- Connor Bedard, the 2023 No. 1 draft pick, is a top contender for the NHL Rookie of the Year.
- Despite longer odds, Jakob Pelletier and Tyson Foerster could also shine in the upcoming season.
- The Philadelphia Flyers are looking to rebuild the team, giving Tyson Foerster a chance for more game time.
- Other potential contenders for the Calder Memorial Trophy include Luke Hughes, Matthew Knies, Devon Levi, and Adam Fantili.
- Australia is set to host the NHL preseason games in 2023.
- Betting on the Rookie of the Year is available at various US sportsbooks, including DraftKings and BetRivers.
The NHL, the world’s premier hockey league, is about to welcome a wave of promising young talents to the ice, and the anticipation of watching these rising stars debut in the upcoming season is high. We are sure to be in for an exciting season watching these young talents duke it out for the prestigious Calder Memorial Trophy — the annual prize awarded to the season’s most successful and impactful rookie.
To be eligible for the Rookie of the Year Award, a player must not have participated in more than 25 games in a single preceding season nor more than five games in each of the previous two seasons in any professional league. One last rule is that the player cannot have celebrated their 26th birthday by September.
US sportsbooks have already compiled lists of players, with one youngster standing head and shoulders above the rest. We are about to meet Connor Bedard, the 2023 No. 1 draft pick who is about to make a thunderous debut in the NHL. Judging by the latest lines, other challengers will have a mountain to climb to win the Calder Memorial Trophy.
Top Pick — Connor Bedard (-125) with BetRivers
Connor is a generational talent, and he has everything he needs to thrive in the strongest league in the world. Unlike the majority of his counterparts for the Calder Trophy, he has a guaranteed spot in the first line.
The Chicago Blackhawks selected him as the No 1 pick for a reason, and Connor will be their talisman in the final third. He will get the main power-play time and everything in Chicago’s offense should revolve around him.
The hype around Connor is huge. DraftKings even has a special market dedicated to the No. 1 pick, as you can place wagers on the team Bedard will score his first career goal against. The Penguins, the Bruins, and the Canadiens carry the shortest odds as the maiden three Blackhawks’ rivals in the new NHL campaign.
Most sportsbooks, including DraftKings, have Bedard at -140 or -145 to win the Rookie of the Year award. BetRivers still has him at -125. Despite the minus odds and although only five No. 1 draft picks have won this award since 2000, we can see the value. Do not forget this is a generational talent with all the predispositions to become a superstar in his very rookie campaign.
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Decent Value — Jakob Pelletier (+3000) with DraftKings
Jakob Pelletier has hit the American Hockey League by storm, deserving a call-up to the Calgary Flames in the second half of the last season. He featured in 24 games in the NHL, meaning he is just eligible to compete for the Calder Memorial in the upcoming campaign. A lot of forwards and defenders are ahead of Jakob according to the odds, but we like his chances of shining at Calgary.
The Flames are still in a transitioning period after losing Tyler Toffoli. They will rotate plenty of wingers around, and Pelletier will get his minutes, especially after delivering decent showings in the latter half of the last season.
If he takes advantage of limited time on the ice and proves his worth early in the season, the sky will be the limit. If he does not, then never mind — we are shooting for the +3000 odds, anyway.
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Longshot — Tyson Foerster (+7500) with BetRivers
Besides Bedard, it is very difficult to predict which rookies are going to get regular minutes on the ice for their respective teams in the upcoming season. If we have to cherry-pick one player among all these prospects, it would be Tyson Foerster.
The main reason is that he will play for the Philadelphia Flyers, who are in a terrible spot and willing to sacrifice one entire season to build a team.
According to the latest announcements, the Flyers are looking to lose even more players as we approach the start of the season. They want to build a completely new team that will be competitive in the years to come. In these circumstances,
it would be reasonable to expect more game-time for young Tyson. He took the most out of the opportunities to wear the Flyers’ shirt in the previous NHL term, scoring three goals and seven points in eight appearances.
Given enough minutes on the ice, Foerster has the potential to make an enormous impact. We can see a world in which he delivers goals regularly, and that spark he carries along adds value to the lucrative +7500 odds for this pick.
The Rest of the Field
Without Bedard in the mix, it would be anyone’s game in the race for the trophy, just as the odds suggest. Here is how things look at this moment at BetRivers:
- Luke Hughes (+800)
- Logan Cooley (+1000)
- Devon Levi (+1150)
- Brandt Clarke (+1500)
- Luke Evangelista (+1500)
- Matthew Knies (+2000)
- Shane Wright (+2000)
- Adam Fantili (+2000)
- David Jiricek (+2500)
- Matthew Coronato (+2500)
- Marco Rossi (+3000)
- Tye Kartye (+3500)
- Simon Nemec (+3500)
- Cutter Gauthier (+4000)
- Raphael Lavoie (+4000)
The list goes on; you can check it in full on the sportsbook’s website. According to the experts, several names stand out among these, but we have enough reasons not to back them ahead of the three aforementioned picks in this article.
You will probably hear a lot about Luke Hughes, Matthew Knies, Devon Levi, and Adam Fantili in the upcoming period. Nevertheless, we do not want any of them to win the award.
Hughes is a defenseman, which is a big red flag, knowing a forward has won the Calder Trophy in 10 of the previous 13 years. The run includes the last season when Seattle Kraken’s Matty Beniers claimed the prize.
Hughes was great in his five maiden NHL appearances, recording four points in the process. He will join his brother in the New Jersey Devils, who could be contenders this season. As such, Hughes ticks enough boxes to be among the top three finalists. The presence of Bedard and the fact he is a defenseman take away the value from his +800 odds, though.
Matthew Knies was drafted in 2021 by the Toronto Maple Leafs. He was on fire at last season’s death, featuring in the final three regular-season games and seven playoff matchups. The fact he scored four points in seven postseason affairs speaks volumes about him.
However, Toronto has signed the likes of Maxi Domi and Tyler Bertuzzi, which is why we do not see Knies getting more time to play this time around.
Judging by the latest lines, Devon Levi is the fourth favorite for the Calder. He should be the main man between the pipes for Buffalo this year, knowing the Sabres have not been in the market for a goalie in the summer.
They have also bolstered the back line, and Levi has enough upside with his projected game-time. The big downside is that he is a goaltender. A goalie has not won this trophy in more than a decade. Columbus’ Steve Mason was the last to take it home in 2009.
Finally, a prospect we can see racking up big numbers is Adam Fantili. Much like Bedard, he comes in from this year’s draft class. He is a forward, a big talent, and he will play in an always-exciting Columbus Blue Jackets offensive line.
The problem is his game time. Fantili will have to fight for minutes with some pretty good attackers, such as Jack Roslovic, Boone Jenner, and Cole Sillinger. If he gets the time and opportunity, we might witness the rise of a new star.
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