Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry – The dynamic duo had a big week mostly off a combined 7 point effort against the visiting Dallas Stars on Oct 20th. They are the leaders of the franchise and are living up to the billing by helping raise the Anaheim Ducks to 4th in the league so far. Both are up to 11 points on the year, and are hoping to rekindle their tag team in Sochi at the Olympics for Team Canada.
Milan Lucic, David Krejci, and Jarome Iginla – A notorious slow starter, Iginla has awoken once again as the Bruins’ top line wreaked havoc over the past week. Combined for 6 goals, this threesome has shot up to lead their team in scoring and seem to be in the running for one of the best lines in hockey. Iginla for one, hasn’t played in such a complete threesome ever in his career.
Phil Kessel – Paired with James Van Riemsdyk on his opposite wing, Kessel stands to do even better with Nazem Kadri’s promotion to the top line. Phil is on one of his hot streaks with 5 goals in his last three games, its hard to find a sniper who is as deadly when on fire.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Counted on to step up his game with both Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner working their way back from injury, RNH has been a leader for the Oil. Having his sharp wrist shot back after offseason shoulder surgery, Nugent-Hopkins has generated offense mostly by setting up his compatriots. RNH has a chance to keep up this point-a-game pace.
Frans Nielsen – Putting the league on notice, Frans Nielsen has a goal in every game except one out of the last 8. With 15 points on the year already, this unexpected breakout candidate is even out scoring John Tavares to lead the Islanders in points so far this season.
Martin Hanzal – The expected Phoenix Coyotes point producing leaders are Keith Yandle and Radim Vrbata, and don’t be confused, they are hot as ever right now. Martin Hanzal though has a career high of 35 points, and yet is right up there in scoring with them. This GM’s dream 6’6 Center is poised for a career year.
Ryan Kesler – In an interesting move, John Tortorella has placed Ryan Kesler on the wing next to the Sedin brothers. Historically, only ever seeing time with the twins on the powerplay, Kesler is hot with 4 goals in three wins and just one of those was on the powerplay. A former 40 goal scorer, Kesler is ready to step up his offense again.
Brad Marchand – With only 3 points so far on the year and linemate Loui Eriksson going down with injury from that John Scott hit to the head, Marchand is going to have a hard time breaking out of his slump. Not even playing on the 2nd power-play unit, Marchand’s offensive game has fallen off the map so far.
Jordan Staal – Having suggested offensive ability in Pittsburgh, Jordan Staal is having a hard time taking that step now that the opportunity has been given. He may end up on the Hurricanes exactly what he was on the Penguins, the game’s best third line center and shutdown defensive forward. Three points in 11 games just won’t cut it as a second line center on a competitive team.
Dany Heatley – Long gone from his 50 goal ways, Dany Heatley’s offensive production has fallen off in a big way as he now finds himself as a third line winger. He may have to take the path of a Todd Bertuzzi to improve this career longevity by contributing 30-40 points and a veteran presence for a contender. Don’t count on many goals anymore though.
Free Agent Pickups
Patrick Maroon – With Bobby Ryan in Ottawa, there is a big opening on the left side with Perry and Getzlaf on the top line in Anaheim. A power forward winger with a knack for scoring goals, Maroon has been making the most of his opportunity with a 4 game point scoring streak. It may be worth taking a flyer to see if he sticks.
Michael Cammalleri – Back from injury, and on the top line with Monahan and Hudler, Cammalleri should get plenty of chance to produce as the Flames audition him up to the trade deadline. He may be an unexpected producer like Jiri Hudler who has surprised already.
Ryan Johansen – Finally coming into his own, Johansen is asserting himself more than he ever has in the pros. He has 7 points and may be worth a stab to keep it up.
Chris Kreider – Called up from the AHL and immediately placed on the top line next to Brad Richards and Derek Stepan, Kreider got an assist in his first game back. A closer look shows plenty of hits, shots, and scoring chances created from Kreider, so keep an eye on his role and production.
Alex Chiasson – A goal scoring machine ever since he stepped into the National Hockey League, Chiasson is leading his team with 5 goals so far. Sourrounded by elite talent in Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, go and get this guy if he is available.
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