LA Kings: Two players shortlisted for Calder Trophy betting odds

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The LA Kings have two representatives in the Calder Trophy betting odds, but surprisingly, Gabe Vilardi is not one of them.

While the league seems optimistic that a January 1 start date is still achievable, all eyes remain on the World Juniors in the hockey world. It would make sense for the NHL to begin the season immediately after the WJC conclude, similar to the lockout season in 2012-2013. Of course, that season was impacted by the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations and not a global pandemic.

Regardless of when the season gets underway, the LA Kings will have several new faces in the lineup. With a loaded prospect pool on the cusp of making their respective debuts in the NHL as well, it should mark for a fun season in Los Angeles. The backbone of the Kings’ roster is the veteran core leftover from the Stanley Cup runs in the early 2010s.

But teams shouldn’t be sleeping on this team’s youth either. According to SportsBettingDime, both Quinton Byfield and Alex Turcotte are within the top six to win the 2021 Calder Trophy. As expected, names like Igor Shesterkin and Alexis Lafreniere highlight the list with +175 and +375 odds, respectively.

Turcotte played one season at the University of Wisconsin, tallying nine goals with 17 assists while being limited on a disappointing Badgers team and a nagging knee injury. He’s expected to begin the year in Ontario under former USNTDP head coach – and now Reign head coach – John Wroblewski.

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I suppose there’s a scenario where he dazzles in training camp, and the Kings simply cannot send him to Ontario. But that seems like a long shot.

Again, when the 2021 season begins might determine where Quinton Byfield begins the year. The OHL season isn’t expected to get going until early February.

An early January start for the NHL could force the league to expand team rosters and put the 2020 second overall pick into the mix sooner than expected. Byfield and Turcotte have +1200 and +1400 odds to win the Calder Trophy, but the national media apparently didn’t notice what Gabe Vilardi did at the end of the 2019-2020 season.

Sure, it was only a ten-game sample size, but Vilardi scored three goals to go along with four assists in that span, finally putting the injury concerns behind him. The former 11th overall pick in 2017 is projected to begin the year at the 2C position, with former Ontario Reign linemate Martin Frk playing on his right wing.

Cale Makar took home the award last season, with Canucks’ Elias Pettersson being the last forward to win the Calder Trophy in 2019. That season, the 20-year-old rookie sensation tallied 28 goals with 38 assists. Broken down per game, that’s 0.40-0.57-0.97 goals-assists-points per contest.

In ten games last year, Vilardi put up a per game average of 0.30-0.40-0.70. Let’s see what he can do over a full season.