Don’t look now, but with two assists on Tuesday, Blake Wheeler has 18 points in his last 15 games. He’s settled into the centre ice position and he and the team is enjoying success. For those who used a high pick on the back-to-back 91-point man, this is the wave of good fortune you’ve been waiting for. 

 

The best part is, he’s doing this with mostly sustainable metrics. His personal shooting percentage is just a smidge high but reasonable. And he’s generating far more primary assists than cheating out of the secondary orchard. He won't be popping 90 again this year, but if the vet can hit on a point-per-game pace down the back 45, we'll all take that. 

It'll be very interesting to see what happens when Bryan Little returns. 

 

**

Good news for Philly fans and fantasy owners as Travis Konecny returned to the lineup on Tuesday and grabbed an assist in 17 minutes of action. Konecny is in that sweet sweet fourth-year burst. We can’t be having that derailed by any lengthy absences. 

 

Carter Hart made 40 stops in the 4-1 win over the Ducks. He’s been up and down this year, and we can live with that. Most 21-year-old netminders are being inconsistent in college or the minor leagues.

 

The kid is a star. Now Philly just needs to make sure they surround him with enough talent so as not to waste his skill. 

 

**

Tyler Toffoli came into the night with seven points in his last four games, and grabbed an assist and two shots on goal in 15 minutes of action as the Kings defeated the Bruins 4-3 in OT.  All the while skating on the third line with Mike Amadio and Nikolay Prokhorkin while skating on the second PP unit. I only really want Anze Kopitar and maybe Drew Doughty from the Kings this season, but Toffoli is providing some nice value down the lineup. 

 

Toffoli's shooting percentage has regained it’s form after a dreadful 5% mark a season ago. I have to believe the team will elevate him up the deployment ladder if he keeps this up. That should help his shot rates increase and subsequent production should follow. 

 

Don’t go rush out and grab him, but something to watch on a team with not a lot to watch out for. 

 

**

Toronto and Buffalo squared off in a big old battle in the Atlantic. The two superstars showed up. Auston Matthews popped a couple of goals and had a post in there too. One of the tallies was far too reminiscent of Super Mario for my liking. It was enough to propel the Leafs to a 5-3 victory. 

 

 

Jack Eichel did his thing recording an absolute snipe and tossed in a helper for good measure. Those points extended the Sabres’ captain point streak to 17 games and 31 points. That’s the third-longest point streak by a US-born player. He trails Patty Kane’s 20 and 26-game streaks. 

 

Eichel is on pace for 56 goals. I’m buying this guy as a 50-goal man this season. Gimme all the Eichel stocks. 

 

**

Rasmus Dahlin has points in all three games since returning from the concussion. A goal and an assist for the 19-year-old on Tuesday gives him 20 in 26 on the season. That’s a 61-point pace. We haven’t had a teenaged defender hit 60 since 1983-84. Hell, we’ve haven’t had a teenaged defender hit 50 since then. Dahlin is going to do it this year if he stays healthy. 

 

**

Last weekend, the agent for Sven Baertschi was quoted as saying he and his client are actively working with Canucks’ GM, Jim Benning to facilitate a trade out of town. And by town, I mean Vancouver and not Utica where the winger is currently playing. Baertschi has been given a rough ride this season. A potentially-career altering concussion last season marred a career-best start. From a team perspective, it was another injury in a line history of fractured campaigns. 

 

This season, Baertschi was a surprise cut from camp and cleared waivers. He’s torched the AHL with 22 points in 15 games as he’s clearly too good for that league. His two assists in six games for the Canucks in limited minutes, while the team was on a slide, was actually pretty good. His underlying numbers were promising. But it was right back to the farm. 

 

You can’t tell me that a team like the Oilers couldn’t use his talent in their top nine where they host a bevy of wingers who belong in the bargain bin at Walmart. 

 

Baertschi has one-year remaining at 3.367 and just cleared waivers once again. Clearly, the cap hit is the hurdle needing to be overcome. Go on, Canucks, swallow some salary or take back a contract and get this guy back in the NHL where he belongs. 

 

**

Sticking with the Canucks, they mixed up their lines ahead of their tilt with the Habs on Tuesday evening. Brock Boeser was moved down to play with Bo Horvat and Antoine Roussel. J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson skated with Jake Virtanen and that left Adam Gaudette to centre Tanner Pearson and Josh Leivo.

 

It was Gaudette who did some early damage with just a nasty power-play snipe.

 

 

Gaudette popped another that came back on a coaches challenge, which is too bad. This kid is feeling good. He’s seeing just over 12 minutes a night while producing a 50-point pace. His 2.9 points-per-60 is firmly amongst the top 40 in the league (min. 20GP).

 

That sits ahead of: 

• Alex Ovechkin

• John Tavares

• Brayden Point

• Mat Barzal

• Anthony Mantha

• Brock Boeser

 

His shooting percentage is going to crater, but don’t be surprised when he starts pulling more minutes. Sorry, Horvat owners, but if I’m running things I’m moving Horvat to the second PP unit, sliding Boeser into the bumper spot where he found so much success at North Dakota and letting Gaudette fire away from the left flank. 

 

**

The Habs took down the Canucks 3-1 in that game. Carey Price stopped 38. That's five games in a row with two or fewer against. He's been earning that bloated salary this month. 

 

**

Time to rename it The Svechnikov.

 

 

 I’m not exagerating when I say this kid has the goods to be one of the greatest Russian-born players of all-time. He’s that good. 

 

**

Hands up if you remember what you were doing on November 2nd? No? I mean, I don’t blame you, it was over six weeks ago. But I can tell you someone who does recall. P.K. Subban. That’s because November 2nd was the last time he recorded a point. 

 

Subban’s stock is falling as fast as a car full of O’Doyle’s. Thanks for the reference idea, Patty. I couldn’t find a good gif either. 

 

**

Thomas Chabot skated 37:56 in 4-3 OT loss to the Lightning. That’s the second-most ever in a regular-season game. Nuts. 

 

**

Speaking of that TBay game, not all is well with Nikita Kucherov. 

 

 

Does anybody feel like kicking the tires to see if the Kuch owner is feeling a little trigger happy? I know I sent an offer over in my league.  

 

**

Taylor Hall skated with Phil Kessel and Christian Dvorak in his Coyotes debut. This is obviously a juicy spot for Dvorak who has been solid this season. And I'm just chomping at the bit to see if Hall can get the Kessel and the 25th ranked even-strength offense rolling. The newest Coyote send an impressive cross-ice pass to Phil on the PP early in the third that got the tingles going a bit. 

Hall then grabbed the primary assist on the game-winner to OEL. 

 

 

 

Aaron Dell was good in this one. He made some big stops. This after slamming the door shut against the Canucks on Saturday. SJ will roll whoever is playing well so look for him to stream. 

 

Kevin Labanc left the game after sustaining a concussion. He returned, then left again. 

 

**

Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson