NHL Power Rankings: Week 8 Injuries, Prospects, In-Depth Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: Florida Panthers right wing Jaromir Jagr (68) skates on Chicago Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) during the first period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings (Heading into Week 8) – Chicago falls after taking top spot in week 7, St. Louis, Columbus, and Detroit are this week’s big risers, while Edmonton, Colorado, Calgary, and Carolina continue to fall

Welcome back to our weekly NHL power rankings here at Puck Prose. Every seven days, we’re here to update you on injuries, prospects, and all the recent happenings in the NHL. Heading into week eight, we’re now at the quarter mark of the 2016-17 season as most teams have played between 21-24 games.

This past week brought forth the first firing of the year as Gerard Gallant was let go down in Florida. It seems the two sides had a difference in philosophy, so it was only a matter of time before they went their separate ways. Still, it was an odd situation given the way he was let go coupled with the way things have transpired since the Panthers record-setting season in 2015-16. Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee would be wise to pursue Gallant to coach the NHL’s 31st franchise.

*stats heading into Thursday (Dec.1) night’s action

Points Leaders

Top 5 Forwards:

1. Connor McDavid, EDM (11g 20a 31pts)
2. Mark Scheifele, WPG (13g 13a 26pts)
2. Nikita Kucherov, TB (11g 15a 26pts)
4. Tyler Seguin, DAL (7g 17a 24pts)
5. Vladimir Tarasenko, STL (10g 13a 23pts)
5. Patrick Kane, CHI (8g 15a 23pts)

Top 5 Defensemen

1. Brent Burns, SJ (9g 12a 21pts)
2. Erik Karlsson, OTT (4g 15a 19pts)
3. Shea Weber, MTL (8g 10a 18pts)
4. Victor Hedman, TB (5g 12a 17pts)
4. Andrei Markov, MTL (2g 15a 17pts)

Top 5 Rookies

1. Patrik Laine, WPG (13g 6a 19pts)
1. Mitchell Marner, TOR (7g 12a 19pts)
3. Auston Matthews, TOR (10g 8a 18pts)
4. William Nylander, TOR (6g 10a 16pts)
4. Zach Werenski (D), CLB (5g 11a 16pts)

NHL Power Rankings: Detroit Red Wings right wing Anthony Mantha (not pictured) scores a goal on Calgary Flames goalie Chad Johnson (31) during the third period at Joe Louis Arena. Flames won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

30

Calgary Flames

Previous Ranking: 26 (-4)

Team Record: (11-13-2)
Goals For:

59 (T-15th)

Goals Against:

76 (28th)

Special Teams

PP: 8-for-79 (10.1 percent) (30th)
PK: 22-for-97 (77.3 percent) (28th)

Injury List

Johnny Gaudreau – Finger – Late-December
Lance Bouma – Shoulder – Week-to-Week
Ladislav Smid – Neck – Out-for-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Michael Frolik (26gp 6g 9a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Dougie Hamilton (26gp 2g 10a 12pts)
Top Rookie: Matthew Tkachuk (22gp 6g 4a 10pts)
Top Goaltender: Chad Johnson (8 wins 2.06GAA .930 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Chad Johnson (3gp 2w 2.01GAA .949 save percentage)

Calgary had a pretty solid week seven going 2-1-1 thanks to Chad Johnson’s consistent play in net. Sam Bennett being on top of his game doesn’t hurt either since the Flames are missing an important piece in Johnny Gaudreau. Also, Matthew Tkachuk keeps showing his grinding edge as he has 15+ penalty minutes in the last week alone.

Calgary managed to pull off wins against predominantly tougher teams in Boston and Toronto, but lost to weaker teams in Philadelphia and the Islanders. Week eight should boast very interesting for the Flames as they have games against Minnesota, Anaheim, and Dallas. Realistically, they should be able to gather the win in Minny, but if Johnson continues to carry the Flames from the back-end they could very well muster up four of the possible six points. Sam Bennett, and Calgary’s defense also need to be on top of their games due to the tough schedule ahead.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW/LW Emile Poirier, Stockton (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 15gp 2g 7a 9pts

Emile Poirier is a great offensive forward, he possesses outstanding hands to go along with a great shot. He’s able to make plays at top speed which leaves him in a small group of players that can do the same. His creativity often takes defenseman by surprise and tends to create chances for his teammates simply out of nothing. The only thing Poirier needs to work on is his play without the puck as well as continuing to get stronger so he can handle the hard hitting professional game. One more year or two in Stockton would help Emile fine tune these two issues, and once he does, he’ll have no problem cracking the Flames lineup and being an NHL regular. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: New York Islanders left wing Jason Chimera (25) celebrates his goal against the Pittsburgh Penguins with New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan (44) and New York Islanders left wing Anthony Beauvillier (72) during the second period at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

29

New York Islanders

Previous Ranking: 29 (-)

Team Record: (8-10-4)
Goals For:

55 (21st)

Goals Against:

65 (T-22nd)

Special Teams

PP: 5-for-48 (10.4 percent) (27th)
PK: 13-for-64 (79.7 percent) (23rd)

Injury List

D Adam Pelech (upper body) – day-to-day
D Dennis Seidenberg (jaw) – has resumed skating with the team
D Ryan Pulock (foot) – skating, but still not ready to return
F Mikhail Grabovski (concussion) – out indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: John Tavares (22gp 6g 11a 17pts)
Top Defenseman: Nick Leddy (21gp 4g 6a 10pts)
Top Rookie: Anthony Beauvillier (18gp 2g 5a 7pts)
Top Goaltender: Thomas Greiss (5 wins 2.47GAA .919 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F John Tavares (3gp 1g 2a 3pts)

Despite a promising three-game stretch that was capped off with a 5-3 win over Pittsburgh, there’s no reason to get excited. Currently sitting dead last in the Metropolitan Division, there’s nothing that would lead one to believe the Isles are destined for a dramatic turnaround. In fact, GM Garth Snow might be wise to focus his efforts on finding a proper linemate for John Tavares. Priority number one should be finding a way to get John Tavares locked down long-term and part of that is finding a quality linemate for him to play with.

There were a few notable performers over the last seven days. Goaltender Thomas Greiss got the nod for all three starts. He had two wins, a 2.32GAA, and .920 save percentage. John Tavares scored at a point-per-game pace, bringing him up to 17 points in 22 games. D Johnny Boychuk, D Nick Leddy, F Casey Cizikas, and D Thomas Hickey each had a goal and an assist. Josh Bailey had three assists, Anders Lee with a pair of goals, and lastly, Brock Nelson had a pair of assists.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Parker Wotherspoon, Tri-City (WHL)

2016-17 stats: 25gp 5g 19a 24pts

Selected 112th overall (4th round) back in 2015, Wotherspoon continues to climb the Isles prospect pool with his impressive play. Parker was always regarded as a reliable two-way defenseman that thought defense first, but scouts criticized his offensive output. He responded in 2015-16 by posting 56 points in 71 games. We’re only a partial way through the WHL season in 2016-17, but already Wotherspoon is scoring at a near point-per-game rate. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 29, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Carolina Hurricanes left wing Viktor Stalberg (left) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

28

Carolina Hurricanes

Previous Ranking: 24 (-4)

Team Record: (9-9-4)
Goals For:

53 (T-25th)

Goals Against:

58 (T-13th)

Special Teams

PP: 13-for-66 (19.7 percent) (10th)
PK: 6-for-58 (89.7 percent) (1st)

Injury List

F Jordan Staal (concussion) – out indefinitely
F Brock McGinn (upper body) – considered day-to-day
G Eddie Lack (concussion) – placed on IR
F Bryan Bickell (illness) – diagnosed with multiple sclerosis back on Nov.10, taking recovery one day at a time

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jeff Skinner (21gp 9g 10a 19pts)
Top Defenseman: Noah Hanifin (22gp 1g 7a 8pts)
Top Rookie: F Sebastian Aho (22gp 3g 8a 11pts)
Top Goaltender: Cam Ward (7 wins 2.29GAA .915 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Jeff Skinner (4gp 1g 2a 3pts)

The Hurricanes dropped all three games on the road last week, and only managed to pick up points in their home win versus Florida. Cam Ward took all three losses, but played fairly well posting a 2.40GAA and .896 save percentage. Unfortunately, he received very little goal support. It’s been a problem plaguing the Canes all year as they currently sit tied for 25th in goals for. With backup Eddie Lack on the shelf, Carolina turned to a familiar face in Michael Leighton. He picked up the lone win stopping 31 of 33 shots in a 3-2 win.

