NHL Power Rankings: Week 7 Injuries, Prospects, In-Depth Analysis

NHL Power Rankings: 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

NHL Power Rankings (Heading into Week 7) – New York Rangers are finally knocked out of top spot after a tough week. Blue Jackets and Bruins continue to climb the charts. Minnesota, Ottawa, and Detroit trending downwards.

Welcome back to our weekly NHL power rankings here at Puck Prose. This is a dual collaboration between Matt Duscharme and Ryan Ritchie.

In this week’s edition, the New York Rangers finally drop from the top spot after a tough seven-day stretch. The Columbus Blue Jackets continue to climb despite closing out the week on a sour note. Boston is also making a big jump thanks to a solid effort between the pipes from starter Tuukka Rask.

There was no shortage of big performers over the last seven days. Oilers phenom Connor McDavid had a monster week racking up eight points in four games. Teammate Leon Draisaitl also has a solid four games posting seven points himself. The only other player in the NHL that was as productive was Colorado‘s Nathan MacKinnon, who also had seven points. Three more players managed to pile up six points over the past week: Pittsburgh‘s Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel, as well as Los Angeles‘ Jeff Carter.

As teams continue to tighten things up defensively, we’re starting to see a lot more low-scoring games and shutouts. Among those who recorded a SO: Andrei Vasilevskiy (TB), Martin Jones (SJ), Devan Dubnyk (MIN), Braden Holtby (WSH), and Cam Talbot (EDM). Let’s not forget about the solid play from Pekka Rinne (NSH), Cam Ward (CAR), Chad Johnson (CGY), Tuukka Rask (BOS), Jake Allen (STL), Matt Murray (PIT), Frederik Andersen (TOR), and Calvin Pickard (COL), among others.

We’ve added a few upgrades to our NHL power rankings this week. We’ve added team goals for/against, statistical leaders, and a new weekly prospect profile where each week we take a look at a different player in the minor league system for all 30 teams.

Nov 8, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks right wing Alexandre Burrows (14) celebrates scoring during the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Canucks won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 8, 2016; New York, NY, USA; Vancouver Canucks right wing Alexandre Burrows (14) celebrates scoring during the third period against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. The Canucks won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

30

Vancouver Canucks

Previous Ranking: 30 (-)

Team Record: (8-10-2)
Goals For: 45
Goals Against: 62
Special Teams

PP: 7-for-59 (11.9 percent) (28th)
PK: 9-for56 (83.9 percent) (10th)

Injury List

Derek Dorsett – Shoulder – Day-to-Day
Ryan Miller – Flu – 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 – 7G, 6A, 13PTS, -4, 20GP.
Top Defenseman: Ben Hutton – 2G, 2A, 4PTS, -7, 20GP
Top Rookie: Troy Stecher – 1G, 2A, 3PTS, -6, 11GP.
Top Goaltender: Jacob Markstrom – 5W, 3L, 2SO/OTL, SO, 2.82GAA, 0.897SV%, 11GP

Player of the Week: F Bo Horvat (2G, 2A, 4PTS, +2, 3GP)

The Canucks had a solid week six, posting a record of 2-0-1 during their three games. Bo Horvat is becoming a serious player for the Canucks and could soon push for the number one center position. Jacob Markstrom is also on the cusp of stealing the net from Ryan Miller due to his outstanding play all season. Hopefully Vancouver can keep this upward trend next week so they move up the rankings and overall, the standings.

Bo Horvat had himself four points in the last three games as well as being a plus one. Jacob Markstrom has also put up some respectable goalie statistics. While Ryan Miller was lights out Wednesday night. Next week, however, is going to push the Canucks to the limit since they have stops in Dallas, Colorado and Minnesota. If Vancouver manages to get even four out of the possible six points that will help them push for a wild card position since they’re three points back as of now.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Olli Juolevi, London (OHL)
2016-17 Stats: 4G, 10A, 14PTS, +9, 18GP.

Olli Juolevi is a future all-star defenseman, so why he was sent down is a mystery. However, one more year in junior won’t hurt his development. He’s already been dominating since returning to London. And in the next few years, he will be doing the same thing for the Canucks. – Matt Duscharme

new york islanders trade rumors

Oct 21, 2016; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Islanders defenseman Johnny Boychuk (55) celebrates scoring the game winning goal during the third period against Arizona Coyotes at Barclays Center. New York Islanders won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

29

New York Islanders

Previous Ranking: 26 (-3)

Team Record: (6-9-4)
Goals For: 47
Goals Against: 60
Special Teams

PP: 7-for-57 (12.3 percent) (27th)
PK: 15-for-73 (79.5 percent) (25th)

Injury List

Dennis Seidenberg – Face – Indefinitely
Ryan Pulock – Foot – Day-to-Day
Mikhail Grabovski – Concussion – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: John Tavares – 5G, 9A, 14PTS, -3, 19GP.
Top Defenseman: Dennis Seidenberg – 4G, 4A, 8PTS, +10, 15GP.
Top Rookie: Anthony Beauvillier – 2G, 4A, 6PTS, +4, 15GP.
Top Goaltender: Thomas Greiss – 3W, 3L, 0SO/OTL, 0SO, 2.55GAA, 0.918SV%, 7GP

Player of the Week: G Thomas Greiss (1W, 0L, 0SO/OTL, 0SO, 1.85GAA, 0.951SV%, 1GP)

It seems the Islanders are in a bit of a goalie situation, while Jaroslav Halak has proven he can come back and win a game on his own, Thomas Greiss is starting to do the same. And this past week, Greiss posted better numbers than Halak while only playing in one game. While four Islanders were tied with two points each last week, only two had even ratings, Anders Lee and Adam Pelech. The boys in Long Island also posted a record of 1-1-1.

John Tavares is starting to pick up his stride this season and is expected to heat up next week. But the week won’t be easy as the Islanders will be playing games against San Jose, Calgary, and Pittsburgh. The easiest match-up is undoubtedly the game against the Flames, but Calgary is trending upwards. So in short, week seven is going to be tough for New York, but if all elements play the way they can, they’ll be able to squeeze out a few points.

Weekly Prospect Profile: W/C Josh Ho-Sang, Bridgeport (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 2G, 8A, 10PTS, -2, 14GP

Despite not making the Islanders roster during training camp, Ho-Sang began his pro career with Bridgeport. He’s currently playing for the Islanders farm team in the AHL and he also has the points lead on former first-round pick Michael Dal-Colle. The first few years, a lot of controversy surrounded Josh Ho-Sang and the Islanders. But since then he’s matured as a person and a player. He’s going to be penciled in next season as a regular. And he’ll be on speed dial if an injury occurs in Brooklyn this year. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 13, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; 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

Nov 13, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; 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

28

Los Angeles Kings

Previous Ranking: 29 (+1)

Team Record: (11-9-1)
Goals For: 55
Goals Against: 53
Special Teams

PP: 8-for-63 (12.7 percent) (26th)
PK: 13-for-71 (81.7 percent) (16th)

Injury List

Anze Kopitar – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Andy Andreoff – Thumb – Day-to-Day
Brayden McNabb – Arm – Week-to-Week
Jonathan Quick – Groin – Indefinitely
Marian Gaborik – Foot – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jeff Carter – 9G, 8A, 17PTS, +4, 21GP.
Top Defenseman: Alec Martinez – 4G, 9A, 13PTS, -1, 21GP.
Top Rookie: Derek Forbort – 1G, 5A, 6PTS, +4, 21GP
Top Goaltender: Peter Budaj – 11W, 6L, 1SO/OTL, 2SO, 2.10GAA, 0.916SV%, 19GP

Player of the Week: F Jeff Carter (4G, 2A, 6PTS, +4, 4GP)

The Kings had themselves a perfect record last week going 4-0-0. While Anze Kopitar and Jonathan Quick are out, many thought Los Angeles would have trouble winning games and scoring. Well, Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli, and Drew Doughty have had no problems doing so combining for 14 points as well as a combined +12.

With Quick being out long-term, the goalie situation for the Kings has been terrible. But somehow Peter Budaj has proved that he’s far from done in the NHL. With his play along with Jeff Carter’s, the Kings have been able to crawl their way out of the basement and up the power rankings as well. Drew Doughty and Tyler Toffoli have also been key parts in the Kings recent success. Next week, however, the Kings play Chicago and San Jose – two tough games that will show us if Budaj, Doughty, Carter and Toffoli can continue carrying this team.

Weekly Prospect Profile: LW Adrian Kempe, Ontario (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 3G, 2A, 5PTS, -2, 11GP.

Easily the number one prospect in Los Angeles’ rookie core, Adrian Kempe is going to make for a very serious NHLer. He spent all of his time in the Swedish Elite League before finally switching over to the AHL last season. He’s a responsible two-way forward who can play very well in all three zones of the ice. His speed and precise shot often intimidates goalies and defenseman when his big frame is speeding down the zone. Kempe is another year or two away from being a top six regular for the Kings. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (35) and center Tyler Gaudet (32) and right wing Shane Doan (19) celebrate the win over the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Arizona Coyotes goalie Louis Domingue (35) and center Tyler Gaudet (32) and right wing Shane Doan (19) celebrate the win over the Colorado Avalanche 4-2 at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

27

Arizona Coyotes

Previous Ranking: 28 (+1)

Team Record: (6-10-2)
Goals For: 45
Goals Against: 60
Special Teams

PP: 7-for-53 (13.2 percent) (24th)
PK: 12-for-53 77.3 percent) (28th)

Injury List

Brad Richardson – Leg – Indefinitely
Dave Bolland – Lower-Body – Indefinitely
Chris Pronger – Concussion – Out-For-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Max Domi – 2G, 11A, 13PTS, -4, 18GP
Top Defenseman: Oliver Ekman-Larsson – 5G, 3A, 8PTS, -3, 18GP
Top Rookie: Christian Dvorak – 2G, 4A, 6PTS, +2, 14GP
Top Goaltender: Louis Domingue – 4W, 8L, 1SO/OTL, 0SO, 3.21GAA, 0.904SV%, 14GP

Player of the Week: D Anthony DeAngelo (1G, 2A, 3PTS, Even, 3GP)

A very young team with a lot of inexperience, the Coyotes still managed to pull off a 1-1-1 record last week. Led in large part by long-time NHLer Martin Hanzal and rookie defenseman Anthony DeAngelo. While Mike Smith made his return to the team, he didn’t fair out so well number wise. He only posted a .903 save percentage to go along with a 4.09 goals-against-average in his two games. In Louis’ only game played he did much, much better, posting a .942 save percentage and a 1.88 goals-against-average.

