This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes Boston's captain, a young blueliner in the Windy City, a pair of veteran netminders, the Isles' captain out for the rest of the regular season and a pair of highly paid veterans slumping in Minnesota.
First Liners (Risers)
Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS – Like fine wine, Bergeron is improving with age. Aided by centering Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, Bergeron is averaging slightly more than a point-per-game the last four seasons. This season, Bergeron has 24 points in 26 games, while providing his usual elite level of defensive play as the No. 1 center in Boston. Bergeron is helped by skating just 18 minutes per game, including three minutes on the man-advantage, keeping him fresh. At his current pace, he could top 1,000 points sometime during the 2022-23 season.
Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT – A month-plus into the season, whispers were that Malkin was a shell of his former self and the Penguins might consider moving him. Fast forward six weeks and that talk has ended, or at least been shunted to the background. In his last 14 games, Malkin has five goals and 12 assists moving Pittsburgh into third place of the Mass Mutual Metropolitan Division. Including in that production is an eight-game point streak, making Malkin's owners look really smart for not selling low.
Pavel Buchnevich, RW, NYR – In a very up-and-down season for the Rangers, Buchnevich has been one mild constant. After seeing a five-game point