NHL Barometer: Risers & Fallers

NHL Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.

This week's article includes another center rolling in the Sunshine State, a lesser-known winger in L.A., the Flower blooming in the Windy City, Malkin is back and the No. 2 center in the Hub scuffling. 

First Liners (Risers)

Anton Lundell, C, FLA – Lundell entered Saturday with seven assists in his prior seven games but rectified that by lighting the lamp twice. Lundell, drafted 12th overall in 2020, is up to nine goals and 14 helpers in 34 games. The rookie averages less than 17 minutes of ice time this season but has seen a few extra minutes over this hot stretch. Lundell is the third-line center for the Cats, but given the talent around him, this is not an impediment to him hitting the scoresheet frequently. 

Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS – Any concerns that Bergeron's production would decline as he ages have been somewhat put to rest this year. Despite the fact the Perfection Line has been broken up for the moment and David Pastrnak is skating on another unit, Bergeron has put together three goals and 12 points in his last 13 games, including a pair of helpers Saturday, giving him 30 points in 34 games. Bergeron surpassed 900 career points this season and should land in the Hall of Fame. 

Trevor Moore, LW, LA – Moore is thriving with the additional ice time he is receiving on the second line. With two goals and nine assists in his last six outings, the

This week's article includes another center rolling in the Sunshine State, a lesser-known winger in L.A., the Flower blooming in the Windy City, Malkin is back and the No. 2 center in the Hub scuffling. 

First Liners (Risers)

Anton Lundell, C, FLA – Lundell entered Saturday with seven assists in his prior seven games but rectified that by lighting the lamp twice. Lundell, drafted 12th overall in 2020, is up to nine goals and 14 helpers in 34 games. The rookie averages less than 17 minutes of ice time this season but has seen a few extra minutes over this hot stretch. Lundell is the third-line center for the Cats, but given the talent around him, this is not an impediment to him hitting the scoresheet frequently. 

Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS – Any concerns that Bergeron's production would decline as he ages have been somewhat put to rest this year. Despite the fact the Perfection Line has been broken up for the moment and David Pastrnak is skating on another unit, Bergeron has put together three goals and 12 points in his last 13 games, including a pair of helpers Saturday, giving him 30 points in 34 games. Bergeron surpassed 900 career points this season and should land in the Hall of Fame. 

Trevor Moore, LW, LA – Moore is thriving with the additional ice time he is receiving on the second line. With two goals and nine assists in his last six outings, the California native is up to 18 points, 76 shots on net, 39 hits and a plus-7 rating through 38 games overall. Moore went from eight points in 25 games with Toronto in 2018-19 as a rookie to 10 points in 42 games between the Maple Leafs and Kings the following season to 23 points in 56 games last year. Moore is on a line with Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson while manning a wing on the second power play unit.

Jordan Eberle, RW, Sea – Eberle is having a solid enough campaign for the Kraken. With seven points, all assists, in his last 12 games, Eberle, a 12-year veteran, has done an admirable job as the club's top-line right winger based on 12 goals, 12 assists and seven power-play points through 35 games. With two seasons remaining on the five-year, $27.5 million contract he signed with the Islanders in June 2019, Eberle is likely to remain in Seattle for at least one more season before he probably is dealt in the final year of his deal. Until then, he should continue to serve in a top-six role.

Riley Stillman, D, CHI – Stillman is usually known as defensive defenseman, setting a career high with five points two seasons ago while a member of the Panthers. Lately, he has ramped up the offensive part of his game, extending his point streak to five games with a helper on Brandon Hagel's first-period tally Saturday. During that streak, which ended Monday, Stillman logged a goal and five assists, giving the 23-year-old blueliner 10 points this season. While that streak has ended, Stillman has shown he can be a bit more productive than originally thought. 

Filip Hronek, D, DET – With all the attention rightly given to Moritz Seider, Hronek has traveled slightly under the radar this season. His assist Saturday gave Hronek 16 apples with five goals, 34 hits and 44 blocked shots in 38 games. Those fine numbers are slightly offset by Hronek's minus-10 rating, though the improvement he showed last season in both ends of the ice have been on full display this season. Simon Edvinsson will be in Hockeytown, USA, before too long, but until then Hronek is the No. 2 blueliner behind Seider. 

Kaapo Kahkonen, G, MIN – Kahkonen has ably stepped in for the injured Cam Talbot between the pipes in Minnesota. He notched his third straight victory Friday, improving his season totals to 7-2-1 with a 2.56 goals-against average (GAA) and a .917 save percentage in 11 appearances. Kahkonen lost in a shootout to Colorado on Monday, stopping 35 of 38 shots, slightly raising his GAA. The Finn was the AHL Goaltender of the Year in 2019-20 and showed last season in 24 games that he was up to the challenge of playing in the NHL. Kahkonen is still behind Talbot in net for the Wild but is more than reliable when receiving the call to start. 

