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Norris moves atop rookie scoring as confidence grows

by Matt Tidcombe @matttidcombe

Play well and the stats will take care of themselves.

That's the case for Ottawa Senators rookie forward Josh Norris right now as he sits in a tie for first place in rookie scoring this season.

"That's just something extra that comes along when you play well," Norris said. "I think it's a product of the work you put in every day."

Through 20 games, Norris has 11 points, tied with the Minnesota Wild's Kirill Kaprizov.

His seven assists are the second most among rookies while his four goals have him ranked tied fourth.

Norris' five power play points are first among rookies, as are his three power play assists, while his two man advantage goals are tied for the most alongside teammate Tim Stützle and Chicago's Philipp Kurashev.

The 21 year old's start is impressive enough but it's even more astonishing when you add in that there was no preseason before the season started.

Plus, playing as a centre, he's faced some of the NHL's elite in that position this season and has held his own in the faceoff circle, winning 52.6 per cent of his draws, the best in the NHL for rookies with at least 100 faceoffs taken.

"He's been great," Drake Batherson said. "When you look at him, he's a guy that can fly up and down the ice every night. He's flying out there and making plays and scoring goals so he's been tremendous and he's fun to watch out there."

The Michigan native is the reigning Dudley (Red) Garrett award winner as the AHL's Rookie of the Season after his 31 goal, 60 point output last season with the Belleville Senators. He was also named to the AHL's First All-Star Team and the AHL All-Rookie team.

And now as a full time NHLer, Norris is starting to find his rhythm 20 games in.

"I just try to be more confident every game," Norris said. "I think I'm slowly finding a way to bring something to the table every night.

"Game by game I'm starting to make more of an impact."

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