NHL Barometer: Risers & Fallers

NHL Barometer: Risers & Fallers

This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.

This week's article includes a resurgent vet in Music City, a hot Islanders winger, Yandle handling the Philly PP, Anton who in Ottawa, Wheeler down and Seattle's captain scuffling. 

First Liners (Risers) 

Mark Scheifele, C, WPG – Scheifele, after a slow start that may have also been impacted by missing five games due to COVID, is on a roll. The 28-year-old scored Friday to extend his point streak to five games, during which he has posted five tallies and four assists. Scheifele is up to seven goals, 17 points, 44 shots on net and a minus-2 rating through 21 outings. With Blake Wheeler (knee) sidelined, more of the burden will fall on the Kyle Connor-Scheifele-Nikolaj Ehlers trio.

Ryan Johansen, C, NAS – The Predators' fate has turned thanks to the rebound of several of their veterans, including Johansen. Nashville's first-line center has 24 points in 27 games, including 15 in his last 11. Those 24 points exceed Johansen's total from last season in 48 games, and if he continues to score at a similar rate, finishing north of 60 points could be in the offing. If so, it would be the sixth time in his career that Johansen topped that mark. Johansen entered the league's COVID-19 protocol Sunday, potentially sidelining him for a bit.

Oliver Wahlstrom, LW, NYI – Wahlstrom remained hot Saturday, notching a pair of assists, giving him three straight multi-point efforts and four in his last five games. This season, Wahlstrom

This week's article includes a resurgent vet in Music City, a hot Islanders winger, Yandle handling the Philly PP, Anton who in Ottawa, Wheeler down and Seattle's captain scuffling. 

First Liners (Risers) 

Mark Scheifele, C, WPG – Scheifele, after a slow start that may have also been impacted by missing five games due to COVID, is on a roll. The 28-year-old scored Friday to extend his point streak to five games, during which he has posted five tallies and four assists. Scheifele is up to seven goals, 17 points, 44 shots on net and a minus-2 rating through 21 outings. With Blake Wheeler (knee) sidelined, more of the burden will fall on the Kyle Connor-Scheifele-Nikolaj Ehlers trio.

Ryan Johansen, C, NAS – The Predators' fate has turned thanks to the rebound of several of their veterans, including Johansen. Nashville's first-line center has 24 points in 27 games, including 15 in his last 11. Those 24 points exceed Johansen's total from last season in 48 games, and if he continues to score at a similar rate, finishing north of 60 points could be in the offing. If so, it would be the sixth time in his career that Johansen topped that mark. Johansen entered the league's COVID-19 protocol Sunday, potentially sidelining him for a bit.

Oliver Wahlstrom, LW, NYI – Wahlstrom remained hot Saturday, notching a pair of assists, giving him three straight multi-point efforts and four in his last five games. This season, Wahlstrom has played mainly on the third line but has had the occasional shift with Mathew Barzal on the top line or Brock Nelson on the second line. His recent hot streak is likely to entail a tick up in ice time per game, which is about 13 minutes per, and result in his seeing additional action in the top-six. If available in your league, jump on Wahlstrom, who has eight goals and five helpers in 23 games, now.

Pavel Buchnevich, LW, STL – Buchnevich's roll continued Saturday with the winger tallying a goal and an assist. After posting a point his first seven games in the Arch City, Buchnevich has 20 points, including nine goals, in his last 18 games. Traded by the Rangers to the Blues before the draft, Buchnevich signed a four-year, $23.2 million contract with St. Louis last July. The career-high 48 points he tallied last season looks to be at risk of falling.

Keith Yandle, D, PHI – Overall, it's been a difficult season for the Flyers, resulting in the firing of coach Alain Vigneault, and Yandle. But at least for Yandle, the tide has turned recently with the veteran blueliner notching five assists in his last five games after going 18 games without a point. The 35-year-old is little more than a power-play specialist at this point in his career, as seven of his 10 helpers through 25 outings have come on the man-advantage. Temper your overall expectations. 

Devon Toews, D, COL – Most of the focus on Colorado's blueline is rightly centered on Cale Makar. But the Avalanche have a wealth of talent on defense, including Toews, who was acquired from the cap-strapped Islanders for a pair of second rounders before last season. Toews extended his point streak to five Friday with the last four games the multi-point variety. Through 16 games, the 27-year-old has four goals, 16 helpers, 33 shots on net and a plus-19 rating and is on pace to raise his point total for the third consecutive campaign.

Anton Forsberg, G, OTT – Forsberg's overall numbers do not leap off the page, but don't let that dissuade you from rostering him. Even after the 29-year-old netminder's unlikely first career NHL shutout Saturday against the defending league champion, Forsberg still carries a rough 3.34 goals-against average and .904 save percentage on the season. But, on the flip side, Forsberg has posted four consecutive wins, which have moved him to the top of the depth chart for Ottawa, at least in the short term. Enjoy the ride for however it long it lasts.

Linus Ullmark, G, BOS – Ullmark is splitting time with Jeremy Swayman between the pipes for Boston. While Swayman has seen the larger share of the action, Ullmark has chipped away slightly at the disparity, including starting and winning games Thursday and Saturday. Ullmark has not allowed more than two goals. His last five starts, though, have been spread out over slightly more than a three-week span. Make sure Ullmark is in your active roster when he is in net for the Bruins. 

