No rookie has been hotter in the 2020-21 NHL season than the Minnesota Wild’s Kirill Kaprizov.
After years of waiting, the 23-year-old Russian finally made his debut this season. At first, no one was quite sure if the talent he showed in Russia could translate over to the NHL ice. However, judging by how he’s looked, he’s managed to do that and then some.
Through 40 games, Kaprizov leads all NHL rookies in goals (16) and points (34). To make things look even more impressive, he also leads the Wild in points, with the next closest player being Kevin Fiala with 25.
Because of his performance this season, Kirill Kaprizov has been the frontrunner to win the NHL’s Calder Memorial Trophy for best rookie in the league. Bovada seems to agree with that fact as they’re favouring him to win it at -400 odds.
Despite those odds and how far ahead of the pack he is, it’s not guaranteed that Kaprizov will finish the season as the Calder Trophy winner. There are many other talented rookies in the pack, so here’s a brief look at some of them.
Odds to Win 2020-21 NHL Calder Memorial Trophy
Odds via Bovada as of Tuesday, April 13
- Kirill Kaprizov -400
- Tim Stützle +900
- Ty Smith +900
- Kaapo Kähkönen +1100
- Pius Suter +1100
- Kevin Lankinen +1400
Full odds available at Bovada.lv.
Can Tim Stützle Catch Kirill Kaprizov?
Ottawa Senators rookie forward Tim Stützle (+900) may have been selected third overall in the 2020 NHL Draft, but, so far, he’s been playing like the best player in his draft class. He’s third in rookie scoring with 24 points through 40 games on a Senators team that’s one of the bottom-5 teams in the league. He’s also second in assists among rookies with 18.
Some could argue that Stützle deserves the award over Kirill Kaprizov because he’s younger (19) and on a worse team. The Wild have 51 points and are third place in the West Division. Meanwhile, the Senators have 32 points and are at the bottom of the North Division. The fact is that it may be too hard for Stützle to catch Kaprizov because of the point difference, but that doesn’t mean Ottawa fans shouldn’t be excited about what their young German will do in the future.
Ty Smith for Calder?
The New Jersey Devils drafted defenseman Ty Smith (+900) with the 17th overall pick in the 2018 draft, however, he only made his NHL debut this season. After producing massive point totals in the Western Hockey League, Smith has shown that he can do it on the NHL ice as well. Coming into the league as a defenseman is one of the hardest things to do, but he’s made it look easy.
Smith has 21 points (2G 19A) in 40 games this season. His point total has him tied 32nd among all defensemen this season, showing that he’s already slipping in with the best of them. There’s no doubt that Smith is going to be a force on the Devils’ blue line for years to come, but it’s probably unlikely that he’ll beat Kirill Kaprizov in the Calder Trophy race. Smith might have a better chance if he had a few more points and the Devils were in the playoff spot. Unfortunately, that’s not the case as the team’s 34 points have them in second-last place in the East Division. Regardless, Smith will more than likely end the season as the NHL’s best rookie defenseman.