Rangers defenseman Michael Del Zotto
, who led all rookies in scoring with 12 points (four goals, eight assists) in 14 games, was named the NHL Rookie of the Month for October on Tuesday.
Del Zotto edged Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly (2-9--11, +10 in 14 games), New York Islanders center John Tavares (4-6--10 in 13 games), Dallas Stars left wing Jamie Benn (3-7--10 in 14 games), Buffalo Sabres defenseman Tyler Myers (2-3--5, +7 in 11 games) and Philadelphia Flyers left wing James vanRiemsdyk (2-8--10 in nine games) for the award.
The defenseman becomes the first Rangers player to win an NHL Rookie of the Month Award since Tony Amonte in October 1991. He is the first Rangers blueliner to win the award since Brian Leetch was a co-winner in February 1989.
Del Zotto, 19, made his NHL debut in the Rangers' season-opener at Pittsburgh Oct. 2, becoming the youngest defenseman to suit up for the club since 18-year-old Dave Maloney in December, 1974. He posted points in nine of 14 games, including the game-winning goal in the home opener, a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators Oct. 3, and two-assist efforts in wins over the Los Angeles Kings (4-2, Oct. 14) and Phoenix Coyotes (5-2, Oct. 26). He also quarterbacked a Rangers power play that ranked seventh in the NHL with a 25.0% success rate (14 for 56).
The Stouffville, Ontario native was the Rangers' first choice, 20th overall, in the 2008 Entry Draft and finished a successful junior career in 2008-09 by tallying 63 points (13-50--63) in 62 games with the Oshawa Generals and London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League.