Connor Bedard was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for the second straight month. Just another accolade in what the Chicago Blackhawks hope to be many.
Bedard won the honors after a 15-point December where he scored five goals and registered 10 assists.
He might have scored the goal of the year when he pulled off a Michigan goal against St. Louis.
It was such an amazing goal that even Wayne Gretzky acknowledged he could never do that. Bedard is doing things on the ice that not even the Great One can do and Connor is still on 18-years-old.
Bedard has 33 points on the season with 15 goals and 18 assists He is on pace to finish around 80 points for his rookie season. That should be enough to win him the Calder Trophy as the NHL's top rookie.
Artemi Panarin is the last Blackhawk to win the award and he did it with 77 points. Hawks legend Patrick Kane won the Calder when he registered 72 points.
ESPN's Greg Wyshynski recently polled some Professional Hockey Writers Association voters to see who was the favorite and Bedard was projected to be the winner going away (subscription required).
That does not mean these four players could make a case to take the top rookie honors when the 2023-24 season concludes...
Minnesota Wild Defenseman Brock Faber
Faber has been the best rookie defenseman this season. He leads all rookies in average ice time with 24:43 His candidacy took notice when ESPN's John Buccigross tweeted this...
Many feel Faber would be the favorite if Bedard was not a rookie this year. He can win multiple Norris Trophies, but unless he ups his production dramatically, he will not have a Calder Trophy in his trophy case.
Minnesota Wild Center Marco Rossi
The Wild have another player being discussed as a candidate to win the Calder Trophy. He has 11 goals and 11 assists on the season. That puts him third in points for all rookies.
Unless he starts scoring at a rapid pace his teammate has a better shot of taking the Calder away from Bedard.
Columbus Blue Jackets Center Adam Fantilli
Fantilli is second in points for rookies with 23. Fantilli was long thought to be the second-best player in the most recent draft behind Bedard. The belief was that Fantilli would be drafted after Bedard.
Then the Anaheim Ducks shocked everyone and took Leo Carlsson. Fantilli fell to the Blue Jackets and has played as advertised centering Columbus' top line.
He still needs to up his production if he hopes to overtake Bedard for the top rookie award.
New Jersey Devils Defenseman Luke Hughes
Hughes started the season strong, but Faber overtook him as the best rookie blue liner. Hughes does have seven goals and 14 assists on the season. That puts him fourth in points for first-year players.
Hughes might want to focus on overtaking Faber first before he goes for the Calder.