This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes the return of No. 1 center in the Windy City, the new top pivotman in Anaheim, a Kraken blueliner, several injuries this preseason and prayers that the Montreal netminder gets the assistance he needs.
First Liners (Risers)
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI – Toews, who missed the 2020-21 campaign with chronic inflammatory response syndrome, is healthy and expected to be in the lineup Opening Night. He looked great in training camp and preseason action, notching a pair of goals. In 2019-20, Toews totaled 60 points in 70 games while averaging 3:19 of ice time per game on the power play. This season, he should resume his role as Chicago's top-line center, where he may be flanked by Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat.
Trevor Zegras, C, ANA – Zegras tallied three goals and 10 assists in 24 games, and by playing less than 25 games, he is still Calder Trophy eligible. The favorite for the award, Zegras was the best player (and tournament MVP) at the World Juniors and helped Team USA win the gold medal. He then averaged more than a point per game (21 points in 17 games) with AHL San Diego, before his excellent run with the Ducks. Zegras will open the season as Anaheim's No. 1 pivot, assuming the role from captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Vladimir Tkachyov, LW, LA – Tkachyov signed a one-year deal with the Kings in May. He was pretty productive in the KHL last