Jonathan Toews – Captain Serious had a 5 point scoring streak stopped in his native Winnipeg, in which he recorded 9 points in 5 games highlighted by a hat trick against the Ottawa Senators. With recent line juggling by coach Joel Quenneville, Toews finds Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp on his wings which lead to his recent outburst. Expect Toews to finish higher in the scoring race than ever before.
Mike Richards – Vancouver 2010 Olympic linemate, Mike Richards, is also rekindling his top form as he has been a consistent force for the Kings. Often forgotten in the debate for Team Canada, Richards brings oodles of intangibles to the game and lately, has been scoring goals, getting assists, winning faceoffs, taking shots, and delivering hits for an all around fantasy game.
Erik Karlsson – After a modestly slow start, Mr. Karlsson is restating his claim on title for best defenseman in the NHL and the scoring lead among blueliners. Its close with his main competitor, PK Subban, but Karlsson’s current four game point streak features 7 points and has vaulted him into a 1 point lead with 15 on the year. Karlsson should continue to produce at a high rate all season long.
Sergei Bobrovsky – The reigning Vezina trophy winner is finding it very difficult to maintain elite level play and top end results. He started the year strong, but has faltered lately by letting in 3 or more goals in four out his past six starts. The season is still young, but officer Bobrovsky has better get back on the case soon if the Blue Jackets are going to have a shot at the playoffs.
Claude Giroux – Giroux has found himself in this space already twice and there aren’t any signs things could be turning around. Shocking to see this former Art Ross contender struggle to score goals, impact the game, and lead his team to victories. An assortment of linemates and a coaching change haven’t helped, so the solution is going to have to come from within.
Alexandre Burrows – This once 35 goal scorer no longer has the plum opportunity to play with the Sedin brothers or Ryan Kesler, as those three have formed the top line and first powerplay unit. With much lesser linemates, Burrows hasn’t been able to get on the scoresheet yet this season, although in fairness he missed time with injury. Definitely a guy to keep your eye on, but hope he gets more chance to put the puck in the back of the net.
Free Agent Pickups
Mathieu Perreault – Perreault has rejoined former Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau in Anaheim and has inherited the second line center job. Playing with an assortment of up and coming young players including Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, and Jakob Silfverberg, Perreault has a surprising 13 points in the first 14 games. He may not keep up this near point-a-game pace but Perreault seems to be at the beginning of a breakout year.
Mikael Granlund – A Calder trophy favorite going into the 2012-2013 season, Granlund had an abysmal 8 points in 27 games and saw time in the minors. Back in the NHL and seeing ample time as second liner center for the resurgent Minnesota Wild, Mikael is showing the hockey world why he was long considered a top prospect. Primarily a setup man as evidenced by his 10 assists, Granlund scored his first goal against the New Jersey Devils and may get even hotter.
Kyle Okposo – In as enviable a position as anybody in the NHL, Kyle Okposo gets to ply his trade next to offensive wizards John Tavares and Thomas Vanek. Okposo already has 6 multi-point games on the year and can definitely hang with the big boys, as a major leap seems to be taking place right before our eyes. If for some strange reason this power forward is still available, go and pick him up now.
Alex Killorn – GM Steve Yzerman seems to be taking the Detroit Red Wings approach to player development, and its starting to pay off with young gems like Killorn. After a recent line shakeup that included calling up 2010 1st rounder Brett Connolly, Killorn found himself on the highly coveted left wing with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. Killorn has responded in a big way with 5 points in his last two games, so go out and grab him now as he’s a lottery ticket that may pop if he stays on the top line.
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