Top 4 rookies who can still challenge Connor Bedard for the Calder Trophy

Connor Bedard is the clear-cut favorite to walk away with the Calder Trophy thanks to his sensational productivity, but a few rookies can still catch him.
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Samuel Ersson has been an outstanding goaltender on an average team

Few thought highly of Samuel Ersson early this season, but the Philadelphia Flyers have been overachieving since they turned to him as their No. 1 goaltender earlier in the year. After posting so-so numbers that included an 0.899 save percentage, a 3.07 GAA, a 0.500 quality starts percentage, and a shutout, we didn’t know how well Ersson would fare this season. But he’s been one of the best among those eligible to take the Calder Trophy. 

The Flyers are not a good hockey team despite their position in the standings, and you only need to look at the way they struggle to score to know that, ranking 21st in the NHL with 206 goals for. To make matters worse, Philadelphia is top 10 in Corsi For at 5-on-5, and they are second in shots on goal, yet their 8.8 shooting percentage is the fourth-worst in the NHL.

The point? This team isn’t giving their rookie goaltender much room for error because they can’t score despite the number of shots they take per game. Ersson has felt the pressure numerous times this season through 40 appearances, yet he’s done an outstanding job of helping this team stay in contention. 

His overall numbers won’t wow you, with a 0.898 save percentage, a 2.68 GAA, and just 20 wins in 38 starts. But he also has three shutouts, plus a 0.579 quality starts percentage, and if he enjoys a few more stellar games, he will give Bedard serious competition.