December Pittsburgh Penguins organizational players
Building on November’s work for Players of the Month, we’ll come back to December, which saw games postponed almost everywhere you’ve watched in the NHL, AHL, and World Juniors.
NHL Player of the Month: Sidney crosby
After being named the Pensburgh player to watch last month, Crosby continued his return to form in December by leading the Pens in assists (nine) and points (11) in the eight games in December that they actually played. . Another encouraging sign is that Crosby improved his faceoff percentage from 43.1% in nine November games to (and even passed) his recent season average of 57.1% in eight December games – the improvement being an indicator of his wrist strength and general timing. Everything was in place for the captain and the team, winning their last seven games before the COVID hiatus brought their season to a halt in December as they stepped into high gear.
Honorable mentions: Jake Guentzel, Evan Rodrigues, Kris Letang
It was tempting to name Guentzel Player of the Month, he only played three games before being knocked out with a broken finger / joint but still recorded six goals (including two goals AFTER the hand injury). ) and eight points in a red light race.
Rodrigues (2G + 6A) and Letang (0G + 8A) also got points per game in all eight games in December, which is particularly encouraging for Rodrigues to emerge as a consistent points producer with so many players in and out. alignment, a tendency to continue (unfortunately) in the days and weeks to come.
Player to watch: Evgeni malkin
All eyes will be on Number 71 as he is set to make his NHL debut in January. Malkin has a lot of experience after long layoffs during his brilliant but injury-filled career. History tells us that he may not score many goals in the near future, but that he should be able to produce assists and points immediately. His skill, offensive flair and play should be a great comeback for the Pens’ power play at 27th in the NHL (15.3%), who will get a much-needed boost just from the presence. by Malkin.
AHL Player of the Month: Valtteri puustinen
Puustinen started his North American career with a flash in October with 4G + 4A in seven games, then returned in November with just 1G + 2A in 11 games. December saw him reestablish his production with 2G + 3A in just seven games, Wilkes-Barre not having played the first 10 days of the month, then taking another break from 18-27. Like most scoring wingers, Puustinen can be a little treat or a match-to-match famine at this point in his young career. In two games in December he registered 6+ shots, in two other games he registered 0 SOG. Those two games with the high shot totals were where he scored both of his goals during the month, as he learns and continues to grow and improve it would be a good sign to see 3-4 consistent shots per game. most evenings.
European prospect of the month: Calle Clang
A lot more is expected to happen, but the cancellation of WJC is devastating for the players involved. Finland’s Joel Blomqvist had a rough pass as he allowed Team USA three goals in a pre-season game and was relegated to third in goalie for Finland’s tournament opener, where he had to be one of the best keepers. Blomqvist only recorded a 0.889 saving percentage in six appearances in 2021 for the Finnish junior team, which is not the end of the world for their future, but still a disappointing end for their U- action. 20.
By default, that leaves center Kirill Tankov (RUS) and goalkeeper Calle Clang (SWE) as other Euro prospects. Tankov recorded an assist in both WJC games in Russia, Clang was positioned more as a replacement for Jesper Wallstedt, but Clang appeared in four games in the WJC preparation and acquitted well with an average of 1, 20 and .951% shutdown.
North American prospect of the month: Lukas Svejkovski
Medicine Hat (one of the worst teams in the WHL) traded Svejkovsky to the Seattle Thunderbirds, which should benefit the player. Svejkovsky had 30 points (13G + 17A) in 24 games for Medicine Hat, nearly doubling his second-leading scorer of the season who has just 16 points. In his last 10 games with Medicine Hat, Svejkovsky had 5G + 3A, which seems pretty modest, but again, given that he didn’t have a lot to do, it’s more impressive. Seattle has five players with over 25 points this season, so Svejkovsky’s stats could have even more of an impact on a new, stronger team, making it an exciting second half of the season for this prospect.