The Calder Trophy race continues to get tighter. The NHL announced its Rookie of the Month for February with Vancouver Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes picking up the hardware. He joins Victor Olofsson (October/December), Cale Makar (November) and Dominik Kubalik (January), all legitimate candidates for the Calder Trophy, as recipients of the award.
The defenseman led all rookies in points with 15 points in 13 games and was tied for the most assists in the NHL with 13. He also had a multi-goal game against the New York Islanders on Feb. 1. Hughes beat out several key rookies for the award, including New Jersey’s MacKenzie Blackwood, New York Rangers’ Igor Shesterkin, Chicago’s Kubalik, Dallas’ Denis Gurianov, Montreal’s Nick Suzuki and Colorado’s Makar. Hughes currently has the points lead among rookies with eight goals and 51 points.
- The Vegas Golden Knights got some disappointing news as forward Mark Stone is considered week-to-week with a lower-body injury, according to David Schoen of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. Head coach Peter DeBoer said that surgery isn’t necessary for the 27-year-old and the team does expect him to return before the end of the regular season. Stone, who recently has been centering Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith on the first line will now be replaced by veteran Paul Stastny. Stone isn’t having as good a season last year when he had 33 goals and 73 points, but is still having a strong season with 21 goals and has tied his career-high 42 assists.
- Dallas Morning News’ Matthew DeFranks writes that Dallas Stars defenseman Stephen Johns was forced to sit out his third straight game Saturday due to an upper-body injury. While the nature of the injury is unknown, Stars interim head coach Rick Bowness said that it is not related to the post-traumatic headaches that Johns had been suffering from for more than 22 months. Bowness added that he believes that Johns will return to the lineup Tuesday as he has been skating and practicing with the team. “If this was a do or die game, he probably would play,” Bowness said. “But with the travel that we’ve had this month and the schedule that’s coming up, we figured just give him an extra couple days. It’s not going to hurt him.” Johns has re-established himself as a top player since returning in January. The 27-year-old has two goals, five points, 35 hits and 17 blocks in just 13 games.
- The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson reports that the Edmonton Oilers are expecting forward James Neal to join the team on their upcoming three-game road trip and could return to the lineup at some point during that trip. Neal has been out since Jan. 29 with a sprained ankle. He has 19 goals and 29 points in 50 games this season for the Oilers.