Looking at the rest of the players with stats on the rise down the stretch…
Trending Up (Part 2)
Part 2 of Trending Up looks at players from Los Angeles to Winnipeg who are picking up their pace heading into the home stretch of the 2014-15 NHL season. If there's a common thread among them, it's that they've either started to shoot the puck more or are responding to having been given an opportunity that wasn't previously available. Let's get to the list!
Anze Kopitar – (Pre-January – 26 pts in 35 gms, Jan/Feb – 14 pts in 14 gms)
Kopitar's point per game January and February has come on the back of a run of improved percentages. This would be concerning except for the fact that even with the recent bumps Kopitar still isn't back to his career averages, meaning he could maintain up his recent scoring pace. Something to watch out for though is Kopitar has been on the ice for significantly fewer shots for since the beginning of February.
Dustin Brown – (Pre-January – 12 pts in 28 gms, Jan/Feb – 9 pts in 14 gms)
Brown carried his struggles from last season into the first chunk of 2014-15 and, along with Mike Richards, had been labeled as one of the Kings' albatross contracts. But recently Brown has gone from third liner back to playing with Kopitar and Gaborik on the Kings' top line. With the promotion, Brown has been on the ice for more shots and his on-ice shooting percentage has unsurprisingly gone up as well. This trend should see Brown continue to amass points at a much improved pace, although most likely not quite back to sustained levels from a few seasons ago.
Mikael Granlund – (Pre-January – 11 pts in 25 gms, Jan/Feb – 3 pts in 5 gms)
It may be a bit early, but since Granlund's return from injury his rate of production has been significantly improved. This can be partially attributed to the fact that he's been playing with Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek (more on him below) – a line with intriguing potential. The key will be getting both Vanek and Parise enough shots, as since the reunion of this line Parise has been a little greedy in that area.
Thomas Vanek – (Pre-January – 22 pts in 35 gms, Jan/Feb – 9 pts in 16 gms)
January was the first month this season that Vanek, a career volume shooter, averaged more than three shots per game. That needs to continue for Vanek to score at something remotely approaching the levels many expected entering this season. That return to a focus on firing pucks at the net enabled Vanek to have a stronger January despite only scoring on seven percent of his shots.
Dubnyk is the only goalie that appears in the 'Trending Up' series; as his numbers simply cannot be ignored. Poor goaltending haunted the Wild during the first half of the season, but that has changed since Dubnyk's arrival. In the nine games Dubnyk has played for the Wild he has seven wins, four shutouts and a SV% approaching 95%. No one is pretending those numbers can continue, but he's poised to be a great own for the rest of the season.
Colin Wilson – (Pre-January – 20 pts in 34 gms, Jan/Feb – 15 pts in 16 gms)
Somebody has been really happy since Mike Fisher's return. Wilson's hot streak actually extends back to December yet somehow he has just seemed to keep get hotter, much like Nashville's Moneypenny. But watch out, as Wilson will not score on one out of every five shots for the rest of the season; but his even-strength on-ice shooting percentage over the hot streak has not been nearly as ridiculous. Wilson is not a point per game player but feel free to look this gift horse in the month as long as Mike Fisher is healthy. Just like everyone knows bologna is spelled O-S-C-A-R M-E-Y-E-R spark is spelled M-I-K-E F-I-S-H-E-R.