With Arizona being such a young team their bound to have an up and down season and ultimately be in play for the lottery in the 2017 draft. But they will also have their good weeks, and back to back Edmonton games plus a stop in San Jose next week won’t be that kind to the Coyotes. San Jose being the tougher of the two teams, don’t expect much from the young guns in the desert for that game, however, they may string out a win or two versus Edmonton. Either way, week seven should prove very interesting for the Yotes and their respective fans.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW Conor Garland, Tucson (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 0G, 2A, 2PTS, -5, 11GP.

Conor Garland had one heck of a season last year in the QMJHL, scoring 128 points in 62 games. All due to his ability to create something from nothing, as well as having elite vision senses. His puck skills in the offensive zone are something to be marveled. However, he still needs to work on his defensive side of the game, especially in his own end. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 16, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames right wing Michael Frolik (67) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Arizona Coyotes during the overtime period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 16, 2016; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Calgary Flames right wing Michael Frolik (67) celebrates his goal with teammates against the Arizona Coyotes during the overtime period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Calgary Flames won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

26

Calgary Flames

Previous Ranking: 22 (-4)

Team Record: (9-12-1)
Goals For: 51
Goals Against: 69
Special Teams

PP: 7-for-74 (9.4 percent) (30th)
PK: 21-for-81 (74.1 percent) (29th)

Injury List

Johnny Gaudreau – Finger – Late-December
Lance Bouma – Shoulder – Week-to-Week
Kris Versteeg – Groin – Day-to-Day
Ladislav Smid – Neck – Out-For-Season

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Michael Frolik – 6G, 8A, 14PTS, +2, 22GP
Top Defenseman: Dougie Hamilton – 2G, 8A, 10PTS, -2, 22GP
Top Rookie: Matthew Tkachuk – 5G, 4A, 9PTS, +4, 18GP
Top Goaltender: Chad Johnson – 6W, 3L, 1SO/OTL, 2SO, 2.08GAA, 0.922SV%, 10GP

Player of the Week: D Dougie Hamilton (0G, 4A, 4PTS, +7, 4GP)

Calgary had a solid week five, however, their week six wasn’t as solid. Despite a 2-0 win over Columbus on Wednesday, they finished the week off with a 2-2-0 record. With Johnny Gaudreau going down to injury, and newcomers like Troy Brouwer and Kris Versteeg not playing to expectations, expect Calgary to continue falling down the standings as well as the power rankings.

With Brian Elliott still unable to find his game under his new team, Calgary has had to resort to Chad Johnson. And surprisingly he’s been solid and looking like the hot hand that the Flames will be riding for awhile. Matthew Tkachuk is having himself a very solid rookie year showing Flames fans he won’t just score or create chances, but he’ll also fight to re-ignite his team. Calgary’s week seven should be a 50/50 split, as they have two easy games against Toronto and the Islanders. Their tough contests will come when they play Philadelphia and Boston.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C/LW Dillon Dube, Kelowna (WHL)
2016-17 Stats: 1G, 5A, 6PTS, +1, 4GP.

Despite being on the small side, Dillon Dube plays much bigger than he actually is. His lower body strength allows him to stick around the net and keep the puck on his stick. And in doing so he creates a lot of scoring chances for himself and his fellow teammates. He’ll battle for the puck in any area of the ice, while you may think he’s a playmaker, he’s also got a grinding side to him. His hockey I.Q is also at a top level, he’s able to read plays as they happen a lot quicker than most, which means creating a lot of turnovers. Once he fills out his frame, Calgary will have yet another solid prospect in their lineup. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 15, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) is congratulated by teammate defensemen Jaccob Slavin (74) after there victory against the San Jose Sharks at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 15, 2016; Raleigh, NC, USA; Carolina Hurricanes goalie Cam Ward (30) is congratulated by teammate defensemen Jaccob Slavin (74) after there victory against the San Jose Sharks at PNC Arena. The Carolina Hurricanes defeated the San Jose Sharks 1-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

25

Carolina Hurricanes

Previous Ranking: 27 (+2)

Team Record: (8-6-4)
Goals For: 47
Goals Against: 50
Special Teams

PP: 12-for-57 (21.1 percent) (T-10th)
PK: 4-for-49 (91.8 percent) (1st)

Injury List

Eddie Lack – Concussion – Day-to-Day
Bryan Bickell – Illness – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jeff Skinner – 8G, 8A, 16PTS, Even, 17GP
Top Defenseman: Noah Hanifin – 1G, 7A, 8PTS, -1, 18GP
Top Rookie: Sebastian Aho – 2G, 8A, 10PT, -1, 18GP
Top Goaltender: Cam Ward – 7W, 4L, 3SO/OTL, 1SO, 2.27GAA, 0.919SV%, 14GP

Player of the Week: G Cam Ward (3W, 0L, 0SOL, 0SO, 1.34GAA, 0.955SV%, 3GP)

The Hurricanes have been on an amazing streak since last week. They’ve won five straight games, mostly due to Cam Ward’s top notch play. Showing us yet again that despite age or previous seasons, he’s still one of the best in the league. Plus the help from Elias Lindholm, Jordan Staal, and Noah Hanifin doesn’t hurt either.

This week, however, is going to prove difficult for Carolina. They have four games this week against Ottawa, Florida, Montreal and the Rangers. Two of those games they should be able to win, but if they can squeeze out some extra points. They’ll climb the standings and the power rankings.

Weekly Prospect Profile: G Alex Nedeljkovic, Charlotte (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 1W, 4L, 0SOL, 0SO, 3.44GAA, 0.877SV%, 6GP.

Despite being off to a slow start this season with Charlotte, Alex is still an elite level goaltender. This is also his first season in a pro league so the reasons for his play are quite clear. However, once he get’s in the groove he’ll soon be the number one in Charlotte and eventually Carolina. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 22, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Carolina Hurricanes center Jay McClement (18) battles for a loose puck in front of the net as Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Roman Polak (46) checks him and goalie Frederik Andersen (31) guards the net at Air Canada Centre. The Hurricanes beat the Maple Leafs 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

24

Toronto Maple Leafs

Previous Ranking: 23 (-1)

Team Record: (8-8-4)
Goals For: 62
Goals Against: 67
Special Teams

PP: 12-for-57 (21.1 percent) (T-10th)
PK: 11-for-61 (82.0 percent) (14th)

Injury List

Josh Leivo (lower body) – believed to be fully healthy, would have to clear waivers to be sent down to the AHL
Joffrey Lupul (abdomen) – as some fans put it, Lupul has been placed on Robidas island

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: James van Riemsdyk (20gp 8g 9a 17pts)
Top Defenseman: Morgan Rielly (20gp 1g 10a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Auston Matthews/Mitch Marner (20gp 8g 8a 16pts/20gp 7g 9a 16pts)
Top Goaltender: Frederik Andersen (8 wins 3.03GAA .909 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Nazem Kadri (4gp 1g 3a 4pts)

Toronto could have easily collected points in all four of their games over the past week. Instead, they dropped a pair of one-goal contests and finished with a 1-2-1 record. The only real bright spots was a 6-1 thumping of James Reimer and the Panthers and Auston Matthews breaking that 13-game goal drought.

Despite the lousy record, Frederik Andersen had an outstanding week. In fact, he’s allowed two or fewer goals in his last four starts dating back to Nov.15. Over that span, Andersen has allowed just seven goals on 119 shots (that’s a .941 save percentage). Even with a nasty 3.03GAA average so far in 2016-17, Leafs fans should be feeling very comfortable about their new goalie. Just imagine where this team might be with an improved blue line and more goal support a little ways down the road.

As you may have noticed, we awarded Nazem Kadri with player of the week honors. He continued his strong play of late and is arguably the Leafs most consistent forward right now. So, although others had a similar week in terms of production, there’s something to be said for those who bring it every night. The only person that put up more points over the last seven days was Connor Brown. He had five points, four of which (two goals, two assists) came in the big win versus Florida.

Rookie Auston Matthews was the only other skater to record four or more points. He was fairly quiet through the first three games with a single assist, but broke out of his 13-game goal drought with two goals, one assist on Wednesday in New Jersey. The 2016 1st overall pick is having a very streaky start to his NHL career. In fact, Matthews has failed to record a point in 11 of 20 games so far. He took a lot of unfair criticism over that goal drought. The fact that folks were starting to question the pick is embarrassing. Leafs fans don’t seem to get it. You didn’t draft Alex Ovechkin (Patrik Laine) to win a bunch of scoring titles and never get over that elusive hump. You drafted Jonathan Toews (Auston Matthews), a supreme two-way center that can get the job done at both ends of the ice. That will come with scoring droughts, much like the Hawks captain experiences from time to time. But does anyone really care if the end result is a Stanley Cup parade down Bay Street?

The 2016 1st overall pick is having a very streaky start to his NHL career. In fact, Matthews has failed to record a point in 11 of 20 games so far. He took a lot of unfair criticism over that goal drought. The fact that folks were starting to question the pick is embarrassing. Leafs fans don’t seem to get it. You didn’t draft Alex Ovechkin (Patrik Laine) to win a bunch of scoring titles and never get over that elusive hump. You drafted Jonathan Toews (Auston Matthews), a supreme two-way center that can get the job done at both ends of the ice. That will come with scoring droughts, much like the Hawks captain experiences from time to time. But does anyone really care if the end result is a Stanley Cup parade down Bay Street?

