NHL Power Rankings (Heading Into Week 23) – Full 30-Team Analysis with Weekly Prospect Profiles, Injury Reports, Statistical Updates (Leaders, Special Teams, etc.), and More.
Welcome back to our weekly NHL power rankings. This is a collaboration between Matt Duscharme and Trin Potratz. In addition to our top 30 rankings, we provide in-depth analysis and feature a weekly prospect profile to help fans get better acquainted with young talent your favorite organization has to offer system.
NHL Power Rankings: New Jersey Devils goalie Cory Schneider (35) defends his net during the first period of their game against the San Jose Sharks at Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Week: RW Kyle Palmieri (2gp 2g 0a 2pts)
The Devils are in the midst of one of the worst losing streaks of the 2016-17 NHL season. The Devils lost to the league-worst Colorado Avalanche and second worst Arizona Coyotes to further their place amongst the NHL’s worst. The Devils have now lost 10 games in a row, and six in a row in regulation. They didn’t have another chance to end their streak as their game against the Winnipeg Jets was postponed due to weather.
Kyle Palmieri led the way offensively, while Beau Bennett, Taylor Hall, Joe Blandisi and Damon Severson also had a pair of points on the week. The Devils are in an identity crisis this season as their addition of Taylor Hall in the offseason hasn’t helped their offensive issues, and losing Adam Larsson seems to have hindered their defensive abilities.
The Devils have free-fallen to the bottom of the Eastern Conference and are now only two points up on the Arizona Coyotes. The best news is that they are increasing their draft position to the point they could be selecting Nolan Patrick or Nico Hirschier. It won’t get any easier to end their losing streak down the stretch as the Devils will be taking on the Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers in the coming week.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Yegor Rykov, St. Petersburg (KHL)
2016-17 stats: 47gp 0g 9a 9pts
The Devils selected the Russian defender in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft with hopes that he would develop his game in the KHL before turning pro. In his post-draft season, Rykov has put up nine assists on a stacked KHL team that includes Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Datsyuk, and Slava Voynov. The biggest question with Rykov is if he will have any interest in coming to play in the NHL. Rykov’s best attribute is his leadership, as he wore an alternate captain’s “A” on his jersey at the most recent World Juniors.
Mar 2, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Florida Panthers left wing Thomas Vanek (26) against the Philadelphia Flyers during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
The Panthers started off the week on the wrong foot with a 7-4 loss to Minnesota than a 3-2 loss to Tampa Bay, however, they did redeem themselves when they thumped the Leafs by a score of 7-2. Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Marchessault, Thomas Vanek, and Vincent Trocheck had great weeks offensively. James Reimer played in all three games last week and despite the 1-2-0 record, he had some okay stats.
Barkov though was on fire last week putting up six points in three games as well as a plus-two rating. Marchessault, Vanek, and Trocheck all had four point weeks but unfortunately combined for a minus-six rating. Since Reimer played in all three games he put up a .907 save percentage and a 3.39 goals-against-average. The Panthers are well outside the playoff picture but could slide in if they go on a nice winning streak, but this week will be tough for them to get started since they have games against the Blue Jackets, Rangers, Penguins, and Hurricanes.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Alexander Delnov, HK Sochi (KHL)
2016-17 stats: 20gp 1g 1a 2pts
Alexander Delnov is probably another year or two away from North American professional play but once he’s ready he’s going to be a very solid player. He’s extremely versatile who is also a great skater that likes to play physical. However, he does need to work on his defensive side to the game in order to be efficient in North America.
Jan 16, 2017; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Zemgus Girgensons (28) passes the puck during the second period against the Dallas Stars at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports
For a team sitting near the bottom of the Eastern Conference, Buffalo didn’t have that bad of a week despite the 1-2-0 record. They lost their first game of the week against the Blue Jackets but got revenge on them a night later, then lost to a far superior team in San Jose. Jack Eichel once again carried the Sabres offensively and has been on fire since returning from his severe ankle injury. Both Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson played goal for the Sabres last week but who was best? Let’s find out!
While Nilsson played in one game last week he was ultimately relieved of his duties but still put up some statistics, he had a .750 save percentage along with a horrendous 9.09 goals-against-average. And due to this Lehner carried the 1-2-0 record and in doing so was much better with a .923 save percentage and a 3.04 goals-against-average. While three Sabres registered three points in the week, Eichel leads the way with two goals and one assist. Matt Moulson and defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen were the other two who both had a single goal with two assists. And after them, five other Sabres had two points a piece. Buffalo may have a hard time this week pulling off a winning record since they have games against Los Angeles, Anaheim, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.
A defenseman still under construction, Austin Osmanski is still a few years away from pro hockey. But that doesn’t change his overall potential, he’s been great in junior hockey and has become one of the Steelheads top defensemen. Once he fine tunes a little more of his offensive and defensive games, he’s going to become a serious prospect.
Jan 2, 2017; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi (47) celebrates his goal against Colorado Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard (31) (not pictured) with forward Henrik Sedin (33) and forward Daniel Sedin (22) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
It’s all about evaluation for the Canucks for the remainder of the season, so their poor week isn’t all that alarming. The Canucks began their week with a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders before being shutout by the Pittsburgh Penguins in a 3-0 loss. They ended their week with a 6-3 loss to the Boston Bruins to finish the week 0-2-1.
The Canucks roster is now full of players trying to make an impression on the organization for next season. The Canucks added Drew Shore to their lineup and he added an assist in his season debut. Markus Granlund led the way offensively scoring two goals and adding an assist on the week. Henrik Sedin had a trio of assists while Troy Stecher and Daniel Sedin chipped in two points. Down the stretch, expect the Canucks to give auditions to their prospects.
The Canucks have completely fallen out of the playoff race, but pride is still a thing that teams need to play for. The Canucks will take on the struggling Dallas Stars, so expect the Goldobin’s, Granlund’s, Gaunce’s and Shore’s to lick their lips at the scoring potential. They will face off in a Hockey Night in Canada matchup against the Edmonton Oilers and finish off their week against the Chicago Blackhawks. Next season will be better.
