Through 13 games in March, Artemi Panarin only scored three goals and seven points. It was not a great month for the Blackhawks rookie.
April came, though, and a corner was turned - at least briefly. With a two-goal, two-assist night - including scoring the game-tying goal and assisting on the overtime winner - against the Winnipeg Jets, Panarin had the first-ever four-point night of his career.
He's had plenty of multi-point games - 18 now, to be exact - but four points? That's quite a bit. And now, he's had eight games in which he's scored at least three points... and, via the Elias Sports Bureau, Inc., that puts him up there with some pretty big names.
Since 1993-94, the only other NHL rookies to score three points or more in a game at least eight times in one season both did so in 2005-06: Sidney Crosby (11 times) and Alex Ovechkin (8).
There's been a lot of fuss about Panarin's rookie status as of late, and how he shouldn't win the Calder. But it's hardly his fault the NHL defines him as a rookie - and while the definition remains in place, he deserves recognition, as a rookie.
Besides, it's not like every European free agent has come over and lit the NHL on fire. And it's not like every single one of Patrick Kane's linemates have had seasons as great as Panarin's. To put it simply: if what he was doing was so easy, everyone else would be doing it.
And yet he's the one in exclusive company. So let's continue to celebrate him, because Panarin deserves it.