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Nikita Korostelev, Sarnia (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 21gp 15g 13a 28pts

Despite being selected 185th overall and dropping to the 7th round, scouts might have actually had this one right. The Russian winger was touted as a 2nd/3rd round talent but dropped for various reasons. Toronto scooped him up in the final round and may have found a gem in the process. In his final year of junior, the sniper already has 15 goals (28 points) in 21 games. Between Korostelev and Timoshov, the Maple Leafs may have lucked out hard in 2015. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 23, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon (29) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal in the first period against the Edmonton Oilers at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

23

Colorado Avalanche

Previous Ranking: 24 (+1)

Team Record: (9-10-0)
Goals For: 42
Goals Against: 55
Special Teams

PP: 10-for-60 (16.7 percent) (17th)
PK: 17-for-78 (78.2 percent) (26th)

Injury List

F Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) – considered day-to-day, missed 4th straight game on Wednesday

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nathan MacKinnon (19gp 5g 10a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: Erik Johnson (19gp 1g 9a 10pts)
Top Rookie: Mikko Rantanen (14gp 2g 6a 8pts)
Top Goaltender: Calvin Pickard (4 wins 2.07GAA .931 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Nathan MacKinnon (4gp 3g 4a 7pts)

The theme over the last week in Colorado was points being left on the table. Despite a decent 2-2-0 record in the last seven days, the Avs could easily walked away with eight points. The 6-3 loss to Edmonton on Wednesday hurts the most after carrying a 3-2 lead into the third period. Semyon Varlamov had shut the door on 25 of 27 shots until that point. Then, the floodgates opened as the Oilers scored four goals on 14 shots in the final frame.

It was a tough finish for the Russian netminder. After a rough start to the season, it seemed as though Varlamov might finally have been turning a corner. He was outstanding in a win versus Columbus allowing just two goals on 42 shots. Unfortunately, all it took was 20 minutes to erase the previous 100.

On the flip side, Calvin Pickard continued to stake his claim on the starter role. He added another solid outing versus Minnesota, bringing his season total up to four wins, a 2.07GAA, and .931 save percentage. Something tells me Vegas might get their hands on a certain Russian goaltender.

I wanted to quickly point out two players that had an outstanding week. Nathan MacKinnon broke out of his slump with seven points over four games, including three multi-point games. Finnish rookie Mikko Rantanen also had a strong showing on the right side with MacKinnon tallying five points. You’ve gotta be optimistic if you’re an Avs fan, but at the same time, isn’t a little worrysome that only one of Nathan MacKinnon or Matt Duchene seems to be going at a time. I’ll say it again as I have numerous times, this team isn’t going anywhere until they get down to one no.1 center, which means trading Matt Duchene.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F J.T. Compher, San Antonio (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 12gp 5g 5a 10pts

Selected 35th overall (2nd round) by Buffalo in 2013, Compher was shipped to the Avs as part of the Ryan O’Reilly deal. Compher enjoyed three productive years of NCAA hockey at the University of Michigan, which was topped off with 63 points in 38 games in 2015-16 (one of the nation’s top college players). J.T. was also named to Team USA at the World Hockey Championships this past Spring and had a decent showing with three points in 10 games. Expect to see this young man at some point sooner than later with Colorado. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him in a full-time role by the time 2017-18 rolls around. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 21, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Johan Larsson (22) celebrates his goal during the second period against the Calgary Flames with teammates at KeyBank Center. Mandatory Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

22

Buffalo Sabres

Previous Ranking: 25 (+3)

Team Record: (7-8-5)
Goals For: 38
Goals Against: 50
Special Teams

PP: 14-for-66 (21.2 percent) (9th)
PK: 13-for-67 (80.6 percent) (22nd)

Injury List

F Tyler Ennis (groin) – was given a return timetable of six weeks back on Nov.16
D Dmitry Kulikov (back) – day-to-day, missed 7th straight game on Wednesday
D Zach Bogosian (knee) – week-to-week, diagnosed with sprained MCL on Nov.3
F Nicolas Deslauriers (knee) – week-to-week, will be re-evaluated next week
F Jack Eichel (ankle) – out until early December, has been skating on his own, will skate with team soon

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Kyle Okposo (19gp 6g 6a 12pts)
Top Defenseman: Rasmus Ristolainen (20gp 0g 9a 9pts)
Top Rookie: Nicholas Baptiste (12gp 2g 0a 2pts)
Top Goaltender: Robin Lehner (5 wins 2.38GAA .922 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Taylor Fedun (4gp 0g 4a 4pts)

Despite only scoring eight goals in the four games over this past week, Buffalo still managed to walk away with a 2-1-1 record. Give the Sabres netminders a lot of credit. Both Robin Lehner and Anders Nilsson are looking superb of late.

Nilsson only saw one start over the last seven days, but it was the second time in a row he faced north of 40 shots. It was a massive win for the backup on Saturday as the Sabres beat the reigning Cup Champion Penguins 2-1. After stopping 41 of 43 shots versus New Jersey back on Nov.11 and 46 of 47 shots vs. Pittsburgh, Anders Nilsson now has a 1.74GAA and .951 save percentage in 2016-17.

Starter Robin Lehner had a rough stretch between Nov.7 and Nov.17 allowing four goals in three of five starts. After allowing four goals on 38 shots against a tough Lightning team last Thursday, Lehner bounced back with two outstanding outings. He stopped 29 of 31 shots in a win versus Calgary and 23 of 24 shots in a shootout loss to Detroit on Wednesday. Even with the rough 10-day stretch, the Finnish netminder still has a stat line of 2.38GAA and .922 save percentage on the season. Not bad given all the rust he had to shake off back in October.

Since we had a lack of goals and therefore lack of top performers, let’s discuss what this team needs. They’re obviously hurting up front, but Jack Eichel has finally started skating. His return should help balance out the lines a bit more. What this team needs more than anything is a little extra help on the blue line. That’s why recent rumors that Buffalo may be on the market for a defenseman should come as little surprise. There’s only one problem: Buffalo can’t afford to protect another blueliner in expansion. What does that mean? Don’t be surprised if GM Tim Murray targets an exempt player. It won’t be easy prying this type of young talent away from another team, but the Sabres certainly have the assets to get a deal done.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Eric Cornel, Rochester (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 16gp 2g 2a 4pts

Selected 44th overall (2nd round) back in 2014, Cornel had been largely forgotten in the Sabres prospect pool. The big 6’2 195lbs center made the jump to full-time pro hockey in 2016-17 and although his early totals are less than impressive, Eric is more of a two-way defensive forward anyways. Don’t be surprised if he gets a look or two with the big club sometime in the near future. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 23, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Dallas Stars left wing Patrick Sharp (10) is congratulated by teammates after a goal during the third period against the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. The Predators won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

21

Dallas Stars

Previous Ranking: 21 (-)

Team Record: (8-8-5)
Goals For: 55
Goals Against: 71
Special Teams

PP: 15-for-82 (18.3 percent) (14th)
PK: 16-for-73 (78.1 percent) (27th)

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 (21gp 7g 15a 22pts)
Top Defenseman: John Klingberg (20gp 2g 8a 10pts)
Top Rookie: Devin Shore (21gp 1g 7a 8pts)
Top Goaltender: Antti Niemi (4 wins 3.18GAA .903 save percentage)

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

Dallas played four games over the past week. Despite a disappointing 2-2-0 record over that span, the Stars got plenty of good news of the injury front. They welcomed back both Cody Eakin and Patrick Sharp, which is significant. Even top defensive prospect Julius Honka got his first taste of NHL action and recorded an assist in his debut.

Congratulations to Patrick Eaves who takes back-to-back player of the week honors. He had four goals, one assist in the previous week and followed it up with another three points over his last four games. That gives Eaves at least one point in eight of his last 10 games. With 11 points over that stretch, Patrick now has nine goals, seven assists (16 points) in 19 games.

A special shoutout to Brett Ritchie as well. The rugged power forward came into 2016-17 with high expectations and got off to a slow start. He’s caught fire of late with three goals in his last four games. There’s still room for the 23-year-old to grow into that top-six forward it looks like he can be, but fans need to expect some growing pains along the way.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Remi Elie, Texas (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 16gp 2g 8a 10pts

Elie was traded to OHL Erie in his final year and finished 2014-15 playing alongside the likes of Connor McDavid, Dylan Strome, and Alex DeBrincat. He racked up 42 points over the final 28 regular season games and 24 points in 20 games during the postseason. He was taken 40th overall (2nd round) a year earlier and has shown progression at each level every year. Don’t be surprised if he’s on the short list to see some time with Dallas in 2016-17. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 15, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) celebrates his goal with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (53) against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 15, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing Michael Raffl (12) celebrates his goal with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere (53) against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

20

Philadelphia Flyers

Previous Ranking: 19 (-1)

Team Record: (9-9-3)
Goals For: 67
Goals Against: 72
Special Teams

PP: 19-for-74 (25.7 percent) (2nd)
PK: 13-for-66 (80.3 percent) (23rd)

Injury List

Sean Couturier – Ankle – Day-to-Day
Michal Neuvirth – Lower-Body – Mid-December
Boyd Gordon – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Wayne Simmonds – 10G, 8A, 18PTS, -6, 21GP.
Top Defenseman: Mark Streit – 4G, 8A, 12PTS, -5, 21GP.
Top Rookie: Travis Konecny – 4G, 8A, 12PTS, -5, 21GP
Top Goaltender: Steve Mason – 5W, 7L, 3SO/OTL, 0SO, 3.04GAA, 0.893SV%, 16GP

Player of the Week: D Ivan Provorov (1G, 2A, 3PTS, +1, 4GP)

Philadelphia had themselves a .500 week posting a record of 2-2-0. Their best game came when they were able to beat Winnipeg 5-2. Wednesday night they almost had the same treatment returned as they lost to Tampa Bay 4-2. Rookie defenseman Ivan Provorov and Brayden Schenn were easily the best players for Philly over the last week posting three points each as well as being a combined plus two.