Things won’t get any easier for the Hurricanes moving forward. They recently learned that Jordan Staal will be out for an extended period of time. It opens up a lot of room on the roster for the likes of Teuvo Teravainen (on the second line), Brock McGinn (third line), and Phil Di Giuseppe (third line) to make a strong impression. You’ve gotta wonder where the scoring will come from with a top six that includes Skinner-Rask-Lindholm and Aho-Teravainen-Stempniak. The good news? If owner Peter Karmanos will allow it, the Canes have plenty of money to spend against the cap.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Sergey Tolchinsky, Charlotte (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 3g 4a 7pts

This might be one of the most underrated prospects in all of hockey. Standing just 5’8 170lbs, Tolchinsky is an absolute magician with the puck. The Russian winger fits that small, elusive mold, similar to Artemi Panarin. Don’t be surprised if this young man evolves into a major core piece of the Canes in the near future. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Colorado Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard (31) makes a save in the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at the Pepsi Center. The Canucks won 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

27

Colorado Avalanche

Previous Ranking: 23 (-4)

Team Record: (9-11-1)
Goals For:

47 (29th)

Goals Against:

62 (T-20th)

Special Teams

PP: 10-for-65 (15.4 percent) (21st)
PK: 18-for-83 (78.3 percent) (T-26th)

Injury List

F Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) – will be moved to IR

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nathan MacKinnon (21gp 5g 10a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Erik Johnson/Tyson Barrie (21gp 1g 9a 10pts/21gp 2g 8a 10pts)
Top Rookie: Mikko Rantanen (16gp 3g 7a 10pts)
Top Goaltender: Calvin Pickard (4 wins 2.44GAA .920 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Mikko Rantanen (2gp 1g 1a 2pts)

It was a light schedule for the Avs over the past week and unfortunately they dropped both games, picking up one out of four points against Vancouver and Nashville. Calvin Pickard got the nod in both starts and once again looked impressive in the shootout loss to the Canucks. He stopped 29 of 31 shots. A few nights later though, Calvin arguably had the worst start of the season allowing five goals on 33 shots. His overall numbers dipped to a 2.44GAA and .920 save percentage.

The injury to Gabriel Landeskog is testing the Avs depth. Luckily, rookie Mikko Rantanen is stepping up in his absence. He has seven points in his last five games and it shouldn’t be long before we start hearing his name among Calder Trophy candidates. Other players have stepped up as well, including Rene Bourque (one goal, one assist in two games) and Mikhail Grigorenko (two goals in two games), but the Avs will be lucky to continue seeing that type of production from a pair of guys being forced into a top-six role.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Anton Lindholm, San Antonio (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 0g 0a 0pts

Selected 144th overall (5th round) back in 2014, Lindholm is a quality stay-at-home defender with off the chart hockey IQ. Scouts have criticized his offensive abilities, shot, and physicality in the past. Now with AHL San Antonio, Lindholm should be able to further develop his game on a North American ice surface. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher (51) controls the puck under pressure from Colorado Avalanche center Joe Colborne (8) in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Troy Stecher (51) controls the puck under pressure from Colorado Avalanche center Joe Colborne (8) in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

26

Vancouver Canucks

Previous Ranking: 30 (+4)

Team Record: (10-11-2)
Goals For:

52 (T-26th)

Goals Against:

69 (T-24th)

Special Teams

PP: 10-for-67 (14.9 percent) (23rd)
PK: 16-for-75 (78.7 percent) (T-24th)

Injury List

Alexander Edler – Finger – Late-December/Early-January
Derek Dorsett – Shoulder – Day-to-Day
Jannik Hansen – Ribs – Early-to-mid-December
Chris Tanev – Foot – Indefinitely
Anton Rodin – Knee – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Bo Horvat (23gp 8g 8a 16pts)
Top Defenseman: Ben Hutton (23gp 3g 4a 7pts)
Top Rookie: Troy Stecher (14gp 1g 4a 5pts)
Top Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom (6 wins 2.73GAA .902 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Jacob Markstrom (1w, 1.86GAA, .943 save percentage)

Vancouver had a great seven-day stretch going 2-1-0, this was due to Jacob Markstrom’s outstanding play as well as Ben Hutton and Bo Horvat having outstanding weeks. Together they had six points despite being a combined minus one. Vancouver has seemed to finally found their scoring touch and a new number one goalie.

Last week they managed to beat Minnesota and Colorado but unfortunately lost to Dallas. This week they’ll be playing against Anaheim, Toronto, and New Jersey. Two of those three games they should be able to win if last week’s success can transfer over to these three games.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Guillaume Brisebois, Charlottetown (QMJHL)

2016-17 stats: 21gp 3g 11a 14pts

Guillaume is a passionate player, he’s more a student of the game learning what he can when he can. He’s also very solid at both ends of the ice making him a very good two-way defender. However, it takes him a shift or two to get into game mode, which can have it’s downside if the opposition manages to come out swinging. But the other side of the coin to that is when pressured, he takes a calm approach and shows his mature poise. His hockey sense is amazing, letting him know where to be on the ice in every play and where he should be with the role given to him. Brisebois also has a very heavy shot that he needs to use more, but all-in-all he’s a very intelligent defenseman that plays with a lot of hunger and wants to prove he’s the best. – Matt Duscharme

arizona coyotes

NHL Power Rankings: Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) looks on prior to the game against the Vancouver Canucks at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

25

Arizona Coyotes

Previous Ranking: 27 (+2)

Team Record: (8-10-3)
Goals For:

49 (28th)

Goals Against:

65 (T-22nd)

Special Teams

PP: 7-for-60 (11.7 percent) (29th)
PK: 13-for-61 (78.7 percent) (T-24th)

Injury List

Oliver Ekman-Larsson – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Louis Domingue – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Brad Richardson – Leg – Indefinitely
Dave Bolland – Lower-Body – Indefinitely
Chris Pronger – Concussion – Out-for-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Radim Vrbata (21gp 7g 8a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Oliver Ekman-Larsson (21gp 5g 5a 10pts)
Top Rookie: Christian Dvorak (17gp 2g 5a 7pts)
Top Goaltender: Mike Smith (4 wins 2.57GAA .928 save percentage)

Player of the Week: RW Radim Vrbata (3gp 1g 2a 3pts)

Arizona’s week seven was surprising to say the least, posting a 1-1-1 record. Even though they lost to Vancouver twice last week (once in regulation and once in overtime), they were able to beat San Jose in overtime. Mike Smith’s return has given the team a much-needed boost now that Louis Domingue is day-to-day with an injury.

Mike Smith’s return gave a much-needed spark to Arizona last week, and in doing so he posted some very solid numbers. Also, Anthony DeAngelo is showing no signs of slowing down as a rookie, can he be this year’s Shayne Gostisbehere? It’s possible with his current progression. Martin Hanzal also had himself a solid week seven, as well as Radim Vrbata. This week, however, should be fairly difficult for the Yotes as they play games against the surging Los Angeles Kings as well as back-to-back games against Columbus and a stop in Chicago.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Clayton Keller, Boston University (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 7gp 5g 4a 9pts

An offensive dynamo, Clayton Keller is going to be a very serious prospect for Arizona in the future. He’s not a selfish player either, if he can’t make his chance count, he has no problem setting one up for a teammate with his outstanding passing abilities. His puck possession is also at a top notch level since he doesn’t get stuck in the corners very often. He’s strong on his stick as well, being able to keep the puck in the corners and often dangle through defenseman when entering the offensive zone. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Dallas Stars defenseman Esa Lindell (23) and right wing Patrick Eaves (18) celebrate Lindell

NHL Power Rankings: Dallas Stars defenseman Esa Lindell (23) and right wing Patrick Eaves (18) celebrate Lindell

24

Dallas Stars

Previous Ranking: 21 (-3)

Team Record: (9-9-6)
Goals For:

61 (T-13th)

Goals Against:

79 (30th)

Special Teams

PP: 16-for-91 (17.6 percent) (15th)
PK: 19-for-83 (77.1 percent) (29th)

Injury List

F Mattias Janmark (knee) – out until March (80 percent chance of full recovery)
D Johnny Oduya (lower body) – out indefinitely
F Ales Hemsky (hip) – out indefinitely
F Jiri Hudler (illness) – still battling a virus, considered day-to-day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Tyler Seguin (24gp 7g 17a 24pts)
Top Defenseman: John Klingberg (22gp 2g 9a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Devin Shore (24gp 1g 7a 8pts)
Top Goaltender: Antti Niemi (5 wins 3.05GAA .906 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Jamie Benn (3gp 1g 3a 4pts)

Despite finishing the week with a .500 rating, going 1-1-1. Dallas’ players were still on the forefront offensively. Jamie Benn was easily the best player for the club in week seven notching four points in three games as well as being a plus two.

