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Not just Bedardo. Who can stop a unique Canadian from becoming the NHL’s best rookie?

Date: April 21, 2024 Time: 20:17:33

The Calder Trophy is one of the NHL’s most unique individual awards. The uniqueness of the award given to the best rookie of the season lies, above all, in that it can only be won once, no matter how trivial it may seem. So, at one point, the real stars and legends fell short of the prize. Thus, Sidney Crosby faced Alexander Ovechkin throughout the season, but the journalists did not appreciate the efforts of the future captain of Pittsburgh and the Canadian national team: 124 out of 129 votes were cast in favor of the young forward from Washington. Or Connor McDavid, who before the start of his debut was considered not just the main, but almost the only contender for Calder, but an injury in the middle of the season did not allow him to take advantage of the first and last opportunity to win the award, which Artemy took advantage of. Panarin, who still won this award, remains the only one in his entire NHL career.

Artemi Panarin won the Calder Trophy

Photo: AP/TASS

In recent years, Calder has lost media relevance for several reasons. First of all, because of the lack of fight for it. Neither Makar, nor Kaprizov, nor Seider, nor Beniers, among the last winners of the trophy, completed almost any competition. Secondly, due to the lack of big names, because when Makar received the award they did not even think about valuing it so much, and for Seider and Beniers, receiving the award for best newcomer can continue to be a moment of glory. Although they are both certainly high-level players.

But before this season, there was a lot of talk about Calder. Of course, Connor Bedard, whose NHL debut was anticipated throughout North America, made a huge contribution to these discussions. However, besides Bedard, there was someone to talk about. Because the last draft turned out to be especially fruitful, hopes of immediately playing in the league centered on Adam Fantilli, Leo Karlsson and Zach Benson. And also about players from the previous generation, like Logan Cooley and Pavel Mintyukov.

Connor Bedard

Photo: AP/TASS

Connor Bedard, even taking into account his month and a half stay in the hospital, is still the main contender for the best rookie of the season award, but we won’t talk about him today. Let’s see what young talent lurks behind Bedard’s shadow and could become a big star in the future, or even beat out Connor this season. Still, it can be, right?

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Brock Faber (Minnesota Wild)

Statistics: 58 matches, 34 (4+30) points, utility indicator – “+2”

Faber was selected 45th overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and only broke into the starting lineup this season after just two games in the NHL. And this was a real blessing for Minnesota, which has been very short of money in recent seasons and cannot afford to find an experienced, well-paid defenseman on the market.

brock faber

Photo: AP/TASS

The American defender immediately settled into the team and scored a goal in the first game of the season. And he soon became the defender of the first pair, indispensable when playing in the majority. In his debut season, Faber plays an average of about 25 minutes per game, which does not tire him out, but only adds confidence to the game on both sides of the ice.

Recently, the NHL press service announced the provisional composition of the American team for the Four Nations Tournament, which included Brock, who played only half of the season at the NHL level. Is this not an indicator of rapid progress?

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Marco Rossi (Minnesota Wild)

Statistics: 58 games, 33 (17+16) points, utility indicator – “+2”

Another partner of Kirill Kaprizov was selected in the same draft as Faber. It is true that he was chosen ninth, which meant placing greater hopes in the young Austrian. Rossi was immediately chosen to play as a center forward on a line with the Russian striker, and his potential duo was projected to be the Wild’s attacking force for years to come. But if Kaprizov immediately put the league on his back, the Austrian had a long and laborious path to the base of Minnesota and only this season was he able to establish himself in the league.

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As mentioned above, Minnesota has created conditions for development due to low competition on the roster, and Rossi, like Faber, takes advantage of these conditions. The Austrian has not yet achieved a solid place in the top six, but throughout the season he periodically appears in combination with Boldi and Kaprizov. Additionally, Rossi is one of the top three center forwards among rookies in terms of spot play, even ahead of Connor Bedard. Marco is a versatile player who can score completely different goals: whether it’s an assist, a shot on the move or a wrist shot.

Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils)

Statistics: 57 games, 28 (8+20) points, utility indicator – “-15”

The younger Hughes went fourth in the 2021 draft. Hughes has already been viewed as a good potential offensive defenseman at the youth level, even ahead of his brother Quinn, who has been one of the best defenders in the league this season.

Luke Hughes

Photo: AP/TASS

Luke Hughes is especially distinguished by his excellent skating, although the height of the Devils defender is almost 190 centimeters. And added to this is an excellent wrist shot, which he has demonstrated more than once this season. Yes, the defensive game is still, of course, limping, but this also adds to the fact of New Jersey’s instability this season as a whole. An excellent test will be the puck against Columbus in the final minutes, where the young American defenseman showed some of his advantages for the public to see.

Video rights belong to NHL Enterprises, LP. You can see it on the NHL website.

Logan Cooley (Arizona Coyotes)

Statistics: 56 games, 27 (8+19) points, utility indicator – “-11”

“Arizona” is a team in which no one seems to be in a hurry. The players can be understood: the “Coyotes” always languish at the bottom of the standings, play in five thousand and also develop their prospects poorly. But sometimes players come along who can turn the franchise’s history in a different direction. Cooley was the third overall pick in the 2022 draft, but he didn’t push much, making his debut just this year.

Logan has the potential to be one of the best playmakers in the league because his biggest asset is his hockey IQ. Cooley, combined with a top-notch sniper, could score many times more points, but currently only Clayton Keller, who, again, is not a sniper, can be singled out as a teammate.

Video rights belong to NHL Enterprises, LP. You can see it on the NHL website.

Of course, there could be many more players in this ranking. Adam Fantilli began to reach Columbus’ top 6 from the first games, but an injury slowed his progress. Pavel Mintyukov also suffered an injury, although while he was injured, Anaheim traded their main competitor for a spot on the first power play special team in Jamie Drysdale, which is certainly an indicator of confidence. In addition, in the same “Anaheim” it is strange to see a special development program for Leo Karlsson, who entered the main lineup every other time, although he could easily have gained experience.

As for the question about Connor Bedard’s competitors in the fight for the Calder Trophy, the answer may be simple: there are many good newcomers, but none reach Bedard’s level. The fight probably could only have arisen if he had been on the injured list for a longer period of time. But Bedard, with his rapid recovery, answered the question about competition quite succinctly.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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