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The Calder Cup race in the NHL is usually open. Like the MLB or NFL, the betting market is essentially shaped by preseason hype from the media and fans. There will always be fan and media expectations, but the truth is these are juniors (mostly) and at that age, it’s anyone’s guess how they will perform in their first season.
Take last year for example. Cole Caufield of the Montreal Canadiens was the runaway favorite entering the season after his performance for the Habs in the playoffs last spring. By the time opening night arrived, the media had Caufield’s name in the trophy. Apparently, Caulfield struggled to score just one goal in the early months of the season before catching fire when the Canadiens made a coaching change.
Meanwhile, in Detroit, eventual winner Moritz Seider took to the NHL like a duck despite being considered a destination when he was drafted 6th overall in 2019.
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With the point derailing the Calder Trophy race, the best thing to do is not to get caught up in the hype and just assume it’s going to be a run for one of the players at the top of the board.
This season, we’ll be hearing a lot about favorites Mason McTavish (+400), Owen Power (+450) and Matty Bennier (+500), and one of these players can certainly play the odds when he can run away with the trophy. This short doesn’t pay a ton in a market with a lot of variation. Instead, we buy below the list:
2022-23 NHL Calder Trophy Odds, Picks:
Logan Thompson, Vegas Golden Knights (+2000, Bet365)
The Golden Knights are dealing with a bit of a goaltending crisis. Robin Lehner is out for the season. Lauren Brossoit is returning from injury and the team is trying to shed his salary. Job backup Aden Hill was acquired from San Jose in a desperation move to up the ante. And then there’s rookie netminder Logan Thompson, who kept Vegas in the playoff hunt with an impressive 19-game streak last spring.
The 25-year-old netminder posted a .914 save percentage and +2.2 goals-against expectations during that span and impressed the Cavaliers into doing what they could to trade Broseit and give Thompson a chance to play more. Games. If he gets that opportunity and performs like he did last spring, he’ll be in multiple picks.
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JJ Peterka, Buffalo Sabers (+5000, Bet365)
Playing on a team with 2021 No. 1 overall pick Owen Power, it was only natural that Peterka would fly a little under the radar in the Calder Trophy market (another Saber, Jack Quinn, is +1600 to win the award.) But watch Peterka at your own risk. The 20-year-old German posted 80 points in 80 AHL games (including playoffs) in his first season in North America last year. Making the jump from Europe to the AHL is tough, but Peterka has passed the challenge with aplomb. The Sabers are very high on him and won’t be competing for the playoffs this season, so I expect Peterka to get plenty of opportunities in 2022-23.
Dylan Holloway, Edmonton Oilers (+5000, Bet365)
This is very simple. There’s a good chance Holloway won’t break with the Oilers, but he’s sure to play more often with the big club in 2022-23, meaning he could play alongside Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. If that happens and Holloway develops chemistry with McDavid or Draisaitl, the production ceiling is sky high. A lot has to go right for it to have legs, but in this number a flyer is useful.