Weekly Prospect Profile: RW William Lockwood, Michigan (Big10)
2016-17 stats: 29gp 8g 12a 20pts
The Canucks seem to be going the way of developing prospects via the college route, and William Lockwood is another example. The 2016 third rounder is in his first season at the University of Michigan and he has hit the ground running. The Hockey News compares Lockwood to the recently departed Canuck Jannik Hansen with strong skating and scoring. Lockwood will need to add some beef to his small frame to produce at the same level in the big leagues, but he has tons of time to grow before turning pro.
Feb 12, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Detroit Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser (65) during a game between the Minnesota Wild and Detroit Red Wings at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Red Wings 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
As the Red Wings playoff run comes closer and closer to an end, losing weeks is definitely not something that will turn the tide. And they put up yet another last week going 1-2-0. While the offense was somewhat okay, goaltending was below average, like usual, unfortunately.
Gustav Nyquist carried the team offensively with four points in three games, Tomas Tatar had three points of his own. Andreas Athanasiou, Henrik Zetterberg, Justin Abdelkader, and Dylan Larkin all put up two point weeks and combined for a minus three rating. What really hurt the Wings though had to be the goaltending, Jimmy Howard played in two of the games last week and in doing so earned a 1-1-0 record along with a .909 save percentage and a 2.56 goals-against-average. Petr Mrazek, on the other hand, was much worse, earning the team’s other losses as well as a .871 save percentage and a 4.00 goals-against-average. Like the Avalanche, the Red Wings are just playing for pride now. And this week they have games against Arizona, Colorado, Buffalo, and Montreal.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Julius Vahatalo, TPS (Liiga)
2016-17 stats: 45gp 3g 4a 7pts
Julius Vahatalo is one of those players where every single shift he tries to make better than his last. He already possesses a large body fit for North American pro hockey, he just needs to work on his overall speed. His offensive skills are already there as well as his defensive, so once he can keep up with other players, Detroit will have a nice prospect on their hands.
Dec 20, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) makes a save during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Avalanche 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Week: G Calvin Pickard (4gp 2w 2.02GAA .934 save percentage)
Colorado has been officially eliminated from all playoff hope as they sit buried in the last place in the league. However, they did have a fairly decent week granted how they have been all season. The club had a .500 record going 2-2-0 on the week with Calvin Pickard shining the brightest for the club.
Pickard played in all four games last week and in doing so was actually pretty good, carrying the 2-2-0 record he also put up a very decent .934 save percentage and a highly respectable 2.02 goals-against-average. Something the club needed from him all season, too bad it came too late. But hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come for next season. The offense, on the other hand, was rather bland, Blake Comeau carried the team with three points (all assists) while Carl Soderberg, Francois Beauchemin, and Sven Andrighetto all had two points apiece. At this point in time the Aves are just playing for pride, so can they muster up some points this week? We shall see as they have games against Detroit, Chicago, and St. Louis.
Playing in his third season in the QMJHL, it’s not hard to imagine J.C. Beaudin playing in the AHL next season, but if things don’t work out in training camp he could always return to the QMJHL for more growth, which is never a bad thing.
Feb 21, 2017; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) skates with the puck in the third period against the Chicago Blackhawks at Xcel Energy Center. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Minnesota Wild 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
For a top tier offensive team like Minnesota the week they had last week was definitely one to forget, they put up a record of 1-3-0. Both Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper also had weeks to forget. However, the team still scored some goals and at a solid rate with Eric Staal carrying the team offensively.
Staal was solid last week scoring four goals in four games as well as adding an assist. Mikael Granlund finished second on the scoresheet with four points in four games as well as finishing with an even rating. And both Marco Scandella and Jonas Brodin each had three points and combined as a plus one. Dubnyk definitely had himself a week of misery, he appeared in three of the games last week and in doing so earned a record of 1-2-0 the worst part was his numbers, he had a save percentage of .878 with a 4.25 goals-against-average. Kuemper was just a tiny bit better statistically speaking since he put up a .896 save percentage and a 3.15 goals-against-average, but he did lose the game he played in. The Wild have a chance to turn things around this week since they play the Hurricanes, Rangers, Jets, and Sharks, with the toughest game easily being the one against San Jose.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Avery Peterson, Univ. Of Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)
2016-17 stats: 19gp 7g 6a 13pts
Avery Peterson is currently playing his third season in the NCAA meaning he could opt for the AHL, if ready, next season or play another year down there. Which wouldn’t be a bad idea since his overall game still needs a lot of work? What he is good at though is standing in front of the net to create scoring chances for his team as well as play physically.
NHL Power Rankings: Philadelphia Flyers center Claude Giroux (28) reacts to an empty net goal from Calgary Flames defenseman Mark Giordano (not pictured) during the third period at Scotiabank Saddledome. The Flames won 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Week: D Shayne Gostibehere (4gp 1g 3a 4pts)
There was a time this season where the Philadelphia Flyers were the hottest team in the league. The Flyers at one point were on a 10-game win streak, but if you take away their dominant stretch, they have a record of 22-29-8. The Flyers lost crucial games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, Boston Bruins, and Columbus Blue Jackets before winning a hard-fought battle against the Pittsburgh Penguins to finish the week 1-3-0. That’s not good enough for a team clinging to life support in the playoff race.
Sophomore slump Shayne Gostibehere had one of the best weeks of his season, scoring at a point per game pace with a goal and three assists in the four matchups. The man dubbed “Ghost Bear” has struggled at both ends of the ice this season resulting in the odd healthy scratch here and there but he has still put up a solid 31 points in 63 games on the back end. To put that into perspective, he had 46 in 64 games last year. Captain Claude Giroux also put up a four-point week to play at a point per game pace, but his underwhelming 50 points in 69 games is a big reason for his team’s struggles.