Marc-Andre Fleury, G, CHI – The Blackhawks and Fleury notched their fourth consecutive win in a shutout of the Ducks on Saturday before falling in a shootout to Seattle on Monday. In those four victories, the Flower stopped 118 of 123 shots while improving to .500. He then stopped 35 of 37 shots vs. the Kraken. Chicago is still far south of a playoff berth, increasing the likelihood it deals Fleury, whose contract extension he signed with Las Vegas in 2018 expires after the season. The better Fleury plays, the higher the probable return for the Blackhawks, who are building for the future.        

Others include Ryan Hartman, Auston Matthews, Vincent Trocheck, Robert Thomas, Erik Haula, Brayden Point, Dylan Larkin, Andrew Copp. Mathew Barzal, Mika Zibanejad, Phillip Danault, Sam Bennett, Trevor Zegras, Mats Zuccarello, Tyler Bertuzzi, Adrian Kempe, Phil Kessel, Anthony Duclair, Patrick Kane, Timo Meier (five goals Monday), Brandon Saad, Nikita Kucherov, Mikko Rantanen, Taylor Hall, Jonathan Huberdeau, Alex DeBrincat, Kevin Fiala, Chris Kreider, Devon Toews, Adam Fox, Cale Makar, Aaron Ekblad, Brent Burns, Sean Durzi, MacKenzie Weegar, Cal Petersen, Sergei Bobrovsky, Linus Ullmark, Igor Shesterkin and Pavel Francouz

Buy Low

Maxime Comtois, LW, ANA – Comtois had a breakout campaign in his third season, posting 16 goals and 17 assists in 55 games. He started slowly this season but has finally found his game in January. In seven games this month, Comtois has two goals and three assists. He could be set for more time alongside Trevor Zegras after Sonny Milano (upper body) exited Friday's game early. Comtois, who also gets first-line power play duty, has six points, 36 shots, 35 hits and a minus-6 rating in 21 outings. 

Training Room (Injuries)

Evgeni Malkin, C, PIT – Malkin, out the first three months of the season following knee surgery, made a triumphant return last Tuesday, notching a pair of goals and an assist. The 35-year-old was pretty good last year with 28 points in 33 games, but it was the first season he finished with less than a point-per-game pace since 2010-11. Pittsburgh survived, and at times, thrived without their second-line center, but a healthy Malkin makes the Penguins' offense that much more dangerous. 

Others include players still on the COVID-19 protocol list, as well as Tyler Toffoli (hand surgery, out since Dec. 4, was to miss eight weeks, expected back this week), Kirill Kaprizov (upper body, injured Jan. 6, returned with two assists last Friday), Sonny Milano (upper body, injured Friday, missed Saturday's game), Connor Brown (jaw, broken in pre-game Thursday, listed on injured reserve Saturday), Josh Anderson (upper body, out since Dec. 2, played Monday), Jason Zucker (lower body, missed four weeks with injury, returned Monday with a pair of goals), Ondrej Palat (undisclosed, missed second straight game Saturday), Jason Robertson (lower body injury, did not play Saturday against the Lightning) and Tuukka Rask (offseason surgery to repair torn labrum in right hip, returned with a win last Thursday). 

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Charlie Coyle, C, BOS – Coyle is in the midst of a significant rough patch, notching just one goal and assist in his last 13 games, including no points in his last seven contests. Expected to fill the second-line center role vacated by the departure of David Krejci, who went back home, Coyle got off to a decent enough start. His current slump could result in Coyle swapping lines with Erik Haula, who has notched a point in seven of his last eight games, with Haula centering the second line and Coyle shifting to the third trio.

Nick Schmaltz, RW, AZ – Schmaltz finished 2020-21 with 10 goals and 22 helpers in 52 appearances, missing the last four games of the year due to a concussion. The 25-year-old winger started slowly this year with just one assist in six games before spending 19 games on injured reserve with an upper-body injury. Since returning, Schmaltz had a goal and six assists in 11 games but just one helper in his last seven games prior to Monday when he posted a goal and two assists. He has been bounced down several lines, though is still getting time on the No. 1 power-play unit. 

Elvis Merzlikins, G, CLM – Merzlikins allowed four goals on 15 shots Saturday before he was pulled against Florida. He has scuffled lately, going 4-5-1 in his last 10 appearances, getting pulled early in three of his last eight starts. In that stretch, though, Merzlikins shut out Carolina on Thursday, making it difficult to bench him in head-to-head or even roto formats. With Merzlikins scuffling, Joonas Korpisalo could see additional time between the pipes in the short term.

Others include Ryan Getzlaf, Kirby Dach, Max Domi, Owen Tippett, Adam Erne, Eeli Tolvanen, Nils Hoglander, Jesper Boqvist, Nils Lundkvist (AHL), Carter Hart and Jeremy Swayman.

Sell High

Neal Pionk, D, WPG – Pionk has hit the skids after missing three games due to a suspension and concussion. In the last seven games, Pionk has just one assist. Overall, he has two goals and 15 apples in 31 games, well below his scoring pace of his first two years in Winnipeg. Pionk is still playing more than 22 minutes of ice time per game, including three minutes on the man-advantage, so he should get somewhat back on track in the near-term, though maybe not to the extent he scored the prior two seasons.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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