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Can Connor Bedard still win the Calder Trophy?

Can Connor Bedard still win the Calder Trophy? originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Connor Bedard was the runaway favorite to win the Calder Memorial Trophy before he was sidelined on Jan. 5 with a broken jaw.

The rookie superstar, though, is set to make a surprise early return on Thursday when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Pittsburgh Penguins at the United Center, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Chicago. And it turns out, the award for the NHL's most outstanding rookie is still very much in play.

Bedard led all NHL rookies in points (33), goals (15), and assists (18) through his first 39 games. After missing roughly six weeks of action, he still leads all rookies in goals and is tied with Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber with 33 points. Faber also surged to the top of the assists leaderboard with 29. Coyotes center Logan Cooley and Devils defenseman Luke Hughes both surpassed Bedard, too, with with 19 assists each.

Wild center Marco Rossi is also on Bedard's tail, with 14 goals and 29 points in 53 games.

Missing 14 games certainly puts Bedard at a disadvantage. If the numbers stay close, the award could, and probably should, go to a guy who helped his team the whole season. But if Bedard catchers fire and runs away in at least two of the offensive categories, the Calder Trophy could surely be his.

We'll have to see how quickly the league's crown jewel is able to bounce back.

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