The Flyers currently sit five points out of the final playoff spot, so not all hope is lost, but they can’t afford to win only one out of four games the rest of the way. The Flyers have a rather easy schedule this upcoming week, so three wins is definitely possible. They face the 10 straight losers in New Jersey before a Sunday night battle against the Carolina Hurricanes. They finish their week off with a battle against the defensively challenged Winnipeg Jets. If the Flyers can string together three straight wins, their playoff hopes stay alive. If they have another underwhelming week, it will be time to pack it in.
Weekly Prospect Profile: D Philippe Myers, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
2016-17 stats: 31gp 9g 23a 32pts
Nobody knew who Myers was when the Flyers signed the undrafted defender out of Rouyn-Noranda, but by the time the World Juniors tournament was in motion, everybody took notice. Myers was arguably the Canadians’ best defenseman before he was injured, and it looks like Myers will challenge for NHL duty as soon as next season. Myers will turn pro next season and will most definitely follow the same suit of the Samuel Morin’s and Travis Sanheim’s and start in Leigh Valley. Myers has a 6’5 frame and despite tipping the scales at 210 pounds, he still needs to add some more muscle.
Jan 8, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Edmonton Oilers left wing Benoit Pouliot (67) skates with the puck in the first period against the Ottawa Senators at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
The Edmonton Oilers find themselves out of the top three of the Pacific Division and in the top wild card spot, mainly due to the streaking Calgary Flames. The Oilers began their week with a wild 3-2 shootout loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. They followed that game up with a dud against the Montreal Canadiens in which they allowed four goals in the third period. The Oilers recovered and blew the Dallas Stars out in a 7-1 victory to finish the week 1-1-1.
Milan Lucic had arguably his best week as an Edmonton Oiler, putting up a point in each of three games this week. Lucic has been known as a pressure player and he has completely upped his game as the Oilers try to make the postseason for the first time in a decade. Fellow tough-guy Zack Kassian also had a solid week putting up three assists. Trade deadline acquisition David Desharnais scored his first two goals as an Edmonton Oiler over the week and seems to have found a spot on the third line with Kassian and Benoit Pouliot.
The Oilers should be motivated to get back into a top three spot in the Pacific Division down the stretch, possibly setting up a first round Battle of Alberta against the Calgary Flames. The Oilers will finish off their eight-game homestand with games against the Boston Bruins, Vancouver Canucks, and Los Angeles Kings.
Weekly Prospect Profile: G Nick Ellis, Bakersfield (AHL)
2016-17 stats: 27gp 13wins, 2.74, .919
The Oilers missed out on top college free agent goaltender Alex Lyon and instead signed Nick Ellis out of Providence College. The early results look like him he was more than a consolation prize. Ellis has seized the starter’s role over Laurent Brossoit (NHL recall) and veteran Jonas Gustavsson (NHL demotion). Ellis gives the Oilers depth in a position that they haven’t had in over a decade. Ellis will likely get another season in Bakersfield as the starter before challenging for NHL duty.
Feb 26, 2017; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes forward Joakim Nordstrom (42) skates against the Calgary Flames at PNC Arena. The Calgary Flames defeated the Carolina Hurricanes 3-1. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
It looks like it will be another long summer for the Hurricanes, despite their strong week in which they got points in every game. They began their week with a 4-3 win over the Rangers and then lost in overtime against the Toronto Maple Leafs. The highlight of the week came in an eight-goal explosion over the New York Islanders, before losing in overtime to the Isles the next night.
Sophomore defenseman Jaccob Slavin doubled his goal output in the 8-4 shellacking of the Islanders when he scored his first career hat trick. Slavin now has put together a strong 28-point season and looks to be a bonafide top four defender. Jordan Staal put up five assists on the week to lead the club in points on the week. Justin Faulk and Elias Lindholm put up four points and Jeff Skinner scored three goals.
The Hurricanes are nine points out a playoff spot so they will likely have to settle for playing spoiler down the road. The Canes will take on the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers and Florida Panthers in the upcoming week.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Callum Booth, Saint John (QMJHL)
2016-17 stats: 46g 30wins, 2.66, .909
The Hurricanes are obviously in search of Cam Ward’s successor as the club has selected four goalies in the last three drafts, including Callum Booth in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Booth is the now average size for an NHL goaltender with a 6’3 frame. Booth relies on sound positioning rather than lateral movement, and his pedigree as an OHL starter maintains the thought that he can develop into an NHL goaltender.
Feb 16, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebuyck (37) makes a save against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Due to bad weather, Winnipeg didn’t get a chance to play their game against New Jersey Tuesday night. But in the two games, they did play they finished with a 0-1-1 record on the week. Both Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little carried the team offensively but one was better than the other. Connor Hellebuyck played in both games last week as well and wasn’t the best he could be.
Since Hellebuyck played both games last week he earned the 0-1-1 record along with a .887 save percentage and a 3.93 goals-against-average. Both Nikolaj Ehlers and Bryan Little had two points in the week, however, Ehlers finished as a minus one while Little finished as an even player. After that Patrik Laine, Joel Armia, Dustin Byfuglien, Blake Wheeler, Paul Postma, Mark Scheifele, Josh Morrissey, and Adam Lowry all had a single point last week. The Jets have a chance to grab some points this week though as they have games against the Islanders, Wild, and Flyers.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Pavel Kraskovsky, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl (KHL)
2016-17 stats: 58gp 8g 10a 18pts
Pavel Kraskovsky is a massive player for his age which makes him fit in well with the rest of their top prospects. He also plays a physical style of game as well as scoring goals which make him a future power forward in the NHL.
