Taylor Hall had a good month (10 points in 13 games) and Bryan Bickell was even better (11 points 12 games), but Logan Couture had the best December of any NHL rookie.
The San Jose Sharks forward scored 10 goals and four assists for 14 points in 15 games. That total leads all rookies in the month, but Couture is dominating compared to other Calder Trophy nominates in offensive categories overall.
His greatest competition for the individual award so far has come from two goalies: Michal Neuvirth and Sergei Bobrovsky. Those are the two other rookies to earn the monthly award so far this season, but each netminder is hitting a few hiccups at the moment. Neuvirth is no longer the clear starter in Washington as Semyon Varlamov is back and healthy while Bobrovsky is dealing with a struggling Philadelphia defense.
Could it be that the rookie of the year award is Couture’s to lose? Maybe. Check out his accomplishments so far, according to an NHL press release.
A first-round draft pick (ninth overall) of the Sharks in 2007, Couture leads all rookies in goals (18), shots (129), game-winning goals (five) and power-play goals (five), ranks second in points (27) and is tied for fourth in plus-minus (+8). The 21-year-old Guelph, Ontario native joins goaltenders Michal Neuvirth of the Washington Capitals (October) and Sergei Bobrovsky of the Philadelphia Flyers (November) as Rookie of the Month winners this season.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.