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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5. Connor Zary, C, Calgary Flames

Connor Zary has just two points in his previous five games, but the overall scope of his rookie season has been rather memorable even if the Calgary Flames are figuring to miss the playoffs. They have a true asset in Zary, who has 17 points, seven goals, and 10 assists in 25 appearances this season, along with an impressive plus-7. 

Even more impressive is the fact Zary is boasting a 23.3 shooting percentage off of 30 shots on goal, which further shows that he will be a player the Flames can build around in the future. It’s clear that Zary, the 24th-overall pick in 2020, has already exceeded expectations and the season hasn’t even reached its halfway point. 

As 2023 fades into 2024, don’t be surprised when Zary sees even more average total ice time than the 15 minutes and 42 seconds he currently sits at. In his last five contests, he has seen his time-on-ice dramatically trend upward from 14:44 on Dec. 16 to 19:32 on Dec. 27. 

The Flames have far more trust in their rookie forward, and while it will be tough for Zary to break into the top three in the Rookie of the Year ladder thanks to Logan Cooley’s, Adam Fantilli’s, and Connor Bedard’s presence, a top-four finish could be in his future.