Nov 5, 2016; Dallas, TX, USA; Dallas Stars defenseman Johnny Oduya (47) skates against the Chicago Blackhawks during the game at the American Airlines Center. The Blackhawks defeat the Stars 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas had a fairly short week with only two games, and you would think since they only had two games they would squeeze out some points, well they lost both. First was a 5-1 loss to San Jose and next was a 7-1 loss to Edmonton, so it’s safe to say the goalies didn’t have solid weeks either.
Only five Stars got on the scoresheet all week registering a single point each, but Remi Elie was the only one who finished as an even rated player. Brett Ritchie, Ales Hemsky, Curtis McKenzie, and Adam Cracknell were the others and combined for a minus-eight rating. Due to the week, Dallas had it’s easy to assume both goaltenders were horrendous, and they were. Antti Niemi played in one game putting up a .816 save percentage and a 6.17 goals-against-average, while Kari Lehtonen played in the other putting up even worse numbers with a .706 save percentage and a 5.80 goals-against-average. The Stars may be hard pressed to put up a winning week this week as well since they have games against Vancouver, Calgary, and San Jose.
Even though Valeri opted to play in Russia this season, he is still very much a top prospect for the Stars. While many compare him to Alex Ovechkin, he’s yet to reach that plateau, maybe when he returns to the NHL he will surprise us because he’s having himself a very decent season in the KHL. He still possesses all the NHL attributes to be successful.
Feb 16, 2017; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues goalie Jake Allen (34) is congratulated by teammates after the Blues defeat the Vancouver Canucks 4-3 at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
The Blues were off to a hot start last week winning their first three games than Anaheim showed up and spoiled the party leaving the team with a 3-1-0 record, which is still pretty great. Both Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Steen carried the team offensively, but one was better than the other. And both Jake Allen and Carter Hutton appeared in games for the club last week.
Allen played in three of the St. Louis’ games last week and in doing so earned himself a 2-1-0 record along with a fantastic save percentage of .931 and a very solid goals-against-average of 2.03. Hutton, on the other hand, wasn’t so good even though he did earn a win, he put up a .875 save percentage and a 3.00 goals-against-average. Tarasenko had himself a four-point week as well as Steen, but Tarasenko finished as a plus three while Steen was a plus two. Magnus Paajarvi, Alex Pietrangelo, and Jaden Schwartz all had three points and combined for a plus-six rating. So team offense and defense was definitely solid as well as their starting netminder. These three parts of the Blues will need to continue this trend heading into the playoffs and they can hopefully continue it this week since they play San Jose, Arizona, and Colorado.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Sergey Andronov, CSKA Moskva (KHL)
2016-17 stats: 51gp 6g 4a 10pts
Sergey Andronov is a highly skilled forward who loves to crash the net with his tremendous speed. He’s also a very reliable player in all three ends of the ice due to his great puck handling skills. The only thing he needs to get better at in order to thrive in the North American style of play is his physicality and defensive positioning.
NHL Power Rankings: New York Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi (5) celebrates a goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports
The Rangers have one eye on their day-to-day, and one eye on the postseason. The Blueshirts know they are going to the playoffs, and they could very well have more points than the team that leads the Atlantic Division. The Rangers went 1-2-0 this week due to a victory over the Detroit Red Wings and losses to the Carolina Hurricanes and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Chris Kreider was the top scorer on the week, adding four points to bring his total to a career-high 48 points. The Ranger’s roster is filled with solid depth scoring in both their forwards and defensemen. The Rangers currently have 10 players that have scored double digits in goals, and they have an outstanding three defensemen with 30 points or more in Nick Holden, Ryan McDonagh, and rookie Brady Skjei.
The Rangers have a chance to demolish Florida’s playoff hopes with a Friday night matchup, followed by a road trip to Minnesota for a game against the Wild. They will finish off their week with another back-to-back against the New Jersey Devils and New York Islanders.
Weekly Prospect Profile: D Ryan Graves, Hartford (AHL)
2016-17 stats: 61gp 6g 19a 25pts
The Rangers have a mammoth of a defenseman developing in the minors in Ryan Graves. The son of former Ranger Adam Graves is a 6’4 220 pound monster of a defenseman who is in his second pro season. Graves has added a little bit of an offensive touch to his game, but he models his game in the mold of Scott Stevens. Graves is a physical force on the back end and he has the skating ability to not get too far out of position. He looks to be on par for NHL duty sooner rather than later.
Feb 25, 2017; Nashville, TN, USA; Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin (8) talks with defenseman John Carlson (74) during the first period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
The Washington Capitals had the worst week of their season, culminating in a season-worst four-game losing streak. Luckily the Capitals were able to snap that streak with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. The Caps lost to the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks to finish the week off with a 1-3-0 record.
Nicklas Backstrom was his usual productive self, even through the losing streak. Backstrom kept up his point per game pace with four assists in four games. Captain Alex Ovechkin went through the longest goalless drought of his career before ending that in the win against Minnesota. There’s no reason to panic, as the Capitals didn’t lose their games in dominating fashion, so consider this streak a little hiccup in an otherwise banner year.
The Capitals have the Pittsburgh Penguins and Columbus Blue Jackets nipping at their heels for the President’s Trophy, so they have the motivation to get up for every game down the stretch. The Caps will take on the Nashville Predators, the Tampa Bay Lightning (in a possible first round matchup preview) and the Calgary Flames this week.
Weekly Prospect Profile: C Travis Boyd, Hershey (AHL)
2016-17 stats: 62gp 12g 37a 49pts
The Capitals are a stacked team from top to bottom, and that may be the only reason why Travis Boyd isn’t in the NHL already. The 2011 sixth rounder took a long way, but it helped develop his skills. Boyd spent four seasons at the University of Minnesota before turning pro and he produced very well in both of his seasons with the Hershey Bears. The AHL All-Star is not blessed with size, but he is a perennial playmaker that has proven he can score everywhere he goes. He’s ready for the next step.
