In no way am I about to trash Jack Eichel, and say he has not been good enough this season. He is a special player and is living up to his generational label. However, he will not win rookie of the year, and he may not even be nominated.
This has been an incredible year for rookies in the NHL. Currently this is the point leaderboard for them.
The Sabres are currently 3rd last in goals per game in the NHL. While that should pick up, the Sabres are not an offensive firepower. Parayko, Lindberg, Larkin, and Panarin have that luxury to different extents.
Artemi Panarin is on track to win rookie of the year, and that's who I would pick at this point. Panarin plays on a line with NHL point leader Patrick Kane, so as long as that combination. Colton Parayko would be my second choice. While Eichel has more star caliber at this point, I'd hope he wouldn't get it based on just that.
Eichel has a lot of games remaining to put up the points necessary to win, but he has to make up a 12 point deficit and overtake 8 players. When talking about just catching Panarin, Eichel has a tough task. Panarin has basically replaced the role once held by Patrick Sharp. He is the beneficiary of Kane's magic. Sharp's point total the last two seasons were 43 and 78. If Panarin is anywhere in that range, which he is on pace to be, Eichel will have to put up at least 40 more points in 60 games. He can do that, but that's if Panarin is on the low end of the range.
Sabres fans should brace themselves right now, because the odds are not in Eichel's favor. In fact with the recent news on Connor McDavid, he might have even worse odds.
McDavid would surely be the favorite if he had stayed healthy. He has 12 points in 13 games, nearly a point a game. Had he stayed healthy, he could have run away with he rookie race. For now though, the door is open for a lot of rookies to claim the top spot.