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NHL Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: Familiar Names at Top

There are some familiar names on the Who’s Hot list with Edmonton’s Connor McDavid and Tage Thompson of the Buffalo Sabres back in a familiar spot. Boston Bruins goalie Linus Ullmark is back as well.

Ullmark leads the NHL in all three major goaltending categories and he is a major reason why the NHL playoff odds list the Bruins (+600) with the second-best odds to win the Stanley Cup title.

NHL Who’s Hot and Who’s Not: Familiar Names at Top
Luke Glendening #11 of the Dallas Stars skates with the puck as Erik Gustafsson #56 of the Washington Capitals - Scott Taetsch/Getty Images/AFP

There are some surprising names on the Who’s Not list this week. Keep on reading for information on the hottest forwards, defensemen and goaltenders in the NHL, as well as those players struggling in recent games.

Let’s check the latest NHL picks, stats, injury reports, and NHL predictions. We’ve plenty of NHL expert picks for you to consider.

Who’s Hot

Forwards

  • Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers: With three games with four points already in the month of December, McDavid is back on the Who’s Hot list as he currently leads the NHL in scoring.
    Edmonton has won the last four games when McDavid has at least two points, and in eight games in December, the four-time NHL scoring champion leads the NHL with 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists).
    McDavid currently has even odds to win the Hart Memorial Trophy according to the sportsbook.
  • Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals: Joining legends Wayne Gretzky and Gordie Howe as the only 800-goal scorers in NHL history will get you on this list.
    He did it in impressive fashion with a hat trick in a win over Chicago as he scored on three of his five shots.
    He has seven goals and three assists over his last five games. Ovechkin has scored at least 20 goals in each of his 18 NHL seasons and the 37-year-old winger shows no signs of slowing down.
  • Tage Thompson, Buffalo Sabres: The breakthrough season for the former first-round pick continues.
    Thompson has three goals and two assists in the last two games as Buffalo defeated Los Angeles and won at Colorado for the first time since 2017.

Aided by a five-goal game, Thompson leads all NHL players with 10 goals during the month of December. Buffalo is 5-1-1 in the last seven games when Thompson scores a goal and 2-8-1 in the last 11 games when he doesn’t have a goal.

Thompson had career-highs with 38 goals and 30 assists last season. He is on pace for 66 goals and 60 assists and has a defensive rating of +8 (he is at +6 in December).

Defensemen

  • Tyson Barrie, Edmonton Oilers: No defenseman has more assists or points during the month of December than Barrie, who has 11 assists in eight games.
    Barrie assisted on five of the nine goals in a win at Nashville and a shootout loss to St. Louis. Over the last five games, he has nine assists. He is on pace for a career-high 53 assists.
  • Ian Cole, Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay’s acquisition of Cole did not garner the attention of some other off-season moves. However, he has fit right in with the reigning Eastern Conference champions.
    Cole has 10 games in a row without a negative defensive rating and his mark of +10 in December is tied for the best mark among defensemen.
    In the last four games, Cole is +9 and has a goal and an assist as Tampa Bay has won four games in a row.
  • K’Andre Miller, New York Rangers: Miller has a goal and four assists over the last five games to lead the Rangers to a five-game winning streak.
    The Rangers are 7-1 in the last eight games when Miller has at least one point.
    His playing time continues to increase, going from 21:39 in October to 22:06 in November and is at 23:25 so far in December.

Goalies

  • Tristan Jarry, Pittsburgh Penguins: Jarry hasn’t suffered a regulation loss in his last 12 games. He is 6-0-0 with a .939 save percentage and a goals-against average of 2.00.
    Jarry is 10-1-3 since the start of November, with the 10 wins one off the NHL lead during that stretch.
  • Pyotr Kochetov, Carolina Hurricanes: With Antti Raanta and Frederick Andersen on the roster, it was uncertain how much Kochetov would be playing this season. Now it is going to be hard to get him off the ice.
    He is 5-0-1 with a 1.68 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage with two shutouts in six games in December.
  • Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins: With a 17-1-1 record, a goals-against average of 1.83 and a .938 save percentage, Ullmark is currently leading all goalies in the three major categories.
    He is 9-0-1 in his last 11 games and has allowed more than two goals just twice during that span as the Bruins have the second-most points in the NHL.
    According to the Las Vegas odds, Ullmark (+350) is tied for the best odds to win the Vezina Trophy.

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Who’s Not

Forwards

  • Joel Farabee, Philadelphia Flyers: Farabee is one of just four forwards who has played in every game for the injury-plagued Flyers. However, being in the lineup every night hasn’t translated into production.
    Farabee has no goals and one assist over his last nine games. Farabee was on the ice for more than 20 minutes per game in October and 17:23 in November. However, he recently had a four-game stretch when he played less than 15 minutes each night.
  • Tanner Jeannot, Nashville Predators: The offensive struggles continue for Jeannot. Coming off a 24-goal season, Jeannot is stuck at three goals for the Predators.
    Jeannot doesn’t have a goal in his last 20 games and has just two assists during that time. He is on pace for nine goals and nine assists after finishing with 41 points a season ago.
  • Gabriel Vilardi, Los Angeles Kings: The former first-round pick started the season by scoring eight goals and adding five assists. However, the pace has slowed as he has no points in his last seven games and no goals over his last eight outings.
    Vilardi has been held to one shot or less in seven of his last eight games.

Defensemen

  • Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers: In recent losses to Tampa Bay, Seattle and Pittsburgh, Ekblad has a -9 rating and doesn’t have a point in his last four games.
    The former No. 1 overall pick has two goals, and five assists, and is +11 in Florida’s eight wins while he has two goals and three assists with a -21 rating in 12 losses.
  • Jack Johnson, Chicago Blackhawks: Coming off winning a Stanley Cup in his first season with the Colorado Avalanche, it has been a tough transition with the Blackhawks.
    In December, he has no points and no assists in six games. He hasn’t been on the ice for an even-strength goal scored by Chicago while seven goals have been scored by the opposition.
  • Ivan Provorov, Philadelphia Flyers: Coming off a season when he had a career-worst defensive rating of -20, he is headed that way once again.
    Provorov had six games in a row with negative defensive ratings before being +1 in a win over New Jersey on Thursday.
    Provorov had seasons with 13 and 17 goals earlier in his career, but he has no goals and one assist in eight December games and doesn’t have a goal in his last 18 games.
    He has been on the ice for 10 even-strength goals in December and only two defensemen have been on the ice for more.

Goalies

  • Alexandar Georgiev, Colorado Avalanche: Georgiev is 0-3-1 over his last four starts, and even when he stopped 28 of 29 shots against his former team, he came away with a shootout loss against the Rangers.
    Other than that game, his save percentage has been .858 over his last five games as all the missing stars for the defending Stanley Cup champions have made life difficult for Georgiev.
  • Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken: Grubauer has lost each of his last four starts and has allowed 14 goals during that stretch.
    In December, he is 1-4 with a goals-against average of 3.53 and a save percentage of .890.
  • Vitek Vanecek, New Jersey Devils: After a hot start with his new team, Vanecek has struggled a bit in December with just one win in five appearances.
    Vanecek is 1-1-2 and he has allowed 14 goals on 112 shots. He has allowed four goals on three occasions during that stretch.

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