Hertl was red-hot to start the season, with seven points (six goals and an assist) in three games, including a memorable four-goal effort against the New York Rangers on Oct. 8. Hertl became the fourth-youngest player in NHL history to score four in a game, while matching a single-game record set by Owen Nolan in 1995.
Hertl has been a big part of San Jose’s early success, as they have an NHL-best 22 points to start the season.
Though he cooled off considerably afterward, Hertl still led all rookies in scoring for October, as he posted 11 points (eight goals, three assists) in 13 games with the Sharks. Hertl is one point ahead of a pair of Alberta rookies in Calgary’s Sean Monahan (six goals and four assists in 12 games) and Edmonton’s Mark Arcobello (10 assists in 14 games.)
Other players considered include Alex Chiasson of the Dallas Stars (12 GP, 5-4-9), Frederik Andersen of the Anaheim Ducks (3-0-0, 1.51 GAA, .944 save percentage), and Nashville Predators defenceman Seth Jones (13 GP, 2-4-6, 25:08 TOI).
Hertl, who turns 20 in a little over a week, was San Jose’s first selection in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, having been selected 17th overall.
The speedy Czech winger benefited greatly by starting the season on a line with former Hart Memorial Trophy winner Joe Thornton and Brent Burns, but he was able to showcase his skill set on his own, as best evidenced by the fourth goal he scored against the Rangers.
For better or for worse, Hertl got the NHL talking about his speed and confidence after that goal. Some people loved it, while others, including Washington Capitals head coach Adam Oates, thought Hertl was disrespecting the game. However, Thornton stuck up for his rookie teammate afterwards.
Hertl has been a welcome addition to the San Jose lineup, and head coach Todd McLellan can only hope his rookie sensation can keep the momentum going.