The Los Angeles Kings have an uphill battle to make the playoffs this year. The Kings looked like they had done themselves a favor winning their first two games of the week over the Nashville Predators and Washington Capitals, and then they did themselves in. The Kings lost the most important game of the season in a 3-1 loss to the St.Louis Blues, and they were only able to get one point in a shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes. Still, the Kings went 2-1-1 on the week, but they can’t afford to leave any more points on the table.
Tyler Toffoli led the way offensively, scoring a pair of goals and a pair of assists in the four games. Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter also added four points as the big guns try to will their way back to the playoffs. Trade deadline acquisition Jarome Iginla put up a pair of tallies, and he will need to keep providing secondary scoring if his new team has a hope in hell to make the playoffs.
The Kings matchup against the Buffalo Sabres is a must win for their playoff hopes, because it won’t be easier as the week goes on. The Kings will travel to Calgary and Edmonton in what has now become a tough province to play in. The Kings are four points away from the final playoff spot, but the team they are chasing in St.Louis has a game in hand. It’s becoming more and more likely that the club will be golfing come April.
Although the Kings continually sell off draft picks and prospects to add to their NHL club, they have still managed to find a few diamonds in the rough and Brodzinski may be the best of them all. The 2013 5th round pick is in his second pro season following three years at St.Cloud State. His 24 goals lead the Ontario Reign and he is tied with TJ Hensick for the team lead in points. The Hockey News named Brodzinski as the fifth best prospect in the Kings pipeline with comparisons to Tyler Toffoli for having a shot that surprises goalies. With the big club in dire need of offense, Brodzinski could be getting very close to his shot in the NHL.
Mar 7, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (16) takes a shot during warm ups prior to playing Detroit Red Wings at Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
The Maple Leafs started the week off strong with a 4-2 win over Philadelphia, then a 3-2 overtime win over Carolina, but got thumped by the Panthers on Tuesday night by a score of 7-2. Both William Nylander and Tyler Bozak carried the Leafs offensively while Frederik Andersen was solid in net while backup Curtis McElhinney wasn’t.
Andersen started all three games last week but was relieved by McElhinney in the Florida game. Regardless, Andersen was still solid he put up the 2-1-0 record as well as a .917 save percentage and a 2.95 goals-against-average. Curtis, on the other hand, did put up some numbers and they weren’t so great, he had a .833 save percentage with a 6.00 goals-against-average. Nylander and Bozak both had three-point weeks that were similar as they both put up one goal and two assists, however, Bozak finished as an even player while Nylander was a minus one. Mitch Marner, Morgan Rielly, James van Riemsdyk, and Jake Gardiner all had two-point weeks. Toronto is currently one point out of the final wild-card spot so this week they will need to gain some wins and this week will be tough as they have games against Tampa Bay, Chicago, Boston, and Columbus.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Vladimir Bobylev, Victoria (WHL)
2016-17 stats: 36gp 8g 26a 34pts
When Vladimir Bobylev came over from Russia to the WHL his numbers increased significantly. He’s a pure offensive forward who already has a pro-sized body. He’s got a wicked shot that has tremendous accuracy, and he’s also quite physical.
NHL Power Rankings: Arizona Coyotes goalie Mike Smith (41) during the third period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Arizona Coyotes won 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Arizona Coyotes had one of their best weeks of the season. The Yotes only loss of the week came in overtime to the Ottawa Senators. They proceeded to defeat the New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche, and the Los Angeles Kings to finish the week with an outstanding 3-0-1 record.
Rookie defender Jakob Chychrun led the way offensively with four points, tying Tobias Rieder in that regard. Chychrun has exceeded expectations that he can play in the NHL as a young 18-year-old, and is looking to be an absolute steal at 16th overall. The defender now has 18 points in his rookie season and will be a fixture on the club’s success for years to come. Goaltender Mike Smith also set the record for shutouts in the Coyotes’ franchise with a goose egg against the league-worst Colorado Avalanche. While headlines may focus on the future of the team staying in Arizona, the young team is making strides as they look to close out the season in style.
The Coyotes are well out of the race and will be eliminated from playoff contention shortly, but they can still play spoiler in the coming week. After a nothing game against the Red Wings, the Yotes will have a chance to dictate the final playoff positioning with games against the St.Louis Blues, Nashville Predators, and Tampa Bay Lightning.
Weekly Prospect Profile: LW Michael Bunting, Tucson (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 53gp 10g 8a 18pts
The Coyotes have a wealth of prospects so a player like Bunting may go a little unnoticed. The second-year pro was a 2014 4th round pick and he is carving out a career capable of becoming an effective bottom six forward. His offensive output is on the same pace as his first year when he scored 25 points in 63 games. Bunting has a bit of an agitator side to his game that should help him become an NHL player. He won’t be rushed.
May 8, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Ryan Pulock (6) skates against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the second period in game five of the second round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Islanders have fought back from a tough opening couple of months to be fully engaged in a playoff battle. The Islanders are holding down the final playoff spot in the East, and their week allowed them to stay there. The Islanders began the week with a 4-3 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks, before dropping the next two to the St.Louis and Carolina. They righted the ship in a rematch against the Hurricanes, winning 2-1 in overtime to finish 2-2-0.
While Joshua Ho-Sang has made a ton of headlines for his off-ice behavior and his well-known attitude issues, his on-ice performance since his recall is proving there is a real player there. Ho-Sang put up five points in the team’s four games, including an overtime assist in the victory over the Hurricanes. Ho-Sang now has six points in his first eight NHL games. Captain John Tavares scored that clutch goal and put up another three point week as he puts his team on his back.
The Islanders will face off against the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets at home before finishing their week with a battle against rival New York Rangers. They will be able to decide their own fates down the stretch as they try to fend off the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs.
Weekly Prospect Profile: G Linus Soderstrom, HV71 (SHL)
2016-17 stats: 22gp 18wins, 1.34, .943
The Islanders may have a goalie controversy in the big leagues right now, but help is on the way and coming fast. Linus Soderstrom will be in competition with Ilya Sorokin for the starter’s role in the next five years. Soderstrom’s game has grown leaps and bounds after percolating in the second tier Swedish league before getting a chance to be the starter for HV71. Soderstrom is posting incredible numbers and is now fully on the radar as a 20-year-old prospect.