Rookie defenseman Esa Lindell also had himself a nice showing posting three points in three games while finishing with a team-high plus three. Antti Niemi started two games for the Stars in week seven, winning one and losing one in overtime. Kari Lehtonen played the other game collecting a regulation loss. Although Niemi played one more game than Lehtonen, Kari had the better goals-against-average at 2.07, while Niemi had the better save percentage at .919. A fairly even week for the Green and Black. Hopefully week eight brings a little more Green for the Stars. – Matt Duscharme

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Denis Gurianov, Texas (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 3g 6a 9pts

This highly-skilled Russian winger was selected 12th overall back in 2015. Many scouts believe he has the highest potential of any player in that draft class not named Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel. Gurianov is best regarded for his playmaking abilities and incredible speed/skating ability. He made the jump to North America in 2016-17 joining AHL’s Texas Stars. It’s been an adjustment early on, but the 6’3 201lbs winger could see some with the big club before the end of the year. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) scores a third period goal on Toronto Maple Leafs goaltender Frederik Andersen (31) at Rogers Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

23

Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous Ranking: 24 (+1)

Team Record: (10-9-4)
Goals For:

70 (T-3rd)

Goals Against:

72 (T-26th)

Special Teams

PP: 13-for-68 (19.1 percent) (12th)
PK: 11-for-73 (84.9 percent) (8th)

Injury List

Josh Leivo – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Joffrey Lupul – Abdomen – Indefinitely
Stephane Robidas – Knee – Day-to-Day
Nathan Horton – Back – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: James Van Riemsdyk (23gp 10g 9a 19pts)
Top Defenseman: Morgan Rielly (23gp 1g 11a 12pts)
Top Rookie: Mitch Marner (23gp 7g 12a 19pts)
Top Goaltender: Frederik Andersen (10 wins 2.92GAA .912 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Frederik Andersen (2gp 2w, 2.01GAA, .938 save percentage)

If Toronto didn’t lose to Calgary Wednesday night, they would have posted a perfect 3-0-0 record on the week. Mitch Marner has been absolutely dynamite posting three points in three games, and Frederik Andersen has finally found his footing posting ridiculous numbers. Auston Matthews also returned to scoring form, notching two goals in three games moving his total up to 18 points placing him third in rookie scoring.

Toronto’s week eight is pretty light as they only play two games, one in Vancouver and the other in Minnesota. Two games in which Toronto should be able to get all four points. The toughest contest of the two would be undoubtedly against the Wild. But if Andersen continues to play the way he has the last few weeks, they should be able to win. Mitch Marner, James Van Riemsdyk, Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Morgan Rielly need to also continue their fantastic play. Toronto is definitely on the upswing and currently sit just one point outside of a wild card spot, not bad for a team that has seven inexperienced rookies.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW/C Jeremy Bracco, Kitchener (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 22gp 16g 29a 45pts

The Maple Leafs have a plethora of offensively gifted forwards, and Jeremy Bracco is no exception. An excellent playmaker who also has high-end puck handling skills, Jeremy’s creativity is top notch. He’ll use his high-end speed to put pressure on the opposition often causing them to make mistakes. This awareness of his also comes in handy as it tends to keep him out of dangerous situations. The Leafs prospect core is probably one of the best in the NHL, and they’re going to be a very exciting team as the years go by. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert (14) celebrates his goal with center Jordan Nolan (71) during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Winnipeg wins in an overtime shootout 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Los Angeles Kings defenseman Tom Gilbert (14) celebrates his goal with center Jordan Nolan (71) during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Winnipeg wins in an overtime shootout 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

22

Los Angeles Kings

Previous Ranking: 28 (+6)

Team Record: (12-10-1)
Goals For:

57 (T-18th)

Goals Against:

57 (T-11th)

Special Teams

PP: 9-for-68 (13.2 percent) (27th)
PK: 13-for-75 (82.7 percent) (T-16th)

Injury List

Andy Andreoff – Thumb – Day-to-Day
Brayden McNabb – Arm – Week-to-Week
Jonathan Quick – Groin – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jeff Carter (23gp 10g 9a 19pts)
Top Defenseman: Alec Martinez (23gp 5g 9a 14pts)
Top Rookie: D Derek Forbort (23gp 1g 5a 6pts)
Top Goaltender: Peter Budaj (12 wins 2.09GAA .915 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Peter Budaj (2gp 1w 1.99GAA .905 save percentage)

Despite San Jose snapping the Kings five-game win streak Wednesday night, they still climb six spots because of it. And a lot of credit is due to Peter Budaj. With Jeff Carter and Alec Martinez taking over this team and Anze Kopitar returning from injury, Los Angeles is prepped for another solid stretch in week eight.

Peter Budaj has come out of nowhere and showed us all he still has what it takes to play at the NHL level, even being a starter at that. His numbers have been beyond impressive and with Jonathan Quick’s return still undetermined, Budaj still has a bunch of games ahead of him and hopefully good ones at that.

During Anze Kopitar’s injury, Jeff Carter has stepped up on a nightly basis having no problem carrying the team offensively. Alec Martinez and Tyler Toffoli playing solid hockey doesn’t hurt either. Week eight is another short week for the Kings as they once again play two games, one in Arizona and the other in Montreal. The real test will be against the powerhouse Canadiens, but with how Los Angeles has been playing of late, don’t be surprised if they capture all four points and move up again next week.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Kale Clague, Brandon (WHL)

2016-17 stats: 16gp 4g 14a 18pts

Kale Clague is a serious defensive prospect, and if you haven’t seen him play before, keep an eye on Team Canada this year at the World Juniors as he’s expected to make the team. He’s got tremendous speed and is also very smooth on his skates, making him very mobile in all ends of the ice, even at a pro level. His great vision equipped with his passing skills and creativity allows him to drive play and create chances all over the ice for his team. He does however need to continue to work on his shot for it to be successful at the NHL level as well as his consistency. Kale is going to be a big point producer on the back-end when he’s fully adjusted to professional hockey, and when he is, this will make him an absolute steal for the Kings when they took him in the second round in 2016. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) defends the net against the St. Louis Blues during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Buffalo Sabres goalie Robin Lehner (40) defends the net against the St. Louis Blues during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

21

Buffalo Sabres

Previous Ranking: 22 (+1)

Team Record: (8-9-5)
Goals For:

43 (30th)

Goals Against:

54 (T-7th)

Special Teams

PP: 17-for-75 (22.7 percent) (5th)
PK: 16-for-75 (78.7 percent) (T-24th)

Injury List

Robin Lehner – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Tyler Ennis – Groin – Indefinitely
Dmitry Kulikov – Back – Week-to-Week
Zach Bogosian – Knee – Week-to-Week
Nicolas Deslauriers – Knee – Week-to-Week
Cody McCormick – Leg – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Kyle Okposo (21gp 7g 8a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Rasmus Ristolainen (22gp 0g 11a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Nicholas Baptiste (12gp 2g 0a 2pts)
Top Goaltender: Anders Nilsson (3 wins 2.20GAA ..939 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Ryan O’Reilly (2gp 2g 1a 3pts)

Buffalo had themselves a very short week, just two games to be exact. And in those two games, Buffalo went 1-1-0. They lost to the powerhouse Washington Capitals by a score of 3-1, but when they faced Ottawa Tuesday night, they came out with a 5-4 win.

Jack Eichel is back, and in full effect, registering two points in his first game back against the Senators. This is a great sign for the Sabres since they have needed his scoring and explosiveness for the last two months. Cause this week Buffalo has contests against the Ranger, Bruins, Capitals, and Oilers. Also, hope that Robin Lehner’s injury isn’t serious cause they will need him on top of his game as well. But if not Anders Nilsson has shown that he’s able to step up to the plate. Realistically, however, Buffalo may be hard pressed to squeeze out points this week as their facing four top tier teams.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW/LW Alexander Nylander, Rochester (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 4g 9a 13pts

Must be a family thing, Alex’s skills are much like William’s and Michael’s. His offensive awareness is outstanding, making him a very creative and streaky forward. He’s also a very quick skater with good hands to match the speed. With good hands comes a great shot and Alex has one in spades making what he does on the ice very unexpected. The only things he needs to work on however is his defensive side of the game and his consistency every game. Once he gets those things down, he’ll be a complete player and one who would mesh very well with star Jack Eichel. – Matt Duscharme

nhl daily

NHL Power Rankings: Minnesota Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk (40) makes a save in the third period against the Colorado Avalanche at Xcel Energy Center. The Avalanche beat the Wild 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

20

Minnesota Wild

Previous Ranking: 17 (-3)

Team Record: (11-8-3)
Goals For:

62 (12th)

Goals Against:

46 (1st)

Special Teams

PP: 12-for-65 (18.5 percent) (13th)
PK: 11-for-64 (82.8 percent) (14th)

Injury List

F Zac Dalpe (knee) – was given a return timetable of 4-6 weeks back on Nov.2
D Victor Bartley (triceps) – out indefinitely
D Christian Folin (knee) – suffered MCL injury, expected to be out until mid to late December

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Eric Staal (22gp 5g 11a 16pts)
Top Defenseman: Ryan Suter (22gp 4g 11a 15pts)
Top Rookie: Tyler Graovac (14gp 2g 0a 2pts)
Top Goaltender: Devan Dubnyk (9 wins 1.66GAA .946 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Nino Niederreiter (4gp 2g 2a 4pts)

Week seven wasn’t too kind to Minnesota given what they did offensively and in net. They finished the week with a 1-1-1 record, while Nino Niederreiter and Jason Zucker combined for eight points as well as being a combined plus four. And while Devan Dubnyk had a fair week, Darcy Kuemper didn’t. Dubnyk gathered the win and overtime loss for Minny while Kuemper took home the regulation loss. And in doing so having terrible numbers on the week, Darcy had a .857 save percentage with a ridiculous 5.10 goals-against-average. Devan, on the other hand, had a .932 save percentage and a 2.41 goals-against-average. Darcy needs to tighten things up in week eight to give Minnesota a fair chance, if not they may just have to dress Dubnyk for all the games. – Matt Duscharme

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Weekly Prospect Profile: F Mario Lucia, Iowa (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 17gp 3g 4a 7pts

At 6’3 204lbs, Mario Lucia has both the size and skill-set to be a solid NHLer. The 2011 second rounder finished his 4th year of NCAA hockey with the University of Notre Dame in 2015-16 and signed his entry-level contract following the conclusion of the college season. He gave fans a sneak peek of his talent in a nine-game stint with AHL Iowa and has continued that production in his full year of pro. Lucia still needs a little time to crease out some of the wrinkles in his game before he’s ready to make a real impact in Minnesota. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates after a win against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates after a win against the Dallas Stars at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

19

Nashville Predators

Previous Ranking: 19 (-)

Team Record: (11-8-3)
Goals For:

65 (T-11th)

Goals Against:

55 (9th)

Special Teams

PP: 19-for-82 (23.2 percent) (4th)
PK: 10-for-68 (85.3 percent) (7th)

Injury List

F Miikka Salomaki (upper body) – sent for AHL conditioning stint in Milwaukee
D Anthony Bitetto (upper body) – moved to IR on Nov.30
F James Neal (upper body) – day-to-day, update expected on Thursday
D Ryan Ellis (upper body) – placed on IR Nov.26

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Filip Forsberg/Ryan Johansen (22gp 2g 14a 16pts/22gp 5g 11a 16pts)
Top Defenseman: P.K. Subban (22gp 5g 10a 15pts)
Top Rookie: F Kevin Fiala (12gp 3g 0a 3pts)
Top Goaltender: Pekka Rinne (10 wins 2.03GAA .934 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Roman Josi (3gp 0g 4a 4pts)

Like the Rangers, Nashville also finished with a 2-1-0 record in week seven. Ryan Johansen seems to have found his goal scoring touch this past week as he notched five points in three games. Mike Fisher and Roman Josi combined for eight points on the week despite being a combined minus-five. So while scoring was active, the defense was not. Something that needs to be tightened up for week eight. And these two need to continue on the paths they’ve been taking cause they have been brilliant. Pekka Rinne played two games last week winning both while posting a .937 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against-average. Juuse Saros, on the other hand, collected the loss but his numbers were outstanding. Finishing with a .955 save percentage and a 1.03 goals-against-average. If these two can continue this trend into week eight as well as the offense clicking like they have been they should do just fine, that is if defense plays a little tighter, if not expect some more close games coming out of the Music City. – Matt Duscharme

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Justin Kirkland, Milwaukee (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 11gp 0g 0a 0pts

Kirkland was a near point-per-game producer through his entire WHL career with Kelowna. The 6’3 185lbs winger is coming off 31 goals, 36 assists (67 points) in 69 games in 2015-16 and has since joined AHL Milwaukee in his first year of pro hockey. He isn’t doing much with limited ice-time early on, but this big power forward could have a future in the Preds bottom six. He’s best regarded for his drive and determination, which shines brightest when he’s battling in the dirty areas and retrieving pucks. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) celebrates with right wing Wayne Simmonds (17) after winning against the Winnipeg Jets at Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers defeated the Jets, 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

18

Philadelphia Flyers

Previous Ranking: 20 (+2)

Team Record: (11-10-3)
Goals For:

74 (2nd)

Goals Against:

78 (29th)

Special Teams

PP: 21-for-85 (24.7 percent) (2nd)
PK: 14-for-73 (80.8 percent) (21st)

Injury List

D Brandon Manning (concussion) – day-to-day with concussion symptoms
F Sean Couturier (lower body) – announced he would miss 4-to-6 weeks back on Nov.23
G Michal Neuvirth (lower body) – placed on LTIR, expected to be out until mid-December
F Boyd Gordon (upper body) – day-to-day, practicing with team

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Wayne Simmonds (24gp 11g 11a 22pts)
Top Defenseman: Mark Streit (24gp 4g 8a 12pts)
Top Rookie: F Travis Konecny (24gp 4g 9a 13pts)
Top Goaltender: Steve Mason (6 wins 2.96GAA .898 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Wayne Simmonds (3gp 1g 3a 4pts)

After dropping their first game of the week to the New York Rangers, the Flyers bounced back with a pair of big wins over Calgary and Boston. Third-stringer Anthony Stolarz got his first start back on Nov.27 and picked up the win stopping 29 of 32 shots versus the Flames. Steve Mason had a solid week between the pipes stopping 65 of 70 shots in his two starts. His numbers are slowly improving as he sits with six wins, a 2.96GAA, and .898 save percentage in 2016-17.

Philly’s big three up front helped drive the offense over the past week. Wayne Simmonds had another monster week with four points in three games. He’s scoring at a point-per-game pace (22pts in 22 games) a quarter of the way through the season. Coming off a career-high of 32 goals (60 points) in 2015-16, Simmonds looks set to post career-highs in 2016-17. Both Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek had a goal and two assists over the last seven days. Giroux now has five goals (20 points) in 24 games, while Voracek sits with eight goals (20 points) in 24 games. Hard to believe the Czech winger only scored 11 goals in 2015-16 after posting an abnormally low shooting percentage. Looks as though Jakub is on pace to at least match that 22-23 average from years before.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Radel Fazleev, Lehigh Valley (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 1g 7a 8pts

Fazleev was a sixth-round steal back in 2014 after a strong WHL rookie showing with the Calgary Hitmen. He posted 51 points in 71 games a year later, and then closed out his junior career with 71 points in 59 games in 2015-16. The Russian winger joined AHL Lehigh Valley in 2016-17 to begin his pro career and is looking good so far. A two-way forward, Fazleev might be best described as a playmaker, but he also has a knack for finding the back of the net. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) celebrates with center Ryan Getzlaf (15) after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) celebrates with center Ryan Getzlaf (15) after scoring a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

17

Anaheim Ducks

Previous Ranking: 18 (+1)

Team Record: (11-8-4)
Goals For:

59

Goals Against:

55

Special Teams

PP: 7-for-49 (14.3 percent) (21st)
PK: 8-for-48 (83.3 percent) (13th)

Injury List

Joseph Cramarossa – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Clayton Stoner – Lower-Body – Day-To-Day
Nate Thompson – Achilles – Indefinitely
Simon Despres – Concussion – Indefinitely
Nicolas Kerdiles – Concussion – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Ryan Kesler (18gp 8g 10a 18pts)
Top Defenseman: Cam Fowler (23gp 7g 7a 14pts)
Top Rookie: Joseph Cramarossa (13gp 1g 2a 3pts)
Top Goaltender: Jonathan Bernier (4 wins 2.02GAA .933 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Ryan Kesler (3gp 0g 4a 4pts)

Anaheim had a solid week seven, winning two of their three contests. One of their biggest wins came against the hot Canadiens 2-1, they were also able to beat San Jose by a score of 3-2. However the lost they managed was against the powerhouse Chicago Blackhawks.

Solid play from John Gibson and Ryan Kesler are the reasons for Anaheim’s recent success. With Gibson posting a .938 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against-average doesn’t hurt. Ryan Kesler scoring four points in three games doesn’t hurt the team either. Week eight should fair pretty easy for the streaking Ducks as they have games against Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Carolina. Four games that the Ducks should be able to manage all eight points, but Edmonton is also a streaky team and Vancouver is on the rise, so anything is possible for the Ducks in week eight.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Sam Steel, Regina (WHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 17g 24a 41pts

A strong offensive player, Sam Steel has been able to dominate at every level of hockey he’s participated in. He’s rarely caught out of position due to his great hockey sense and situational awareness. However when under pressure, Steel has a habit of folding under said pressure, which is something that still needs to be worked on. Behind Max Jones, Sam Steel is easily one of Anaheim’s top prospects. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic (6) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Florida Panthers defenseman Alex Petrovic (6) reacts with teammates after scoring a goal against the Montreal Canadiens during the first period at the Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

16

Florida Panthers

Previous Ranking: 14 (-2)

Team Record: (11-10-2)
Goals For:

58

Goals Against:

60

Special Teams

PP: 7-for-49 (14.3 percent) (21st)
PK: 8-for-48 (83.3 percent) (13th)

Injury List

Alex Petrovic – Ankle – Week-to-Week
Jonathan Huberdeau – Achilles – Late-January/Early-February

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jonathan Marchessault (23gp 10g 8a 18pts)
Top Defenseman: Keith Yandle (23gp 1g 10a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Denis Malgin (23gp 4g 4a 8pts)
Top Goaltender: Roberto Luongo (8 wins 2.11GAA .929 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Jaromir Jagr (3gp 2g 1a 3pts)

The Panthers had themselves a .500 week going 1-1-1, they did beat Columbus in overtime, but lost to Carolina and Chicago however. Mostly due to Roberto Luongo’s outstanding play, in his two games started he registered a 0.092 save percentage with a .971 goals-against-average.