Wayne Simmonds was also a solid player for the Flyers last week scoring three points as well, despite being even in the plus/minus category. While Steve Mason posted a record of two wins and two losses, his save percentage and goals-against-average numbers were pretty good. Philly has their work cut out for them next week as they face the Rangers, Calgary Flames, and Boston Bruins. They should be able to squeeze the two points from Calgary since their in a bit of a slump. The Rangers and Bruins, however, are far tougher teams that Philly probably won’t win against.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Travis Sanheim, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: OG, 8A, 8PTS, +5, 15GP.

Travis Sanheim is a solid two-way defender, he doesn’t possess out of this world offensive abilities, or defensive ones. But what he does possess though is the ability to protect his own end when need be. His size and skating ability also help him accomplish both of these things very well. After not making the Flyers this training camp, Travis was sent to play with Lehigh Valley of the AHL. And so far his pro game is developing nicely. He’ll be ready to crack the Flyers lineup next season. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 23, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; 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: 20 (+1)

Team Record: (9-7-3)
Goals For: 55
Goals Against: 50
Special Teams

PP: 16-for-70 (22.9 percent) (5th)
PK: 10-for-62 (83.9 percent) (T-10th)

Injury List

F Miikka Salomaki (upper body) – was given a return timetable of 6-8 weeks on Oct.17

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Filip Forsberg (19gp 2g 13a 15pts)
Top Defenseman: P.K. Subban (19gp 5g 9a 14pts)
Top Rookie: Pontus Aberg (6gp 1g 1a 2pts)
Top Goaltender: Pekka Rinne (8 wins 2.04GAA .934 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Pekka Rinne (3 wins 1.77GAA .944 save percentage)

The Nashville Predators are starting to come to life. They played four games over the last seven days and recorded a 3-1-0 record with wins over Ottawa, Tampa Bay, and Dallas. If the trend continues, it won’t be long until the Preds sit atop the Central Division.

Between the pipes, Pekka Rinne is quietly reclaiming his status as an elite netminder. He’s allowed just 13 goals over his last nine starts. He’s not making the same noise that Carey Price or Devan Dubnyk, but with seven wins, a 2.04GAA, and .933 save percentage, the Finn deserves a lot more credit.

After a slow start, it looks like Nashville’s blue line is starting to deliver. It was constructed/designed to help create a little extra offense from the back end so the Preds spent more time on the attack generating more scoring chances. It’s an interesting approach because you can ultimately shut down the opposition’s top line by forcing them to play most of their shift in their own end.

On a bit of a side note, prized offseason acquisition P.K. Subban had a monster week. He had six points in four games, which is nearly half of his production through the first 14 games. We’re still waiting for a big performance from Roman Josi, but he’s quietly put together a solid year thus far with 10 points in 18 games.

Mike Ribeiro led the way offensively over the past week. He racked up two goals, three assists and now has 12 points in 18 games. Filip Forsberg also had a solid week with one goal, three assists. His stat line of two goals, 12 assists is tough to complain about, but he’s still struggling to find the back of the net.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Alexandre Carrier, Milwaukee (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 14gp 3g 9a 12pts

Despite being a dominant offensive blueliner in the QMJHL, Carrier’s draft stock took a massive hit due his relatively small size for a defenseman (5’11 174lbs). That’s the only way to explain how a near point-per-game d-man falls to 115th overall (4th round) in 2015. It’s still early, but scoring a near PPG pace in his AHL rookie season suggests that scouts got this one horribly wrong. Shocker. Nashville found a diamond in the rough here. – Ryan Ritchie

nhl mock expansion draft

Nov 1, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner (3), Anaheim Ducks right wing Jakob Silfverberg (33) and Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17) celebrate a goal in the first period of the game against Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Ducks won 4-0. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

18

Anaheim Ducks

Previous Ranking: 15 (-3)

Team Record: (9-7-4)
Goals For: 52
Goals Against: 49
Special Teams

PP: 15-for-69 (21.7 percent) (8th)
PK: 12-for-73 (83.6 percent) (12th)

Injury List

Clayton Stoner – Lower-Body – Day-to-Day
Joseph Cramarossa – 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: Corey Perry – 4G, 12A, 16PTS, -2, 20GP
Top Defenseman: Cam Fowler – 6G, 7A, 13PTS, Even, 20GP
Top Rookie: Joseph Cramarossa – 1G, 2A, 3PTS, Even, 13GP.
Top Goaltender: John Gibson – 6W, 6L, 3SO/OTL, 1SO, 2.59GAA, 0.908SV%, 15GP

Player of the Week: F Rickard Rakell (3G, 0A, 3PTS, +2, 3GP)

Anaheim had a pretty fair week last week going 1-1-1 over their three-game span. Winning in regulation against New Jersey 3-2, then losing in regulation to Los Angeles 3-2. And to finish off the week they played the New York Islanders where they lost in the shootout. While Jonathan Bernier played great in his two starts, John Gibson, unfortunately didn’t.

Their best players were unquestionably Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell, who both tallied three points in three games as well as being a combined plus four. The next week should be fairly difficult for the Ducks as they pay visits to Chicago, Los Angeles, and Montreal. They should be able to squeeze out two points of the possible six. But if defense doesn’t show up to the game and their stuck relying on goaltending and offense again. Things may not be so sunny in California for the Ducks.

Weekly Prospect Profile: LW Max Jones, London (OHL)
2016-17 Stats: 11G, 14A, 25PTS, +20, 13GP.

When Max Jones was sent back down to junior this year it caught many people off guard. However the decision was made for a reason. Despite having fantastic offensive abilities he just wasn’t ready for the pro game. So one more year in junior won’t hurt, just look at Mitch Marner for example. Next season Max is gonna do more than challenge for a spot, he’s going to have NHL regulars challenging him for a spot. – Matt Duscharme


Nov 23, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) celebrates his goal with defenseman Matt Dumba (24) and forward Mikael Granlund (64) during the third period against the Winnipeg Jets at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Jets 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

17

Minnesota Wild

Previous Ranking: 14 (-3)

Team Record: (10-7-2)
Goals For: 49
Goals Against: 36
Special Teams

PP: 9-for-57 (15.8 percent) (19th)
PK: 8-for-56 (85.7 percent) (T-7th)

Injury List

D Marco Scandella (ankle) – considered week-to-week, although it’s worth noting he participated in practice on Nov.19
F Zac Dalpe (knee) – was given a return timetable of 4-6 weeks back on Nov.2
D Victor Bartley (triceps) – out indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Eric Staal (19gp 5g 9a 14pts)
Top Defenseman: Ryan Suter (19gp 4g 9a 13pts)
Top Rookie: Tyler Graovac (11gp 2g 0a 2pts)
Top Goaltender: Devan Dubnyk (8 wins 1.55GAA .948 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Devan Dubnyk (2 wins 1.35GAA .949 save percentage)

Minnesota had a decent four-game stretch over the last week. They went 2-1-1, but the goal scoring struggles continue. They only had five goals in their first three games before scoring three in a win versus Winnipeg on Wednesday.

Luckily, they’re receiving plenty of support from an early MVP/Vezina Candidate between the pipes. Devan Dubnyk had another monster week and now has a mind-boggling 1.59GAA and .949 save percentage near the quarter mark of the season. Carey Price might be the best goaltender in the world, but there’s a strong argument for Dubnyk being the hottest netminder on the planet right now.

The most productive skater over the last seven days was forward Mikael Granlund. He had one goal, three assists, bringing his season total up to 10 points in 18 games. On a side note, Zach Parise found the scoresheet on Wednesday in just his 4th game since returning from injury. He was battling an illness while working his way back into the lineup, so hopefully his latest performance is a sign of things to come.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Louis Belpedio, Miami (Ohio) University (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 7gp 3g 3a 6pts

Belpedio was selected 80th overall (3rd round) back in 2014 from the U.S. National Development Program. He began his NCAA career a year later and is now in his third year of college hockey. This skilled two-way defender will more than likely sign his entry-level contract at the end of the year. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 23, 2016; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler (26) celebrates his goal with teammates during the third period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Wild defeated the Jets 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

16

Winnipeg Jets

Previous Ranking: 13 (-3)

Team Record: (9-11-2)
Goals For: 59
Goals Against: 65
Special Teams

PP: 12-for-77 (15.6 percent) (20th)
PK: 15-for-78 (80.8 percent) (T-19th)

Injury List

F Kyle Connor (upper body) – day-to-day, still skating in non-contact jersey, at least a week from returning
D Tyler Myers (lower body) – day-to-day, could return to the lineup soon
F Mathieu Perreault (upper body) – considered day-to-day, no clear timetable for return
F Joel Armia (lower body) – day-to-day since Nov.8
F Shawn Matthias (lower body) – week-to-week since Nov.2
F Bryan Little (lower body) – recently upgraded to day-to-day, not expected to return in the immediate future

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mark Scheifele (22gp 11g 12a 23pts)
Top Defenseman: Dustin Byfuglien (22gp 1g 10a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Patrik Laine (22gp 12g 6a 18pts)
Top Goaltender: Connor Hellebuyck (7 wins 2.58GAA .912 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Nic Petan (4gp 0g 2a 2pts)

How quickly the tide turns. A week ago at this time, the Winnipeg Jets were one of the hottest teams in the NHL. Seven days and four games later and we’re looking at the same club in a very different light. Worst of all, the Jets only managed to muster up five goals over those four contests.

