This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes the Nuge and JT, a Calder candidate, hot goalies in Sunrise and Winnipeg, and Calgary's top player in a major slump.
First Liners (Risers)
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, C, EDM – Nuge was once one of the faces of the Edmonton franchise, but that ended following the drafting of Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. After tallying at least 52 points in each of his first three full seasons, Nugent-Hopkins dropped to 43 points last year. But in that decline, he played all 82 games and upped his shots-per-game to almost 2.5 from less than two the year prior. He has carried that forward to this year, which has helped Edmonton's No. 3 center tally six goals and 11 points in 13 December games, which gives him 15 goals and 29 points through 39 contests. A career-best 15.8 shooting percentage has aided part of his rise, but Nuge should continue to benefit from playing against bottom defensive pairings because of McDavid and Draisaitl.
John Tavares, C, NYI – We are running out of superlatives for Tavares. JT saw his point-streak end at nine Sunday. During his point streak, Tavares had four goals and 14 assists, upping his season total to 21 and 28 in 39 games. With more than half the season to go, the Islanders' captain is on pace to far exceed the 86 points he posted in 2014-15 — not a bad way to potentially go into free agency.
Brock Boeser, RW, VAN