The NHL went into a full-on pause for a fair bit of the month of December, but there is still one Carolina Hurricanes player who has played fantastically the whole season so far and deserves some recognition for maintaining his form during a chaotic month of December. While he hasn’t been the only player to highlight on the team, the player of the month has been very consistent, which places him a little bit above the other two candidates who will be highlighted.
Player of the Month: Frederik Andersen
Andersen has been a consistent mention on the list for players of the month, and a large reason for that has been his stellar performances in the net. During the month of December, the Hurricanes have yet to lose a game where Andersen started in the net, and he has been a huge reason for the success of the team this season. Just this month the goalie has faced 127 shots and only had eight goals against him, an impressive feat for any goalie, but especially for someone who most people had written off after a rough season last year.
His positioning has been top-notch, and he has been able to play aggressively from his crease as he has become continually more comfortable playing behind his defenders again. It may be slightly early to call the goalie a Vezina candidate, but if he keeps his performances like this, then there is no reason that he couldn’t be lifting that all-important award at the end of the season. On top of that, he will most certainly be an important player if the Hurricanes want to make a cup push at the end of the season.
Runner Up: Sebastian Aho
Aho has been an important player for the Hurricanes organization ever since his entry to the team, and that hasn’t stopped in the month of December. In just five games played the young center put up 12 points, which would be impressive enough, but he also never slouched on the defensive side of his game, as he has managed to maintain his positive +/rating through the month, and been able to help his team to a fair few wins. When looking at the player there is no question as to why he was named an alternate captain for his team, or for why he is a consistent first-line player. He has already received the title of player of the month before in the season, and there is almost no question that he could manage to receive the title again in the new year.
Runner Up: Jesperi Kotkaniemi
Kotkaniemi started the month off in a dull fashion, not putting up points for the fair majority of the month, however, his defensive play was still on point which was rather surprising, as he is usually an offensive-minded forward with limited defensive showcases to his name. However, as the Hurricanes started facing more of an injury crisis, partnered with the league-wide COVID-19 outbreak, the team began to rely on the young forward more and more. He could not have delivered in a more stunning fashion, with five points in three games. If when the league returns to play, Kotkaniemi can maintain these star performances, then he will most certainly become a mainstay among the top-line players of the team.
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