NEW YORK – Los Angeles Kings goaltender Martin Jones, who posted an 8-2-0 record with a 1.29 goals-against average, .955 save percentage and three shutouts in 10 games, and Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Antti Raanta, who compiled an 8-1-3 record with a 2.23 goals-against average, .912 save percentage and one shutout in 12 appearances, have been named the NHL Co-Rookies of the Month for December.
Jones and Raanta edged Dallas Stars right wing Valeri Nichushkin (5-7—12 in 15 games), Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (4-7—11 in 14 games), Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (2-8—10 in 14 games), Vancouver Canucks goaltender Eddie Lack (5-0-1, 1.29 GAA, .949 SV% and 2 SO in seven games) and Washington Capitals goaltender Philipp Grubauer (5-2-2, 2.02 GAA and .938 SV% in 10 games) for the honor.
Jones, 23, made his NHL debut Dec. 3 versus the Anaheim Ducks, stopping 26 shots for his first victory. He followed that performance with consecutive shutouts: Dec. 7 against the New York Islanders (16 saves) and Dec. 10 versus the Montreal Canadiens (31 saves). In total, Jones won his first eight NHL games/starts. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he is the second goaltender in League history to win his first eight games (after Bob Froese of the 1982-83 Flyers) and the first netminder to start and allow two or fewer goals in each of his first eight games since 1938-39, when Bruins goaltender Frank Brimsek began his NHL career with a 12-game streak.
Jones, a native of North Vancouver, B.C., was signed by the Kings as an undrafted free agent Oct. 2, 2008, and is 8-3-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average, .950 save percentage and three shutouts in 11 appearances this season. Raanta, 24, played in his first NHL game Nov. 19 (in relief of Corey Crawford) and made his first start Nov. 27 versus the Calgary Flames, recording 20 saves for his first career victory. He allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of his 12 December appearances, capping the month with 26 saves for his first NHL shutout Dec. 30 against the Kings.
Raanta, a native of Rauma, Finland, was signed by the Blackhawks as an undrafted free agent June 3, 2013, and is 10-1-3 with a 2.21 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and one shutout in 15 appearances this season.
Jones and Raanta join San Jose Sharks center Tomas Hertl (October) and Nashville Predators goaltender Marek Mazanec (November) as Rookie of the Month winners this season.