While most expect Nathan MacKinnon to take this year’s Calder Trophy, Ondrej Palat is making a late push for consideration.
The Lightning forward earned his second consecutive rookie of the month award on Tuesday, capturing March honors after winning January’s as well (the NHL didn’t give out awards in Feburary, due to the Winter Olympic break.)
Palat, 23, led all rookies with 16 points in 16 games last month, scoring at least one point in nine of the 16 games while racking up a five-game streak from Mar. 8-17. As a result, Palat is now biting at MacKinnon’s heels on a number of statistical leaderboards for first-year players…
MacKinnon: 74 GP, 23 goals, 33 assists, 56 points, plus-20 rating
Palat: 75 GP, 19 goals, 32 assists, 51 points, plus-27 rating
It’s worth noting Palat has a slight edge in average TOI per game (17:59) to MacKinnon’s 17:04.
As for the March award, a number of other rookies were in the running:
— Calgary’ Joe Colborne (6-5—11 in 16 games),
— Anaheim’s Patrick Maroon (3-8—11 in 14 games)
— Florida’s Nick Bjugstad (1-10—11 in 17 games)
— Tampa Bay’s Tyler Johnson (5-5—10 in 16 games).
Previous winners of this season’s rookie of the month award were San Jose’s Tomas Hertl (October), Nashville’s Marek Mazanec (November) and Los Angeles’ Martin Jones/Chicago’s Antti Raanta (December co-winners).