NHL first month awards: Best, worst starts and biggest surprises to begin the 2021-22 season

In the first month of the NHL's 2021-22 season, the biggest news was clearly off the ice.

The investigation into how the Chicago Blackhawks handled claims by Kyle Beach that video coach Brad Aldrich sexually assaulted him in 2010 led to resignations by Chicago GM Stan Bowman and by former coach Joel Quenneville, who had coached the Florida Panthers to a 7-0-0 start this season. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman urged others to come forward with any claims of toxic or abusive situations among the teams; last week, that resulted in Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray resigning and entering an alcohol abuse program.

Meanwhile, the NHL continues to play through the COVID-19 pandemic, with players such as Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby missing time to symptomatic positive tests and teams like the San Jose Sharks and Ottawa Senators missing several players due to the NHL/NHLPA COVID protocols.

But on the ice, the NHL has had its share of compelling storylines in the first month, too. Here are our awards and superlatives in the early going: