Does Brock Faber Have a Chance To Win the Calder Trophy Over Connor Bedard?

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Wild come to town to face the Chicago Blackhawks as both teams kick off the second half of the season.

The Wild bring in rookie defenseman Brock Faber who some are saying is closing the gap on Connor Bedard in the Calder Trophy race.

Bedard's injury has left an opening in the competition for the league's top rookie award that seemed to be over in December. Bedard has been out with a fractured jaw that required surgery since early January. His projected return at the time was six to eight weeks. It appears nothing has changed that timeline even though he is starting to do more in practice.

Faber is on the ice. He is on it a lot. Faber is averaging almost 25 minutes of ice time. He is doing everything a talented offensive blue-liner should be doing.

He has 25 assists on the season. His assists per 60 in all situations is 1.2.

Those are the assists numbers you were hoping Kevin Korchinski would be having this season. Although to be fair, Korchinski has been focusing on his defensive game in his first NHL season. What a novel idea, a defenseman focusing on his defense.

That is not to say Faber cannot play well in the defensive zone.

Faber also has 99 blocks on the season and has played so well that he is coach trusts him with this many minutes. For context, Korchinski's ice time average is 19:53 while Alex Vlasic's is 21:12 (although Vlasic is not technically considered a rookie even though it is his first full NHL season).

That is why there are some people out there drumming up support for Faber to win the Calder Trophy at the season's conclusion.

Here is the problem, Bedard has already missed 11 games and he still leads all rookies in points with 33. That is how good of a season he was having.

Faber is behind Connor by four points, but he needed Bedard to miss all that time to catch up. Imagine what Bedard's numbers would be if he had not gotten hurt.

In addition, Bedard is still leading the Hawks in points and assists. He is also tied for the team's lead in goals. The offense has been nothing since he went on injured reserve. Bedard is the team's MVP. The Wild can probably survive Faber being out.

Bedard has lived up to his generational talent billing. Also, Connor is a box office draw. He is a player the league is using to grow the game's popularity among the general public. Don't get me wrong, Faber is a star, but Bedard is a superstar.

Now being a ratings draw is not going to sway voters. The production Bedard has put up in three months will and it is a lot. Plus, Bedard will return to the ice eventually. There is nothing to think that he will not continue to produce offense at a rate that should cement him winning the NHL's top rookie honors.

Related. Bedard. Who Is Chicago Blackhawks Rookie Connor Bedard’s Competition for the Calder Trophy?. dark