Jaromir Jagr also had a solid week showing us all that being over 40 in the NHL isn’t a big deal as he scored three points in three games. Florida has a tough week eight ahead of them to say the least as they have games against Philadelphia, Boston, Ottawa and Detroit. They should be able to squeak out four-to-six of the possible eight points this week. Roberto Luongo has to be on top of his game once again though.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C/LW Adam Mascherin, Kitchener (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 24gp 17g 26a 43pts

What is their not to like about Adam Mascherin? This kid can score and do it so well. Despite being on the short side (5’9) he still has the proper weight for NHL success. A very mature player, he’s also a great skater, passer and has excellent speed. He takes a very intense side to the game often outworking opponents, and when he does, he’s got one booming shot that often finds the back of the net. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc (62) and teammates congratulate each other after they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. San Jose Sharks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: San Jose Sharks right wing Kevin Labanc (62) and teammates congratulate each other after they beat the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. San Jose Sharks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

15

San Jose Sharks

Previous Ranking: 13 (-2)

Team Record: (14-9-1)
Goals For:

58 (17th)

Goals Against:

50 (5th)

Special Teams

PP: 7-for-49 (14.3 percent) (21st)
PK: 8-for-48 (83.3 percent) (13th)

Injury List

Tommy Wingels – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Tomas Hertl – Knee – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Joe Pavelski (24gp 7g 14a 21pts)
Top Defenseman: Brent Burns (24gp 9g 12a 21pts)
Top Rookie: Kevin Labanc (11gp 2g 2a 4pts)
Top Goaltender: Martin Jones (12 wins 2.04GAA .921 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Logan Couture (4gp 3g 2a 5pts)

The Sharks had a solid week seven going 3-1-0, all in large part of Martin Jones, Logan Couture, and Brent Burns. San Jose gathered wins against the Islanders, Arizona Coyotes, and Los Angeles Kings, their only loss came at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks.

Logan Couture had a brilliant week seven, posting five points in four games. Brent Burns wasn’t far behind as he tallied three in four games. Rookie Kevin Labanc also had three in four as well. Martin Jones has still been playing some solid hockey helping San Jose hold top spot in the Pacific division. And during that four-game stretch, he posted some solid numbers as well, gathering two wins in three games with a 1.68 goals-against-average and a .931 save percentage. Week eight is going to be very interesting for the Sharks as they play the Canadiens and the Senators. They should in all likely-hood get the two points against the Sens, but the challenge will be against Montreal. And if all engines are firing they may just end the week undefeated.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Noah Gregor, Moose Jaw (WHL)

2016-17 stats: 25gp 10g 17a 27pts

Noah Gregor is a perfect future centremen for when Joe Thornton retires. He’s got amazing passing abilities, being able to find open players and open lanes when most cannot. His hockey I.Q is also really high as his anticipation levels are superb, often leaving him in the right position to where the puck is going to end up being or the player. Due to his strong skating, he’s rarely out of position and when play transitions his acceleration will have him right in the rush, mostly controlling the play with his outstanding puck-handling. He already has the height and size for the NHL level, he just needs to get the strength, and one more year in junior should do well for him in that regard. – Matt Duscharme

nhl playoff picture

NHL Power Rankings: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

14

New Jersey Devils

Previous Ranking: 11 (-3)

Team Record: (10-7-5)
Goals For:

53 (T-24th)

Goals Against:

57 (T-11th)

Special Teams

PP: 10-for-73 (13.7 percent) (25th)
PK: 11-for-70 (84.3 percent) (9th)

Injury List

F Beau Bennett (leg) – day-to-day with leg laceration
F Taylor Hall (knee) – joined the team on their recent road trip, will return soon

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Travis Zajac (22gp 5g 10a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Damon Severson (22gp 3g 10a 13pts)
Top Rookie: F Pavel Zacha (22gp 2g 5a 7pts)
Top Goaltender: Cory Schneider (8 wins 2.56GAA .914 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Mike Cammalleri (3gp 3g 1a 4pts)

The New Jersey Devils dropped all three games over the last seven days by a single goal. They were edged 5-4 by Detroit, 4-3 vs. Pittsburgh, and 3-2 against Winnipeg. Despite finally managing to finally score some goals, it was another rough week for Devils netminders. It’s been back and forth of late for Cory Schneider as he follows up a solid seven-day period with a disappointing stretch. We’ve seen this cycle for nearly a month now. His overall numbers are taking a beating of late as he sits with a 2.56GAA and .914 save percentage.

New Jersey got some very big news today. It sounds like Taylor Hall is set to return to the lineup tonight (Thursday, Dec.1). Hall missed the last nine games after opening the year with 12 points in 14 games. The timing couldn’t be better with Mike Cammalleri and Pavel Zacha finally finding the scoresheet with more frequency. Don’t be surprised if the Devils go on a nice little run over the next little while.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F John Quenneville, Albany (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 19gp 7g 10a 17pts

Here’s a guy that promises to be a quality 2nd/or 3rd line forward for the Devils in the future. Regarded as a playmaker, Quenneville can impose his will on both sides of the puck. Whether he’s setting up teammates for quality scoring chances or making sure he’s picking up the third man back, John has a great work ethic. Based on his strong performance with Albany early on, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him with the big club sooner rather than later. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens with temmates during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-YvesAhern-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Ottawa Senators right wing Mark Stone (61) celebrates his goal against Montreal Canadiens with temmates during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-YvesAhern-USA TODAY Sports

13

Ottawa Senators

Previous Ranking: 14 (+1)

Team Record: (14-8-1)
Goals For:

52 (T-26th)

Goals Against:

56 (T-9th)

Special Teams

PP: 9-for-66 (13.6 percent) (26th)
PK: 12-for-70 (82.8 percent) (T-13th)

Injury List

Bobby Ryan – Hand – Day-to-Day
Marc Methot – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Clarke MacArthur – Concussion – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mike Hoffman (21gp 7g 9a 16pts)
Top Defenseman: Erik Karlsson (23gp 4g 15a 19pts)
Top Rookie: Fredrik Claesson (6gp 0g 0a 0pts)
Top Goaltender: Craig Anderson (12 wins 2.20GAA .930 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Mike Hoffman (4gp 3g 3a 6pts)

If Ottawa didn’t lose to Buffalo Tuesday night, they would have had a perfect 4-0-0 week. And despite the loss, Craig Anderson absolutely stood on his head the entire week. He earned one shutout as well as a .939 save percentage and a 1.76 goals-against-average in four games. Their biggest win was a 2-0 defeat over the New York Rangers. Mike Hoffman also had an amazing week posting six points in four games.

Ottawa needs to continue their streak cause week eight they have some serious games. They have contests against Philadelphia, Florida, Pittsburgh and San Jose. The toughest games of the week are easily against the Sharks and Penguins, but if scoring continues to fire on all cylinders and Anderson can continue his Carey Price-like play, Ottawa may just put up another solid week.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Logan Brown, Windsor (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 15gp 8g 13a 21pts

A towering center, Logan Brown is a key factor in the future of the Ottawa Senators. Due to his crazy size, he’s capable of playing very solid at both ends of the ice. He also uses his size in the offensive zone to help protect the puck from the opposition. He’s a very mature player for his age which helps his decision-making process, which is why he posses’ a top notch shot and elite release. Logan’s creativity also helps when he’s making passes to his teammates. The only thing Logan doesn’t do is use his size to throw the body at the opposition, once he learns to use his frame more often, he’ll be a complete player. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) celebrates his shutout and win over the Chicago Blackhawks after the third period at MTS Centre. Winnipeg won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) celebrates his shutout and win over the Chicago Blackhawks after the third period at MTS Centre. Winnipeg won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

12

Winnipeg Jets

Previous Ranking: 16 (+4)

Team Record: (11-12-2)
Goals For:

65 (T-10th)

Goals Against:

72 (T-26th)

Special Teams

PP: 12-for-87 (13.8 percent) (24th)
PK: 18-for-92 (80.4 percent) (23rd)

Injury List

F Marko Dano (eye) – day-to-day, could return Thursday
D Tyler Myers (lower body) – placed on IR
F Mathieu Perreault (upper body) – ready to return
F Joel Armia (lower body) – placed on IR
F Shawn Matthias (lower body) – week-to-week since Nov.2

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mark Scheifele (25gp 13g 13a 26pts)
Top Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien (25gp 2g 11a 13pts)
Top Rookie: Patrik Laine (25gp 13g 6a 19pts)
Top Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (9 wins 2.54GAA .915 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Jacob Trouba (3gp 0g 3a 3pts)

The Winnipeg Jets are starting to hit their stride over the last while. Connor Hellebuyck is looking more confident between the pipes, Jacob Trouba seems to have shaken the rust off from his contract holdout, and now, Bryan Little is back in the lineup after being injured in the season opener. It seems everything is starting to align for Winnipeg at exactly the right time. It’ll be tough to compete in the Central Division over the course of 82 games, but don’t be surprised if the Jets are right in the mix for one of those final Wild-Card spots.

