If the Toronto Maple Leafs were to have a Rookie of the Month most people would have thought it would be Auston Matthews, the first overall pick of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, but they would have been wrong.
William Nylander, Matthews’ teammate & linemate, was named the Rookie of the Month for October. Nylander beat out Matthews (6-4-10 in 10 games played), Winnipeg right wing Patrik Laine (6-2-8 in 9 games played), Philadelphia left wing Travis Konecny (1-6-7 in 10 games played), and Rangers left wing Jimmy Vesey (5-1-6 in 9 games played).
Nylander led all rookies with seven goals and 11 points in nine games played in the month of October. He has at least one point in seven of his nine games played this year. In his nine games so far, Nylander has scored more than one point in four of them. On October 22 against the Chicago Blackhawks he had his first multi-goal game. His first multipoint game of the season came on opening night on October 12 against the Ottawa Senators, where he registered two assists. Then on October 19 at Winnipeg, Nylander added another goal and assist to his point total. Finally his latest multipoint game came on October 25 against the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he added another goal and assist to his resume. In the two games where Nylander has zero points, the Leafs have won the game. In his four multipoint games, Toronto has four loses.
Nylander’s seven power play points lead the League, not just the rookies. He was second among rookies with three power play goals and 31 shots on goal. The rookie’s four goals were tied for second on the Maple Leafs with James Van Riemsdyk. His seven assists ranked first on the team, and he had the most points on the team with 11 during the month of October. Nylander’s three power play goals led Toronto along with his seven power play points. He was also second on the team with 31 shots on goal.
This shouldn’t be the first time this season that a Leafs rookie wins the honors.