Habsworld.net has named Corey Locke the December prospect of the month for his impressive adaption to the professional hockey, as he has been one of the top scoring rookies in the AHL so far this season thanks in part of a very successful month of December. Lots of questions were raised about Locke’s size, skating and foot speed, as many in the hockey world felt he was just too small or not fast enough to compete at the professional level. In the month of December Locke started to find his grove offensively, as he had four multi-point games, and even went on a three game streak where he picked up six points. In the twelve games he played in December, Locke was able to record eleven points, with four of those goals, which helped a struggling Hamilton team go from the bottom of their division to fifth place.
When it comes to junior league scoring, not many can boast having a better career then Corey Locke, as he set scoring records on fire and gave many OHL goalies nightmares, as he racked up an impressive 269 points in 131 games during his final two seasons in the OHL while playing for the Ottawa 67’s. Locke nearly scored a goal a game, as he had 114 goals over the 131 games, which got him named CHL player of the year, two time OHL player of the year and two time OHL scoring title . Only a small handful of OHL players have ever been named the two time OHL player of the year and OHL scoring title, and it’s very likely if he was a few inches taller the Canadiens would never of had the chance to draft him in the fourth round. In the AHL this year, Locke has been one of the top scorers on Hamilton Bulldogs, and currently sits at fifth in the league in rookie scoring, while being one of the youngest rookies.
Also up for the top rookie honors was a fellow teammate of Locke’s, in Andrei Kostitsyn as he started to find some success in the AHL where he was rewarded with a bigger role with the team, playing on the top line with Tomas Plekanec and Jason Ward. On top of that Kostitsyn left the team to take part in an impressive fifth appearance in the World Junior U-20 tournament, as he joined Team Belarus. While his team was likely headed for the regulation round, Kostitsyn put on display his impressive offensive abilities against last years gold medal winners Team USA. Not only was Kostitsyn a force offensively, but likely to his Hamilton coaches delight, he showed off a much improved defensive game as he was strong in both ends of the rink. In addition to Kostitsyn, Greg Stewart was also in consideration for the top rookie honors, as he set a career high in goals, assists and points in either less or just over half the time. Stewart was a late round pick of the Habs this past summer, but in the development camp he showed a good work ethic on the ice, as he seems to enjoy playing a physical game, and gives a solid effort night in and night out.