Winnipeg left their goalies hung out to dry in three of four games the past week. The only exception was Connor Hellebuyck’s stinker versus Philadelphia in which he allowed four goals on 21 shots. They allowed 38 shots against Boston and 40 shots versus Carolina.

The 23-year-old Hellebuyck now has seven wins, a 2.58GAA, and .912 save percentage in 2016-17. Don’t let the numbers fool you though, he’s looked much better than the stats suggest. It’s these four-goal outings every five or six starts that’s killing him. These bumps in the road are going to occur with rookie goaltenders. Even Michael Hutchinson went through it in his first year. These are the growing pains in developing a player properly at the NHL level.

Picking a player of the week this time around was not an easy task. Five skaters managed to collect two points over those four games, but we wanted to center out one forward in particular. Many fans were disappointed to see Nic Petan open the season with AHL Manitoba, but it didn’t take long for a call-up. He has appeared in the last 11 games and has managed to rack up seven points over that span. Given his recent play, it’s difficult to imagine how the Jets could possibly send him back down anytime soon.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Brendan Lemieux, Manitoba (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 13gp 3g 2a 5pts

Selected 31st overall (2nd round) by Buffalo in 2014, Brendan was shipped to Winnipeg as part of the Tyler Myers/Evander Kane deal. Son of former NHL great Claude Lemieux, Brendan plays with the same nasty edge his old man did. You hear the term “pest” or “agitator”, that’s exactly who Brendan Lemieux is. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 23, 2016; Buffalo, NY, USA; 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

15

Detroit Red Wings

Previous Ranking: 12 (-3)

Team Record: (9-10-1)
Goals For: 48
Goals Against: 52
Special Teams

PP: 11-for-71 (15.5 percent) (21st)
PK: 12-for-59 (79.7 percent) (24th)

Injury List

D Alexey Marchenko (upper body) – considered day-to-day, announced Monday that he is expected to miss a couple of weeks
F Darren Helm (shoulder) – out indefinitely, moved to LTIR on Nov.17
F Andreas Athanasiou (knee) – announced he would miss at least two more weeks on Nov.16
F Tomas Nosek (lower body) – considered day-to-day since Oct.11 when he underwent a minor procedure
F Joe Vitale (concussion) – out indefinitely, on LTIR
F Johan Franzen (concussion) – out indefinitely, on LTIR

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Gustav Nyquist (20gp 4g 9a 13pts)
Top Defenseman: Mike Green (20gp 3g 8a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Ryan Sproul (D) (9gp 1g 4a 5pts)
Top Goaltender: Jimmy Howard (5 wins 1.76GAA .943 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Jimmy Howard (1 win 1.64GAA .943 save percentage)

Detroit had a rough go over the past week in their three games. They managed only one win and couldn’t score more that two goals in a single game. If it weren’t for the play of Jimmy Howard in goal, things could have been much worse. He stopped 82 of 87 shots over all three contests and has recently taken over the starter role from Petr Mrazek. Tough not to give the veteran extra time in the crease when he has five wins, a 1.76GAA and .943 save percentage in 2016-17.

Looking to the blue line. It pains me that GM Ken Holland continues to roll forward with this defensive group. We knew it had obvious holes after the early exit in the Spring, yet the Red Wings neglected to address it. It’s no offense to the likes of Ryan Sproul or Xavier Ouellet, who both have very bright futures. I’m just not sure how much you can expect from the youngsters (even considering the recent surge from Sproul). And you never want to see Jonathan Ericsson averaging around 19-20 minutes/night. It’s a right-handed shot that Detroit needs. So, what’s the hold up in acquiring Kevin Shattenkirk? That’s the obvious target to help fill this specific need.

It’s pretty sad when only one forward manages to record more than a single point. That forward, Gustav Nyquist had a pair of points, bringing him up to 13 points in 20 games. I guess you can take comfort in the fact that Thomas Vanek has re-joined the lineup, but just as he expressed to the media prior to his return, don’t expect him to be the savior.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Joe Hicketts, Grand Rapids (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 13gp 1g 3a 4pts

After going unselected in his draft year, Hicketts wound up earning an NHL contract following a training camp invite. Obviously passed over for his size (5’8 177lbs), scouts are likely feeling a bit silly after watching this young man evolve over the last two years. He wound up finished his final two years of junior with WHL Victoria scoring more than 60 points and above a point-per-game pace in both seasons. The future could be very bright here, but Joe might need a few years down in Grand Rapids. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 22, 2016; Sunrise, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goalie Roberto Luongo (1) gives up a goal to Philadelphia Flyers right wing Wayne Simmonds (not pictured) in the first period at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

14

Florida Panthers

Previous Ranking: 18 (+4)

Team Record: (10-9-1)
Goals For: 53
Goals Against: 54
Special Teams

PP: 10-for-69 (14.5 percent) (23rd)
PK: 11-for-59 (81.3 percent) (18th)

Injury List

D Alex Petrovic (ankle) – diagnosed with a broken ankle on Nov.21, expected to miss eight weeks
F Jonathan Huberdeau (achilles) – out until late January/early February after sustaining partial achilles tear in final game of preseason

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Jonathan Marchessault (20gp 9g 7a 16pts)
Top Defenseman: Keith Yandle (20gp 1g 10a 11pts)
Top Rookie: Michael Matheson (D) (19gp 2g 5a 7pts)
Top Goaltender: Roberto Luongo (7 wins 2.31GAA .921 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Keith Yandle (4gp 1g 2a 3pts)

The Florida Panthers continue to tread water around a .500 winning percentage. They won two of four games over the last week, including an impressive victory against a hot Rangers squad.

A couple of important notes: prized offseason acquisition Jared McCann was recently demoted to AHL Portland. He didn’t impress early on, although this may have more to do with extended ice-time at the minor-league level. Also, the Panthers welcomed back veteran Nick Bjugstad on Tuesday. He has been on the IR since the preseason and could be a major impact player to help turn things around after hitting a recent rut.

It will be interesting to see how the lines shake up once Jonathan Huberdeau eventually returns. As it is, there was no room for Bjugstad to assume his normal center role with Denis Malgin still in the mix. Instead, Nick served as the LWer on the third line. Question is, where does Huberdeau fit in? Jokinen, Barkov, and Jagr currently occupy the top line. Marchessault, Trocheck, and Smith are virtually locked into the second. It would be surprising to watch Marchessault cool off and eventually settle in with Bjugstad and Malgin on the third line.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Henrik Borgstrom, University of Denver (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 12gp 6g 5a 11pts

The Panthers surprised folks when they selected Henrik Borgstrom 23rd overall at the 2016 draft. He was a late riser throughout his draft year, and we’re finally starting to see why. The Finnish center has been a driving force for the Universtiy of Denver early in 2016-17. Don’t be surprised if his name is mentioned as a Hobey Baker Award finalist once the dust settles. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 12, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; 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

Nov 12, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; 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

13

San Jose Sharks

Previous Ranking: 17 (+4)

Team Record: (11-8-1)
Goals For: 47
Goals Against: 43
Special Teams

PP: 11-for-65 (16.9 percent) (16th)
PK: 6-for-51 (88.2 percent) (2nd)

Injury List

Tomas Hertl – Knee – Indefinitely
Melker Karlsson – Ankle – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Joe Pavelski – 6G, 12A, 18PTS, +3, 20GP.
Top Defenseman: Brent Burns – 7G, 11A, 18PTS, +2, 20GP.
Top Rookie: Kevin Labanc – 1G, 0A, 1PT, +2, 7GP
Top Goaltender: Martin Jones – 10W, 7L, 1SO/OTL, 2SO, 2.10GAA, 0.919SV%, 18GP

Player of the Week: D Brent Burns (1G, 3A, 4PTS, +2, 4GP)

Expected to make another deep run for the playoffs this year, San Jose has been quite back and forth as of late. Last week they managed a record of 2-1-1, with one of their wins coming against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, as well as a 4-0 shutout over New Jersey. Martin Jones is proving that last year was no fluke, and Brent Burns is more than worth the 8-year deal he received last week.

Burns is currently tied with Joe Pavelski for the team lead in points, Burns has seven goals, 11 assists while Joe has six goals and 12 assists. Martin Jones has an outstanding goals-against-average of 2.10. Week seven is going to be pretty easy for the Sharks as they play the Islanders, Ducks, Coyotes, and Kings. They should have a chance to get all eight points.

Weekly Prospect Profile: LW/RW Nikolay Goldobin, San Jose (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 2G, 9A, 11PTS, -1, 11GP.

Nikolay Goldobin is a pure goal scorer, his wrist shot is on an elite level, much like Ilya Kovalchuk. The rest of his offensive talents are much like Kovalchuk’s as well. However, his two-way game is still something that can be worked on. Which so far this season in the AHL he’s doing. He may not put up 40-50 goal seasons in the NHL, but he will be a consistent scorer. – Matt Duscharme


Nov 22, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; 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

12

Ottawa Senators

Previous Ranking: 9 (-3)

Team Record: (11-7-1)
Goals For: 44
Goals Against: 49
Special Teams

PP: 6-for-57 (10.5 percent) (29th)
PK: 8-for-59 (86.4 percent) (5th)

Injury List

F Bobby Ryan (hand) – close to returning after missing last two games
F Clarke MacArthur (concussion) – still considered day-to-day, travelled with team to Philadelphia on Tuesday

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Mark Stone (18gp 4g 7a 11pts)
Top Defenseman: Erik Karlsson (19gp 4g 12a 16pts)
Top Rookie: Fredrik Claesson (D) (6gp 0g 0a 0pts)
Top Goaltender: Craig Anderson (9 wins 2.32GAA .928 save percentage)

Player of the Week: F Derick Brassard (3gp 2g 1a 3pts)

Here’s another team that is struggling to score goals right now. This might be the Guy Boucher effect. His coaching style/philosophy is more defensively inclined, which might help explain the solid numbers between the pipes. It doesn’t help create/generate goals though. This isn’t the potent Lightning squad he coached back between 2010 and 2013. Sure, they scored a lot of goals, but they also scored more once he left.

Give it time folks, these types of coaches will fade away and disappear. You can’t win with a philosophy that directly opposes the objective of the game (scoring more goals than your opponent). It was a cute idea to think you can simply out-defend the opposition, but when push comes to shove, these are the teams that get edged out in important one-goal games.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Christian Wolanin, University of North Dakota (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 11gp 0g 5a 5pts

Does the last name look familiar? It should. Christian is the son of former NHL defenseman Craig Wolanin. His father Craig was selected 3rd overall back in 1985 and went on to play in 695 career NHL games (finished with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1997-98). Oddly enough, Christian seems to possess a higher offensive skill-set, but still plays that similar brand of rough hockey that made his father so successful. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 8, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) celebrates his game winning goal during the shootout at Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 8, 2016; Newark, NJ, USA; New Jersey Devils left wing Taylor Hall (9) celebrates his game winning goal during the shootout at Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Hurricanes 3-2 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

11

New Jersey Devils

Previous Ranking: 7 (-4)

Team Record: (10-6-3)
Goals For: 46
Goals Against: 46
Special Teams

PP: 8-for-62 (12.9 percent) (25th)
PK: 11-for-57 (80.7 percent) (T-19th)

Injury List

Kyle Palmieri – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
Taylor Hall – Knee – Day-to-Day
Marc Savard – Concussion – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Travis Zajac – 5G, 8A, 13PTS, Even, 19GP.
Top Defenseman: Damon Severson – 3G, 9A, 12PTS, -4, 19GP.
Top Rookie: Nick Lappin – 3G, 2A, 5PTS, Even, 13GP.
Top Goaltender: Cory Schneider – 8W, 5L, 2OT/SOL, 3SO, 2.37GAA, 0.920SV%, 15GP.

Player of the Week: F Michael Cammalleri (1G, 3A, 4PTS, +2, 1GP)

Mike Cammalleri returned to the lineup Wednesday night against Toronto and did so in dominant fashion. He scored one goal to go along with three assists as well as being a plus-two on the night. However, that was the only hot-streak of the week as the Devils would go 1-3-0. Goal-tending was definitely not up to par as both Keith Kinkaid and Cory Schneider had mediocre weeks.

Out of the top-10 scorers on the week for the Devils, three play the blue-line. Their offense wasn’t there either, (well excluding Cammalleri that is). Other than that, the offense was dry and while the defense helped with a little offense, they didn’t really help the team defensively. And the next week doesn’t get much easier for the Devils since they have games against Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Winnipeg. The Jets may be their easiest contest of the week, but if defense and goaltending falls through again, they’ll be hard pressed to squeeze a win out.

Weekly Prospect Profile: C Michael McLeod, Mississauga (OHL)
2016-17 Stats: 4G, 16A, 20PTS, +4, 18GP.

Michael McLeod is a very dynamic center, his power as well as speed make him a tough player to try and stop. He posses’ everything you need to be a successful center in the NHL. So one more year to fine tune those attributes in the OHL won’t hurt his overall potential. He’s also a very skilled puck handler who will drive a create plays on his own without relying on teammates. – Matt Duscharme


Nov 22, 2016; Boston, MA, USA; 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

10

Boston Bruins

Previous Ranking: 16 (+6)

Team Record: (10-6-0)
Goals For: 47
Goals Against: 44
Special Teams

PP: 9-for-61 (14.8 percent) (22nd)
PK: 10-for-70 (85.7 percent) (7th)

Injury List

D Zdeno Chara (undisclosed) – left Tuesday night’s game, considered day-to-day but status largely unknown at this point (will not travel with team on Thursday)
F Frank Vatrano (foot) – expected to be out until late December (skated for first time since surgery on Tuesday)
F David Pastrnak (upper body) – missed Tuesday night’s game (3rd straight), still considered day-to-day
F Noel Acciari (lower body) – expected to be out until early/mid December
D Kevan Miller (hand) – considered day-to-day after starting season on IR
F Brian Ferlin (lower body) – has been considered day-to-day since Oct.6

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Brad Marchand (19gp 6g 11a 17pts)
Top Defenseman: Torey Krug (19gp 1g 5a 6pts)
Top Rookie: Brandon Carlo (D) (19gp 2g 2a 4pts)
Top Goaltender: Tuukka Rask (11 wins 1.57GAA .942 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Tuukka Rask (1 win 1.68GAA .926 save percentage)

The Boston Bruins are struggling to score goals right now. Add the recent loss of Zdeno Chara (considered day-to-day) and things could get even more difficult. It doesn’t help when Brad Marchand, David Krejci, Ryan Spooner, Patrice Bergeron, and David Backes each have two goals over their last 10 games. Truth be told, the B’s need some help and GM Don Sweeney may need to look to the trade market. If it means sacrificing a top prospect in a bigger package, so be it.

Don’t be surprised if you hear Jimmy Hayes name in trade rumors. With zero points in his first 17 games, he’s all but assuring Matt Beleskey earns that final protection list spot up front in expansion. Tough to trade a struggling player whose value is plummetted though.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Ryan Donato, Harvard University (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 8gp 4g 4a 8pts

Selected 56th overall (2nd round) in 2014, Ryan is following the footsteps of his father, Ted Donato with his Ivy League heritage (his father also attended Harvard). Oddly enough, his dad was also somewhat of a cult star for the Bruins during the 1990s. Once Ryan signs his entry-level contract, it could be a long haul chasing Ted’s 347 points in 796 career games. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 15, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (8) celebrates a goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus beat Washington in overtime 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 15, 2016; Columbus, OH, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski (8) celebrates a goal against the Washington Capitals during the third period at Nationwide Arena. Columbus beat Washington in overtime 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

9

Columbus Blue Jackets

Previous Ranking: 11 (+2)

Team Record: (10-5-3)
Goals For: 56
Goals Against: 42
Special Teams

PP: 14-for-49 (28.6 percent) (1st)
PK: 9-for-51 (82.3 percent) (13th)

Injury List

Dalton Prout – Back – Day-to-Day
Gregory Campbell – Unknown
David Clarkson – Back – Indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nick Foligno – 7G, 11A, 18PTS, +2, 18GP.
Top Defenseman: Zach Werenski – 5G, 10A, 15PTS, +5, 18GP.
Top Rookie: Zach Werenski – 5G, 10A, 15PTS, +5, 18GP.
Top Goaltender: Sergei Bobrovsky – 10W, 5L, 1OT/SOL, 3SO, 2.18GAA, 0.929SV%, 16GP.

Player of the Week: F Cam Atkinson (2G, 2A, 4PTS, +2, 4GP)

The Blue Jackets were so close to having a perfect week, but unfortunately, they lost in a shootout to Colorado on Monday. And they also fell to Calgary by a score of 2-0 Wednesday night. However, the Jackets were able to beat Washington and the Rangers, two very tough teams. Matt Calvert and rookie sensation Zach Werenski have been leading the team in front of solid net-minder Sergei Bobrovsky.

When Matt Calvert took a puck to the face then came back and scored the overtime winner, he showed us why we all love hockey. Hopefully, in doing so he can keep up his solid play and help Bobrovsky carry Columbus to wins this week over Florida and Tampa Bay (a team they’ll play twice this week). If Columbus can manage to do this, they’ll not only secure a wild card spot, but move up in the Eastern Conference altogether.

Weekly Prospect Profile: RW Oliver Bjorkstrand, Cleveland (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 3G, 2A, 5PTS, -5, 13GP.

A very fun player to watch, Oliver Bjorkstrand possesses a mass amount of offensive talent. He’s aggressive on the forecheck and has little to no fear while in the offensive zone. His shot isn’t just heavy, it’s also very accurate, which was shown night in and night out while in the WHL. He’s a pure goal scorer that has a nose for the net and in doing so he also creates a lot of chances for his teammates. Another thing about Oliver is that he’s also very dependable on the defensive side of the game. – Matt Duscharme


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

8

St. Louis Blues

Previous Ranking: 10 (+2)

Team Record: (11-7-3)
Goals For: 54
Goals Against: 57
Special Teams

PP: 15-for-73 (20.5 percent) (12th)
PK: 10-for-84 (88.1 percent) (3rd)

Injury List

D Joel Edmundson (upper body) – week-to-week (is currently traveling with team)
F Alex Steen (upper body) – day-to-day (didn’t travel with team on away road trip)

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Vladimir Tarasenko (21gp 9g 13a 22pts)
Top Defenseman: Kevin Shattenkirk (21gp 4g 10a 14pts)
Top Rookie: n/a
Top Goaltender: Jake Allen (9 wins 2.33GAA .914 save percentage)

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

St. Louis played four games over the last seven days. It was a successful run going 3-1-0 with a pair of wins over tough Western Conference opponents (Nashville/San Jose).

Starter Jake Allen deserves an honorable mention for player of the week honors. He was in goal for all three of the Blues wins (Carter Hutton started Wednesday versus Washington). Allen was 3-0-0 with a 1.67GAA and .951 save percentage. That great week did a lot to help his overall stats on the year, bringing him up to nine wins, 2.33GAA, and a .914 save percentage.

