NHL 2022-23 Season Preview: Calder Trophy Odds, Picks & Best Bets
Pictured: Matty Beniers. (Photo by Jonathan Kozub/NHLI via Getty Images)
The 2022-23 NHL Season is right around the corner, but before we drop the puck on a brand-new, 82-game marathon, we have to talk about some awards markets.
Today, our NHL experts throw out their favorite bets to win the Calder Trophy, which is handed out to the NHL's Rookie of the Year:
Michael Leboff: JJ Peterka, Buffalo Sabres (+5000, bet365)
The Buffalo Sabres will hand the keys over to the kids in 2022-23 and while most folks are focusing on 2020 No. 1 overall pick and Calder Trophy co-favorite Owen Power, Peterka will fly a bit under the radar.
That provides a good betting opportunity on a player who posted 80 points in 80 games (including playoffs) in the AHL last season as a 20-year-old.
One source indicated to me that the Sabres’ brass is quite keen on Peterka’s chances this season and that he should get every opportunity to earn a big role on the team.
In a rookie class that features plenty of big names such as Power, Mason McTavish, Shane Wright, Matty Beniers and Juraj Slafkovsky, watch out for Peterka to find his way on plenty of ballots.
Nick Martin: Jake Sanderson, Ottawa Senators (+2500, FanDuel)
The most important part of evaluating Calder futures bets is projecting the usage each player is likely to receive on a given team. That's precisely why I like Sanderson at this long number.
Sanderson seems quite likely to not just make the jump to being a full-time NHL’er this season, but to be relied upon heavily on a thin Senators defensive core. I believe Sanderson will be used as the No. 2 defenseman as the season rolls along.
Sanderson posted 26 points in 23 games with North Dakota last year and has solid offensive upside. He will be skating on a Senators team that should score at a better than average clip this season.
That should lead to some strong offensive numbers from the back end for Sanderson, which typically has proven to garner lots of votes. If he is a key contributor in the Senators finally turning it around, I believe that will be an attractive angle to voters.
Martin: Calen Addison (+10000 FanDuel)
For a team that finished with 113 points and 3.72 goals per game last season, Minnesota owned a surprisingly poor power-play unit, which ranked 18th in the league at 20.5%.
That flaw clearly has coach Dean Evason keen to make some personnel changes, most notably opening up a spot for Addison to quarterback the top powerplay unit, which has thrived in the preseason.
If Addison sticks in that spot on PP1 — which seems likely at this point — we will have a nice shot at 100/1. He will be a stellar sleeper pick in fantasy as well.
Carol Schram: Kent Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets +1200 (FanDuel)
He doesn’t turn 20 until October 18, but Johnson, the Columbus Blue Jackets forward, enters the season with a long and diverse list of recent hockey experience — and a big-time opportunity.
Drafted fifth overall in 2021, the slick playmaker looked sharp early in the preseason when he lined up at center between the Blue Jackets’ two most dangerous scorers, Johnny Gaudreau and Patrik Laine. With great vision and soft hands, Johnson has the high-end skill that could create a dangerous combination, capable of producing highlight-reel plays that go viral and catch the attention of voters.
As captain of the Blue Jackets, veteran Boone Jenner might get first crack at this plum assignment when the regular season begins. But Columbus coach Brad Larsen showed last season that he won’t hesitate to put a rookie center in a position to succeed. He put the youngest player in the league, 18-year-old center Cole Sillinger, into a regular role that saw him put up 31 points while averaging 13.42 per game.
Compared to Sillinger, Johnson is already a grizzled veteran. Last season alone, he competed impressively against his peers at the University of Michigan and the World Junior Championship. He also saw action against older competition while suiting up for Canada at the Beijing Olympics in February and the World Championship in May. He also dressed for his first nine NHL games in Columbus, where he logged three assists.
In all those different settings, Johnson didn’t look out of place. Expect him to settle in just as seamlessly this season as a full-time NHLer.
Jonny Lazarus: Vitali Kravtsov, New York Rangers +2500 (Bet365)
Kravtsov is going to be a very interesting player to watch this season. He isn’t your typical NHL rookie since he already has some playing experience in the league. He spent last season in the KHL, but in the 2020-21 campaign he played 20 games and tallied two goals and two assists.
Kravtsov already has a ton of pro experience, so I think this gives him a slight edge in the race for the Calder trophy — not to mention the fact that he'll be playing on a line with Artemi Panarin for the New York Rangers. The two of them have already formed some chemistry in the preseason and the Russian connection should be alive and strong throughout the season.
On paper, the New York Rangers are arguably the most skilled team in the NHL and Kravtsov will be given plenty of opportunities. He has a lot to prove since he did not make this team out of camp last year, but he has come in this season much hungrier.
If Kravtsov does in fact play with Panarin and Vincent Trocheck, they could form one of the best second lines in the NHL. I love that Kravtsov already has some experience and that is why I think there is great value for him to win the Calder trophy.
Tony Sartori: Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks +600 (FanDuel)
While this is one of the shortest numbers in the market, I am so bullish on McTavish that I do not care. Those who followed along during the WJC this summer know exactly what I am talking about: this kid is a gamer.
Check out his highlights from the WJC:
An absolute stud in all three zones, McTavish is going to be given the chance to make an immediate impact on Anaheim this season.
Projected to start in the top-six, McTavish is going to have the advantage of playing alongside several talented forwards, which should only help his scoring numbers.
Meanwhile, there is also a bias that could help us. Trevor Zegras absolutely dominates when it comes to garnering national media attention, especially when he scores highlight reel goals that bring in other audiences to the sport.
With McTavish playing alongside him, he will also likely be involved in many of those highlights. The more people see and talk about the Ducks offense, the more McTavish’s name is heard, and the more likely it is he gets the benefit of the doubt come voting time.
At the end of the day, his talent is the reason he will win this award. However, that added bonus can only help.
Greg Liodice: Matty Beniers, Seattle Kraken (+500, bet365)
Beniers has only played 10 games in the NHL and I can safely say that the kid is an all out beauty. Everything I’ve seen from the 2nd overall pick from 2021 suggests to me that he will have a wonderful career (barring any injuries of course). When the Seattle Kraken brought Beniers to the big leagues, he was playing in some meaningless games, but took advantage of the opportunity and notched three goals and six assists.
Beniers’ vision is dynamite. He always has his head on a swivel and is looking for open scoring chances. His skating is already at the NHL level and he's constantly moving and creating headaches for the opposition. He also saw some serious time on the power play with two goals and two assists on the man advantage. I expect that to continue with a full season under his belt.
Seattle will be a very interesting team to watch this year. With some new additions, Beniers playing a full season and Shane Wright possibly starting the season with the team, all eyes will be pointed to the 32nd team. I don’t think they’ll be a playoff team when it’s all said and done, but they could make things interesting.
After last season, it’s not a surprise that Beniers is among the favorites to win the Calder. Sure, 10 games is a small sample size, but the talent is obvious. Getting a taste of the NHL last year (and succeeding) is only beneficial to a young player’s development. I think it’ll only be a matter of time before Beniers becomes a star in this league.