Picking a player of the week wasn’t easy. After all, numerous players had a solid seven-day stretch. Hellebuyck picked up a pair of wins with a 2.33GAA and .928 save percentage. Mark Scheifele scored two goals, one assist. Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Drew Stafford each collected a pair of points. But POW honors go to defenseman Jacob Trouba. After going pointless through his first eight games, Trouba picked up a pair of helpers versus Nashville and another assist two nights later versus New Jersey. Things could get interesting once Tyler Myers returns from injury, but for the time being, this is a great sign for both Trouba and the Jets moving forward.

Weekly Prospect Profile: G Eric Comrie, Manitoba (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 6-5-1, 2.49GAA, .920 save percentage

Hidden in the background of Winnipeg’s goalie conundrum is 21-year-old Eric Comrie. The 6’1 180lbs netminder is highly regarded as one of the top goaltending prospects in the NHL. Given the Connor Hellebuyck situation, it’s easy to see how this young man is basically forgotten. Still, the Jets have yet another quality goaltender in the pipeline that could be used as a valuable trade asset should the Hellebuyck experiment work out as expected. – Ryan Ritchie

NHL Power Rankings: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) makes a save during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask (40) makes a save during the first period against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

11

Boston Bruins

Previous Ranking: 10 (-1)

Team Record: (12-10-1)
Goals For:

55 (21st)

Goals Against:

52 (6th)

Special Teams

PP: 11-for-71 (15.5 percent) (20th)
PK: 11-for-80 (86.3 percent) (4th)

Injury List

John-Michael Liles – Concussion – Indefinitely
Noel Acciari – Lower-Body – Early-December
Zdeno Chara – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Frank Vatrano – Foot – Late-December
Brian Ferlin – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Brad Marchand (23gp 7g 13a 20pts)
Top Defenseman: Torey Krug (23gp 1g 9a 10pts)
Top Rookie: Brandon Carlo (23gp 2g 3a 5pts)
Top Goaltender: Tuukka Rask (12 wins 1.64GAA .938 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Torey Krug (4gp 0g 4a 4pts)

Boston didn’t have the best week seven as they lost twice in regulation, once in overtime and only managed to string together one win. Despite the losses to weaker teams (Ottawa and Calgary) they did manage to beat a stronger team in Tampa Bay by a score of 4-1. However that wasn’t a sign of things to come as they would lose to Philadelphia in overtime on Tuesday.

Week eight is a rebound chance for the Bruins as they have games in Carolina, Buffalo, and Florida. However, they finish off this week with a tough opponent in the Washington Capitals, a perfect test for this struggling Bruins team. But if everything goes right for the black and yellow, they could very well manage all eight points. But expect them to at least get six of them.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW Zach Senyshyn, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 20gp 9g 8a 17pts

Zach is a very gifted offensive winger who can often be the difference maker for his team. A smooth skater who uses his feet to get himself in the proper offensive positions. The only thing Zach needs to work on is his defensive side of the game, he needs to learn to transition quicker and become better with his puck possession. These are all things that he is currently working on in junior. – Ryan Ritchie

nhl awards

NHL Power Rankings: Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) carries the puck during a shootout against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

10

Edmonton Oilers

Previous Ranking: 5 (-5)

Team Record: (12-10-2)
Goals For:

69 (5th)

Goals Against:

62 (T-18th)

Special Teams

PP: 12-for-75 (16.0 percent) (18th)
PK: 8-for-69 (88.4 percent) (2nd)

Injury List

Brandon Davidson – Upper-Body – Week-to-Week
Iiro Pakarinen – Knee – Week-to-Week
Andrew Ference – Hip – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Connor McDavid (24gp 11g 20a 31pts)
Top Defenseman: Oscar Klefbom (24gp 3g 5a 8pts)
Top Rookie: Jesse Puljujarvi (20gp 1g 6a 7pts)
Top Goaltender: Cam Talbot (11 wins 2.56GAA .917 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Connor McDavid (3gp 2g 2a 4pts)

Despite Connor McDavid carrying the Oilers offensively, they only managed to muster up a 0-2-1 record last week. Losing twice to a weaker Arizona team and once against Toronto Tuesday night. The issue was Cam Talbot just didn’t play up to par having a .897 save percentage and a 2.93 goals-against-average.

With Connor still leading this team and the league in general, Cam Talbot needs to bounce back in week eight. And this week needs to be the time to do it as they play Winnipeg, Anaheim, Minnesota and Buffalo. The games verse Buffalo and Minnesota should be easy wins for the power house Oilers. And if Talbot can play top form again and the defense shows up to play the way they can, Edmonton could very well squeeze out six of the possible eight points, or in fact all eight.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Filip Berglund, Skelleftea (SHL)

2016-17 stats: 20gp 0g 4a 4pts

Filip is a big defenseman that could find his way into the pro system easily next year. Standing at 6’3 and weighing 210 pounds, Berglund is also a talented two-way defenseman. He’s got great vision as well as great passing skills. His puck control is always relied upon as he spends a lot of time on the power-play because of it and having a great shot doesn’t hurt either. The only downside with Filip is his speed, something he needs to work on greatly to be successful in the NHL. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) and Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson (13) battle for the puck during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

9

Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous Ranking: 7 (-2)

Team Record: (13-10-1)
Goals For:

71

Goals Against:

65

Special Teams

PP: 20-for-86 (23.3 percent) ()
PK: 12-for-73 (83.6 percent) ()

Injury List

Ryan Callahan – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Steven Stamkos – Knee – Indefinitely
Anton Stralman – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nikita Kucherov (23gp 11g 15a 26pts)
Top Defenseman: Victor Hedman (24gp 5g 12a 17pts)
Top Rookie: Brayden Point (24gp 2g 9a 11pts)
Top Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy (6 wins 1.89GAA .940 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Ondrej Palat (3gp 1g 1a 2pts)

Tampa had a terrible week seven going 0-3-0, while five Lightning players each had two points, it just wasn’t enough as Vasilevskiy and Bishop had horrible weeks to say the least. However there was one bright spot, and that’s Nikita Kucherov proving he can fill a certain someone’s shoes.

So Steven Stamkos who? Nikita Kucherov has proved time in and time out that when Stamkos is invisible in a game or injured, he will step up and take over. Which he has done yet again as he now leads the Lightning in points. Andrei Vasilevskiy also has amazing season numbers so week eight needs to be a turnaround week for the Bolts. And their gonna need them at their best since they play St. Louis, Washington, and Carolina. Realistically, Tampa should very well be able to get the two points from Carolina, but don’t be surprised if they beat either Washington or St. Louis as well.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Anthony Cirelli, Oshawa (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 22gp 13g 17a 30pts

Anthony Cirelli is a solid two-way center, his skating ability can often create much-needed plays, even in the neutral zone. He works hard every shift in hopes to make a difference for his team and switch momentum. Anthony has the talent and skill set to play in all positions of the game, however, he just needs to get stronger and make better plays while along the boards. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Power Rankings: Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save against the Buffalo Sabres during the second period at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

8

Detroit Red Wings

Previous Ranking: 15 (+7)

Team Record: (11-10-2)
Goals For:

54 (T-22nd)

Goals Against:

59 (T-16th)

Special Teams

PP: 13-for-81 (16.0 percent) (T-17th)
PK: 13-for-70 (81.4 percent) (20th)

Injury List

Tyler Bertuzzi – Ankle – Late-December/Early-January
Brendan Smith – Knee – Late-December
Alexey Marchenko – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Jimmy Howard – Groin – Day-to-Day
Darren Helm – Shoulder – Indefinitely
Andreas Athanasiou – Knee – Day-to-Day
Joe Vitale – Concussion – Indefinitely
Johan Franzen – Concussion – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Henrik Zetterberg (23gp 3g 12a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Mike Green (23gp 4g 9a 13pts)
Top Rookie: Anthony Mantha (8gp 3g 2a 5pts)
Top Goaltender: Jimmy Howard (5 wins 1.82GAA .940 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Frans Nielsen (3gp 2g 3a 5pts)

Detroit is hurting to say that least, they just can’t seem to catch a break. So it’s a good thing Petr Mrazek and Henrik Zetterberg are currently on top of their games. Frans Nielsen is still showing that his signing was a very smart move by management as he scored five points this last week in only three games.

