After scoring 11 points and recording a plus-10 rating in 17 games, LA Kings defenseman Jake Muzzin was named the NHL’s rookie of the month for March on Monday.
Muzzin, 24, is an interesting story. He was selected by the Pens at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, but went unsigned by Pittsburgh and proceeded to ink a free agent deal with the Kings in 2010.
He made the Kings out of training camp that fall, and appeared in 11 games before LA opted to use Alec Martinez in the defensive rotation.
Muzzin spent all of 2011-12 in AHL Manchester and was recalled for last year’s playoff run as a black ace. He was on the winning roster, but didn’t participate in any games and didn’t have his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
This year was supposed to be more of the same — until Willie Mitchell and Matt Greene were lost to injury (Mitchell hasn’t played this year and is a “long shot” to return; Greene’s only played once but has an outside shot of returning for the playoffs.)
Muzzin has taken full advantage of the playing opportunity. He sits second on the team in d-man scoring — tied with Drew Doughty on 14 points — and is averaging over 18 minutes per game.
As for who he edged out for March’s rookie of the month honors?
— Chicago LW Brandon Saad had 15 points in 14 games.
— Florida center Jonathan Huberdeau had 12 points in 16 games.
— Blues goalie Jake Allen went 5-2-0 with a 2.33 GAA and one shutout.