There is an exciting crop of rookies looking to break into the NHL this season with no shortage of future superstar talent. Let’s get a head start featuring some of the best of the bunch as five early 2022-23 Calder Trophy Favourites so you all know who to watch for during the season.
Matthew Beniers, Seattle Kraken, C
Matty Beniers, the second overall pick in the 2021 NHL draft, is an incredible offensive talent. He only played in 10 games with the Seattle Kraken last season, as he returned to play most of the year with the University of Michigan powerhouse team, but had nine points. He likely already slots in as the number one centre for the Kraken and will get plenty of ice time, plenty of powerplay time, and every opportunity to rack up points in his rookie season.
Beniers is a great hockey mind with a high hockey IQ. He can read and create plays in any situation and is even fairly reliable defensively. He takes the spot as the top 2022-23 Calder Trophy favourite for me with how outstanding he is in nearly every single aspect of the game.
Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks, C
Drafted third overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Mason McTavish is one of the best prospects in the league right now. He had two goals and three points in his nine-game debut with the Anaheim Ducks last season, but he slots in as an NHL regular for 2022-23.
McTavish had an interesting development arc through his junior days, as he only played one full season in the OHL with the Peterborough Petes. He spent his draft year in Switzerland, where he had 11 points in 13 games. In his D+1 season, aside from the NHL debut, he put up 40 points in 23 games in the AHL, which is a notoriously difficult league for younger players to score in at a high rate.
He is an exciting prospect with a combination of speed, size, and scoring. McTavish is a goal scorer, through and through. It is probably the main highlight of his game. Well, that and his defensive awareness as he saved the game for Canada at the World Juniors this summer.
Owen Power, Buffalo Sabres, D
It was very unconventional to see a number one overall draft pick not start the season in the NHL. But it worked out very well for Owen Power, who returned to the University of Michigan for most of the season. After recording 32 points in 33 games, he did end up joining the Buffalo Sabres for eight games to end the year.
Power is looking to follow in the footsteps of Moritz Seider, the reigning Calder Trophy winner, and become the first two defenders to win the Calder back-to-back since Kent Douglas and Jacques Laperriere in 1962-63/1963-64.
He is a very offensively talented defender (fantasy hockey GMs take note here) but he does possess a strong defensive side to his game. As a well-rounded defender with size, look for Power to get a fairly large role on the team, sometimes in slightly sheltered minutes behind Rasmus Dahlin.
Logan Thompson, Vegas Golden Knights, G
He may be a long shot but the circumstances around Logan Thompson’s place on this list could vault him into contention for the 2022-23 Calder Trophy. The Vegas Golden Knights are already struggling with injured goalies before the season starts.
Thompson is the third or even fourth-string goalie behind Robin Lehner (injured), Laurent Brossoit (possibly injured), and may be behind Adin Hill as well. But in his 19 games last season, he had a 2.68 GAA and .914 SV%, which is definitely a stat line that fits in in the NHL. He has yet to make a consistent home with any team or league in his professional career, but this could be the year he finally settles into a spot.
Thompson should absolutely get some starts through the season. If he has a solid training camp and preseason could even be the starter on opening night. However as we saw with Alex Nedeljkovic a couple of seasons ago, a goalie could end up as a Calder Trophy finalist with only 23 games played if his stats are good enough.
The Golden Knights may not be as strong of a team as they once were, but they could still be good enough to boost Thompson’s stats into Calder contention.
Alexander Holtz, New Jersey Devils, RW
Alexander Holtz has had quite the hype train building for him over the past year. The New Jersey Devils winger was drafted seventh overall in the 2020 NHL Draft and had an excellent first full season in North America. He put up 51 points in 52 games with the Utica Comets of the AHL and had two assists in nine games with the Devils.
The Devils are an exciting and young team with plenty of offensive talent built around Jack Hughes, Nico Hischier, and Dawson Mercer. Holtz has a chance to come in and play top-six minutes with some of these players to create a Calder Trophy-worthy season.
His scoring talent will mesh well with a playmaker like Hughes, so if Holtz can find a way to create openings and space for himself in high-danger areas, he could put up a sneakily good rookie season.
And those are just five of the early 2022-23 Calder Trophy Favourites. There are so many more amazing prospects ready to make an impact this season who didn’t make this list. Do you have one of them in mind that you think will win the Calder this season? Drop a comment down below!
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