NHL Rookie Of The Year Predictions
NHL Rooke Of The Year Monthly Ladder
By Angelo Montilla
Here are a few Calder Trophy betting options to consider early in the NHL season, with odds courtesy of Bodog.
Auston Matthews – Toronto Maple Leafs (-135)
The Maple Leafs’ rising superstar made a statement on opening night of the season by scoring four goals against the Ottawa Senators. While Matthews has since cooled off somewhat, he still remains the top choice to capture the 2016 Calder Trophy as the NHL rookie of the year. Matthews is pegged as a -135 favorite to win the award, according to Bodog oddsmakers.
After netting six goals in the first 12 games of the season, the No. 1 overall pick in 2016 is on pace for a 40-goal campaign. It may be asking too much for a 19-year-old, but much like his NHL debut, Matthews is more than capable of finishing among the league’s best scorers.
The Leafs are certainly not easing their franchise star into the league either, as Matthews is averaging 17:21 minutes per game — ranking third among forwards. That’s given Matthews, who leads all rookies with 51 shots on goal this season, plenty of chances to get on the scoresheet on a nightly basis.
Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets (+260)
Don’t count out Patrik Laine — the other half of what is sure to be an entertaining Calder Trophy race this season. The Winnipeg Jets sniper leads all rookies with eight goals through 13 games so far.
Not to be outdone by Matthews’ four-goal debut, Laine countered with a hat trick of his own against the Leafs’ star nonetheless. To put it simply, this is going to be a two-horse race all season long. However some hockey betting experts are putting their money on the 18-year-old, especially considering the Finnish winger is surrounded by more experienced players in Winnipeg.
Laine is averaging 19:00 minutes of ice time per game — the highest among first-year players. His four power-play markers also top all rookies. While the Leafs have been using Matthews on the top unit and in key situations, the Jets have been easing Laine into the league by utilizing him on the third line.
William Nylander – Toronto Maple Leafs (+325)
It’s hard to call the leading point getter among rookies a sleeper for the Calder Trophy. But Leafs winger William Nylander will be a player to watch in the race for rookie of the year.
Through 12 regular season games, Nylander sits first in rookie scoring with 12 points playing alongside Matthews on the Maple Leafs’ top line.
If you’re going to let it all ride on Nylander, now’s the best time to put your money on the slick Swede, who is pegged at +325 to win the Calder Trophy.
Of Nylander’s four goals this season, four have come on the man advantage. Spending last season in the American Hockey League has definitely paid off for Nylander, whose seven power-play points top all rookie scorers.
Jimmy Vesey – New York Rangers (+1400)
Last summer’s hottest free agent commodity, Jimmy Vesey is proving why several NHL teams were fighting for his services.
The former Harvard University standout has lived up to the hype 13 games into the NHL season where he ranks tied for third in rookie scoring with six goals and four assists. Despite getting time on the Rangers’ top line, head coach Alain Vigneault has limited Vesey’s ice time to 14:43 per game for the 23-year-old left-winger.
Bodog oddmakers still have Vesey among a handful of favorites to win the Calder Trophy at +1400. It’ll be hard for Vesey to keep this scoring pace, especially considering he’s never endured anything close to a full 82-game season playing college hockey at Harvard.
While he’ll most likely finish in the top five in rookie scoring, Vesey will struggle to keep pace with the likes of Matthews and Laine.
Zach Werenski – Columbus Blue Jackets (+1800)
A Calder Trophy candidate list just wouldn’t be complete without at least one defenseman. That’s where Zach Werenski comes into the mix as the Blue Jackets rear-guard tops all rookie defensemen with 10 points in 10 games played.
Werenski’s five power-play points also ranks tied for second with Laine among rookie scorers. There aren’t many top-notch defensemen in this year’s crop of rookies, but Werenski — a Michigan Wolverines grad — should have a solid freshman campaign playing in John Tortorella’s offensive system in Columbus.
It’s a longshot, but Bodog is offering a +1800 line Werenski will win the Calder Trophy.
Calder Trophy Pick: Patrik Laine (+260)
Runner-up: Auston Matthews (-135)
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