Calder Trophy Odds Analysis: Is NHL Rookie Award Lucas Raymond’s To Lose?

Written By Nolan Bianchi on November 19, 2021

So, you’ve placed a bet on Lucas Raymond to win the Calder Trophy. 

Now what?

For starters, pat yourself on the back. It’s already shaping up to be a wise decision. Raymond, a 19-year-old Swedish winger, has quickly become the odds-on favorite to win the Calder Trophy, which equates to the NHL’s rookie of the year honors.

And although there is still stiff competition in the rear-view mirror (more on that later), through the first 18 games of his career, it appears that the award is Raymond’s to lose.

Let’s take a look at what percentage of the Michigan sports betting market the budding star has cornered, line movement, and what all of this means for the Detroit Red Wings and their season-long odds.

First, some perspective on Lucas Raymond

Heading into Thursday night’s game against the Vegas Golden Knights, Raymond had seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 18 games.

The Red Wings’ top line of Raymond, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi currently sat fourth among all NHL lines heading into Wednesday in expected goals-for per 60 minutes. That stat bodes well for Raymond’s ability to keep up his pace.

And that pace, by the way, is on par or better with every player to win the award since 2008 (Patrick Kane) other than Vancouver center Elias Pettersson (2018-19), who had 19 points in 18 games.

Impressive, right? It becomes even a little more impressive with context.

When Russian forward Artemi Panarin (2015-16) won the award, it was after three full seasons in the KHL, the last of which he averaged over a point per game. The story is similar for Minnesota’s Kirill Kaprizov (2020-21), who was a full-time player in the KHL putting up 42 points in 49 games during the 2016-17 season, and later collected his Calder this past summer at the ripe age of 24.

Islanders star Mathew Barzal (2017-18) and Cale Makar (2019-20) both won the award in their draft-plus-3 seasons, whereas Raymond is taking the league by storm in his draft-plus-2 year. And Toronto center Auston Matthews (2016-17) totaled just 13 points over his first 18 games, despite a four-goal debut to start his career.

None of this is to say that Raymond will be better than any or all of the league’s previous Calder Trophy winners. But a closer look at his production confirms that we could truly be witnessing a star in the making.

Calder Trophy odds update

Although somebody with a bet on Raymond to win the Calder Trophy is likely amped about these results, oddsmakers of Michigan sportsbooks — some of which were offering Raymond as high as +3400 during the preseason — are likely a little queasy.

Raymond is continuing to become a bigger liability for sportsbooks. His odds are lowering. His handle and ticket percentage are rising. 

On Nov. 11, BetMGM Sportsbook data showed that Raymond owned 36.5% of the ticket percentage and 38.8% of the handle, as his odds sat at +325. Fast forward to this week: Raymond had four points in his past three games entering Wednesday, now sits at +250 on BetMGM, owns 38% of the ticket percentage and 44.3% of the handle.

Challengers to Raymond and the Calder Trophy

Also in the last week: Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras has put a little bit of heat on. Zegras picked up five points (four goals, one assist) in his past two games heading into Wednesday, when BetMGM released its most recent data. 

Zegras’ odds haven’t jumped much on BetMGM (+500, down from +450 a week ago), but they have improved on DraftKings Sportsbook (+350), where Raymond is +250. The data for Zegras will be interesting to track over the next week, as he didn’t receive much of a bump in wagers placed and still holds just 4.1% of the BetMGM handle.

Meanwhile, Raymond’s Red Wings teammate, Moritz Seider, continues to hang around.

The 6-foot-4 German defenseman is the only rookie to trail Raymond in points, putting up 13 (two goals, 11 assists) in 18 games. 

One could argue that Seider’s production as a defenseman is more impressive than what Raymond is doing as a forward. That said, recent point trends for young, high-level defensemen would argue that Seider is not at as much of a disadvantage as one would think.

In another year, Seider could make a fine Calder front-runner. But he’s simply not putting the puck in the back of the net enough at this point. And Raymond’s production, coupled with his knack for the highlight reel and timely goals, gives him a firm grip on becoming the league’s top rookie at the end of the season.

Photo by Duane Burleson/AP
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Nolan Bianchi

Nolan Bianchi is a Detroit-based freelance journalist covering the Lions, Red Wings and everything in between. He hosts the Locked On Red Wings hockey podcast, still collects sports cards, is a published playwright and is a harsh critic of sandwiches.

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