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In this edition of the hotstove, we share our midseason picks for the Calder.
Cale Makar is getting *all* of the love right now but I think a strong case can be made Quinn Hughes is just as deserving, if not more so. Hear me out.
Whether you’re comparing teams based on roster talent or position in the standings, Makar plays for the better one. I don’t think anyone out there will dispute that.
Despite a better supporting cast, the Canucks control more of the shot attempts and expected goals with Hughes on the ice than the Avalanche do with Makar. While the latter has Hughes beat in actual goals – not surprising given the teams they play for – his goal differential is still strong.
If you look at the relative impact they make, that’s where Hughes really separates himself.
Be it Corsi (+7.07 to -0.18), Expected Goals (+11.26 to +2.95) or real goals (+5.55 to -2.18), Hughes is propping up his team’s numbers a lot more than Makar. The Canucks fare miles better with Hughes on the ice at 5v5 while it hasn’t made much difference whether Makar’s out there for the Avalanche.
Don’t get me wrong. Makar has played extremely well and I can see why he is the favorite to take home the hardware.
I just lean to Hughes because he’s right there with Makar in less favorable playing circumstances.
This is...unfortunately...a very easy and boring answer. It's Cale Makar and it's not really close. Victor Olofsson has been a fantastic surprise for Buffalo and Quinn Hughes is having a great start to his young career...but it's Makar. He has 32 points in 34 games. When he was injured, the Avs looked out of synch. At 21 he's already an All-Star level defenseman.
While it's nice to mention guys like John Marino, Philippe Myers, Nick Suzuki or Ilya Mikheyev, who are all having strong years and looking like found money...it's Makar. Sorry for being boring, but it's the truth.
Numbers via NaturalStatTrick.com
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