The NHL season is making its way over, and so are the on-ice rookies looking to take home the Calder Memorial Trophy. With so many talented newcomers, let us break down the top contenders of the upcoming season.
Owen Power, Buffalo Sabres
As part of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Buffalo selected this 19-year-old prodigy first overall. In eight NHL games last season, Owen Power had three points (two goals, one assist) and a plus-3 rating. Being selected as one of the draft’s top prospects, he was chosen for the Hockey Canada selection camp. He is an excellent defenseman and will rank as a top favorite among many.
Mason McTavish, Anaheim Ducks
Born in Switzerland, the 19-year-old Canadian was drafted third in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. With 17 points (eight goals, nine assists), Mason McTavish helped Canada win the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship. McTavish participated in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics for the Canadian national team and came away with three points (two goals, one assist) in nine games for the Anaheim Ducks. McTavish scored a breakaway goal during the Ducks’ recent game with the Los Angeles Kings; he’s one mighty player to look out for on the ice.
Matty Beniers, Seattle Kraken
In the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, Matty Beniers was selected as the second overall choice and was considered one of the top prospects. During his first ten games with the Kraken, Beniers recorded nine points (six assists, three goals). He is a fast-pacing player who keeps excellent contact with the puck and is a top contender for the Calder.
Kent Johnson, Columbus Blue Jackets
The Columbus Blue Jackets selected the 19-year-old Canadian fifth overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Johnson played at the University of Michigan alongside Beniers and Power before entering the national league. At the 2022 World Junior Championships, he represented Canada and tied for sixth with nine points (three goals, six assists) in seven games. With 64 points in 58 games at Michigan, Johnson was also a player who averaged more than a point per game. He handles the puck precisely and is known for creating outstanding plays. With that, he will be one to watch during the season.
Jake Sanderson, Ottawa Senators
In the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Ottawa Senators selected the Canadian-American defenceman fifth overall. On March 27, 2022, Sanderson, then age 20, agreed to a three-year, entry-level contract with the Senators, even though he hasn’t played an NHL game yet. But on another note, Ottawa may change that soon with the season about to begin. In 45 games throughout his two seasons at the University of North Dakota, he scored 41 points (26 points in 23 games in the 2021-22 season). Sanderson is a phenomenal skater on the ice, one to keep your eyes on for the Calder.
Of course, these are only a couple of the rookies to watch once the season begins. Players like Juraj Slafkovsky, Cole Perfetti, Logan Thompson, and Simon Edvinsson will also be battling for the Calder Trophy on the ice.
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