Others include Bo Horvat, Josh Norris, William Nylander, Patrice Bergeron, Trevor Zegras, Alex Newhook, Nick Suzuki, Sidney Crosby, Brady Tkachuk, Jesper Bratt, Alex Killorn, Evgenii Dadonov, Alexander Barabanov, Kyle Connor, Max Pacioretty, Jaden Schwartz, Vladislav Namestnikov, Artemi Panarin, Tomas Hertl, Kevin Fiala, Jakub Voracek, Drake Batherson, Robby Fabbri, Adam Fox, Erik Karlsson, John Klingberg, Alex Pietrangelo, Thomas Chabot, Nate Schmidt, Nicolas Hague, Jacob Trouba, Juuse Saros, Alexandar Georgiev, Charlie Lindgren, Jonathan Quick, Cam Talbot, Thatcher Demko and Tristan Jarry

Buy Low

Viktor Arvidsson, LW, LA – Arvidsson, four seasons into the seven-year, $29.75 million contract he signed with the Predators in July 2017, was traded to the Kings in July. After consecutive seasons scoring 61 points, Arvidsson saw his production fall steadily the last three years, cratering to 25 points in 50 contests last year. In L.A., Arvidsson plays alongside either Anze Kopitar or Phillip Danault at even strength, and his game has picked up lately, as he has racked up three goals and five assists in his last eight games. 

Training Room (Injuries)

Blake Wheeler, RW, WPG – Wheeler will be sidelined a while with a knee injury suffered in a net-front collision Friday against the Canucks. The injury could not have come at a worse time for the Jets and Wheeler, who had put his slow start in the rear-view mirror with a five-game point streak. During that span, Winnipeg's captain had totaled 10 of 17 points on the season, including his first goal on the year, scored just before the injury, 

Others include Ryan Getzlaf (lower body, activated off injured reserve Saturday after missing two weeks), Brock Nelson (lower body, activated Saturday after missing seven games), Mitch Marner (shoulder, collided with Jake Muzzin at practice Dec. 3, on LTIR, out to Dec. 27), Aleksander Barkov (undisclosed, placed back on injured reserve Monday after playing just one game), Jake Guentzel (upper body, injured Dec. 6, week-to-week), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body, left Friday's contest, will miss two weeks), Tyler Toffoli (underwent hand surgery last Wednesday, expected to be sidelined eight weeks), David Perron (upper body, missed seventh straight game Saturday), Tom Wilson (upper body, injured Friday, didn't play against Buffalo on Saturday), Jakob Chychrun (upper body, didn't play Saturday), Igor Shesterkin (lower body, out since Dec. 3, could be back this week), John Gibson (lower body, left Saturday's game after the second period, sat Sunday), Pavel Francouz (ankle, promoted from AHL conditioning stint Sunday) and Ben Bishop (knee, will remain on LTIR unto contract expires).

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Sean Couturier, C, PHI – Couturier has a goal and an assist in his last two games, so maybe the tide is turning. It's been a disappointing year, though, for the Flyers' first-line center, who has notched six goals and 10 assists in 26 games. Friday's marker ended a 14-game goal drought during which he had also notched just a duo of assists. If a believer, jump on board now, since the points in back-to-back games could be a harbinger of good tidings to come. 

Anthony Beauvillier, LW, NYI – Coach Barry Trotz sent a clear message to his struggling team, Saturday, making Beauvillier a healthy scratch. Scoreless in his last 13 games, Beauvillier has just three goals and four assists in 21 games. For one night, the move worked, as the Islanders picked up a 4-2 win, but it remains to be seen if Beauvillier will be back in the next game. If New York decided to deal him, Beauvillier could bring back a top-four defender that the team lacks since Nick Leddy was traded to the Red Wings during the offseason. 

Thomas Greiss, G, DET – Greiss posted relatively decent numbers behind a porous defense last season with a 2.70 goals-against average and .912 save percentage albeit with an 8-15-8 record. Despite a slightly better team in front of him, the wheels have fallen off Greiss' game, as he has a 3.67 GAA and an .889 save percentage in 13 appearances. Alex Nedeljkovic is the present and future between the pipes for the Red Wings, meaning Greiss should be relegated to spot duty.                                                                                                                  

Others include Tyler Seguin, Jonathan Toews, Gustav Nyquist, Denis Gurianov, Kevin Labanc, Matt Grzelcyk, Philipp Grubauer, and Martin Jones.

Sell High

Mark Giordano, D, SEA – The Kraken selected Giordano in the expansion draft from the Flames, naming the veteran defenseman the team's first captain. Giordano was brought in to provide leadership on-and-off the ice. The veteran blueliner has failed to reach 40 points in four of the last five seasons — a career-high 74-point effort in his Norris-winning 2018-19 campaign being the big outlier in that span. This season looks to be no different, as Giordano has eight points in 21 games, ending an eight-game point drought Saturday. You have to wonder if Seattle will deal his expiring contract at the trade deadline. 

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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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