A quick pair of games early in November took our attention off of the typical celebration for the end of the month individual awards. October was an up and down month for the Penguins organization. After starting 4-0-1, the NHL club hit a four-game losing streak on a long road trip. It was nothing but ups in the AHL, where the WB/S Penguins have been the best team in the league early in the 2022-23 season.
Let’s spotlight the individual standouts for the month.
NHL Player of the Month: Sidney Crosby
At age 35, Crosby started off the year strongly with 11 points in the team’s nine October games. That led the Penguins in points, assists (7) and tied for the lead in goals (4). That’s an 100 point pace over a full season, which, it’s Sidney Crosby you can’t really be surprised...But it’s incredible nonetheless. Crosby was named the NHL’s first star of the week in the first week of the season, and like the team he was quiet later in the month.
The NHL's 3 Stars of the Week, first one for 2022-23:— David Pagnotta (@TheFourthPeriod) October 17, 2022
⭐️ Sidney Crosby
⭐️⭐️ Connor McDavid
⭐️⭐️⭐️ Jake Oettinger
So, 2022-23, the 18th verse is the same as the first for Sidney Crosby: still among the league’s very best.
AHL Player of the Month: Dustin Tokarski
The organization’s third string goalie has been way too visible in recent years so let’s whisper on this one, but so far Tokarski has been great. He’s got a 4-0-1 record with a .949 save% to start the season for Wilkes-Barre. In five games, Tokarski has only allowed seven goals (1.38 GAA). Quite the start for the veteran, any time a goalie is playing that well a team is bound to be winning a lot, and such is the case so far for the AHL Penguins. Tokarski’s start was good enough to be named the top goalie in the league so far. Here’s to hoping he keeps it up...And only for Wilkes-Barre..
Big congratulations to Dustin Tokarski on being named AHL Goaltender of the Month!— WBS Penguins (@WBSPenguins) November 1, 2022
Ticker finished out the month of October with a 4-0-1 record. His 1.38 GAA ranks first among AHL goalies, and a .949 SV% ranks him third. pic.twitter.com/m0Y6Iudh2f
Prospect of the Month: Owen Pickering
There’s not a lot of competition for standout young players in the Pens’ organization, but Pickering has been great so far in Swift Current (WHL). The 2022-first round pick has 11 points (2G+9A) in eight games to start the season after getting over the injury he was dealing with during NHL training camp. That’s good for 10th among WHL defenders, but Pickering is also second so far in points/game for blueliners in that league (behind fellow 2022 first rounder Kevin Korchinski).
And while racking up the assists and starting to blossom more offensively in juniors is an expected (and good) development, it’s the real nuts and bolts of Pickering’s game with some of his puck retrievals, skating ability, decisions with the puck, breakout passing that makes him a very intriguing NHL prospect, as written about here on PensBurgh last month.