On the same day that Jonathan Huberdeau was crowned the NHL's "First Star of the Month," a potential future member of the Florida Panthers was awarded a similar honor in the junior ranks.
Cole Schwindt, a third-round pick (81st overall) by the Panthers in the 2019 NHL Draft, was named the OHL's "Player of the Month" for December after leading the league with 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) and a plus/minus rating of +7 over 12 games with the Mississauga Steelheads.
Cracking the scoresheet in 11 of 12 games this past month, the 18-year-old center posted six multi-point performances, including a trio of three-point contests. The 6-foot-3, 186-pound native of Kitchener, Ontario also recorded a pair of hat tricks over a three-game span from Dec. 28-31.
"I'm a very reliable hardworking player," Schwindt said at Florida's development camp this past summer. "I'm not someone that's going to dazzle you with skill, but I'm someone that's not going to take a shift off, someone that's going to be there every single night to compete and to win."
On Dec. 28, Schwindt had his biggest game of the month, riding high into the New Year with a career-high four points and his first OHL hat trick in a 6-3 win against the Owen Sound Attack.
In the midst of his third OHL campaign, Schwindt has produced at better than a point-per-game clip while leading the Steelheads in goals (17), assists (23) and points (40) in 37 contests. With just 10 more points, he'll move past the career-high 49 that he tallied over 68 games in 2018-19.
"There's lots to like with him," Panthers Director of Amateur Scouting Jason Bukala said of Schwindt at the 2019 NHL Draft. "He's another big, strong presence in the middle of the ice."
In December, Schwindt earned three-star recognition in six of 12 games.