Halfway through the 2022-2023 NHL season, it’s clear that Matty Beniers is the favorite to win the Rookie of the Year award. The forward for the Seattle Kraken has been a standout player in his first season, displaying skill, speed, and a strong sense of the game.
Beniers was drafted second overall in the 2021 NHL draft and has lived up to the hype that surrounded him heading into the league. In 40 games played with the Kraken this season, he has scored 16 goals and assisted on 18 more, for a total of 34 points. This puts him well ahead of the other rookie players in the league, as the next highest point-scorer among rookies is Mason McTavish, who has 26 points. Cole Perfetti and Matias Maccelli are tied for third place with 22 points each.
It’s not just his point totals that make Beniers a standout player, however. He has also been a strong two-way player for the Kraken, displaying a strong work ethic and a commitment to defensive play. He has also been had a role on the Kraken power-play, and has helped the team be in the battle for playoffs as the Kraken sit third in the Pacific division, only 4 points off the top with 2 games in hand.
Beniers’ impressive performances have not gone unnoticed by his teammates and coaches, with many praising his poise, intelligence and compete level. he’s showing that he is ready to play with the best, his goal scoring ability and his playmaking make him a complete player. His strong start to the season has helped the Kraken to a strong position in the standings, and he will be a key player for the team as they aim to make a push for the playoffs.
Beniers has one part of his game that is struggling, his face-offs. His current FO% is only 43.7%, something the Kraken and Beniers will certainly want to improve on as face-offs play an extremely important role in key moments.
It is worth noting that while Beniers has been the best rookie so far this season, the second half of the season will be crucial to keep this level of performance. Additionally, it will be interesting to see how the Rookie of the Year race will evolve as the season progresses. However, at this point in the season, Matty Beniers looks to be the clear front-runner for the award.