Wide-Open Race Expected for 2017-18 Calder Trophy

Matthew Jordan

Thursday, October 12, 2017 1:51 PM UTC

Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017 1:51 PM UTC

No member of the Arizona Coyotes franchise has ever won one of the major NHL awards. Could that change in 2017-18 with rookie Clayton Keller? He’s your early Bovada favorite for the Calder Trophy.

The NHL’s five major regular-season awards are the Hart Trophy (MVP), Vezina Trophy (best goaltender), Norris Trophy (best defenseman), Selke Trophy (best defensive forward) and Calder Trophy (rookie of the year). The Coyotes have been in Arizona since the 1996-97 season and have never had a player win one of those five. However, forward Clayton Keller is the +450 early favorite at Bovada to win this season’s Calder Trophy.

If we are being honest, this year’s rookie class isn’t considered to be one of the best in recent years. There’s no sure-fire franchise player like Auston Matthews, who won last year’s Calder with Toronto, or Edmonton’s Connor McDavid, who was third in the 2015-16 Calder Trophy voting (then-Blackhawk Artemi Panarin won it) only because he missed a chunk of the season due to a broken collarbone. McDavid might already be the best player in the NHL and is the reigning Hart Trophy winner. 

Keller was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Coyotes. He starred for a few U.S. junior national teams and had 21 goals and 24 assists last season with Boston University. Keller has been compared to another star American player, Chicago’s Patrick Kane, who won the 2007-08 Calder and later won a Hart Trophy (and three Stanley Cups). Keller had a cup of coffee with the Coyotes in 2016-17, playing three games and recording two assists. The Coyotes are rebuilding so Keller is going to play a lot – he leads all rookies in average time on ice this season.

New Jersey’s Nico Hischier is +500 on the NHL futures. The Swiss teenager was the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft. He had a combined 111 points with Halifax of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and Swiss national team in 2016-17. Hischier models his game after former Red Wings star Pavel Datsyuk. Hischier wears No. 13 because Datsyuk wore No. 13. Datsyuk is a future Hall of Famer and won the Selke Trophy three times. Hischier got his first NFL point on Oct. 9 in Buffalo, an assist. The Devils have had two Calder winners: future Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur in 1994 and Scott Gomez in 2000.

Other NHL betting options on this prop are Vancouver’s Brock Boeser (+700), Boston’s Anders Bjork (+700), Boston’s Charlie McAvoy (+700), Chicago’s Alex DeBrincat (+800), Philadelphia’s Nolan Patrick (+900), Arizona’s Dylan Stromme (+900), Colorado’s Tyson Jost (+1200), Edmonton’s Kailer Yamamoto (+2000) and Washington’s Jakub Vrana (+2000). These odds will be in flux all season; interesting that Devils left winger Jesper Bratt isn’t on this list as he leads all rookies in points as of this writing. Bratt, 19, was a 2016 sixth-round pick and wasn't expected to make the team out of camp this year. 

Patrick was the No. 2 overall pick this year by the Flyers and many scouts had him as the top player on the board. He might have gone first but for some medical concerns. He missed more than half of last season for Brandon of the Western Hockey League due to a sports hernia and had a second abdominal surgery before being drafted. Patrick scored his first NHL goal on Oct. 10 in Nashville. Rather amazingly, the Flyers have never had a Calder Trophy winner.

Free NHL Pick: DeBrincat +800Best Line Offered: Bovada
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