Calder Trophy top five contenders for NHL 2022-23 season

Former Ottawa 67 star and Cobden, Ontario product, Quinn is the second Saber to make the list. Sabers placed him eighth overall in the 2020 draft after he scored 52 goals and 89 points in 62 games. Quinn quickly impressed in the Buffalo training camps and spent the 2020-21 season in the AHL with Rochester American. In his first year as a professional, he played 15 games and scored 9 points. Despite having a short season, Quinn was still able to make a good impression. That same year, he matched with Team Canada at the World Juniors bubble in Edmonton, Alberta. He had a total of five points in seven games and took home a silver medal after his defeat to the US.

Quinn is a detail-oriented winger with the ability to unleash lethal NHL caliber. Watching him spin at high speed, followed by a roll and drop sequence, he makes shooting look effortless. The truth is, it’s an art, but one that Quinn is obsessed with mastering. He’s also right-handed but will play on both flanks, giving Sabers a bit more flexibility when it comes to placing him in the lineup. With his first year in the books, Quinn comes back stronger and ready to prove why he’s a top talent.

Last season, through many ups and downs, including a severe hernia injury, Quinn fought through them all and burned the AHL with 26 goals and 61 points in 45 games. His absolute dominance was enough to be named AHL Rookie of the Year. Quinn is the AHL’s most effective under-21 striker, scoring 1.36 points per game. Quinn also received a call from the NHL; he made his NHL debut on Jan. 20 against the Dallas Stars and got two points in a thrilling first game. While he was once considered a “late bloomer” in the development department, he certainly found his game and became full circle.

Following Seguin’s 82-game rookie model, Quinn would score 24.4 goals and 26.4 assists for 50.8 points. He’ll be another rookie with an eye on Buffalo.

Honorable mention

Cole Perfetti, Winnipeg Jets

Whitby, Ontario, product Perfetti is another player who could find himself on the ballot at the end of the season. Through 18 games last season with the Jets, he scored seven points. Perfetti is a cerebral palsy athlete who possesses the IQ and eyesight exceptional of hockey. His ability to solve problems quickly shows that his elite gaming skills make him an ice menace. If the Jets used Perfetti correctly, he could steal Calder right out of people’s hands.

Prediction: 15.0 goals and 28.6 assists for 43.6 points.

Marco Rossi, Minnesota Wild

Rossi, the Austrian gaming wizard, was a hot underdog to win against Calder. The former OHL MVP was diagnosed with myocarditis during the 2020 World Juniors – to see him come back to life has been amazing. Rossi scored 53 points in 63 games last season with the AHL Iowa Wild and seems to have no problem adjusting to the game at the professional level. He, along with Kirill Kaprizov and Matt Boldy, represents the future of the Minnesota Wild organization.

Prediction: 16.0 goals and 31.2 assists for 47.2 points.

Jake Sanderson, Senator of Ottawa

If Jake Sanderson can stay healthy throughout the season, he could be this year’s Seider. The former assistant captain of the North Dakota Fighting Hawks is finally 100% healthy after undergoing multiple wrist surgeries and is ready to join the powerful Ottawa Senators.

Prediction: 8.6 goals and 26.5 assists for 35.1 points.

William Eklund, the San Jose Sharks

The San Jose Sharks drafted the seventh flashy Swede forward in 2021. When Eklund made his NHL debut last season, he seemed ready to make the leap. Through nine games, he had four assists. However, he was sent back to Sweden to play in the Swedish Hockey League and over 29 games, scored 14 points. Now, he is ready to return to the NHL and fight through an 82-match schedule. If he’s producing at the rate expected, Eklund will definitely be the player that shows up on the ballots until vote time.

Projections: 11.9 goals and 28.9 assists for 40.8 points.

Simon Edvinsson, Detroit Red Wings

Ranked sixth overall in 2021, Edvinsson is a 6-foot-6 giant Swedish defender – who, along with Seider, is the future of the Red Wings blueline. After a fantastic season in the SHL with Frolunda, scoring 19 points in 44 games, Edvinsson seemed ready to make the jump to the NHL. Edvinsson does a lot of things right, such as using the big frame to his advantage to take down players, whether with a jab or sheer physicality. His supreme defense knowledge is also a focal point of his game. It looks like Red Wings general manager Steve Yzerman has reached home once more.

Projection: 3.5 goals and 29.8 assists for 33.3 points.

Juraj Slavkovsky, Canada Canadianiens

When Slafkovsky was first started in Montreal this summer, he became the highest performing NHL player of Slovak descent in history. If Slafkovsky can imitate his international performances, he is a player who could become a powerhouse on a professional level in the years to come. After all, he was named the 2022 Olympic MVP after scoring seven goals in seven games and he was the top scorer for the Slovaks at the 2022 Men’s World Championship with nine points. He has proven successful against high-profile opponents, and that should translate to the NHL – he will be a player the Canadians can rely on in key moments. The question is whether he will make the team this year.

Prediction: 10.0 goals and 12.7 assists for 22.7 points.

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