Top Forward:Ryan Getzlaf (63gp 14g 44a 58pts) Top Defenseman:Cam Fowler (70gp 11g 22a 33pts) Top Rookie:Ondrej Kase (50gp 5g 9a 14pts) Top Goaltender: John Gibson (23 wins 2.28GAA .921 save percentage)
Player of the Week: C Ryan Getzlaf (4gp 2g 4a 6pts)
The Anaheim Ducks watched as the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames passed them in the standings, but they used it as fuel to light their fire. The Ducks put up a 3-1-0 week with victories over the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, and St. Louis Blues with their only loss coming against the same Blues team previously.
The Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf led the team with a six-point effort including the game-winning goal and an assist in the most recent win over the St. Louis Blues. Getzlaf has been on a roll in the last couple of months after a rather slow start, and he seems to be getting hot at the right moment. Rickard Rakell reached the 30-goal plateau against the Blues and finished the week with three goals and an assist. With John Gibson dealing with a lower body injury, Jonathan Bernier has filled in admirably putting up a perfect 3-0-0 record.
Despite the Flames putting up a 10-game win streak that ultimately came to an end this week, the Ducks are in the sole position of the second seed in the Pacific Division with the Flames two points behind, and the Oilers three points behind. The Ducks have back to back games against the Buffalo Sabres and San Jose Sharks in the coming week. They will have three days off before a possible crucial matchup with the Edmonton Oilers.
Shea Theodore already has 49 NHL games to his name, and that alone should tell you that he is definitely ready for the NHL on a full-time basis. The Ducks have an abundance of young defensemen in the big leagues and in the prospect pool, but Theodore has a chance to become the best of the bunch. He had an uneven camp and that resulted in him beginning the season with San Diego, but his play should warrant another recall. His defensive game still needs work but he proved he can rise to the occasion when he and Darnell Nurse made up the shutdown pairing for Canada in their last World Junior Gold Medal.
Feb 25, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ron Hainsey (65) looks on against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period in a Stadium Series hockey game at Heinz Field. The Penguins won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Penguins had a chance to take advantage of the Washington Capitals’ recent four-game winless streak and overtake the top position in the Metropolitan Division. They weren’t able to completely capitalize, no pun intended. The Pens began the week with a 3-2 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers and followed that up with a 3-0 shutout victory over the Vancouver Canucks. They then lost in a shootout to the Calgary Flames, allowing the Flames to tie a franchise record 10-game win streak. They finished their week with a stunning 4-0 loss to the state rival Philadelphia Flyers to finish the week off 2-1-1.
Conor Sheary, Sidney Crosby, and Jake Guentzel all put up four-point weeks, with Sheary being the only one to score two goals. Sheary may go under the radar, but his 43 points in 49 games put him on an overall pace to score 72 points. While many will state that he only produces that well because he plays with Sidney Crosby, it is still quite the feat for an undrafted player. While Crosby maintained his solid points pedigree, his ability to only score one goal has seen Brad Marchand pass him for the league lead in goals.
The Pens are only two points back of the Washington Capitals for the Division and League lead, so a President’s Trophy is still in their sights. The Columbus Blue Jackets are also in the mix only one point behind the Penguins with a game in hand. The Penguins can use that to drive their motivation through the rest of the season. The Pens also have a relatively easy schedule this next week with games against non-playoff teams in New Jersey, Florida and Buffalo.
Weekly Prospect Profile: D Jeff Taylor, Union College (ECAC)
2016-17 stats: 36gp 9g 23a 32pts
The Penguins have another diamond in the rough with Jeff Taylor, the 203rd selection of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. Taylor is in the middle of his fourth season at Union College and he has bounced back drastically from last season’s poor totals. Taylor bottomed out at 12 points in 36 games in the 2015-16 season, before bouncing back with 32 through 36 games this year. Taylor is a very strong puck-moving defender who uses his speed and hockey IQ to contribute to his team’s offense. In a league that craves puck-moving defensemen, Taylor has more than an outside chance to make the big leagues in the future.
Nashville had a tremendous week last week putting up a winning record of 2-0-1. Defenseman Roman Josi carried the team offensively while Juuse Saros was absolutely terrific in goal, Pekka Rinne, on the other hand, was surprising with just an average week.
Josi had himself a great week putting up four points in four games while finishing as a plus two. Ryan Johansen, James Neal, and Viktor Arvidsson all had three-point weeks and combined for a plus-five rating. Rinne started in two games for the Preds last week and in doing so earned a 1-0-1 record, but despite the winning record he only had a .897 save percentage and a 3.34 goals-against-average. Saros, on the other hand, was awesome, he earned the team’s other win while posting a .962 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against-average. For a team currently in the playoffs, they are going to need more wins since the Western Conference is quite tough, but this week may be even tougher as they start the week off against Washington before playing some easy games against Carolina and Arizona.
Joonas Lyytinen is currently playing his fourth season in the Finnish Elite League and is doing quite well. So expect him to make the jump to the AHL next season. He’s a very talented defenseman who skates hard every shift with great offensive upside. Joonas also likes to play the physical game and does it quite well, his positioning is perfect too. All of these attributes make him a very solid 200-foot defenseman who is relied upon in all three zones of the ice.
Dec 31, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Montreal Canadiens center Brian Flynn (32) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the first period at the PPG PAINTS Arena. The Penguins won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Blackhawks of the East, the Montreal Canadiens also had a fairly rough week, they opened the week with a 5-0 loss to the Flames. But in game two against Edmonton they pulled off a 4-1 victory, however, that was short lived as the final game against the Blackhawks was a loss in which they were outscored 4-2. Paul Byron was great for the Canadiens though as well as starter Carey Price.
