Kyle Connor may not be the best rookie in the NHL. The best is very subjective and changes based on how people define the best, but Connor has been one of the top rookies in the NHL since being called up on October 16, 2017.
Connor was sent down to the AHL at the start of the season because the Jets thought he needed more time to be NHL ready. If this season was last season, they would have been 100% correct. Instead, they sent down a very talented and ready player for no real reason. He was ready at the start and it was only due to the unfortunate circumstances of Mathieu Perreault getting injured for four weeks did we get to see Connor in the NHL early in the season.
The Calder field is stacked right now: Matt Barzal, Clayton Keller, Yanni Gourde, Brock Boeser, and Alex DeBrincat are all worthy candidate as well, however Connor’s name should be said alongside their names. While he played on an excellent line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, he was an equal contributor to the line’s success and was still contributing to the team’s success when Scheifele was out injured.
It is highly unlikely that Kyle Connor and his 30 goals/56 points will be nominated for the Calder Trophy. There are too many other candidates that deserve the honour and Connor did not spend the whole season in the NHL. A player like Boeser who was injured will likely also be out of contention. However, that should not take away from the impressive season he has had in not only proving that he has earned a spot in the Jets lineup, but that he was ready to contribute to the Jets success from the start. Connor McDavid never won the Calder either.