This week’s article includes Get Carter, the Rat in the Hub, Burnsie rolling, Gallagher inching closer and Cam not needing the goal cam-era.
First Liners (Risers)
Jeff Carter, C, LA – Carter is a bonafide sniper. Coming into this season, he scored at least 20 goals in nine straight campaigns, maxing out with 46 in 2008-09 as a member of the Flyers. That total is likely unreachable, but Carter notched his 27th goal Saturday, putting him just one away from his high the last six seasons. The key difference for him this year is the 16.6 shooting percentage, way above the 9.9 of from last year.
Paul Stastny, C, STL – Stastny continued his fine play, notching two assists Tuesday. That gives the Slovak 35 in 53 games, with his plus-minus moving from the red to the black. Stastny has eight goals and nine assists in his last 16 games, meshing nicely on a line with Alexander Steen and Vladimir Tarasenko.
Brad Marchand, LW, BOS – The Bruins fired Claude Julien on Tuesday but Marchand is one of those likely not at fault. The modern day version of Ken Linseman is on a roll with 13 goals and 11 assists his last 15 games. His on-ice antics detract from how brilliant of an offensive forward he has become. Marchand continued his bad year/good night routine last season, tallying a career-high 61 points. This season has broken that pattern, and he should far exceed that number as he currently has 55 points in 55 games.
Sebastian Aho, LW, CAR – Aho was profiled a month ago, but his continued excellent play warrants another mention. Carolina was shut out Tuesday against Pittsburgh, but he still has eight points in his last nine games and 31 in 52 games overall. Also, he is a solid minus-three on a team that has been up-and-down this season. Aho, selected 35th overall in 2015, played three years with Karpat in Finland, which accelerated his development.
Jason Zucker, LW, MIN – Zucker saw his four-game point streak end Tuesday but that does little to take away from his breakthrough campaign. The 2010 second-round pick has career highs in goals (16), assists (22) and points (38) while posting a ridiculous plus-32 rating in 52 games. Despite the fine campaign, Zucker could still lose his second line wing spot to Charlie Coyle; but, for now, enjoy the run.
Brent Burns, D, SJ – Burns is clearly owned in every format but still deserves his place in this column. His two assists Tuesday give the bearded, toothless one 57 points in 54 games, with 17 of those coming on the man-advantage. We thought last year’s 75 points was a ridiculous total, but Burns is on pace for 86 and is arguably the current favorite to win the Norris Trophy.
Keith Yandle, D, FLA – Yandle signed a seven-year, $44.5 million deal with the Panthers last June. His season has been solid but likely has left most wanting more due to the big contract. After a slow start, Yandle notched eight points in November and seven in both December and January. Overall, Yandle has three goals and 24 points in 52 games, below the pace he scored at the past few seasons. A hot streak would certainly get him back to his usual level of production.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR – Lundqvist has had a very uneven and somewhat disappointing season but has righted the ship recently. The King’s 43 saves Tuesday enabled the Rangers to defeat Anaheim 4-1. Lundqvist is 6-1-0 since his Jan. 17 nightmare against the Stars, allowing just 14 goals in 239 shots. The victory puts him at 24-12-1 on the season, as he heads for an eleventh straight full-schedule season with 30 wins.
Thomas Greiss, G, NYI – The Islanders have been 7-1-2 in their last 10, as they work their way into playoff contention. A big reason for that run has been the play of Greiss, who has taken the starting job and has run with it ever since Jaroslav Halak was placed on waivers. Greiss’ fine play earned him a three-year, $10 million extension, as he is now 16-8-3 with a 2.44 GAA and .921 save percentage.
Others include Nicklas Backstrom, Pavel Zacha, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Lars Eller, Brock Nelson, Mitch Marner, Mikko Koivu, Patrice Bergeron, J.T. Miller, Mark Stone, Michael Frolik, Chris Kunitz, Alexander Steen, David Pastrnak, Michael Grabner, Phil Kessel, Mats Zuccarello, Nikita Kucherov, Nino Niederreiter, Mikko Rantanen, Brady Skjei, Kevin Shattenkirk, Kris Letang, Victor Hedman, Duncan Keith, Dmitry Orlov, Braden Holtby, Pekka Rinne, Cam Talbot and John Gibson.
Training Room (Injuries)
Brendan Gallagher, RW, MTL – Gallagher underwent surgery Jan. 6 for a fractured left hand and was expected to be out at least eight weeks. Unfortunately, the injury was friendly fire, as he was hit by teammate Shea Weber’s slap shot during a game. Gallagher wasn’t having the type of breakthrough campaign predicted before the season, with just 18 points in 39 games, but his absence removes a critical part of the Canadiens’ lineup. Word is he may be back sooner than expected, possibly by Thursday or the weekend.
Others include Evgeni Malkin (knee, on IR, not yet ready to return), Jason Spezza (undisclosed, placed on IR), Kevin Hayes (injured left leg/knee, returned to action yesterday), Frans Nielsen (upper-body, placed on IR), Sven Baertschi (left Tuesday’s game with a concussion), Travis Konecny (lower-body, will miss 4-to-6 weeks), Conor Sheary (upper-body, out 4-6 weeks), Carl Hagelin (concussion, in league protocol), Robby Fabbri (torn ACL, out for the season), Jonas Brodin (broken finger, is skating, out at least 10 more days), David Savard (back spasms, indefinite), Tyson Barrie (lower-body, missed four games, played two games, now has missed last two), Craig Anderson (wife’s illness, practicing, in midst of two weeks of conditioning, may get short AHL stint) and Jimmy Howard (sprained MCL, in AHL on conditioning stint).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Mike Ribeiro, C, NAS – Ribeiro’s season to forget landed him on waivers and a trip to Milwaukee of the AHL. At the time of the move, the veteran was second on the Predators with 21 assists, but his $3.5 million cap hit and four goals and the seven from a year ago likely sealed his fate. Ribeiro might be attractive to a playoff contender, but he will ply his trade in the minors for now.
Michael Cammalleri, LW, NJ – Cammalleri’s two assists give him seven in his past seven games. But he lands on the negative side of the ledger due to one goal in his past 30 games. Cammalleri is usually a sniper, with nine goals in his first 18 games, 27 his first year in Jersey and 14 in just 42 games last season. But with only 10 this season, he’s unlikely to reach 20.
Alexander Edler, D, VAN – Edler did notch his second goal of the season but that’s not enough to keep him from this section of the column. Prior to that marker, he had just one assist in nine games and 10 points in 38 overall. Edler has two more years remaining on the $30 million deal he signed in 2013 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him exposed in the expansion draft due to his drop in production and high cap hit.
Devan Dubnyk, G, MIN – Dubnyk’s overall numbers – 28 wins, a 1.99 GAA and .932 save percentage through Monday’s game – are impressive but he has hit a rough patch. His 2.97 GAA and .897 SV% his past seven appearances are a far cry from his overall numbers. Dubnyk righted the ship on Tuesday, stopping 38 of 40 shots, so maybe his slump was only a momentary blip.
Others include Brandon Pirri, Sam Bennett, Nail Yakupov, Curtis Lazar, Jamie McGinn, Matt Puempel, Anthony Beauvillier, Shayne Gostisbehere, Alex Pietrangelo, Michael Stone, Ryan Miller, Antti Niemi and Sergei Bobrovsky.