Canucks’ Elias Pettersson heads impressive crop of NHL rookies after first month
Elias Pettersson knows how to make a first impression.
Not only did the talented young Swede score a goal on his first shot in his NHL debut, but he had a dynamic first month in the National Hockey League. As such, the Vancouver Canucks center is the Sporting News NHL Rookie of the Month for October.
Pettersson finished October with seven goals and 10 points – both tops among NHL rookies — despite missing six games with a concussion. On Friday, the Sundval, Sweden native scored twice to lead the Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Five of Pettersson’s goals have either tied the score or given Vancouver the lead.
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Pettersson, the fifth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, spent last season with Timra of the Swedish Hockey League. He was named the league’s top forward and Rookie of the Year, and was the SHL’s first postseason MVP to win the award unanimously.
The 19-year-old forward was the top-ranked NHL prospect in the Sporting News preseason rankings.
Sporting News All-Rookie Team (October 2018)
Henri Jokiharju (Chicago): Jokiharju averaged close to 22 minutes a game and leads all NHL rookies with seven assists – all at even strength.
Max Lajoie (Ottawa): Lajoie also plays over 21 minutes a night and his seven points ties him for the most among rookie defensemen.
Elias Pettersson (Vancouver): Pettersson’s shooting percentage of 37.8 (7 goals on 19 shots) is the highest in the league among players with 10 or more shots on goal.
Brady Tkachuk (Ottawa): Tkachuk was the league’s most productive rookie before a leg injury shelved him after only four games. The left wing’s points-per-game average of 1.50 is the highest among first-year players.
Max Comtois (Anaheim): Comtois is tied with Jokiharju for a rookie-best seven even-strength points (2 goals, 5 assists). The left wing’s points-per-60 minutes average at even strength (3.21) is third only to Pettersson and Tkachuk.
Linus Ullmark (Sabres): Only four rookie goalies appeared in games during the month of October, all filling the No. 2 role with their respective teams. However, Linus Ullmark stood out with a 2-0-1 record in three starts, to go along with a 2.00 GAA and .935 save percentage. The 25-year-old Swede is technically still a rookie, even with 29 career appearances now, and his 36-save shutout on Oct. 13 against the Coyotes was actually the third of his career.
Other Notable Performers:
Warren Foegele (Carolina): The Carolina right wing is tied for third with five even-strength points, and his 36 individual scoring chances were tops among NHL rookies.
Dennis Cholowski (Detroit): Cholowski, a defenseman, leads all rookies with five power-play points, helping Detroit own the league’s 10th-best power play after ranking 23rd a season ago.
To track the nightly progress of NHL rookies and their daily rankings, please visit Steve’s CalderWatch page at www.thedraftanalyst.com
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