Macceli for Calder

At the time of writing, Matias Macceli is leading all NHL rookies in points (10), assists (9), and powerplay points (7). Macceli has averaged 15:02 of ice time and 21 shifts per game. If Macceli is able to continue or ake a bigger impact for the Coyotes and in games, he will be one of the front runners for the Calder Memorial Trophy.

Despite the impressive stats, he lacks a wow factor which may make it challenging for him to win the Calder. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, voters tend to have a bias toward rookies who were drafted in the first round or have a resume of highlight reel plays or have a big reputation. For example, Chris Drury, the 1999 Calder winner,  had fewer points and a lower points per game average than teammate and Calder runner-up, Milan Hejduk. Drury was a higher draft pick than Hedjuk and he was able to snag votes from voters as he had fame and hype when entering the league as he won the NCAA’s Hobey Baker Award the year prior and the Little League Baseball World Series when he was younger. Last season, Trevor Zegras had more votes than former Coyotes, Michael Bunting, for the Calder despite having fewer points and 5v5 points. However, Zegras likely secured more votes than Bunting because he didn’t play on a line with Matthews or Marner, was a first-round draft pick unlike Bunting, and scored Michigan goals among other exciting highlight reel plays.

For Maccelli, he was drafted in the fourth round, 98th overall by Arizona in the 2019 draft. Currently, this season’s rookie classes are dominated by many first-round draft picks such as Buffalo’s Owen Power,  Seattle’s Matty Berniers, Ottawa’s Jake Sanderson, Columbus’ Kent Johnson, and Winnipeg’s Cole Perfetti. While writing this post, I only found a highlight reel of Maccelli when he was playing in Finland, but I did find this heart-warming video of him when he made his NHL debut last season.

Thankfully, the NHL season is not even a quarter way done. If Macceli is able can do the following for the remainder of the season, he will be a competitive front-runner for the Calder:

  • Score More Goals: Everyone says that the hardest thing to do in the NHL is score goals. Award voters are drawn to a player’s goals scored, especially when comparing forwards. It definitely doesn’t help that Ottawa’s 2019 2nd-round draft pick, Shane Pinto, currently has a 0.5 goals per game average with 8 goals in 16 games played.
  • More 5v5 Points: Most of Macceli’s points have been scored on the powerplay. For Macceli to be seen as more of a complete player rather than just a powerplay specialist, he needs to be more of an offensive threat when playing 5v5 hockey.

  • More Ice Time: Obviously, this is a bit out of Macceli’s control and dependent on Andre Tourigny, but more ice time shows that Macceli is reliable, competent, and has the potential to be a difference maker. Again, this is hard to control but it is essential especially since Owen Power has been killing it on the blue line for Buffalo and averaging nearly 24 minutes of ice time per game. Also, if you didn’t know, Vegas Golden Knight’s starter, Logan Thompson, is still considered a rookie and Thompson has an impressive 9-3 record with a 2.27 GAA, .925 save percentage, and a 4.7 GSAx.

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