Despite several players having a great week for the Blues, I’d like to center out St. Louis’ top duo of Vladimir Tarasenko and Jaden Schwartz. The pair have come to life of late with Schwartz collecting points in eight of his last ten games (including at least one in each game the past week). Jaden now has six goals, four assists (10 points) in 16 games since returning from injury. The Tarasenk-show has points in nine of his last ten games, including 13 points over that span. Vladimir is up to seven goals, 13 assists (20 points) in 20 games. If the Blues want a chance to raise Lord Stanley over their heads, they’ll need these two to step in a big way once April rolls around.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Ivan Barbashev, Chicago (AHL)

2016-17 stats: 16gp 6g 6a 12pts

This young man has the potential to be a very productive NHLer. His offensive skill-set is off the charts and he can dominate in the opposition’s end. His only knock is a lack of consistency and mediocre play away from the puck. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 23, 2016; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Nikita Nesterov (89) is congratulated by center Valtteri Filppula (51) and defenseman Jason Garrison (5) after he scored a goal against the Philadelphia Flyers during the third period at Amalie Arena. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Philadelphia Flyers 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

7

Tampa Bay Lightning

Previous Ranking: 6 (-1)

Team Record: (13-7-1)
Goals For: 66
Goals Against: 51
Special Teams

PP: 20-for-82 (24.4 percent) (2nd)
PK: 10-for-69 (85.5 percent) (9th)

Injury List

F Steven Stamkos (knee) – out indefinitely (expected to miss upwards of four-plus months)
D Anton Stralman (upper body) – day-to-day (has missed six straight games)

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nikita Kucherov (20gp 10g 14a 24pts)
Top Defenseman: Victor Hedman (21gp 4g 11a 15pts)
Top Rookie: Brayden Point (21gp 2g 7a 9pts)
Top Goaltender: Andrei Vasilevskiy (6 wins 1.50GAA .951 save percentage)

Player of the Week: G Andrei Vasilevskiy (2 wins 1.00GAA .968 save percentage)

Tampa Bay had a successful week going 3-1-0 with wins over Buffalo and Philadelphia (x2). Vasilevskiy was handed both starts versus Philly on Saturday and Wednesday. He stopped all 32 shots for a shutout in the City of Brotherly Love and followed it up by stopping 29 of 31 shots in a 4-2 win at home. The Russian netminder now has five wins, 1.43GAA and .953 save percentage. He’s arguably pushing Ben Bishop out of the equation a lot quicker than most would have imagined.

Three players stood out offensively for the Lightning over the last seven days. Both Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn managed to rack up two goals, two assists. Rookie Brayden Point had one goal, three assists with two multi-point efforts.

Once again, TB is proving they can continue to rack up wins without their star center Steven Stamkos. We probably shouldn’t be too surprised, they managed to do the same thing in 2015-16 while Stammer was sidelined with a blood clot. They also didn’t have much issue back in 2013-14 when he suffered a broken leg. If anything, this could be a blessing in disguise. Without the wear and tear of an 82-game grind on his body, a healthy Stamkos could help carry the Tampa Bay Lightning over that elusive hump to reach the Stanley Cup Finals.

Weekly Prospect Profile: F Mitchell Stephens, Saginaw (OHL)

2016-17 stats: 17gp 8g 11a 19pts

Selected 33rd overall (2nd round) in 2015, Stephens is known for his impressive leadership qualities and responsible two-way play up the middle. Expect Stephens to re-join Dylan Strome with Team Canada at the World Juniors. – Ryan Ritchie

Nov 5, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 5, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Capitals center Lars Eller (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against the Florida Panthers in the third period at Verizon Center. The Capitals won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

6

Washington Capitals

Previous Ranking: 5 (-1)

Team Record: (12-5-2)
Goals For: 52
Goals Against: 43
Special Teams

PP: 9-for-56 (16.1 percent) (18th)
PK: 11-for-60 (81.7 percent) (T-16th)

Injury List

Lars Eller – Upper-Body – Day-to-Day
T.J Oshie – Upper-Body – Week-to-Week

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Nicklas Backstrom – 5G, 13A, 18PTS, +1, 19GP.
Top Defenseman: Matt Niskanen – 0G, 91, 9PTS, +2, 19GP.
Top Rookie: Zachary Sanford – 0G, 1A, 1PT, Even, 17GP
Top Goaltender: Braden Holtby – 10W, 4L, 1OT/SOL, 1SO, 2.05GAA, 0.923SV%, 15GP.

Player of the Week: F Alex Ovechkin (4G, 0A, 4PTS, +3, 3GP)

Posting a 2-1-0 record over the last week, plus scoring seven goals over Pittsburgh the week before really has people paying close attention to the Capitals. Especially when Alex Ovechkin has scored four goals over the last three games. While only allowing six goals-against, Washington stayed above .500% scoring seven times in those three games. The Capitals solid week started when they managed to shut out the Detroit Red Wings by a score of 1-0.

The hot play from Ovechkin and Braden Holtby will most likely transfer over to this week since the Capitals have two easy games against Toronto and Buffalo. Where they are more than likely going to grab the four possible points. Expect Alex to put up another great week in goals since he doesn’t want to fall too far behind of Patrik Laine.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Lucas Johansen, Kelowna (WHL)
2016-17 Stats: 1G, 9A, 10PTS, Even, 20GP

The younger brother of Ryan Johansen, Lucas is going to be a future star on the blueline in the NHL. Lucas is a smooth skating defenseman with amazing agility. His transition game from offense to defense is also at a top tier level, thus making him a very solid two-way defender. Once he adds on more weight, his legs will become stronger ultimately giving him greater balance. That’s probably the only downside in Lucas’ game, his strength, everything else is there. And with one more year in the WHL, next training camp he’ll be making a serious case to play on Washington’s blue line. – Matt Duscharme

Apr 6, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle (14) and forward Connor McDavid (97) discuss a plan prior to a face-off against the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 6, 2016; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Edmonton Oilers forward Jordan Eberle (14) and forward Connor McDavid (97) discuss a plan prior to a face-off against the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

5

Edmonton Oilers

Previous Ranking: 8 (+3)

Team Record: (12-8-1)
Goals For: 65
Goals Against: 54
Special Teams

PP: 12-for-63 (19.0 percent) (13th)
PK: 8-for-60 (86.7 percent) (4th)

Injury List

Mark Fayne – Undisclosed – Day-to-Day
Brandon Davidson – Upper-Body – Week-to-Week
Iiro Pakarinen – Knee – Week-to-Week
Andrew Ference – Hip – Out indefinitely

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Connor McDavid – 9G, 18A, 27PTS, +6, 21GP.
Top Defenseman: Oscar Klefbom – 3G, 4A, 7PTS, Even, 21GP.
Top Rookie: Jesse Puljujarvi – 1G, 5A, 6PTS, +5, 17GP
Top Goaltender: Cam Talbot – 11W, 7L, 1OT/SOL, 3SO, 2.50GAA, 0.919SV%, 19GP.

Player of the Week: F Connor McDavid (4G, 4A, 8PTS, +2, 4GP)

Connor McDavid is an outstanding player, one of a kind, and it’s easy to say he’s leading the Oilers up the standings, not just points. Leon Draisaitl is also a top tier center who had an amazing week six, he posted seven points in four games. Cam Talbot is also proving to be a solid goaltender for this club that’s expected to make the playoffs for the first time in years this season. The club also posted a great 3-1-0 record last week with a convincing 5-0 win over Chicago and a 6-3 win over Colorado on Wednesday.

This week should see Edmonton continue to rise as they play games against Arizona (back-to-back), and Toronto. They are expected to grab the win against the Leafs, however with Arizona’s up and down attitude every game, don’t be surprised if the Oilers manage to drop one against the young Coyotes. But if McDavid, Talbot, Klefbom, Andrej Sekera and Milan Lucic continue to play top notch, they could go undefeated in week seven.

Weekly Prospect Profile: LW Tyler Benson, Vancouver (WHL)
2016-17 Stats: 8G, 13A, 21PTS, Even, 19GP.

Tyler Benson is at most two years away from being a regular in Edmonton’s lineup. And when he is he’s got three amazing centers to play with. Tyler is an incredibly intelligent player, if he’s unable to make a pass, he’ll fire the puck at the goalies pads on purpose hoping for a rebound from a teammate. His passing abilities are outstanding, he’s capable of throwing a pass up the ice right on the tape through multiple skaters. He’s also a strong and fast skater who’s responsible in his own end. Which makes him a solid two-way winger that will help the Oilers a lot in the future. – Matt Duscharme

Nov 2, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins players Sidney Crosby (87), Chris Kunitz (14), Kris Letang and Justin Schultz (4) celebrate after a goal in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks during a NHL hockey match at Honda Center. The Penguins defeated the Ducks 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Nov 2, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins players Sidney Crosby (87), Chris Kunitz (14), Kris Letang and Justin Schultz (4) celebrate after a goal in the third period against the Anaheim Ducks during a NHL hockey match at Honda Center. The Penguins defeated the Ducks 5-1. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4

Pittsburgh Penguins

Previous Ranking: 2 (-2)

Team Record: (12-5-3)
Goals For: 60
Goals Against: 56
Special Teams

PP: 15-for-67 (22.4 percent) (6th)
PK: 14-for-73 (80.8 percent) (19th)

Injury List

Chris Kunitz – Lower-Body – Week-to-Week
Patric Hornqvist – Concussion – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Phil Kessel – 5G, 15A, 20PTS, -2, 20GP.
Top Defenseman: Kris Letang – 2G, 10A, 12PTS, -4, 15GP
Top Rookie: Scott Wilson – 3G, 2A, 5PTS, -4, 18GP
Top Goaltender: Matt Murray – 6W, 1L, 0OT/SOL, 01SO, 1.58GAA, 0.945SV%, 7GP.

Player of the Week: F Phil Kessel (1G, 5A, 6PTS, +2, 4GP)

Pittsburgh’s last week was a tremendous one, posting a record of 2-1-1. Crosby has been on a tear since returning from his concussion, and in doing so scoring 12 goals in 13 games. Matt Murray has been playing in dominant fashion as well posting outstanding goals-against-averages and a wicked save percentage.

The Penguins have a fairly easy week coming up to where they should be able to improve their overall record. They’ll be paying visits to Long Island as well as Minnesota while the Devils will be coming to town. Sidney Crosby will continue his upward trend he’s shown so far this year that he’s indeed an Art Ross favorite. Also if Matt Murray continues his stellar work, he’ll be pulling the net away from Fleury for good.