Price appeared in two of the games last week for the Habs and in doing so brought home a 1-1-0 record along with a .917 save percentage and a 2.02 goals-against-average. Al Montoya appeared in the other game over the week and earned the team’s other loss. While doing so, he put up a below average save percentage of .868 and a horrendous goals-against-average of 5.03. Byron was great, though, he had himself a four-point week while Max Pacioretty, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brendan Gallagher all had two points apiece. The Habs have a pretty easy week ahead of them where they can gather some more points, they have back to back games against the Sens before finishing the week off against Detroit.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Magnus Nygren, Farjestad BK (SHL)
2016-17 stats: 49gp 11g 20a 31pts
Magnus Nygren is having quite the season in the Swedish Elite League for a defenseman, but it’s actually not that surprising granted he’s purely offensive. He can drive the puck hard to the net with tremendous speed and finish on those chances. What is surprising is when he does this he doesn’t get caught out of position as he possesses the speed to get back in position.
Dec 14, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Tampa Bay Lightning center Vladislav Namestnikov (90) against the Calgary Flames during the second period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Yet another Eastern team put up a fantastic week, the Lightning put up a perfect record of 4-0-0 when they started the week off with a 4-1 win in Minnesota, then a 3-2 win in Florida, next was a 3-2 win against the Rangers and finally a 2-1 overtime win against Ottawa. Nikita Kucherov carried the team offensively yet again showing everyone that without Steven Stamkos this team can still get things done.
Andrei Vasilevskiy played in three of the games last week and in doing so put up a .960 save percentage with a 1.31 goals-against-average which are outstanding numbers through a three-game span. Newcomer Peter Budaj played in only one game last week but also earned a win as well as a solid .929 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against-average. But the best player had to be Kucherov who had three goals, three assists for six points in four games to go along with a plus-three rating. Both Victor Hedman and Ondrej Palat had four points each and combined for a plus-nine rating. So offense was definitely clicking for the Bolts. This week Tampa has the chance to earn even more points as they play games against Toronto, Washington, and Arizona with the toughest test obviously against the Capitals.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Saku Salminen, SaiPa (Liiga)
2016-17 stats: 39gp 3g 4a 7pts
Saku Salminen is the perfect power forward type of prospect the Lightning need. He’s incredibly strong, especially on his skates. While not the best goal scorer in the Lightning prospect pool, he is probably one of the strongest and is still developing which means he will become a top prospect in the organization very soon.
Mar 2, 2017; Ottawa, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Alexandre Burrows (14) celebrates his first goal as a Senator in the first period against the Colorado Avalanche at Canadian Tire Centre. Mandatory Credit: Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports
Another team to have a very solid week last week was the Senators who like Nashville, also posted a 2-0-1 record. Ever since they added more depth on the wings at the deadline they have been on a steady rise and are now one point away from leading the Atlantic Division. Erik Karlsson had a tremendous week as well backup goaltender Mike Condon.
Condon appeared in two games last week for Ottawa and in doing so earned a 1-0-1 record along with a .949 save percentage and a 1.92 goals-against-average. Craig Anderson was average however despite earning the other win, he put up a .875 save percentage and a goals-against-average of 2.00. Karlsson carried the team offensively last week with four points in three games while finishing as a plus two. Jean-Gabriel Pageau was the second highest scoring Sen with three points, however, he fared much better on the defensive side as he finished with a plus-four rating. Mike Hoffman, Alexandre Burrows, and Fredrik Claesson all had two points each. This week Ottawa has games against Chicago, then back to back games against Montreal before finishing the week against Boston.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Christian Jaros, Lulea HF (SHL)
2016-17 stats: 36gp 5g 8a 13pts
Christian Jaros is your prototypical defensive defenseman, he plays physically, skates strong and has no problem knocking the opposition off the puck due to his tremendous size. Scheduled to play once again for Lulea HF next season, Jaros will most likely make his North American pro debut the season after, which is totally fine cause he can grow more overseas then come into the AHL and dominate on his way into an NHL spot.
Mar 6, 2017; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; San Jose Sharks goalie Aaron Dell (30) makes a save during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at MTS Centre. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports
The San Jose Sharks have completely run away with the Pacific Division lead, and they had a week that should put them on the radar to be a possible Stanley Cup champion. The Sharks began their week defeating the league-leading Washington Capitals, before a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators. The Sharks outscored their next two opponents 9-2 in wins over the Dallas Stars and Buffalo Sabres to finish their week 3-1-0.
Captain Joe Pavelski continued his recent torrid pace with five goals and an assist in the team’s four games. Pavelski is on pace for a fourth consecutive 70-point season. He currently has 63 and should have no issues putting up seven points in the final 13 games. Logan Couture and Joe Thornton also had six-point weeks, as the core players continue to add offense at will. Trade deadline acquisition Jannik Hansen hasn’t been much of a spark offensively, however.
The Sharks will play four games this week in their quest to completely lock up the Pacific Division title. They will take on the St. Louis Blues and Anaheim Ducks at home before hitting the road against the Dallas Stars and Minnesota Wild. Not a bad place to place your bet on a potential Stanley Cup winner.
Weekly Prospect Profile: C Maxim Letunov, Connecticut (HE)
2016-17 stats: 33gp 7g 20a 27pts
Letunov is a former second-round draft pick of the St.Louis Blues, but he is already onto his third organization before his 22nd birthday. Letunov was acquired by the Coyotes in exchange for Zbynek Michalek and then traded to the Sharks in exchange for higher draft picks. In his sophomore season at the University of Connecticut, his production has dramatically dropped from 40 points in 36 games to 27 points in 33 games. Not all is lost for the Russian winger, as he will be working with a great developmental organization in San Jose.
