NHL Calder Trophy race: Ducks' Leo Carlsson bursts onto the scene

Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars
Toronto Maple Leafs v Dallas Stars / Sam Hodde/GettyImages
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Tier 1: Calder Trophy Contender

2. Connor Bedard, C, Chicago Blackhawks

Connor Bedard has been as good as advertised so far, and the only reason he isn't No. 1 on this list is simply because his supporting cast is dreadful. Taylor Hall has been injured twice already this season, and fellow Chicago Blackhawks rookie Kevin Korchinski hasn't blown the roof off the United Center just yet.

Still, Bedard has managed four points in seven games, even though that places him below Logan Cooley, Ridly Grieg, and Matt Poitras in the scoring department. Those guys all play for teams with at least one established star, and that includes the likes of Clayton Keller, Nick Schmaltz, Brady Tkachuk, Claude Giroux, Tim Stutzle, Charlie McAvoy, David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, and more.

The 2023 No. 1 overall pick is on an island in Chicago, and 38-year-old Corey Perry has been the team's second-best forward in the first month of the 2023-24 season. Perry is a great bottom-sixer on a contender, but ideally not the guy the Blackhawks want as their primary compliment to a stud like Bedard.

We'll see how the season unfolds, but Bedard hasn't lost all his Calder footing just yet. That being said, there are a lot of talented players breathing down his neck right now.