This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes the lesser-known top forward in Vancouver, the Rust scratched off in Pittsburgh, this year's top overall pick excelling in Buffalo, Boston's No. 1 center back in action and a former star fading out in Big D.
Also, enjoy the World Junior Championship, which starts Wednesday.
First Liners (Risers)
Bo Horvat, C, VAN – Much of the focus up front in Vancouver has rightly been on Elias Pettersson. However, Horvat, drafted with the ninth pick in 2013 and acquired by the Canucks from the Devils for Cory Schneider, showed signs the last two seasons of taking a step forward. He is putting it all together in his fifth season in the NHL, notching 17 goals and as many assists in 39 games, putting him on pace to far exceed his career high of 52 points.
Phillip Danault, C, MTL – The Habs' second-line center is likely not owned in most shallow leagues due to his spotty production, but in medium and deeper leagues, he has a role. Now with five goals and 17 assists on the season, Danault is on pace for 49 points, which would exceed his career high from two years ago. One caveat is that Jesperi Kotkaniemi could swap line placements with Danault, which would likely result in a marked drop in production.
Alex DeBrincat, LW, CHI – DeBrincat, selected 39th overall in 2016, led the Blackhawks in goals (28) as a rookie while totaling 52 points in 82