Tomas Hertl named NHL's rookie of the month, obviously
I mean, who else were they going to give it to?
Given the sheer volume of headlines, faux-controversy and, above all, beautiful goals he's generated, it's hard to imagine that we're less than four weeks into Tomas Hertl's NHL career. But the league Hertl so thoroughly disrespected reminded us all of that fact today, naming him the NHL's top rookie for the month of October. With all due respect (I wouldn't want Adam Oates on my ass) to a star-studded rookie class that includes No. 1 overall pick Nathan MacKinnon, American hero Seth Jones and guy-who-makes-the-Calgary-Flames-watchable Sean Monahan, Hertl was the obvious choice. His eight goals and eleven points led all rookies and, I mean, come on, he did this:
What strikes me as particularly impressive about Hertl's first month is that, despite his shooting percentage predictably cooling off (expecting him to maintain a 164-goal pace was probably a touch unrealistic), he continues to generate scoring opportunities at a very high rate. In fact, Hertl's 12.6 shots on goal per 60 minutes of five-on-five ice time currently ranks 11th among forwards who have appeared in at least 75% of their team's games. That's a great sign for the Sharks (an even better one might be that Hertl's fellow rookie Matt Nieto ranks 7th on that list) and an encouraging indicator that Hertl is capable of being a very important piece of the team's top six all season. Dan Boyle is reportedly set to play tomorrow against the Coyotes and his return along with that of Hertl's linemate Brent Burns should help in that regard as well, and possibly set up several more months of bad puns and highlight-reel goals. Let's relive the definitive high point of Hertl's, and the Sharks', October: