This week’s article includes a 'who says you can’t go home' moment, a pair of hot Metro goalies, the top pick in this past year’s draft out for an extended period and a sniper struggling mightily out West.
First Liners (Risers)
Tyler Seguin, C, DAL - Seguin once again showed the Bruins what they are missing, torching his former team with a hat trick Tuesday. With the three goals, Seguin tied teammate Jamie Benn (two assists) for the NHL points lead with 20. Seguin missed 11 games last year – 10 with an injury – likely costing him the scoring title. Presuming he stays healthy, Seguin could finally win the Art Ross Trophy.
Derick Brassard, C, NYR - After a slow start, Brassard has found his stride. He notched a goal and an assist Tuesday against the Capitals, giving him three goals and five assists in his last six games. Brassard had a career-high 60 points last year and his slow start might have been partially attributable to off-season wrist surgery. But he is fully healthy and back on a line with Rick Nash and Mats Zuccarello.
Troy Brouwer, LW, STL - Brouwer came to the Blues in the T.J. Oshie trade following consecutive 20-goal, 40-point seasons in Washington. While Brouwer lacks the skill level of Oshie, he provides a bit more grit and may be a better balance to the lines in St. Louis. Despite that lack of top-end skill level, Brouwer is off to a strong start with eight points in 12 games.
Leon Draisaitl, RW, EDM - Draisaitl had a rookie year to forget, scoring just two goals while adding seven assists and looking overmatched on the ice in his 37 games. He was called up from AHL Bakersfield last Thursday and wasted no time in showing he belonged. Draisaitl tallied seven points in his first three games while playing right wing on a line with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Taylor Hall. Enjoy the ride while it lasts, which may only be until Jordan Eberle is activated off of IR, though that could change with Connor McDavid out long-term.
Joffrey Lupul, LW, TOR - Lupul scored two goals and added an assist in a Toronto’s 4-1 win over the Stars on Monday. Those three points gave him seven points – including five goals – in 11 games this year. Lupul has been injury prone each year. To try and remedy that, he arrived in camp with 10 extra pounds of muscle after working out with a new trainer this offseason. Toronto is rebuilding and it remains to be seen if Lupul will be a key member of that attempted turnaround, despite being in the midst of the five-year, $26.25 million contract extension he signed that runs through 2017-18.
Jake Muzzin, D, LA - After tallying zero points in his first seven games, Muzzin has been on fire lately, logging consecutive multi-point games while notching six points in the last four contests. Our preseason outlook tells you all you need to know on Muzzin: "The 26-year-old Muzzin took a great leap forward in 2014-15. Helping to fill the void left by Slava Voynov after his October arrest, Muzzin doubled his career point total, registering marks of 10 goals and 31 assists in 76 games. He also saw a stark jump in ice time (22:42 average TOI), good for second on the team while playing alongside Norris Trophy runner-up Drew Doughty." If you grabbed him this year, enjoy the ride.
Ryan Suter, D, MIN - Suter tallied just two goals last year and might have entered this year undervalued. He has already tallied two this season while also notching eight assists in 11 games. Suter averaged 29:04 of ice time in 2014-15, seeing time in all situations. This year, he is logging two minutes less of playing time nightly, which might be contributing to fresher legs.
Marc-Andre Fleury, G, PIT - Fleury has gotten off to one of the best starts of his career. He notched his second shutout of the season Saturday against Toronto, lowering his GAA to 1.71 and upping his save percentage to .942. MAF is playing for a new contract and it looks like he has taken a major step forward to justify he deserves a deal.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR - Following the Rangers Eastern Conference Finals loss to the Lightning, Lundqvist was challenged by coach Alain Vigneault to open this season on the top of his game. So far, that has been the case. Tuesday was the sixth consecutive outing in which Lundqvist allowed two or fewer goals. He will be rested liberally with Antti Raanta now in NY, so Hank should have no issues getting through the season physically.
Others include Sam Bennett, David Krejci, Jeff Carter, Jamie Benn, Ryan O'Reilly, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Turris, Victor Rask, David Desharnais, Dale Weise, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Tyler Toffoli, Patrick Kane, Jason Zucker, Patrick Sharp, Kris Versteeg, Bobby Ryan, Brendan Gallagher, Dylan Larkin, Jarome Iginla, Daniel Sedin, Boone Jenner, Brad Marchand, Jiri Hudler, James Neal, Morgan Rielly, Torey Krug, John Klingberg, Jason Demers, Rasmus Ristolainen, Nick Holden, Drew Doughty, Zdeno Chara, Corey Crawford, Linus Ullmark, Jake Allen, Frederik Andersen, Cory Schneider and Mike Condon.
Training Room (Injuries)
Connor McDavid, C, EDM - McDavid was injured Tuesday when he appeared to lose an edge and then went into end boards hard with Brandon Manning and Michael Del Zotto. He was seen with a sling on his left shoulder after the second period and it was announced after the game he will miss an extended period of time. McDavid was named Rookie of the Month after tallying 12 points in 12 games and his long-term absence will be a huge blow to the Oilers and the NHL.
Pavel Datsyuk, C, DET - Datsyuk, out since the beginning of the year after undergoing ankle surgery in the offseason, is about one to two weeks away from returning to the lineup. Former coach Mike Babcock would rest Datsyuk liberally; it will be interesting to see if new coach Jeff Blashill uses the same approach.
Carey Price, G, MTL - Price will miss the next week with a lower-body injury suffered last Thursday against the Oilers. While he is out, Mike Condon will attempt to replace the reigning Vezina Trophy winner between the pipes in Montreal.
Others include Ryan Getzlaf (appendectomy, could be back next week), John Tavares (illness, DTD, missed last three games), Anze Kopitar (face, DTD), Jordan Eberle (shoulder, skating with the team), Mike Green (UBI, could play Friday), Kevin Shattenkirk (groin, close to returning), Justin Schultz (back, out 2-3 more weeks) and Jonas Hiller (LBI, out a week).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Valtteri Filppula, C, TB - Filppula took a step backwards last year, scoring 48 points in 82 games after tallying 58 in 75 games during his first year in Tampa. In addition, his advanced metrics were way down and he posted a minus-14 rating on a very good Lightning team. That regression has continued this season, as Filppula has six points in 13 games with just one of those a goal to go with a minus-8 rating.
Corey Perry, LW, ANA - Perry had 33 goals and 55 points in 67 games and then racked up 10 goals and 18 points in 16 postseason games. Coming into the year, we all expected more of the same. Nearly a month into the 2015-16 season, Perry has just three assists in 11 games. You would assume that number to rise substantially, so he is a good buy-low candidate.
Jack Johnson, D, CMB - After notching 40 points in 79 games, including 21 on the man-advantage, expectations were raised for Johnson and the Blue Jackets following the acquisition of Brandon Saad. The best laid plans of mice and men have gone awry, as Columbus has already seen their coach get fired while going 2-10 heading into Tuesday’s game. Johnson’s play hasn’t helped the situation since he sits with just one point in 12 games.
Cam Talbot, G, EDM - Talbot was expected to be a hot goalie target this past offseason after posting stellar numbers while filling in for the Rangers, but the Blueshirts needed to free up cap space and Talbot became an unrestricted free agent after the year. He ended up going to Edmonton, where many thought his numbers would take a big hit behind a sieve-like blue line. That has been the case, as Talbot is just 3-6-0 with a .897 save percentage and 2.88 goals-against average. Tread carefully.
Others include Lars Eller, Alex Killorn, Derek Stepan, Calle Jarnkrok, Sidney Crosby, Nick Foligno, Alexander Semin, Tomas Hertl, Craig Smith, Cam Fowler, Noah Hanifin, Niklas Kronwall, Aaron Ekblad, Brian Elliott and Eddie Lack.