Coming into the 2022-23 season, there were high expectations for the Carolina Hurricanes as they went all in during the offseason adding big-name players such as Brent Burns and Max Pacioretty. It has been one player, though, that has taken this team by storm and made an impact that no one saw coming.
Rookie goaltender Pyotr Kotchetkov has been lights out for the Hurricanes so far this season. The 23-year-old Russian goaltender was a second-round 39th overall pick by Carolina in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft and has now blossomed into one of the NHL’s best young goalies early on.
While it has only been a small sample size of 15 games, Kotchetkov has only shown he is here to stay. On the season, he is 10-3-4 with a 2.20 GAA and a .919 SV% to go along with three shutouts. The most important thing to note is he puts the Hurricanes in a position to get at least one point every time he is in net.
The Hurricanes are the hottest team in the NHL at the moment after going 12-0-1 in the Month of December. They are currently first in the Metropolitan Division and second in the Eastern Conference with a 25-8-6 record, only trailing the Boston Bruins, who are 30-4-4. Their 56 points are also second-best in the whole NHL, and Kotchetkov has been responsible for 24 of them.
When it comes to the Calder Trophy, Kotchetkov will have to continue his strong play throughout the second half of the season. Right now, one of the major disadvantages against him is the number of games he has played. Kotchetkov has played in 17 games compared to other rookie goaltender Logan Thompson who has appeared in 28 games for the Vegas Golden Knights.
Even with the large difference in games played, Kotchetkov still has the second-best odds of winning the Calder. His GAA and SV% both rank first among rookie goaltenders, as Logan Thompson doesn’t even come close in these categories.
It has been a long time since a goaltender has won the Calder Trophy going all the way back to 2009 when Steve Mason of the Columbus Blue Jackets took home the honor. If there is a goaltender that can break the streak of forwards winning, it is Kotchetkov. Now that the net is all his expect a strong second half by the rookie netminder to push him over the top as he tries to take home the 2023 Calder Trophy and help the Hurricanes to a Stanley Cup victory.
For those that are interested in betting, Pyotr Kotchetkov is currently +280 odds to win the Calder Memorial Trophy.