NHL Calder Trophy Odds: Will Macklin Celebrini Dominate as a Rookie?

Austin Swaim
Austin SwaimASwaim3
NHL Calder Trophy Odds: Will Macklin Celebrini Dominate as a Rookie?

2023-24 was a year off in the Calder Trophy market.

Connor Bedard was a prohibitive favorite for the bulk of the campaign, and the 19-year-old took home the honors despite just 68 games played. However, 61 points in those contests were by far the best season-long performance as no other rookie broke 50 points.

In some ways, we enter 2024-25 in a similar position. Macklin Celebrini has been the consensus top pick all season, and he went to the San Jose Sharks last Monday. Yet, Bedard may have come up empty if other top picks in the draft were able to perform better. Did this year's top five in the NHL Draft produce a dark horse? Will a player from a previous draft start their career out in better form?

Let's take a look at the Calder Trophy odds on FanDuel Sportsbook and see what stands out in the market.

NHL Calder Trophy Odds

2024-25 Calder Trophy Odds
Matvei Michkov+350
Macklin Celebrini+400
Logan Stankoven+400
Cutter Gauthier+500
Will Smith+500
Lane Hutson+700
Dustin Wolf+1500
View Full Table

Matvei Michkov, Flyers (+350)

Matvei Michkov threw his hat into this last week to make the Calder Trophy an interesting, three-man race on paper.

The 19-year-old Russian phenom was arguably a top-three talent in last year's NHL Draft, but many teams passed on him as he was signed to his KHL team in Russia for three more seasons. On June 25th, Michkov announced he had worked out an agreement to leave his KHL contract prematurely, and the Philadelphia Flyers signed last year's No. 7 overall pick as soon as they could.

The development period of these young skaters -- teenagers at the end of the day -- means that the older Michkov now has a bit of an advantage on these others that are fresh out of junior hockey or college. He was also playing professionally in arguably the world's second-best hockey organization to prepare for it -- and dominated. The winger posted 41 points in 47 KHL games with SKA Saint Petersburg this past season.

Philadelphia has declared their intention to use Michkov as a top-six forward that sees power-play time, so he'll have a chance to post points right out of the gate. It's sensible that he's the slightest favorite over two other worthy contenders.

Macklin Celebrini, Sharks (+400)

As mentioned in the intro, there was no drama around this year's top pick. FanDuel didn't even have a betting market for it.

Macklin Celebrini was always going to be that guy, pal. The Boston U product posted 64 points in just 38 games in his one NCAA season, translating his production from the USHL where he posted 86 points in 50 games a year ago.

You can't teach speed, and Celebrini's draws rave reviews from scouts in a similar fashion that former top picks turned MVPs Connor McDavid and Nathan MacKinnon did. There's a reason hockey's top pick has such a low bust and high boom rate this century; there are attributes about prospects like Celebrini that are obvious to even you and me.

The most appealing part of Celebrini's case for the Calder, though, will be his role. San Jose is completely devoid of top-end goal-scoring talent; their top scorer last season was Fabian Zetterlund with 24 goals in 82 games. It's almost impossible to imagine a scenario where the 18-year-old won't leap straight to San Jose's top forward line and power-play unit.

That's a similar place to where Conor Bedard's Chicago Blackhawks were last season, and Bedard won this award going away based on opportunity. With the best of the bunch, I'd have posted Macklin as the favorite in this market.

Logan Stankoven, Stars (+400)

Right this moment, Logan Stankoven might be the best player -- on by far the best team -- of any player in this mix. That could count for something.

Stankoven might have strategically been left in the mix for this year's Calder by only playing 24 games for the Dallas Stars last season. He was still a star in them, posting 14 total points, and that's even more impressive when noting the 21-year-old was working on Dallas' third forward line.

He'll definitely bump to the top six in the wake of Joe Pavelski's retirement, and it's not like he has shied away from that opportunity. Stankoven even posted 8 points in 19 games during this past season's Stanley Cup Playoffs.

There's a path where Stankoven is assigned to Dallas' top line and power-play unit with Jason Robertson and Roope Hintz, and those two have posted at least 65 points in each of the past three seasons.

In that event, Stankoven could have similar numbers to Michkov and Celebrini but get shine on a team that just was the Western Conference's top seed and was two wins from the Stanley Cup Final. All else equal, would that swing votes in the former second-round pick's direction? It's entirely possible.

Dustin Wolf, Flames (+1500)

If there's a player north of 10-to-1 odds that could end up running away with this award, it's got to be Dustin Wolf of the Calgary Flames.

Calgary's trade of Jacob Markstrom has launched the goaltender into a three-way competition for the Flames' starting job, and he's likely the favorite to win it. After all, the franchise is just waiting for his production to translate to the NHL level.

Wolf has dominated the minors (AHL) with a GAA below 2.50 in each of the last three seasons. Yet, it's been a bit bumpy when he's gotten the call to the big show -- while keeping in mind the rebuilding Flames are at a talent deficit to most.

Nonetheless, a team-independent look at performance with goals saved above expectation (GSAx) shows Wolf's 2023-24 struggles in 17 appearances. He posted -7.72 GSAx, but competitors for the job Devin Cooley (-4.45 GSAx) and Dan Vladar (-10.76 GSAx) didn't exactly set the curve behind Markstrom, either.

Though it's possible Wolf struggles and tumbles out of this race immediately, no other starting goalie will be eligible for this award. Yet, if he's among next year's top 20 in GSAx with a sub-3.00 GAA, it's entirely plausible that he's handed the award if none of the forwards truly pop.

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The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.