The 2022-23 National Hockey League (NHL) season is less than two months away with the San Jose Sharks and Nashville Predators kicking off the year at the 02 Arena in Prague, Czech Republic on October 7. This year marks a complete return to normalcy as the season will begin in early October and conclude, barring any setbacks, in early June.
One of the interesting things to follow during the off-season is the betting odds for the league’s top trophies. Most sportsbooks already have favorites for many of these trophies, including the Hart Trophy and James Norris Trophy.
Not surprisingly, Connor McDavid (+300) is the betting favorite to win the Hart, while 2021-22 winner Auston Matthews (+420) and Leon Draisaitl (+600) are in second and third, respectively. Cale Maker (+200), Roman Josi (+600), and Victor Hedman (+700) are the favorites to win the Norris – no surprises there.
But what about the Calder Trophy? It’s hard at this point to handicap the top rookies in the league, especially considering we don’t quite yet know which rookies will make their respective teams. With that said, let’s take a look at three likely Calder Trophy candidates.
It’s hard to make a list like this and leave off the first overall pick in the prior draft. Juraj Slafkovsky has as good a chance as any to win the Calder Trophy in 2022-23, assuming the Montreal Canadiens aren’t too patient with the rising Slovak star.
Slafkovsky has the look, charisma, and attitude of a star. He’s also a very mature player for his age, which is part of the reason the Canadiens preferred him over Shane Wright, who eventually fell to No. 4 to the Seattle Kraken. Slafkovsky had 10 points in 31 games last season with TPS Turku in Finland, but was at his best on the big stage – he led Slovakia to a bronze medal in the Olympics and was even better in the World Championships, with nine points in eight games.
Auston Matthews was the last No. 1 overall pick to win the Calder Trophy in the following year. Habs fans would be happy to see their prized possession follow suit.
Owen Power should – and probably will be – the betting favorite for the Calder Trophy among sportsbooks. He’s in a great situation in Buffalo, where he should play more than 20 minutes a night in all situations.
Power is one of the most exciting prospects in recent memory and his game mirrors Victor Hedman. He’s 6-foot-6, 213 pounds, but has a smooth and impressive skating stride to go along with great offensive instincts. Power had 32 points in 33 games as a sophomore with the University of Michigan last season and showed flashes of his future in eight games with Buffalo, scoring two goals and adding one assist.
While all eyes will be on Shane Wright (if he makes the team) in Seattle, Matty Beniers will likely be the team’s top rookie. He’s a year older than Wright and already has NHL experience.
Beniers, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, recorded nine points in 10 games last season with the Kraken. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound center also produced 43 points in 37 games with the University of Michigan. Expect him to play top-six minutes for the Kraken.
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