Weekly Prospect Profile: G Tristan Jarry, Wilkes-Barre (AHL)
2016-17 Stats: 7W, 3L, 0SOL, 0SO, 1.98GAA, 0.929SV%, 11GP.

Another goalie of the future for the Pittsburgh Penguins, Tristan Jarry has been solid ever since his days in the WHL. While possessing the perfect size for an NHL caliber goalie, he sometimes has inconsistencies going from game to game, which is something he still needs to work on. He already can track the puck down very well, and his glove work is above average. Pittsburgh is going to have a very solid young tandem in the next few years with Matt Murray and Jarry sharing the net. – Matt Duscharme

nhl power rankings

Nov 6, 2016; New York, NY, USA; New York Rangers right wing Jesper Fast (19) celebrates his goal with left wing Pavel Buchnevich (89) and teammates during the second period against the Winnipeg Jets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

3

New York Rangers

Previous Ranking: 1 (-2)

Team Record: (14-6-1)
Goals For: 82
Goals Against: 53
Special Teams

PP: 14-for-63 (22.2 percent) (7th)
PK: 8-for-58 (86.2 percent) (6th)

Injury List

Mika Zibanejad – Calf – Early-January
Pavel Buchnevich – Back – Day-to-Day

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Kevin Hayes – 9G, 9A, 18PTS, +15, 21GP
Top Defenseman: Ryan McDonagh – 0G, 13A, 13PTS, +12, 21GP
Top Rookie: Jimmy Vesey – 7G, 5A, 12PTS, +2, 21GP.
Top Goaltender: Henrik Lundqvist – 9W, 6L, 1OT/SOL, 1SO, 2.46GAA, 0.911SV%, 16GP

Player of the Week: F Rick Nash (2G, 1A, 3PTS, +2, 4GP)

The Rangers offense has dried up over the last week, scoring a total of 10 goals, while being scored on 15 times. They would also post a record of 1-2-1 over that span, including a 6-1 loss against Pittsburgh Wednesday night. However, Rick Nash is starting to find his legs, and Michael Grabner has also been a solid addition this season.

This upcoming week the Rangers will be paying visits to Philadelphia, Ottawa, and Carolina, where they should be able to squeeze four of a possible six points. If Rick Nash, Michael Grabner and Henrik Lundqvist keep producing the way they have been, the Rangers are likely to pick up all six points.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Sean Day, Mississauga (OHL)
2016-17 Stats: 3G, 2A, 5PTS, +4, 5GP

Sean Day is a mobile two-way defenseman who possesses elite talent. His passing is accurate and on point while his shot is also the same. The best part, he becomes an even better player when facing a lot of pressure. Sean could use a little more fine tuning however, which is why he’s down with Mississauga again this year. Once he’s able to get everything going on a consistent basis at the NHL level, he will be an elite defenseman. He’s still young which means he still has a lot of time to work the kinks out. Which he will since he’s a very intelligent player. – Matt Duscharme


Nov 22, 2016; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens assistant coach Kirk Muller talks to players during the third period against Ottawa Senators at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: Jean-YvesAhern-USA TODAY Sports

2

Montreal Canadiens

Previous Ranking: 4 (+2)

Team Record: (14-4-2)
Goals For: 63
Goals Against: 46
Special Teams

PP: 15-for-64 (23.3 percent) (4th)
PK: 14-for-77 (81.8 percent) (15th)

Injury List

D Nathan Beaulieu (upper body) – day-to-day (was taken to hospital for precautionary reasons following Tuesday’s game, injury not expected to be serious)
F Brian Flynn (upper body) – day-to-day since Nov.12
F Artturi Lehkonen (upper body) – day-to-day since Nov.7
D Zach Redmond (foot) – out until Early December (six week estimate given on Oct.20)

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Alex Galchenyuk (20gp 8g 13a 21pts)
Top Defenseman: Shea Weber (20gp 8g 9a 17pts)
Top Rookie: Artturi Lehkonen (12gp 2g 1a 3pts)
Top Goaltender: Carey Price (11 wins 1.77GAA .943 save percentage)

Player of the Week: D Andrei Markov (3gp 0g 5a 5pts)

Montreal is coming off a rough seven days. They dropped their first game against Carolina 2-1 after Cam Ward shut the door on the Habs. Price and company grabbed two points in a bitter rivalry Saturday night versus Toronto. Then, followed it up with a loss to Ottawa 4-3 on Tuesday.

On the one hand, you’ve gotta be comfortable with a healthy Carey Price on your roster. Still, this team is missing something that might ultimately lead to an early playoff exit. Getting Charles Hudon in the lineup for a couple of games was the right idea. It might be time to also give Nikita Scherbak and Michael McCarron an extended look considering that Paul Byron and Philip Danault have made their way into the top-six recently. Sorry Habs fans, that’s not a winning recipe.

Weekly Prospect Profile: G Zachary Fucale, St. John’s/Brampton (AHL/ECHL)

2016-17 stats: (AHL) 0-2-0 3.56GAA .887 save percentage, (ECHL) 4-2-0 3.23GAA .879 save percentage

Fucale was selected 36th overall (2nd round) in 2013 as one of the CHL’s standout netminders. In the time since, it’s been a rough go for the French goaltender. He had a tough final year of junior split between Halifax and Quebec in the QMJHL with a GAA above 3.00 and save percentage below .900. He didn’t fair a whole lot better in his first year of pro with AHL St. John’s either. He went 16-19-4 with a 3.13GAA and .903 save percentage. After two horrible outings to open 2016-17, Zach was sent to ECHL Brampton, and while his record is improving, his numbers are still worrysome. – Ryan Ritchie


Nov 19, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks forward Vinnie Hinostroza (48) celebrates after scoring a goal against Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (not pictured) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Chicago Blackhawks won 4-3 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

1

Chicago Blackhawks

Previous Ranking: 3 (+2)

Team Record: (13-6-2)
Goals For: 62
Goals Against: 55
Special Teams

PP: 13-for-74 (17.6 percent) (15th)
PK: 21-for-67 (68.7 percent) (30th)

Injury List

D Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body) – out until early December (could return sometime next week, per reports)
F Jonathan Toews (undisclosed) – left Wednesday night’s game, awaiting further word of his status

Statistical Leaders in 2016-17

Top Forward: Patrick Kane (21gp 6g 14a 20pts)
Top Defenseman: Duncan Keith (20gp 0g 14a 14pts)
Top Rookie: Tyler Motte (16gp 3g 3a 6pts)
Top Goaltender: Corey Crawford (9 wins 2.33GAA .923 save percentage)

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

The Chicago Blackhawks took off on a five-game road trip back on November 15th. It was a rough go dropping games against Winnipeg, Edmonton, and San Jose for a 2-3-0 record. Still, the Hawks sit 13-6-2 and remain one of the NHL’s most dominant teams (despite their recent blip).

Don’t let the stats fool you, Corey Crawford had a surprisingly good week if you don’t include his performance versus the Oilers. He allowed five goals on 27 shots in that contest. So, although he closed the door on 61 of 65 shots in his other two starts against Calgary and San Jose, it left him with a nasty 3.03GAA over the last seven days. Even with the rough outing, Corey Crawford still has nine wins, a 2.33GAA, and .923 save percentage in 2016-17.

Without delving into too much detail regarding the blue line. It’s important to note that Chicago’s defensive group is doing a bang up job early in the season. They’re limiting the opposition’s chances keeping the shot count fairly low on average, and quality scoring chances are even harder to come by.

No single forward stood out above the rest this past week. Unless perhaps if you include Vince Hinotroza’s three-point performance vs. Vancouver. Artemi Panarin also racked up three points. Marian Hossa and Ryan Hartman provided a pair of goals each, while Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith (D), and Artem Anisimov each had two assists.

Keep an eye on the status of captain Jonathan Toews. We’re hoping he only suffered a minor injury and won’t miss any time.

Weekly Prospect Profile: D Luc Snuggerud, University of Omaha-Nebraska (NCAA)

2016-17 stats: 12gp 6g 5a 11pts

Selected 141st overall (5th round) back in 2014, Luc is the nephew of former NHLer Dave Snuggerud (played for Buffalo, San Jose, and Philadelphia). Luc wore the “C” for Eden Prairie High, the famous Minnesota program back in 2013-14 when he was selected. Snuggerud is now is his 3rd year of NCAA hockey, coming off 18 points in 35 games in 2015-16. Expect the 21-year-old to sign an NHL contract once the college season concludes. – Ryan Ritchie

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 (Nov.24-Nov.30)

Friday, November 25th

Chicago Blackhawks at Anaheim Ducks

Two teams will big aspirations in 2016-17. It should be a good early test to see how they match-up.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Minnesota Wild

Given the play of Devan Dubnyk so far, this stands to be an exciting contest. It could be an all-out goaltending duel with Matt Murray (should both be given the start).

Saturday, November 26th

Montreal Canadiens at Detroit Red Wings

Here’s another straight up goaltending duel. Carey Price is the best netminder in the world, but Jimmy Howard is doing his best to secure a gig with Las Vegas next year. This could be a low-scoring contest.

Sunday, November 27th

Tampa Bay Lightning at Boston Bruins

This is an important Atlantic Division match-up for the Boston Bruins. They’re surging of late and could use another solid outing from Tuukka Rask.

Tuesday, November 29th

Boston Bruins at Philadelphia Flyers

These two teams are very familiar with one another. In fact, they could be in competition for one of those final Wild-Card spots. All points matter, even at the quarter-mark.

Wednesday, November 30th

San Jose Sharks at Los Angeles Kings

The Sharks travel to LA in this Pacific Division rivalry. Los Angeles needs to get two points in these games more than any other if they hope to challenge for a playoff spot.

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