Besides Frans Nielsen, Henrik Zetterberg and Petr Mrazek carrying the Wings this last week, Anthony Mantha also had himself a solid three games scoring three points. The Red Wings also had a solid week going 2-0-1 with their only loss coming to Montreal in overtime. Week eight should be a 50/50 week for the Wings as they have games against Winnipeg, NY Islanders, Pittsburgh and Florida. Two of those games they should be able to win easily, the other two they may not as Pittsburgh is on top of their game as of late and Winnipeg has way too much scoring power against Detroit’s hurting team. However weirder things have happened, so anything is possible for Detroit this week.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Vili Saarijarvi, Mississauga (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 3gp 1g 0a 1pts

Vili Saarijarvi is an outstanding defenseman, he has more of an offensive edge to him than defensive, but that’s something Detroit loves in their d-men. He’s not the biggest defensive prospect which sometimes limits his abilities in his own end, but he makes up for it in the other end. Another thing Vili needs to work on is his awareness of play as it transitions. These are all things that can be tweaked in the OHL and AHL in the next few years. – Matt Duscharme

NHL Power Rankings: Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson (90) is congratulated by team mates after scorinig against Toronto Maple Leafs in a 4-2 loss at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

7

Washington Capitals

Previous Ranking: 6 (-1)

Team Record: (13-6-2)
Goals For:

57 (T-18th)

Goals Against:

47 (T-2nd)

Special Teams

PP: 10-for-64 (15.6 percent) (19th)
PK: 12-for-69 (82.6 percent) (18th)

Injury List

F T.J. Oshie (upper body) – Suffered injury back on Nov.18, not expected to return until next week

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nicklas Backstrom (21gp 6g 14a 20pts)
Top Defenseman: Matt Niskanen (21gp 0g 9a 9pts)
Top Rookie: F Zach Sanford (19gp 0g 1a 1pt)
Top Goaltender: Braden Holtby (10 wins 2.18GAA .920 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Marcus Johansson (2gp 2g 0a 2pts)

Caps netminders split the duties in their two games over the last week. Backup Philipp Grubauer got the nod against Buffalo and closed the door on 32 of 33 shots in a 3-1 win. Starter Braden Holtby had his third straight rough outing in Washington’s 4-2 loss to Toronto on Saturday. He allowed four goals on 37 shots, giving him three straight contests with a sub .900 save percentage. Holtby now holds a 2.18GAA and .920 save percentage following three tough starts.

Despite dropping a game to the Maple Leafs, the Capitals are still one of the NHL’s most dangerous teams. Nicklas Backstrom has been a consistent force up front, while Ovie is starting to find his scoring touch again. There’s still something to be desired from Evgeny Kuznetsov (21gp 9pts), but it’s only a matter of time before their 2015-16 top point producer gets going.

You still have to wonder whether this blue line is good enough to take the Caps on a deep playoff run. It’s not as though the personnel has changed any, just the way in which certain defenders are used. History tends to repeat itself.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Jonas Siegenthaler, ZSC Lions (NLA)

2016-17 stats: 12gp 0g 1a 1pts

At 6’2 218lbs, this big Swiss defender first made his pro appearance in the NLA back in 2013-14 as a 17-year-old. The Caps took a chance on him at 57th overall (2nd round) in 2015 for a guy who scouts pegged as a raw talent that would be a project. A reliable stay-at-home defender, Jonas is still only 19-years-old. A few years down the line, he could be a very useful player. – Ryan Ritchie

Oct 6, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Zach Werenski (8) against the Boston Bruins during a preseason hockey game at Nationwide Arena. The Bruins won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 6, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defensemen Zach Werenski (8) against the Boston Bruins during a preseason hockey game at Nationwide Arena. The Bruins won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

6

Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous Ranking: 9 (+3)

Team Record: (12-5-4)
Goals For:

67 (T-7th)

Goals Against:

47 (T-2nd)

Special Teams

PP: 15-for-54 (27.8 percent) (1st)
PK: 9-for-55 (83.6 percent) (T-11th)

Injury List

F Matt Calvert (upper body) – moved to IR on Nov.25
D Dalton Prout (back) – considered day-to-day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Cam Atkinson/Alex Wennberg (21gp 8g 12a 20pts/21gp 5g 15a 20pts)
Top Defenseman: Zach Werenski (21gp 5g 11a 16pts)
Top Rookie: D Zach Werenski (21gp 5g 11a 16pts)
Top Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky (12 wins 2.09GAA .930 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Brandon Saad (3gp 2g 1a 3pts)

The Columbus Blue Jackets had another strong week going 2-0-1. They picked up a pair of wins versus the Lightning and dropped a close 2-1 match-up to the Panthers. Starter Sergei Bobrovsky had another stellar week allowing just four goals over three games, including a pair of one-goal games. He racked up a 1.63GAA and .936 save percentage, helping lift his season totals to 12 wins, a 2.09GAA and .930 save percentage.

Forward Josh Anderson receives a player of the week honorable mention. He racked up two goals, two assists in three games, but most of that came in his 3-point, 7 shot performance vs. Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Alex Wennberg also had another solid week with three points in three games, which ties for the team lead for points at 20.

Many in the hockey world aren’t buying the hot start by Columbus. It’s time to start believing folks. This is a team that many pegged as a playoff contender heading into 2015-16 before the wheels fell off. Well, now they’ve got depth scoring, an improved blue line being led by an outstanding rookie performer, and a goaltender playing at an elite level. This team isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cleveland (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 16gp 6g 4a 10pts

It’s been an up-and-down start to Oliver’s pro career. He had a slow transition in the AHL last year, but eventually found his stride. It led to a late NHL call-up that showed a lot of promise ending the year on a four-game point streak. He carried that momentum into the AHL playoffs en route to winning the Championship and being named MVP. He began 2016-17 with Columbus, but saw limited minutes which eventually led to his demotion. I’ve said it multiple times and I’ll say it again. Bjorkstrand is a highly skilled winger that needs a coach to instill confidence in him. If John Tortorella isn’t willing to give him top-six minutes, he mid as well light it up down in Cleveland. Third or fourth line minutes are not enough for the Danish forward. – Ryan Ritchie



Nov 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) is congratulated by defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (48) center Kyle Brodziak (28) and right wing Ryan Reaves (75) after scoring his second goal of the game against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 17, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) is congratulated by defenseman Petteri Lindbohm (48) center Kyle Brodziak (28) and right wing Ryan Reaves (75) after scoring his second goal of the game against the San Jose Sharks during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

5

St. Louis Blues

Previous Ranking: 8 (+3)

Team Record: (13-7-3)
Goals For:

61 ()

Goals Against:

62 ()

Special Teams

PP: 17-for-79 (21.5 percent) ()
PK: 11-for-89 (87.6 percent) ()

Injury List

D Joel Edmundson (upper body) – week-to-week (could potentially play on Thursday night)
F Alex Steen (upper body) – day-to-day (resumed practicing with team)

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Vladimir Tarasenko (23gp 10g 13a 23pts)
Top Defenseman: Kevin Shattenkirk (23gp 4g 11a 15pts)
Top Rookie: n/a
Top Goaltender: Jake Allen (11 wins 2.39GAA .911 save percentage)

Player of the Week:  D Alex Pietrangelo (2gp 1g 2a 3pts)

St. Louis’ week eight couldn’t have gone much better, an undefeated record going 2-0-0 and star players putting up a nice amount of points to boot. Jaden Schwartz had himself a three point week and finished with an even rating. Alex Pietrangelo and David Perron combined for six points with a combined plus three rating. Jake Allen was also superb despite his poor save percentage (.885) he did however have a respectable goals-against-average at 2.80. – Matt Duscharme

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Jordan Schmaltz, Chicago (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 5gp 1g 2a 3pts

Selected 25th overall back in 2012, the 23-year-old Schmaltz is arguably the Blues best defenseman not on the NHL roster. Some might lead you to believe he’s not ready, but it likely has more to do with Kevin Shattenkirk still being around. It’s only a matter of time before St. Louis moves the pending UFA to make extra room on the right side for Colton Parayko to assume a bigger role. In doing so, it should also free a spot up for the RH Schmaltz who is an offensively gifted puck-moving defender. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) congratulates Pens right wing Bryan Rust (17) on his gaol against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 12, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury (29) congratulates Pens right wing Bryan Rust (17) on his gaol against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the third period at the PPG Paints Arena. Pittsburgh won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

4

Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous Ranking: 2 (-2)

Team Record: (13-7-3)
Goals For:

69 (6th)

Goals Against:

70 (T-24th)

Special Teams

PP: 13-for-55 (23.6 percent) (T-5th)
PK: 12-for-63 (81.0 percent) (20th)

Injury List

F Chris Kunitz (lower body) – listed as week-to-week

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Sidney Crosby/Evgeni Malkin (17gp 15g 7a 22pts/23gp 9g 13a 22pts)
Top Defenseman: Kris Letang (18gp 2g 10a 12pts)
Top Rookie: Jake Guentzel (5gp 3g 1a 4pts)
Top Goaltender: Matt Murray (7 wins 2.02GAA .929 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Sidney Crosby (3gp 2g 1a 3pts)

