Surprise, surprise, surprise, Edmonton forward Connor McDavid is sitting atop the NHL scoring race with teammate Leon Draisaitl.
With a string of multi-point games, McDavid headlines this week’s “Who’s Hot” list.
If the early part of the NHL season could be summed up by one game, it would be Boston’s improbable 6-5 comeback over Pittsburgh. It is part of the Bruins’ seven-game winning streak and one of the blemishes during Pittsburgh’s six-game losing skid.
When looking at the NHL playoff odds, McDavis and the Oilers are priced at +600 to win the Western Conference title. Only defending Stanley Cup champions Colorado and Calgary have better odds to win the Western Conference.
Keep on reading for information on the hottest forwards, defensemen, and goaltenders in the NHL, as well as those players trending in the other direction.
- Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers: It seems like months have passed since McDavid had no goals and one assist in a three-game stretch. Since that time, he has had four straight multi-point games with seven goals and six assists.
He has been putting up the points on the power play (three goals and three assists) and 5 on 5 (four goals and three assists) as Edmonton has won three of its last four games. McDavid is tied with teammate Leon Draisaitl for the NHL scoring lead.
The four-time NHL scoring champion continues to be very popular among those who bet online.
- Tage Thompson, Buffalo Sabres: Thompson managed just one goal and two assists over his first seven games. It has been a different story during Buffalo’s three-game winning streak.
Aided by a six-point effort (three goals and three assists) in an 8-3 victory against the Detroit Red Wings, Thompson has six goals and five assists in his last three contests. He has 22 shots on the goal during that stretch and a defensive rating of +4.
— Buffalo Sabres (@BuffaloSabres) November 3, 2022
- Andrei Kuzmenko, Vancouver Canucks: Vancouver was winless in its first seven games, with the 26-year-old winger having a goal and an assist in those matches. Since that time, the Canucks are 3-1. In the three victories, he has five goals and three assists.
After six straight double-digit goal seasons in the KHL, Kuzmenko was signed to a one-year contract by the Canucks, proving to be one of the best moves in the offseason in the NHL.
- Erik Karlsson, San Jose Sharks: Karlsson has already hit the double-digit goal mark and scored in the last four games. He has seven goals and five assists during that span.
Karlsson didn’t hit the 10-goal mark last season until March 24th. His career-highs were 21 goals and 82 points when he was a member of the Ottawa Senators. At his current pace, he would have 63 goals and 50 assists.
- Hampus Lindholm, Boston Bruins: The Bruins gave up a first-round pick, two second-rounders, former first-round selection Urho Vaakanainen, and veteran John Moore to acquire Lindholm. There are few complaints being heard from the Boston fans these days.
During Boston’s seven-game winning streak, Lindholm has three goals and eight assists and is +8. He has been taking on added responsibility with injuries piling up with the Bruins. Star defenseman Charlie McAvoy hasn’t played yet, while fellow blueliners Brandon Carlo, Derek Forbort, and Matt Grzelcyk have missed games and the Bruins have the best record in the NHL.
- John Marino, New Jersey Devils: Considering that the Pittsburg Penguins have lost six games in a row and the New Jersey Devils are winners of five straight, one has to wonder if the Penguins are regretting the trade that sent Marino to New Jersey.
In his six games, Marino has a goal and five assists to go with a defensive rating of +10. The only player in the NHL with a better plus/minus rating during that stretch is teammate Ryan Graves.
Since being -1 in the season opener, Marino hasn’t had another game with a negative defensive rating.
- Ilya Sorokin, New York Islanders: Sorokin is 4-0-0 over his last four starts, stopping 127 of 132 shots. That run began with a 41-save shutout against rival New York Rangers.
Sorokin has allowed two goals or less in six of his eight starts this season, with the Islanders posting regulation victories in five of those outings.
- Logan Thompson, Vegas Golden Knights: Thompson has won his last four starts. In the first three, he stopped 70 of 73 shots. The last time out, he did allow four goals, but his team bailed him out with a 5-4 win over Ottawa.
- Linus Ullmark, Boston Bruins: When taking roll of the players responsible for an injury-plagued Boston team having the best record in the NHL, it doesn’t take long for Ullmark’s name to be called. He is one of the reasons the NHL betting lines have the Bruins tied for sixth in the odds to win the Stanley Cup.
Ullmark is 8-0-0 with a 2.17 goals-against average this season. He stopped 60 of 61 shots in back-to-back games against Dallas and Columbus.
The question with Ullmark is how much he will play in the coming weeks and months with the other Boston goalie Jeremy Swayman considered to be week-to-week with a lower-body injury.
- Jonathan Drouin, Montreal Canadiens: The former third-overall selection has no goals and just two assists in nine games this season.
He has been held without a point in the last five games and is -5 during that time. He has failed to register a shot on goal in four games this season, and much more is expected from him.
- Danton Heinen, Pittsburgh Penguins: After having three goals and three assists in the first five games of the season, Heinen has not recorded a point during the Penguins’ six-game losing streak.
His playing time is starting to suffer as he is averaging 10:05 of ice time in the last three games after playing more than 15 minutes in five of the previous six contests.
- Sam Reinhart, Florida Panthers: Reinhart hasn’t scored a goal in 11 games this season and has been held without a point in his last three games in eight of the last nine.
His lack of production has not come from a lack of opportunity, as he has seen more than 20 minutes of ice time in six of the last seven games.
- Cam Fowler, Anaheim Ducks: Fowler has just one assist in 11 games this season. He is struggling in his own zone as well. Over the last five games, he has a defensive rating of -6 as Anaheim is in last place in the Pacific Division standings.
With talented young defenseman Jamie Drysdale out long term, even more is going to be asked of Fowler as he looks to have more of a positive impact.
- Matt Dumba, Minnesota Wild: Dumba has not only failed to record a point in his last nine games but also has eight giveaways and no takeaways over his last six games.
The only good news is that Minnesota is 4-2 during that span, with two games against Montreal, one against Chicago and another versus Ottawa, helping the Wild pick up points even while one of their best defensemen struggles to find his game.
- Kris Letang, Pittsburgh Penguins: Plenty of Penguins are struggling during the team’s six-game losing streak. However, Letang has no goals and one assist and is -10 during that time.
His lone point came on the power play, as he has no even-strength points in his last six games.
- Mackenzie Blackwood, New Jersey Devils: Blackwood has a .847 save percentage and goals against average of 4.20 over his last three games.
Once thought to be the goalie of the future in New Jersey, Vitek Vanecek has taken over as the No. 1 netminder with the Devils as he has won each of his last four starts.
- Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks: Demko has just one win this season and has allowed four goals or more in five of his last six games.
Among starting goalies, he ranks near the bottom of the NHL with a 4.05 goals-against average and save percentage of .874. In his only win of the season, he still allowed four goals against Seattle.
- John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks: Gibson has allowed 17 goals over his last four games.
He is 2-6-1 with a 4.58 goals-against average this season. It doesn’t help that former Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm is thriving in Boston and Jamie Drysdale is going to be out of action for a while. As a result, Gibson is seeing nearly 40 shots on goal over 60 minutes this season.