As most of you saw, Connor Bedard took a gruesome hit on the January 5th game versus the New Jersey Devils, sidelining him for 6 to 8 weeks with a fractured jaw.
Not having their star in the lineup hurts the Blackhawks, but Bedard's injury may have an even bigger impact on the Calder Trophy race.
Bedard has lived up to the hype this season, notching 33 points in 39 games, with 15 goals and 18 assists. These numbers hoisted Bedard into the top of the Calder race, but now things don’t look so promising. Although Bedard's stats are great, other rookie candidates have been living up to the hype as well.
Here are 3 biggest threats to Bedard for the Calder:
1. Luke Hughes
Luke Hughes, the brother of Jack and Quinn Hughes, is living up to the task of filling his brother's shoes so far.
Luke Hughes, defenseman for the New Jersey Devils, has posted 26 points so far this season, with 8 goals and 16 assists over his 42 games this season. Since Bedard's injury, Hughes has had 3 points in 5 games and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down.
2. Adam Fantilli
Another player to watch out for is 3rd overall pick in this year's draft, Columbus Blue Jackets center Adam Fantilli.
Fantilli has been a star so far, with 25 points in 44 games (11 goals and 14 assists). Fantilli was another one of those highly thought-of prospects similar to Bedard and has done a good job living up to it.
Luckily for Bedard though, Fantilli has only posted 2 points in January and hasn’t done much over Bedard's absence to close the gap.
The Blue Jackets are at the bottom of the Metropolitan Division, and it's going to be an uphill battle for Fantilli to get enough national media attention to be a real threat for the award.
3. Brock Faber
The third player making his push for the Calder is a little different than the rest.
Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber is having himself quite a year, though unlike the others on this list took a little while to crack into the NHL.
Drafted in 2020 by the Los Angeles Kings, then packaged in a trade during the 2022 NHL draft to the Wild where he’s turned himself into quite the player, Faber has 21 points in 43 games, on 2 goals and 19 assists so for this season. Faber is a player who makes everyone around him better and has been a rising star in the League.
Now don’t get me wrong, if I was a betting man, my money would be on Connor Bedard, even though he's a heavy -180 favorite. If he comes back from his injury and can pick up where he left off then the Calder is his the taking, but with the time he’s missing one bad stretch could allow one of these other candidates to snatch it away.
Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.