Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers is back on the “Who’s Hot?” list. He is joined by another returnee, Carolina Hurricanes’ goalie Pyote Kochetkov.
Kochetkov is a major reason Carolina hasn’t suffered a regulation loss in December, while leapfrogging New Jersey into first place in the Metropolitan Division.
Carolina (+900) has moved into third (tie) in the odds to win the Stanley Cup title, according to the sportsbook.
A couple of veteran defensemen are on the “Who’s Hot?” list a second week in a row.
There are some surprising names on the “Who’s Not?” list this week. These are the hottest forwards, defensemen and goaltenders in the NHL, as well as those players struggling recently.
- Kyle Connor, Winnipeg Jets: Even a scoreless effort in a loss to the Boston Bruins can’t keep him off this list. Connor had points in 10 games in a row. During a four-game stretch, he had three multi-point games (four goals and four assists in those contests).
Connor has seven goals and seven assists in the last seven games won by Winnipeg (+10 rating).
Scoring just one goal and three assists in his first nine games., Connor has turned it around. Teammate Pierre-Luc Dubois could easily be on the list as well (four goals, 12 assists over the last 11).
- Elias Lindholm, Calgary Flames: There was a bit of roster reshaping in Calgary in the offseason. Lindholm was among the key players who remained.
Lindholm has points in four consecutive games. He has assisted on seven of Calgary”s last 17 goals, and posted his first multi-goal game of the season when he scored twice (in 19 seconds) in a 5-2 win at San Jose.
- Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers: McDavid and Tage Thompson of the Buffalo Sabres seemingly could be on this week each week.
McDavid, the NHL’s leading scorer (65 points), scoring in 14 consecutive games (13 goals, 17 assists). Seven of those goals and 11 assists during that time have come on the power play.
Vegas odds list McDavid favored to win both the Rocket Richard Trophy (top goal scorer) and Hart Trophy (MVP).
- Erik Gustafsson, Washington Capitals: Having failed to score a goal in his first 31 games of the season, Gustafsson broke through with three in a recent win over Toronto. Then, two days after that, goal and an assist in an overtime win over Detroit.. He also assisted on the overtime winner against Ottawa.
Gustafsson is doing more than just piling the points. He doesn’t have a negative defensive rating over his last eight games, +11 during that stretch.
- Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks: Karlsson matched his season-high with four points (goal and three assists) in San Jose’s 5-2 win over Minnesota.
With two goals and 12 assists in nine games in December, he’s had a hand in 14 of the Sharks’ 31 goals during the month.
— San Jose Sharks (@SanJoseSharks) December 23, 2022
- Josh Morrissey, Winnipeg Jets: Another Winnipeg player makes the list. Morrissey has points in his last 11 games (goal and 13 assists) , +10 defensive rating during that stretch.
The lone goal was a winner against Ottawa, and his continued solid play helped Winnipeg win seven of its last 11.
- Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins: Jarry saw his seven-game winning streak snapped in an overtime loss to Carolina. However, he is 7-0-1 (2.25 goals-against average) in the month of December.
Jarry had his stretch of consecutive games with a save percentage of at least .900 snapped at 11.
- Pyotr Kochetkov, Carolina Hurricanes: Need a reason why the Carolina Hurricanes are the hottest team in the NHL? Start with the 23-year-old goalie. Kochetkov is 7-0-1 in the month of December, including two shutouts, 1.63 goals-against average and a save percentage of .939.
Kochetkov recently had back-to-back shutouts, having surrendered two goals or less in eight of his last nine.
- Charlie Lindgren, Washington Capitals: Lindgren is 7-1 over his last eight appearances. He’s surrendered two or fewer goals in seven of his nine games in December.
That’s some pretty impressive work by a player with a dozen NHL appearances over the previous four seasons.
- Arthur Kaliyev, Los Angeles Kings: So, after scoring eight times in his first 23 games, Kaliyev has one goal over the last 11. He did record an assist in a 4-1 win against Anaheim in his last game.
Kaliyev is currently day-to-day after blocking a shot against the Ducks, and it is uncertain when he will return
- Michael McLeod, New Jersey Devils: McLeod has gone 10 games without a goal, 13 shots on goal without a tally during a seven-game Devils’ losing streak. He was also -3 during that stretch.
New Jersey is undefeated when McLeod scores a goal, 1-4-2 in the last seven when he doesn’t record a point.
- Cole Sillinger, Columbus Blue Jackets: The struggles continue by a player coming off a 16-goal rookie season.
With no goals and one assist over the last 14 games, Sillinger twice he has played less than 10 minutes during that stretch. Sillinger has just a pair of goals and four assists in 30 games this season.
- Jack Johnson, Chicago Blackhawks: Johnson is on the list for the second week in a row, because not only has he been held scoreless in each of the last nine games, he hasn’t been on the ice for an even-strength goal while 11 goals have been scored against the Blackhawks over that span.
His -20 rating is his worst since the 2010-11 season with the Los Angeles Kings.
- J.J. Moser, Arizona Coyotes: Moser has no points and a -4 rating over his last five.
Also, no goals and two assists (-9 rating) in 11 games in December. Arizona is 3-6-2 over that stretch.
The Coyotes are 2-7-2 in the last 11 games when Moser doesn’t score.
- Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers: Another returnee in the “Who’s Not?” list, as no defenseman has been on the ice during more even-strength goals against during the month of December than Provorov. He doesn’t have a goal (one assist) in those contests.
Try no goal in his last 21, and had one stretch with six consecutive negative plus/minus ratings.
- Kaapo Kahkonen, San Jose Sharks: Kahkonen has won just one of his last six starts.
Kahkonen stopped only 69-of-83 shots in three games played in December (5.32 GAA) in those contests.
- Arvid Soderblom, Chicago Blackhawks: Soderblom is 0-5 (3.79 GAA) in six December games (five starts)
He surrendered seven goals on 26 shots to the New York Rangers in his last appearance.
- Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders: Sorokin can’t win even when he goes 65 minutes without surrendering a goal. Recently against Colorado, he stopped all 46 shots (regulation and overtime). The Isles lost, 1-0, in a shootout.
Sorokin is 0-5-1 during the month of December, save percentage of .897. According to the NHL betting lines, he’s still tied in second place in the odds to win the Vezina.