Through nine weeks of the NHL season, the Carolina Hurricanes, New York Islanders, Vegas Golden Knights, and Toronto Maple Leafs lead their respective divisions. In a week that featured Patrick Kane’s 1000th game, Connor McDavid was the first to reach the 50-point mark this season. Let’s take a look at this week’s top performers!
Forwards: Draisaitl, Ehlers, & McDavid
The Edmonton Oilers took full advantage of their games against the Ottawa Senators, scoring a whopping 16 goals in three games against them. In four games played, Leon Draisaitl led the Oilers in goals with six this week. He scored five against the Senators and one against the Vancouver Canucks. He also had three assists, bringing him to a total of nine for the week. Draisaitl exploded for a five-point night on Wednesday, highlighted by a hat trick for the 25-year-old forward.
Draisatl is second in the league in points (45), third in goals (16), and third in assists (29). He leads the Oilers in power-play goals (9) and game-winning goals (5). He will look to extend his point streak to seven games on Monday as the Oilers take on the Calgary Flames in the Battle of Alberta.
The Oilers have had a streaky first half of the season, but Connor McDavid has remained consistent through it all. He has been held off of the scoresheet in back-to-back games just once this season, a three-game skid against the Toronto Maple Leafs. This week he found the back of the net twice and tallied seven helpers.
He recorded two assists in each of the three games against the Senators, in addition to a goal on Wednesday and Friday. He added an assist against the Canucks on Saturday, along with seven shots on goal.
McDavid leads the league in points and assists, with 52 and 35, respectively. Through 30 games, he has lit the lamp 17 times, good for second in the league. Averaging 1.73 points per game, he is on pace to score 97 points this season. It is not unreasonable to think that he could reach the 100-point mark in 56 games, a feat only achieved by 13 other players in NHL history.
Nikolaj Ehlers has been a driving force in the Winnipeg Jets’ offense this season. He certainly took care of business in three games against the Maple Leafs this week, recording two assists on Tuesday, two goals and an assist on Thursday, and finished with a goal on Saturday.
Playing alongside Pierre-Luc Dubois and Kyle Connor, Ehlers is thriving this season. In 27 games, he has scored 14 goals and 15 assists with a plus-10 rating. He leads the Jets in game-winning goals (3) and shots on goal (84). He is second on the team in points, trailing only Mark Scheifele. The Jets take on the Montreal Canadiens Monday at Bell MTS Place.
Honorable Mention: Kirill Kaprizov dazzled again this week, scoring four goals and an assist. He scored a hat trick on Friday against the Arizona Coyotes.
Defensemen: Barrie & Werenski
Tyson Barrie is another member of the Oilers who benefited from their scoring outburst this week. He scored a goal and five assists in three games against the Senators but was held off the scoresheet against the Canucks. He also had 17 shots on goal, four blocked shots, and a plus-4 rating.
Barrie has played a large role in the Oilers’ offense this season. He is third on the team in points, with 24 in 30 games played. Among defensemen, he is tied for third in both points and assists. Interestingly, he also leads the league in points among players on a new team this season. He is riding a three-game point streak into Calgary on Monday.
Zach Werenski is not on pace to match the 20 goals he scored last season, but Blue Jackets fans were happy to see an offensive resurgence from him this week. He recorded at least a point in all four games, including two goals and three assists. His most productive night game against the Dallas Stars on Saturday, tallying an assist and the game-winning goal in overtime.
Werenski now has three goals and nine assists in 23 games played this season. He also has 14 hits, 25 blocked shots, 57 shots on goal, and a minus-3 rating. Werenski and the Blue Jackets will take on the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday as they begin a tough stretch of games. They play the top three teams in the Central Division — the Hurricanes, Panthers, and Lightning — in 10 of their next 12 games.
Honorable Mention: Dylan Coghlan of the Vegas Golden Knights tallied four points in four games this week, including a hat trick against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday.
After a disappointing first season in Sunrise, Bobrovsky is finally finding his form for the Florida Panthers. He was just one of two goalies to win three starts this week. He opened the week with two wins over the Columbus Blue Jackets, making 66 saves on 72 shots in the contests.
His third win came against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday, giving up just two goals on 32 shots. The 32-year-old backstop finished the week with a .923 save percentage (SV%) and a 2.64 goals against average (GAA).
Bobrovsky has been on fire so far this month, winning all five of his starts, and has improved to a record of 11-2-2 on the season with a 2.95 GAA and a .905 SV%. He will look to keep the momentum going against the Chicago Blackhawks on Monday as the Panthers look to keep pace in the Central Division.
Honorable Mention: Philipp Grubauer won three of his four starts this week, including an 18 save shutout against the Los Angeles Kings. He improves to 15-7-0 with a .923 SV% and a 1.91 GAA this season.
As teams reach the midpoint of their seasons, week 10 is upon us! What to watch this week: the Battle of Alberta returns, the Florida Panthers and Tampa Bay Lightning clash for in-state bragging rights, and the Philadelphia Flyers rekindle their rivalry with the New York Rangers.
Andrew is a freelance writer who covers the Tampa Bay Lightning at The Hockey Writers. He is a passionate hockey fan who grew up near Tampa, Florida. He is a husband, father to a Golden Retriever, and is studying to be a Physician Assistant. Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_Mulville