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A first since the 2005-06 season

Nick Suzuki recently accomplished something that hasn't been done by a Canadiens rookie in quite a while

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - Who was the last Canadiens forward to surpass the 35-point mark in his rookie season?

It was Chris Higgins during the 2005-06 campaign. The former first-round selection of Montreal (14th overall) in 2002 finished his first season with the club with 23 goals and 38 points in 80 games.

When Suzuki collected an assist on Ilya Kovalchuk's game-winning OT goal last Saturday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs, he became the first forward since Higgins to reach 35 points in his rookie year with the CH.

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: Ilya Kovalchuk marque le but gagnant @EASportsNHL 3 contre 3! Encore.Ilya Kovalchuk with the @EASportsNHL 3-on-3 winner! Again.#GoHabsGo | #HockeyIsForEveryone

The London, ON native has 12 goals and 36 points in 59 games, which ranks him third in the NHL's rookie scoring race.

His 24 assists are also tops amongst Canadiens rookie forwards since Michael Ryder in 2003-04.

Ryder enjoyed an exceptional freshman season with Montreal, amassing 25 goals and 63 points in 81 games.

He was a former eighth-round selection of the Habs (216th overall) in 1998, who went to amass 237 goals and 484 points in 806 career NHL games.

Following in some pretty good footsteps

In addition to putting up points, Suzuki has also been efficient in the faceoff circle.

Even if the former first-round selection of the Vegas Golden Knights (13th overall) in 2017 began the season as a winger, he ranks third amongst the League's rookie class with 242 faceoff wins.

Suzuki, 20, has won 48.1% of his draws so far this year.

His stats in this particular area of the game are comparable to those established by some of the top centermen in the NHL during their rookie seasons.

Reigning Frank J. Selke Trophy winner Ryan O'Reilly won 47.83% of his faceoffs in 2009-10 with the Colorado Avalanche.

Another example is two-time Selke Trophy winner Anze Kopitar, who won 46.1% of his faceoffs in 2006-07 with the Los Angeles Kings.

For his part, four-time Selke Trophy winner Patrice Bergeron won 49.36% of his draws in 2003-04 with the Boston Bruins.

Speaking of trophies, will Suzuki be attending the annual NHL Awards ceremony in Las Vegas come June?

We'll see, but he definitely deserves some consideration for the Calder Trophy as the League's top rookie.

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