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NHL Notebook: Who’s who in the Calder Trophy race, and OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads planning relocation to Brampton
By Zach Laing25 days ago
The consensus this year is that the sensational Connor Bedard will be the front-runner for this year, and that can be seen with Betway giving him -180 odds to win the award.
But he’s not the only rookie who is making noise this year, with the likes of defenceman Luke Hughes (New Jersey Devils) and Brock Faber (Minnesota Wild) making some noise, as well as a number of other young players.
And over at Daily Faceoff, Steven Ellis looked at those three, and others, checking in on their rookie campaigns:
Bedard (Betway odds: -180)Bedard is still a Calder contender just based on the numbers he was putting up pre-injury – especially with limited help. Bedard has 33 points in 39 games, which is still good for first among first-years. Before the injury, he was on pace for more than 70 points – a rare feat these days. We’ll see if he can win the rookie scoring title once he returns, but it’s hard to believe he still isn’t the Calder frontrunner.
Faber (Betway odds: +350)
Faber has been remarkable for the Wild, scoring 29 points in 49 games while averaging a freshman-leading 24:51 a night. Nobody is even in the ballpark, with only New Jersey defenders Nemec (20:46) and Hughes (20:40) averaging over 20:00. The advanced analytics are great, too, with Faber leading a Wild team that’s looking for any positives they can find, especially without Jared Spurgeon on the back end. If anyone steals the Calder from Bedard, it’s Faber. He’s quickly emerging as one of the best young defensemen in the game – and he deserves your attention.
Hughes (Betway odds: +600)
It was a quiet month for Hughes on the scoresheet, registering just one goal and four assists in 12 games. But he continued to see his ice time increase, registering a career-best 28:10 against Boston on Jan. 15 and playing at least 22 minutes on seven occasions. Hughes is trending towards a 45-point campaign, which would be excellent for a rookie who has taken on extra responsibilities due to Dougie Hamilton’s injury. The Devils need some defensive help – especially with Hughes and fellow rookie Simon Nemec doing a lot of the heavy lifting – but Hughes is looking good in his first NHL campaign.
Who else appeared on the list? Wild center Marco Rossi, Calgary Flames winger Connor Zary, Columbus Blue Jackets center Adam Fantilli, and Anaheim Ducks center Leo Carlsson, among others.
THE NHL NOTEBOOK IS PRESENTED BY BETWAY
The OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads are eyeing a relocation to Brampton, Ont.
In a statement Wednesday, the club released from ownership, led by Elliott Kerr of Mississauga’s Landmark Sport Group, that the move “marks a strategic decision aimed at enhancing our team’s growth and expanding our fan base.”
“Brampton’s vibrant diverse community and its growing hockey fan base present a thrilling new chapter for the Steelheads, offering our players, staff, and fans a fresh and dynamic environment,” the club said in a statement.
“We are currently working closely with all stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition and with the OHL, as any relocation is subject to the approval of the OHL Board of Governors. Our commitment to our fans and partners remains unwavering during this transition period. We are incredibly grateful for the support and loyalty shown by the Mississauga community over the years and aim to maintain strong ties with the city.”
A potential move wouldn’t be unheard of in junior hockey, and in the OHL, it would be the first since the Battalion relocation to North Bay in 2013.
The move from Mississauga to Brampton wouldn’t be a steep one. Currently, the club plays out of the Paramount Fine Foods Centre, and their prospective arena, the CAA Centre, is just 10 minutes away by train.
Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan McLeod spent four years with the Steelheads between 2016-17 and 2018-19.
Here’s more from Daily Faceoff’s Steven Ellis:
The idea of relocation has been floated for years, with Mississauga struggling to bring in fan support. According to HockeyDB.com, the Steelheads have the lowest average attendance of any OHL team at 2,252 fans per game.OHL hockey in Mississauga started with the IceDogs in 1998 before the team was relocated to Niagara in 2007. Former Ottawa Senators owner Eugene Melnyk then moved the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors to the team from 2007-12 before a new owner took over and rebranded the team to the Steelheads.
Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at email@example.com.
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