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Players of the month

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

As part of a new tradition,’s Top 10 list will focus on the best NHL players for each month of the regular season. October isn’t completely over yet, but it’s basically done, so let’s kick things off with the best NHLers over the course of the 2011-12 season’s first month.

10. Tomas Vokoun, G, Washington

Veteran making a great first impression on new team with one shutout, 6-0-0 record (including wins over Detroit, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh), 1.80 goals-against average and .944 save percentage.

9. Tyler Seguin, C, Boston

Nine points in eight games and a league-best plus-7 for the sophomore pivot.

8. James Neal, RW, Pittsburgh

Neal took heat after coming over to the Pens at last season’s trade deadline and not producing a lot of offense, but coach Dan Bylsma was happy with his play away from the puck and told Neal to take the summer to get comfortable. That he did – and with eight goals in 11 games, he’s on course for a career season on offense.

7. Anze Kopitar, C, Los Angeles

Part of the Kings’ hot start is attributable to Kopitar’s all-around stellar play, which includes him leading the team in goals (4), assists (6) and points (10).

6. Jason Spezza, C, Ottawa

The Senators aren’t very good, but not because their top offensive force hasn’t been producing. To the contrary – Spezza has been a one-man wrecking crew, with seven assists and a team-best 12 points.

5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Edmonton

The No. 1 pick in the draft, Nugent-Hopkins has been everything the Oilers hoped for and more, producing at a point-per-game pace.

4. John Tavares, C, Islanders

Speaking of No. 1 picks, Tavares has bumped up his game to previously unforeseen heights. His six goals are four more than any other Isles player and his 10 points in seven games leads the team.

3. Kari Lehtonen, G, Dallas

The Stars have shocked the hockey world with their start to the year – and that’s primarily because Lehtonen’s play (7-0-0, 1.54 GAA, .955 save percentage) has been otherworldly.

2. Phil Kessel, RW, Toronto

The Kessel-Seguin trade isn’t being ridiculed in Leafs Land anymore, what with Kessel’s offensive dominance (a league-best nine goals and 15 points in 8 games). He’s also ratcheted up his defensive play.

1. Jonathan Quick, G, Los Angeles

Prior to this season, Quick’s career-best numbers between the pipes were a .918 save percentage and 2.24 GAA. His numbers so far this year? An NHL-best 0.81 GAA and .972 save percentage. Oh, and three consecutive shutouts. He’s pretty good.

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