder Trophy Odds
|Cale Makar (Avalanche)||+240|
|Victor Olofsson (Sabres)||+350|
|Quinn Hughes (Canucks)||+500|
|Kaapo Kakko Rangers)||+600|
|Cody Glass (Golden Knights)||+1000|
|Alexandre Texier (Blue Jackets)||+1400|
|Sam Steel (Ducks)||+1500|
|Ville Heinola (Jets)||+1600|
|Drake Batherson (Senators)||+1800|
|Filip Zadina (Red Wings)||+1800|
|Martin Necas (Hurricanes)||+1800|
|Dylan Cozens (Sabres)||+2000|
|Emil Bemstrom (Blue Jackets)||+2000|
|Maxime Comtois (Ducks)||+2000|
Odds taken Nov. 5th.
The Case For Makar
In some ways, the Avalanche defenseman came into this season with a sizeable advantage over the rest of the field. Not only had he already made his NHL debut last season, but he did it in the heat of a playoff run.
If that wasn’t enough, he also scored in his first taste of NHL action, and ultimately contributed six points in 10 games as Colorado advanced all the way to Game 7 of the second round against San Jose.
So while 11 points in his first 14 career regular-season games is impressive, it’s hardly surprising.
Cale Makar is a transition machine. He is such a smooth yet aggressive skater. He doesn't just enter the offensive zone, he attacks it with a purpose. As he develops over the next couple of years, he's going to be one of the most exciting players in the NHL to watch. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/LPE1COL3sO
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) October 31, 2019
On top of that, Makar is playing on one of the elite Western Conference teams, and one with designs on going far deeper into the playoffs than the second round this time.
Makar is currently third on the team in scoring. His 11 points have him on pace for 64 on the season, which would annihilate the franchise record for rookie defenseman, set by Bruce Bell in 1984-85 when the franchise was still based in Quebec City.
Cale Makar went from being named the top NCAA hockey player to scoring a goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs just a few days later.
He's only 20 👀 pic.twitter.com/cWuflyFcUy
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 16, 2019
Makar is no stranger to the award circuit, having picked up the Hobey Baker Award as the top NCAA hockey player last season, in addition to leading last year’s World Junior Hockey Championships in points by a defenseman and being named to the all-tournament team.
The Case For Olofsson
With 10 points through the first 15 games, the Sabres winger is doing his part to aid Buffalo’s strong start to the season. Olofsson has shown himself to be something of a power-play specialist, scoring all six goals this year and the two he got last year with the man advantage – an NHL record.
The young Swede was rewarded for the fast start to his career by being named NHL Rookie of the Month for October.
Victor Olofsson of the @BuffaloSabres, who led all rookies with 6-4—10 and six power-play goals in 13 GP, has been named the NHL’s “Rookie of the Month” for October. https://t.co/vj5s2XSwBW pic.twitter.com/nBTB7yVohk
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 1, 2019
As a 24-year-old, Olofsson also has a little more experience to draw on than the rest of the rookie crop. The fact that he played parts of six professional seasons in both Sweden and the AHL before getting called up late last season might have prepared him for the long grind of the NHL season, which can catch some first-year players out.
The Case For Someone Else
Another notable omission on the current odds board is Toronto forward Ilya Mikheyev. Much like Olofsson, Mikheyev is also an over-age rookie. The 25-year-old shares the rookie scoring lead with Makar at 11 points.
The Russian has certainly made the most of the ice time that has come his way on the Leafs’ third line, but that might change as the Toronto lineup gets back to full health.
Auston Matthews is a big Ilya Mikheyev fan: "He plays a lot like Datsyuk." pic.twitter.com/r5dBAVNafi
— Yahoo Sports Canada (@YahooCASports) September 21, 2019
The imminent return of Zach Hyman will push one of Andreas Johnsson or Trevor Moore down to the third line, leaving Mikheyev looking at fourth-line minutes or worse.
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) November 3, 2019
Hughes Should Not Be Written Off
Hughes did not score a point in his first six NHL games, but he has seven points in his last six, and the Devils’ youngster looks like he is starting to pick up the NHL game.
It doesn’t hurt that he has been playing on a line with former NHL MVP Taylor Hall, who draws a lot of the attention, giving the 18-year-old a little more freedom. The fact that he’s not eligible to bet on, however, makes this year’s whole Calder Trophy betting situation more of a crapshoot than ever.
While Jack Hughes may be set to break out, Makar (+240) looks every inch an Avalanche superstar in the making, likely sooner than later.
Pick: Makar (+240)
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