The NHL has seen a fair share of surging rookies over the first month of the 2013 season. Young guns that are just barely 20-years old are taking the league by absolute storm, showing poise, maturity and of course, a boatload of talent. While a handful of players have been extremely impressive, only one can be declared the Rookie of the Month.
St. Louis Blues sensational right winger Vladimir Tarasenko was named the Rookie of the Month of January. Tarasenko kicked off his inaugural season with a bang, netting two goals during his debut victory against the Detroit Red Wings. The Blues have always thought highly of the 21-year old and he has made a statement in the big leagues thus far. He has five goals and five assists on the year, putting him inside the top 20 in points scored. That’s ahead of guys like Claude Giroux, Eric Staal and Zach Parise.
Tarasenko has been in tremendous rookie company this year, which makes the award much more impressive. Someone like Cory Conacher of the Tampa Bay Lightning could have easily won the honor, posting twelve points on the season, placing him inside the top 10 among league leaders. Other guys such as Nail Yakupov (EDM), Justin Schultz (EDM), and Alex Galchenyuk (MON) were all very deserving as well.
Drafted with the 16th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Tarasenko has tremendous upside. He is a born goal-scorer with a great set of hands and has the individual skill-set to give opposing defenses a nightmare.
Tarasenko may have taken the first Rookie of the Month honors, but it’s a safe bet that this will be one of the more interesting Calder Trophy races in quite some time.