Feb 25, 2017; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Jack Johnson (7) passes the puck against the New York Islanders in the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
The Blue Jackets’ franchise season has been a breath of fresh air for the organization, but they remain focused on completing more goals. The Jackets have their sights on the President’s Trophy and their 2-1-0 week kept them in the running. The Jackets split back-to-backs against the Buffalo Sabres before defeating the Flyers 5-3.
Sam Gagner led the way offensively, scoring four points in the three games. Gagner now has 44 points, only five back of the 49 he scored in his rookie season. Gagner is only making $650,000 on the year and is the NHL’s best bargain. Rookie defender Zach Werenski also had four points to bring his point total to an unbelievable 43 points, setting the Jackets’ franchise record for rookie scoring. While Patrik Laine, Mitch Marner, and Auston Matthews may get the headlines for Calder trophy, Werenski may be the most deserving.
The Blue Jackets are currently three points back of the league-leading Washington Capitals with a game in hand, so their aspirations of winning the President’s Trophy are still alive and well. The Jackets can put a stake in the hopes of the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders’ playoff hopes in matchups this week. They finish their week off against the struggling New Jersey Devils, so ending the week at the top of league standings is within reach.
Weekly Prospect Profile: D Andrew Peeke, Notre Dame (HE)
2016-17 stats: 36gp 4g 9a 13pts
The Jackets went a little off the board in the second round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft when they selected Andrew Peeke from the Green Bay Gamblers of the USHL. The defender has NHL size at 6’3 and 205 lbs and will be even more of a mammoth after he completes his college career art Notre Dame. Like a lot of prospects that go the college route, we may not see Peeke get an NHL shot for another four or five years. Peeke doesn’t bring much to the offensive side of the game other than a booming shot and will make his calling as a shutdown defender.
NHL Power Rankings: Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron (37) and defenseman Zdeno Chara (33) congratulate teammates after their 4-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Boston didn’t have a long week last week with just an average three games, however, they did win all three going undefeated. Brad Marchand was once again the hottest player on the team carrying the club offensively while both Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin split goaltending duties and in doing so were solid as well.
Rask appeared in two games last week for the club putting up a very respectable .929 save percentage with a solid 2.00 goals-against-average along with two wins. Khudobin had the clubs other victory and posted almost similar stats to Rask putting up a .913 save percentage and a 2.00 goals-against-average. But offensively the team really shined, Marchand had a six-point week, David Pastrnak had five points of his own and Patrice Bergeron had himself a four-point week. The Bruins can definitely keep this momentum going heading into this week since they have games against Edmonton, Toronto, and Ottawa.
Weekly Prospect Profile: Oskar Steen, Farjestad BK (SHL)
2016-17 stats: 47gp 1g 2a 3pts
Oskar Steen is a pure workhorse, who has tremendous speed. His offensive potential is also sky high making him a solid prospect for the Bruins. He has the potential to become a second or third line winger who will bring his best every single game.
Mar 3, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Artemi Panarin (72) skates with the puck during the first period against the New York Islanders at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
For the powerhouse Blackhawks you would think their week would have been dominant, well it wasn’t they started off the week with two losses before finally getting a win in their third game and carrying that momentum into their final one. However, there was one bright spot all week and that was forward Patrick Kane. And despite the two losses, Corey Crawford didn’t do too bad either.
Kane carried the team offensively with six points in four games while his Russian clone Artemi Panarin had himself a four-point week putting him second on the team’s weekly scoresheet. After those two, though, six Hawks registered two points each while four others had a single point. Crawford appeared in all four games for Chicago last week meaning he put up the 2-2-0 record and along with it had himself a very solid .936 save percentage along with a 2.29 goals-against-average. This week Chicago will have to continue their winning ways to hold onto top spot in the west, and they could very well do so as they have games against Ottawa, Toronto, Colorado, and Vancouver.
Beau Starrett is most likely another year away from professional hockey. But once he’s ready he’ll have to spend some time in the AHL before making it to the NHL as any sort of role player. Cause as of now, Beau is mostly physical but still has a solid 200-foot game, he just needs to work on his finishing skills in the offensive zone.
Feb 28, 2017; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames left wing Johnny Gaudreau (13) during the first period against the Los Angeles Kings at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Player of the Week: G Brian Elliott (3gp 3wins, 0.97, .967)
The Calgary Flames had a historic week that ultimately ended in slight disappointment. The Flames beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-0, the Winnipeg Jets 3-0 and the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 in a shootout to tie a franchise record 10-game win streak. The win streak ultimately came to end with a 5-2 loss to the Boston Bruins for the Flames to finish the week 3-1-0. The Flames got hot at the right time, and now we’ll see how they play the rest of the way.
Starting goalie Brian Elliott was the main component of the Flames lengthy win streak as he has completely abandoned his first impression with the Flames. Elliott has become the bonafide starter the Flames hoped he would be when they traded for him. Johnny Gaudreau led the way offensively scoring two goals and three assists in the four games, including a highlight reel tying goal against the Penguins. Michael Frolik and Dougie Hamilton were the next highest scorers on the week, putting up four points apiece.
The Flames passed the Oilers in the standings to get out of a wild card spot. They are currently one point up on the Oilers, with the Oilers playing the Boston Bruins, who ended the Flames win streak, on Thursday. The Flames will take on lesser teams with battles against the Dallas Stars and Los Angeles Kings before they close out their week against the Washington Capitals. Their win streak all but solidified a playoff birth, but now it’s all about where they will finish. I’m sure they’d rather play the Oilers or Ducks in the playoffs rather than facing off against the San Jose Sharks.
When the Flames acquired the 2013 1st rounder from the Canucks in exchange for Markus Granlund, the grand consensus was that the Flames fleeced their divisional rival. Fast forward to today and it looks like the Canucks are the winners. Markus Granlund has scored 19 goals this season, while Shinkaruk hasn’t mustered up that many points in the AHL. Not all is lost as Shinkaruk still, has scoring potential and may need another season in the minors to realize his potential or to reinvent his game to become a regular NHL player.