There aren’t many hockey fans on the face of the earth who don’t think Connor Bedard will finish anywhere but first in Calder Trophy odds. So when the Sportsbook Review came out reviewing the Fan Duel and Draft Kings odds, they weren’t shocked either. Bedard is easily the best preseason bet to win it since Auston Matthews back in 2017.
Here’s where it gets interesting. Nestled in the quick snapshot of why Bedard was given those odds, author Neil Parker writes this:
While I’m not convinced Bedard is set to be the next generational star, this -110 price might be the best number we see all season. Bedard checks all the boxes entering the league.
Bedard Projected to be the NHL’s Next Big Star
Put Parker in the category of few NHL writers not on the Bedard hype train. The 18-year-old phenom sent Chicago into bedlam when the Blackhawks won the Draft Lottery. From the traveling bands of fans in Nashville wearing his sweater before the selection to the kids hanging outside Fifth Third during development camp with sharpies, Bedard fever hit the city hard.
But the little lede there made me think a bit. Could it be that maybe it’s a little too much buy-in? Are the numbers potentially saying something the rest of us are missing? It’s never wrong to question a bit, so long as it’s rooted in reason and not irrational.
In 2015-16, Connor McDavid was listed as +115 odds in the preseason while eventual winner Artemi Panarin was +2200. McDavid would finish third in voting–but much of that had to do with the injury that zapped 37 of the games he should have played.
What about Auston Matthews? He was -160 prior to the season starting and ended up winning it so no shocker there. Staying with the generational conversation, Cale Makar opened at +500 in October 2019 during the preseason and hasn’t left the generational category since taking the league by storm that season.
All three listed are almost uniformly considered generational by analysts and fans alike. Both McDavid and Matthews opened up odds as such while Makar came on stronger as the season wore on with players who were the top two choices in the draft.
In short, it sticks. So how can one not be convinced that Bedard is indeed in the generational conversation with preseason odds so ridiculously in his favor?
Time Will Tell
Bedard will not be on a historically great team and won’t even have the younger talent to draw off of as the other three did. Bedard will be the centerpiece of a rebuild that is being designed around speed and hockey IQ.
Maybe it’s too early to say that Bedard is a slam dunk generational player. The numbers he put down certainly seem to imply he’s a can’t miss–whether it’s on the international stage or in junior hockey. Heck, he was even projected to be the next big thing when he was only 14.
But not being convinced of it? Without any real proof given as to why, it seems like a head scratcher.