Tomas Hertl has been named the NHL’s rookie of the month for October. While it’s not entirely surprising to see him skate away with the honors, the competition was likely a little stiffer than usual for the folks responsible for handing out the award.
NHL.com broke down the high level of engagement in their announcement:
Hertl edged Calgary Flames center Sean Monahan (6-4—10 in 12 games), Edmonton Oilers center Mark Arcobello(0-10—10 in 14 games), Dallas Stars right wing Alex Chiasson (5-4—9 in 12 games), Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones (2-4—6, 25:08 TOI/g in 13 games) and Anaheim Ducks goaltender Frederik Andersen (3-0-0, 1.50 goals-against average, .944 save percentage) for the honor.
While the accomplishments of Jones and Andersen in particular are outstanding, goals are king in the NHL. Want to win the Norris Trophy as the best defenseman? Score some goals. Care to add the Calder Trophy to your resume? Turn on the red light more often than anyone else.
NHL rookie of the month honors are a fun nod to a kid that came out of the gate flying though. While his four-goal effort against the New York Rangers garnered him all sorts of press, where Hertl has really been impressive is away from the puck. It’s not very often that a teenager is able to fill a void caused by injuries, step up into a top-line role while maintaining a strong prescence in all three zones.
Hertl can barely speak the language, but he clearly understands what players such as Nail Yakupov and Filip Forsberg has failed to grasp in their young careers: it’s what you do without the puck that makes you great.
Here’s to a good November.