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NHL Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: 20-20 Vision for Kucherov

Fresh off a win over the NHL-leading Boston Bruins, Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning is among the stars making an appearance on the latest “Who’s Hot” list. Boston’s David Pastrnak is back on the list, along with goalie Jeremy Swayman.

Struggling Vancouver has plenty of players on the “Who’s Not” list. However, defenseman Quinn Hughes is showing that not all the news coming out of Vancouver these days are negative.

NHL Who’s Hot, Who’s Not: 20-20 Vision for Kucherov
Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche - Steph Chambers/AFP

Boston (+550), even after losing to Tampa Bay on Thursday, still has the best odds to win the Stanley Cup title, according to the Las Vegas odds.

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 recently struggling.

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

Who’s Hot

Forwards

  • Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning: Kucherov has points in five straight games, with two goals and five assists over that span. Kucherov has five goals and 11 assists as the Lightning are 7-2 over the last nine games, including Thursday’s thrilling win over the Bruins. He recently scored his 20th goal, making it the eighth season in a row he has hit that mark.
  • Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche: One has to wonder what his point total would be right now if MacKinnon didn’t miss 11 games. He has points in nine of his last 10 games, with four goals and 13 assists. MacKinnon has factored into 44% of Colorado’s goals during that stretch and a six-game winning streak, which came to an end with Thursday’s loss to Anaheim. The defending Stanley Cup champions are now back in playoff position in the Western Conference.
  • David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins: After being held without a point in the Winter Classic win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, Pastrnak has been lighting it up in January. He has six multi-point games, including four games with at least two goals for a Bruins team that continues to lead the NHL in points. Pastrnak is on pace to score more than 60 goals and approach 120 points. The Las Vegas odds list Pastrnak as a distant second behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid in the odds to win the Hart Trophy.

Defensemen

  • Dougie Hamilton, New Jersey Devils: Hamilton has three straight multi-point games with three goals and four assists. Hamilton had the game-winning goals in overtime in back-to-back wins over Pittsburgh and Vegas. Hamilton has at least two points in eight of his last 16 games and a +8 defensive rating as the Devils are just two points out of first place in the Metropolitan Division.
  • Quinn Hughes, Vancouver Canucks: Things are a mess in Vancouver. However, Hughes is doing everything he can to change that. Hughes is +8 over the last 10, even though the Canucks have been outscored by 16 goals during that stretch. So far in January, he has three goals and 10 assists in 12 games.
  • Roman Josi, Nashville Predators: The former Norris Trophy winner has three goals and seven assists with a +7 rating over the last 10 games. During Nashville’s current three-game winning streak, he has five assists and is +9. In Thursday’s win over New Jersey, he had an assist and was +5. Josi leads Nashville with 29 assists and is tied for the team lead with 41 points.

Goalies

  • Jake Oettinger, Dallas Stars: Oettinger has a 1.87 goals-against average (GAA) and save percentage of .934 in nine starts in January. With a little more goal support, he could be undefeated in the month as 10 goals have been scored by the Stars in the last five losses when Oettinger is between the pipes. According to the sportsbook, Oettinger (+800) is third in the odds to win the Vezina Trophy.
  • Jeremy Swayman, Boston Bruins: Swayman would be the No. 1 goalie on plenty of NHL teams. However, he is thriving as the No. 2 guy for the NHL-leading Bruins. Swayman has won the last five games he has started and has a .958 save percentage and a 1.19 GAA in January. Swayman hasn’t suffered a regulation loss in his last nine starts and has allowed two goals or less in eight of those appearances.
  • Vitek Vanecek, New Jersey Devils: Vanecek is 8-0-0 over his last eight games and has allowed two goals or less seven times over his last 10 outings.

Among goalies who have played in at least seven games since Dec. 30, only the Boston duo of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark and Jake Oettinger of Dallas has a better GAA than Vanecek’s mark of 2.07. He is also tied for second in NHL wins during that stretch.

Jake Oettinger #29 of the Dallas Stars
Jake Oettinger #29 of the Dallas Stars – Ronald Martine/AFP

Who’s Not

Forwards

  • Jeff Carter, Pittsburgh Penguins: Carter scored at least 20 goals in 11 straight seasons. However, his goal-scoring pace has slowed down in recent years, with an average of 16 goals over his last five. He’ll be fortunate to reach that number this season. Carter is eighth on the Penguins with seven goals and just five of those have come at even strength. He has no goals and no assists in his last nine games and is also -4 during that span.
  • Lars Eller, Washington Capitals: Eller’s value during his seven seasons with the Capitals can’t be measured by his goals and assists. Still, he has no points in 11 games played in January. Eller has just three points in his last 19 games. While the Capitals were winning games without production from the veteran center, they are just 2-5 over the last seven games.
  • Chris Kreider, New York Rangers: Kreider has no goals and no assists in the three games since he returned to action. He has six shots on goal during that time, so he isn’t getting that many opportunities. Kreider started January with three goals in the first four games, with the Rangers going 3-0-1 in those contests. Since then, he has no points in four games.

Defensemen

  • Thomas Chabot, Ottawa Senators: Chabot has posted a -12 plus/minus number in four of his five full NHL seasons and seems to be headed there again. Chabot is -8 over his last eight games and is currently at -14 in 42 games this season. Chabot has no points in seven of his last eight games and doesn’t have a goal in his last 17.
  • Tyler Myers, Vancouver Canucks: Take your pick of veteran Vancouver defensemen. Over the last three weeks, four defensemen have ratings of -10 or worse and two of them play for the Canucks. Oliver Ekman-Larsson gets a pass this week as Myers makes this list for the second week in a row. Myers has one goal, no assists and is -12 over the last 10 games without posting a positive rating in any of them.
  • Ryan Pulock, New York Islanders: While plenty of Islanders are struggling during the team’s six-game losing streak, Pulock is certainly among the players in the biggest funk. He has no goals, no assists and is -6 over those six games. Pulock has no goals in his last 11 games as the Islanders have won just once during that time. He has posted a positive plus/minus rating just once during that time.

Goalies

  • John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks: Gibson is 2-4-1 with a 5.05 GAA and .879 save percentage over his last seven games. Those numbers could be even worse if not for Gibson stopping all 18 shots as he played the final two periods in a recent win at Columbus and if he didn’t stop 41 of 44 shots in a win over Colorado on Thursday.
  • Jacob Markstrom, Calgary Flames: Markstrom has lost his last five starts and has allowed 16 goals over that stretch. He has given up at least three goals in five of his last seven games.
  • Spencer Martin, Vancouver Canucks: New Canucks coach Rick Tocchet left Martin in there for all six goals in a loss to Seattle, and Martin is now 0-7 with a 5.26 GAA and save percentage of .839.

Martin is becoming a regular on this list, as this is his third straight appearance. Martin has allowed at least three goals in each of his last eight games.

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