With a new NHL season beginning recently, every fan wants to know if the Vegas Golden Knights will retain the Stanley Cup or if another team will beat them to the biggest prize in hockey this time. The performances of the league’s rookies could have a massive impact on how this season turns out, so who are the newcomers to keep an eye on and which one will skate their way to the title of rookie of the season?
Connor Bedard – Chicago Blackhawks
There’s no doubt who the overwhelming favorite is to win this year’s Calder Trophy. Connor Bedard was the number one pick in this 2023 NHL Draft following last season’s incredible performances in the Western Hockey League. He led the league in numerous statistics and had previously won the Jim Piggott Memorial Trophy as the top rookie in 2020, so fans have been looking forward to seeing him in the NFL and some teams were even accused of taking their season to get a chance of choosing him as their draft pick.
Numerous analysts are already calling Connor one of the biggest stars of his generation and it’s easy to see why. He helped his new team quickly get $2.5 million of season tickets once his contract was announced and drew huge TV audiences to his first NHL games. Will he live up to the hype and produce a memorable season that makes him the top rookie? The early signs are good but he’s up against some tough competition this season and will also need to learn to cope with the intense attention that comes from being a top sports star..
Logan Cooley – Arizona Coyotes
For many followers of the sport, Logan Cooley is the main rival to Bedard in terms of winning the rookie of the year award. He played as center for the University of Minnesota and has also featured heavily for the US under18s and performed in the 2023 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships this year.
Logan made a powerful start to his life in the NHL with the Coyotes, While he failed to score in his first two competitive games, fans were impressed by his three assists and by the playmaking ability that he highlighted while creating opportunities for his colleagues on the ice.
Adam Fantilli – Columbus Blue Jackets
Born in Ontario, Adam Fantilli played for the University of Michigan and collected the Hobey Baker award as the top goal-scorer and point-scorer during a spectacular freshman season. In the USHL with Chicago Steel, he matched the record for most points in the season before raft, by smashing 74 points in 2021-22. He was picked by Columbus as the third choice in the draft earlier this year.
He is widely seen as being the player that could finally help the Blue Jackets to reach the Stanley Cup playoffs after missing out three seasons in a row. He was moved to the left wing after the first game, but it was the way he reacted to a big hit by TJ Oshie in a preseason game by jumping back up to score the winner that made a lot of people think he could be in for a big season. Adam made his NHL debut on his 19th birthday against the Philadelphia Flyers and got an assist.
Leo Carlsson – Anaheim Ducks
Swedish-born center Leo Carlsson made his pro debut in the Swedish Hockey League at the age of 17. His outstanding performances with Örebro HK and the Sweden junior team meant that he was quickly regarded as one of the top prospects in the NHL Entry Draft this year. The Anaheim Ducks selected him as the second pick in the draft and he signed a three-year contract with them.
An injury stopped Leo from taking part in the season opener and the second game after that. At the time of writing, he’s back training on ice and seems set to make his NHL debut before long. A look at the latest NHL Playoff odds and the odds for the upcoming hockey games shows how the market reacts to news such as injuries to key players with changing odds. You can find the latest odds for the Ducks and the rest of the NHL teams listed. Anaheim hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2018 and the current odds suggest that it’s unlikely, they change that trend this season.
David Reinbacher – Montreal Canadiens
The fifth pick in the 2023 draft, defenseman David Reinbacher was born in Austria but played his youth career in Switzerland. He gained the award for being the best young player in the Swiss National League with EHC Kloten. His final season in Europe saw his potential rocket as the big American franchises became aware of his skills.
David became the highest-drafted Austrian in NHL history, but Canadiens fans were worried when news broke of an injury, he sustained with Kloten that delayed his NHL debut. He’s expected to be back in action before too long, but it remains to be seen whether he gets enough action for Montreal this season to help make a claim for the title of the best rookie in the league.