Pittsburgh’s week seven didn’t quite go as planned as they only finished the week with a 1-2-0 record. Evgeni Malkin however did have a solid week putting up five points in three games despite being a minus one. Matt Murray’s week wasn’t too superb either, but he did manage the only win between himself and Marc-Andre Fleury. Sidney Crosby had himself a three point week but expect that total to increase in week eight. Also Jake Guentzel is making a serious case as a top notch rookie this season. – Matt Duscharme

Weekly Prospect Profile: Dominik Simon, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 16gp 3g 3a 6pts

Selected 137th overall (5th round) in 2015 as an overage European skater, Simon has quickly made a name for himself as he climbs the Pens prospect pool. At 5’11 176lbs, this Czech winger has a knack for finding the back of the net. He joined the Baby Pens down in AHL for his first year of pro in 2015-16 and posted 25 goals, 23 assists (48 points) in 68 games. Dominik even saw a few games with the big club, posting an assist in three games. He’s off to a slow start in 2016-17, but should be on the short list for call-ups. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (22) congratulates goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) for the win during the third period at Rogers Arena. The New York Rangers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; New York Rangers goaltender Antti Raanta (22) congratulates goaltender Henrik Lundqvist (30) for the win during the third period at Rogers Arena. The New York Rangers won 7-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

3

New York Rangers

Previous Ranking: 3 (-)

Team Record: (16-7-1)
Goals For:

88 (1st)

Goals Against:

58 (T-13th)

Special Teams

PP: 15-for-71 (21.1 percent) (9th)
PK: 9-for-62 (85.5 percent) (6th)

Injury List

F Mika Zibanejad (calf) – broken fibula, expected to return in early January
F Pavel Buchnevich (back) – announced he would need 2-to-3 weeks rehab on Nov.21

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Kevin Hayes/J.T. Miller (24gp 10g 9a 19pts/24gp 8g 11a 19pts)
Top Defenseman: Ryan McDonagh (24gp 0g 13a 13pts)
Top Rookie: F Jimmy Vesey (24gp 8g 6a 14pts)
Top Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist (11 wins 2.40GAA .916 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Jimmy Vesey (3gp 1g 1a 2pts)

The New York Rangers had an alright week seven as well, going 2-1-0. While scoring went sort of dry for the power house Rangers, they still won two games. This is in large part due to Henrik Lundqvist putting up some amazing numbers. The fantastic Swede had himself a two win week with a .943 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against-average. Rick Nash, Jimmy Vesey and Josh Holden all shared two point weeks, but Vesey had the better of the three as he finished with a plus three rating. Nash, however, was a minus one and Holden finished the week with an even rating. – Matt Duscharme

Weekly Prospect Profile: G Igor Shesterkin, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL)

2016-17 stats: 26gp 1.51GAA .946 save percentage

Step aside Ilya Sorokin (Islanders prospect) and make way for Igor Shesterkin. After splitting time between the KHL, VHL, and MHL (VHL/MHL are essentially KHL minors and KHL juniors), Shesterkin stepped up full-time to the top Russian league in 2016-17. Playing on a top team, Igor is 19-2-3 with a 1.51GAA and .942 save percentage early on. Could this young man be the next big hype for Russian netminders? – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 13, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their victory following the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center. Chicago won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 13, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; The Chicago Blackhawks celebrate their victory following the third period against the Montreal Canadiens at the United Center. Chicago won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

2

Chicago Blackhawks

Previous Ranking: 1 (-1)

Team Record: (15-6-3)
Goals For:

66 ()

Goals Against:

59 ()

Special Teams

PP: 14-for-81 (17.3 percent) ()
PK: 22-for-75 (70.7 percent) ()

Injury List

D Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) – day-to-day, almost ready to return
F Jonathan Toews (upper body) – expected to return on Saturday
F Artem Anisimov (lower body) – left Tuesday’s game with an ankle/foot injury

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Patrick Kane (24gp 8g 15a 23pts)
Top Defenseman: Duncan Keith (24gp 0g 15a 15pts)
Top Rookie: F Ryan Hartman (19gp 5g 1a 6pts)
Top Goaltender: Corey Crawford (11 wins 2.23GAA .928 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Patrick Kane (3gp 2g 1a 3pts)

Chicago didn’t lose a single game in regulation last week going 2-0-1. But when you have Patrick Kane and Corey Crawford firing on all cylinders, it’s hard not to lose. Kane had himself a three point week, while Brent Seabrook, Marcus Kruger and Artemi Panarin combined for six points. Corey Crawford, on the other hand, was lights out. In the two games he started, he collected both wins and had a staggering .960 save percentage with a 1.44 goals-against-average, absolutely fantastic numbers. And their gonna need it again as week eight is going to be very interesting for the Hawks. – Matt Duscharme

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Mark McNeill, Rockford (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 20gp 3g 9a 12pts

Selected 18th overall back in 2011, it’s been a slow transition with steady progress at the pro level over the last three-plus years. Still, the 23-year-old has the potential to be a very useful player for the Hawks in the future. Regarded as more of a two-way talent that is strong in all three zones, it’s worth noting that McNeill’s point-per-game rate continues to rise year after year. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 19, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the third period against Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 19, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens goalie Carey Price (31) during the third period against Toronto Maple Leafs at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

1

Montreal Canadiens

Previous Ranking: 2 (+1)

Team Record: (16-5-2)
Goals For:

68

Goals Against:

50

Special Teams

PP: 15-for-70 (21.4 percent) (8th)
PK: 15-for-87 (82.8 percent) (T-13th)

Injury List

Charles Hudon – Upper-Body – Indefinitely
Nathan Beaulieu – Neck – Day-to-Day
Brian Flynn – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Alex Galchenyuk (23gp 9g 13a 22pts)
Top Defenseman: Shea Weber (23gp 8g 10a 18pts)
Top Rookie: Artturi Lehkonen (14gp 2g 1a 3pts)
Top Goaltender: Carey Price (13 wins 1.68GAA .947 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Carey Price (3gp 2w, 1.33GAA, .961 save percentage)

Carey Price continues to show the world why he’s number one. Alex Galchenyuk is also taking a lot of people by surprise this season as he’s now the leader of the Canadiens offense. And Alex Radulov keeps proving that five million dollar deal was well worth it as he sits third in team scoring.

Montreal’s week seven was pretty solid as they posted a 2-1-0 record. Their only loss coming to Anaheim in a 2-1 decision in regulation. Price is very well expected to finish the season atop all the goalie statistics. And Montreal is going to need him to be his best in week eight as they face San Jose, Los Angeles and St. Louis. They are expected to capture four of the six possible points, but it’s also not realistic to think they could manage all six with the way Price, Weber, Galchenyuk, and Radulov have been playing.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Mikhail Sergachev, Windsor (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 10gp 0g 7a 7pts

Easily the best defensive prospect in the 2016 draft and for Montreal, Mikhail Sergachev is absolutely amazing. He played three games this season with Montreal showing off his offensive prowess and poise before being sent back down to the OHL. While with Windsor, he’s played some very solid hockey. His poise and confidence often creates a lot of chances that usually wouldn’t be made. A fluid skater with a load of creativity makes him a very talented two-way defenseman who finds ways to be a difference maker. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 23, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) takes control of the puck during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks with a score of 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 23, 2016; San Jose, CA, USA; San Jose Sharks defenseman Brent Burns (88) takes control of the puck during the game against the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period at SAP Center at San Jose. The San Jose Sharks defeated the Chicago Blackhawks with a score of 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Games of the Week (Dec.1-Dec.7)

Friday, December 2nd

Montreal Canadiens at San Jose Sharks

This could be a statement game for the Habs on the road against a tough Western Conference opponent. If Montreal wants to hang with the big boys, they’ll need to show they score enough goals in these big games.

Saturday, December 3rd

Chicago Blackhawks at Philadelphia Flyers

This is a big game for the Flyers at home. They’re playing well of late and could use the two points against a Stanley Cup favorite. These are the games that could be the difference between a Wild-Card spot and draft lottery pick.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Vancouver Canucks

Round two of this highly anticipated match-up kicks off at 7pm (et), that’s 4pm local time. You gotta wonder what upsets fans more, the presence of Nazem Kadri, or an early start to seemingly cater to the East Coast.

Sunday, December 4th

Minnesota Wild at Edmonton Oilers

Although the Oilers are struggling of late, this promises to be an exciting contest as Devan Dubnyk and the Wild roll into town. Facing his former team, Dubnyk will look to build on his Vezina-worthy season, that is if he can stop Connor McDavid and company.

Tuesday, December 6th

Montreal Canadiens at St. Louis Blues

Here we’ve got two juggernaut teams squaring off from separate conferences. These are important games for the Habs to see where they stand among other elite teams.

Wednesday, December 7th

Boston Bruins at Washington Capitals

Despite Holtby’s struggles of late, this could be a goaltending duel regardless of who starts for Washington.

This article originally appeared on

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