The 2023-24 NHL season will be wrapping up next week. As a result, many of the league's award races are kicking into full gear. Players say they don't care much, but they will definitely have these races in the back of their minds during this home stretch. Star rookies Connor Bedard and Brock Faber will definitely have the Calder Trophy on their minds.

Both young players have had excellent rookie campaigns this season. Bedard came into the league with a ton of hype after going to the Chicago Blackhawks first overall in the 2023 NHL Draft. Faber, meanwhile, burst onto the scene this year with the Minnesota Wild. Both players are incredibly deserving of being recognized as the best newcomer this season.

But what case does each player have for this award? And, in the end, who is the favorite to walk away with the hardware? Let's examine the case for Connor Bedard and Brock Faber to win the Calder Trophy as the best rookie during the 2023-24 NHL season.

The case for Connor Bedard

Chicago Blackhawks center Connor Bedard (98) take a shot against the New York Islanders during the first period at UBS Arena.
Thomas Salus-USA TODAY Sports

Connor Bedard has a rather straightforward Calder Trophy case. The Blackhawks have had a rather awful season, but Bedard is far and away their best player. The 18-year-old leads Chicago in goals (22), assists (37), and points (59) this year. He did miss time with an injury this year. Across a full 82 games, Bedard is playing at a 77-point pace.

Bedard leads all Blackhawks skaters in a few advanced stats. For instance, he leads them with a 52% Corsi percentage and 52.7% on-ice expected goal percentage. He is also among the team leaders in point shares. Point shares are similar to the WAR statistic in baseball. It essentially shows the contribution a player makes to the amount of points each team earns in a season.

For Bedard, he leads the team in 4.3 offensive point shares. He is third on the team, and second among skaters, in overall point shares. This shows that the 18-year-old is the main offensive threat on the team. And that his play makes him one of Chicago's main contributors overall.

Connor Bedard leads rookies in points, goals, and assists. He has little in the way of a supporting cast around him. And he has immediately become the team's leader offensively. Had he not missed time with injury, he may be a point-per-game player right now. To say he has a solid Calder Trophy case is an understatement.

The case for Brock Faber

Minnesota Wild defenseman Brock Faber (7) and San Jose Sharks center Klim Kostin (10) compete for the puck during the first period at Xcel Energy Center.
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Faber doesn't have as straightforward a case as Connor Bedard. However, his case is certainly a strong one. The Wild rearguard is third in rookie scoring, behind Bedard and Luke Hughes. What places him firmly above Hughes in this race is the way Minnesota has used him this year.

He leads all Wild defensemen in total minutes played in 2023-24. In fact, he has logged nearly 500 more minutes than the next closest rearguard. Faber has received a whopping 41.1% of possible ice time, according to MoneyPuck. This number also leads Minnesota defensemen.

Faber has clearly earned the trust of the Wild's coaching staff. However, this isn't the end of the story. Looking at the entire league, the 21-year-old is seventh in total minutes. Only Quinn Hughes, Roman Josi, Rasmus Dahlin, Mike Matheson, John Carlson, and Drew Doughty have logged more minutes than him. His percentage share of possible ice time also ranks sixth in the entire league.

So, we know that Faber has essentially been used as a top-pairing defenseman. But how has he performed? Well, he is contributing to the Wild at both ends of the ice. His 2.5 offensive point shares rank top among Minnesota defensemen and sixth among all skaters. He ranks second to Jonas Brodin in defensive point shares and has the most overall point shares of any Minnesota rearguard.

Brock Faber emerged as a top-pairing defenseman in the NHL this season. He was given a workload comparable to the elite defensemen in the league, and he has more than held his own. Faber may not have entered the season with similar hype as Connor Bedard. However, he has proven himself to be a future star in this league.

The favorite to win the Calder Trophy in 2024

There's a push to label Connor Bedard as the presumptive Calder Trophy winner. And to an extent, this is understandable. Point-per-game rookies do not come along often. In fact, since 2000-01, only four rookies have scored at a point-per-game or better. And two of those performances came in the same season.

However, Brock Faber has just as strong a case. Bedard doesn't have a great supporting cast, and that can make his output more impressive. However, we're talking about a 21-year-old defenseman receiving a workload comparable to Rasmus Dahlin, Roman Josi, and Drew Doughty. And he's one of his team's main contributors in all facets of the game.

If a prediction must be made, Connor Bedard enters the offseason as the favorite for the Calder Trophy. Since 2000-01, only five defensemen have won the award. And, again, Bedard is already near a point-per-game forward. That said, Brock Faber is just as deserving. It would not be a surprise at all if he won it in the end.