NEW YORK (January 3, 2008) -- Washington center Nicklas Backstrom, who led all rookies with 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 13 games as the Capitals posted their best month on a points percentage basis since February 2001, has been named the NHL Rookie of the Month for December.
Backstrom edged Chicago Blackhawks linemates Jonathan Toews (5-7--12 in 12 games) and Patrick Kane (2-7--9 in 12 games), Phoenix Coyotes center Martin Hanzal (1-8--9 in 14 games) and Atlanta Thrashers defenseman Tobias Enstrom (0-9--9 in 16 games) for the award.
Backstrom tallied multiple points in five of 13 December contests, highlighted by three-point performances in victories over the Atlanta Thrashers Dec. 8 and Ottawa Senators Dec. 29. After posting nine points in the first 21 games of his NHL career, Backstrom leads all rookies in scoring since U.S. Thanksgiving, notching 6-14--20 in the past 19 games. He ranks third on the Capitals and among NHL rookies in scoring with 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 40 games.
The 20-year-old Gavle, Sweden native was the fourth player selected in the 2006 Entry Draft. He has represented Sweden in two World Championships and two World Junior Championships, and was the leading scorer for Brynas in the Swedish Elite League each of the past two seasons.
The Capitals' December record (7-3-3, .654) was their highest points percentage in a calendar month (min. 10 GP) since going 9-1-1 (.864) in February 2001.