Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

Calder Memorial Trophy 2023-24 Award Nominees

Carolina Hurricanes Predictions

This is the time of year for the playoffs, but here at Last Word, we also need to discuss other parts of the entire hockey picture. That includes the 2024 NHL Entry Draft but also, in this series, we shall discuss the potential award winners. Today we look at the 2023-24 Calder Memorial Trophy award candidates and discuss the odds of winning for each of them. In the coming weeks, we will do similar follow-ups for all of the major NHL awards.

We Discuss Who Has the Best Odds of Winning this Year’s Calder Trophy

Connor Bedard

The race for this year’s Calder trophy does appear to be an uncontested one. Connor Bedard came in as the odds-on-favourite to win the Calder Trophy as the 2023 first-overall draft pick and has done nothing to dissuade the voting public. Despite missing six weeks with a jaw injury, he still has a double-digit lead in the rookie scoring race. Interestingly enough, that is over a defenceman, which will raise eyebrows as we will see below. However, that does nothing to take away from Bedard’s rookie performance. He came in with high expectations and has lived up to them. He plays hard for a small, 18-year-old, and has almost 20 minutes of ice time a night. Plus he’s not far off a point-per-game pace. 

Luke Hughes

Next up is the brother of another award candidate. Quinn Hughes may very well win the Norris Trophy this year, and Luke may as well one day. But we are here to discuss Luke’s case and his odds for the Calder trophy. It’s too bad the New Jersey Devils weren’t in playoff contention, that would really boost Hughes’ case for the Calder. As a note, missing the likes of Dougie Hamilton on the backend, hurt the d-core as a unit. However, Luke has done an admirable job. Hughes has gotten a decent look on the power play this year, which will only help him develop as an NHLer. He has an incredible CF% Rel (14.0).

He’s gotten more and more ice time as the season wore on, including a recent game against the New York Rangers. In the hard-fought April 3rd matchup, which saw 12 fighting majors handed out, Hughes played an incredible 32 minutes that night. That was definitely an anomaly but he is routinely over 23 minutes a night as the season has gone on. Including that game, in five of the last seven Devils games he has seen that much ice time. Also, he has produced offensively and is currently second amongst all scorers, d or forward, in rookie scoring. Now he might not win this year’s award, but Luke Hughes will be a mainstay on the Devils power play blueline for years to come.

Brock Faber

There is an outside chance Bedard doesn’t claim the 2024 Calder Trophy, and the cause and effect is Brock Faber. Some thought Faber was on his way to capturing it as Bedard continued to sit out. However, it seems that lives in the land of ‘what if.’ Forget Bedard for a second. Faber is a 21-year-old, rookie defenceman, on a team that wasn’t great. Maybe if he had more pieces around him, things could’ve been different. He recorded 46 points on the season. Moreover, he plays an astonishing 25-minutes a night for the Minnesota Wild defence. He’s not afraid to sacrifice his body, with his 150 blocked shots as a supporting argument. Even as a rookie, he is utilized in a defensive role, with a dSZ% of 53.4. He plays an aggressive style on both sides of the puck and takes advantage of his offensive opportunities as seen in his point total. Faber will threat on the backend for the Wild for year’s to come and his NHL Freshman season has been a treat to watch.

Marco Rossi

Let’s stay in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for our next candidate, Marco Rossi. The Austrian national has really come into his own in this his NHL rookie campaign. The 22-year-old had his 2020-21 season in particular impacted by injury. However, he put in work in 2022-23. He was nearly a point-per-game player with the Iowa Wild of the AHL with 51 points in 53 games. That translated impressively to this year in St. Paul, Minnesota. Rossi has a low-centre of gravity and very strong on his skates. Remind you of anybody? Perhaps teammate Kirill Kaprizov. Rossi is a 20-goal scorer this year in the show. He’s proven to be every part the man the club drafted ninth overall back in 2020. He won’t top Bedard or even Faber for that matter, but he is a reliable point producing NHLer for years to come.

Pyotr Kochetkov

Kochetkov is not the only decent rookie tender this year in the NHLbut he is likely the best. Joel Hofer or Samuel Ersson are a couple of other names who have experienced strong rookie campaigns between the pipes. In contrast, their number pales in comparison to Pyotr’s. For example, his 2.33 GAA is over three-tenths better than the next best, Hofer. Kochetkov has seen 42 games of action for his playoff-bound Carolina Hurricanes. He has a solid 23-13-4 record with four shutouts on the season. Also, he has a .911 SV%, and his GSAA is 7.6. Anyway you slice it, Kochetkov had a very impressive season. Don’t look for him to win the Calder, but he could end up finishing higher in the voting than most people expect. 

Some Other Players in the Race

There are some other players to discuss who had incredible rookie NHL seasons but aren’t quite in the running for the top prize. Adam Fantilli of the Columbus Blue Jackets proved he will be a force to be reckoned with in the NHL. He ended up with 27 points in 49 games and a nice CF% Rel of 8.2. He plays a complete game, and at 6’2” will be a force down the middle in Columbus for years to come. Also, Logan Cooley showed why his offensive skills were so highly touted coming out of the NCAA with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers. He scored 20 goals and added 24 assists appearing in all 82 games this season for the Arizona Coyotes. One last rookie of note, was 22-year-old Canadian, playing with the Philadelphia Flyers, Tyson Foerster. He showed that he could produce at the NHL level. In 77 games this year, he hit the 20-goal mark. Look for him to provide secondary NHL scoring throughout his career.

Our Final 2023-24 Calder Memorial Trophy Odds

When it comes down to our final predictions for who takes home the trophy, it seems wrapped. Bedard came in with too much hype and came too close to living up to it, not to walk away with the crown. The next two or three spots are fairly secure as well. Faber has a tremendous season on the Wild blueline. Look for him to take home the second spot in voting. Finally, as good as a season as Hughes had, Kochetkov had a great one as well. Look for Kochetkov to round out the top three voting positions. The NHL awards will be handed out in late June, sometime soon after the 2024 NHL Stanley Cup champion is crowned. Also, keep a watch for next in our series of potential award winners, as we will take a look at the Norris Trophy. 

Main photo: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports


More Posts

Send Us A Message