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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1. Connor Bedard, C, Chicago Blackhawks

We knew Connor Bedard would be the front-runner for the Calder Memorial Trophy from the beginning, and nearly halfway through the season, he has not disappointed us. Sure, the Blackhawks are a far cry from contending again, but at least they got their franchise player who already looks like a seasoned veteran. 

And as Bedard gains experience, he just keeps getting better, with eight points and three goals in his last five contests. In his previous outing on Dec. 27, Bedard scored his second of what will be many game-winning goals, and he has 15 overall on the season to go with 32 points in 34 games. 

While we mentioned Fantilli could make this a race, he would also need Bedard to hit a slump at some point in the second half of the season to maximize his chances. But until Bedard shows even the slightest sign of that occurring, expect the 18-year-old to remain at No. 1 in these rankings. 

Like Fantilli, Bedard also has an edge defensively, with 19 hits and a remarkable 30 takeaways. The only real blemish next to the fact Bedard has yet to carry the Blackhawks to new heights is that he’s also given the puck away 31 times. But other than that, his numbers speak for themselves, and he needs just another good half of a season to claim the Calder. 

(Statistics provided by Hockey-Reference)

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