Jonathan Huberdeau “I’m gunna let you finish”, but Drew Shore was the best NHL rookie during the month of February…
On Friday, NHL.com announced that Jonathan Huberdeau was named their rookie of the month after scoring 9 points (6G 3A) in 13 games during the month of February. However, even though Huberdeau had a terrific month, there is one other rookie that you might believe had an even better showing than he did – his Panther teammate, Drew Shore.
During the month of February, Drew Shore led all rookies in scoring by compiling 10 points (2G, 8A) in 13 games played. Already seeing great success at the NHL level, Shore is starting to be rewarded for his efforts, going from roughly 14 minutes of ice time a game to upwards of 18 minutes near the end of the month. Although he sat atop the rookie point totals for the month, Shore’s talents are not only limited to goals and assists. In just 18 games played this season, Shore has already shown that he has a knack for dominating the face-off circle. With his face-off winning percentage already sitting at an impressive 50% on the season, expect Shore to get even better as he gains more experience and minutes.
If one had to use a word to describe Shore’s play during the month of February, it would be consistency. Last month, Shore became one of the Panthers’ most reliable skaters, tallying a point in 8 of the team’s 13 games played. By comparison, other top rookies Jonathan Huberdeau and Cory Conacher recorded points in only 5 and 7 games respectively. Considering the fact the the Panthers are hardly an offensive juggernaut, the fact that Shore is able to show up on the score sheet so often is truly remarkable.
While I’d agree that Jonathan Huberdeau may have been the most exciting rookie in the past month, Drew Shore could still be more valuable. Huberdeau dazzled fans with his impressive goal scoring abilities and an incredible 4 point game against the Philadelphia Flyers – including a highlight reel penalty shot goal. However, Shore’s own play has been one of the key factors in Huberdeau’s ability to elevate his game recently. In fact, Shore assisted on 4 of Huberdeau’s 6 goals during the month of February.
Considering they play on the same line most nights and feed off each others efforts and energy, it’s hard to say which skater is really more important at this point in the season. However, with Shore’s point totals, face-off contributions and his direct input on many of Huberdeau’s goals this month are what could make him the just as deserving a candidate for February’s rookie of the month.
Lucky for the Panthers’ fans, for the first time in a long time we get to argue over which one of our young talented skaters is truly the best. The fact that two Panther rookies were nominated for NHL.com’s rookie of the month is a true testament to the rebuilding efforts and bright future that await the Florida Panthers and their fans in the coming years.
Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts on the Panthers’ talented rookies in the comments section below!
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