NHL Rookie of the Year ladder: Big rise from Adam Fantilli in Week 12

The NHL’s Rookie of the Year race is reaching its midway point, so who is in the lead, and which rookie made the biggest jump in Week 12?

Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders
Columbus Blue Jackets v New York Islanders / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages
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The NHL’s Rookie of the Year race for the Calder Memorial Trophy is one of the most fun to watch, as the stars of tomorrow seek to make their presence known in a huge way. As with any race going on, there are over a dozen names worth at least an honorable mention on a list like this. 

However, we trimmed that number down to just six, and it was tough to decide who was worthy of a spot and who must do a little more to earn such recognition. The players mentioned below haven’t just put up outstanding numbers, but they have also made quite an impact on their respective teams. Keep reading to see who earned a spot in the top six, and which rookie made a huge jump. 

Who made the biggest jump in the NHL Rookie of the Year ladder?

6. Zach Benson, W, Buffalo Sabres

Zach Benson may be scoring only a half-point per game, with 13 of them — four goals, and nine assists in 26 contests. However, Benson snags the sixth spot on this list simply for his ability to defy the odds as he continues to develop into an impactful two-way player in this league. 

During what is a slowly unraveling year for the Buffalo Sabres, Benson has been at times the brightest spot among the Blue and Gold’s forwards. He’s sporting a plus-1 at the moment for a team that just can’t seem to get consistent and has found itself falling behind by multiple goals often in the first period. 

Benson can break into the top-five in these rankings if he continues to get better as his improbable rookie season continues. He has scored more lately, and has become an expert at creating room for himself in front of the opponent’s crease. Sooner than later, the puck will find the back of the net more often, and Benson’s value will continue to climb.