In this week’s Eastern Edge, we’ll take a look at the league’s top-50 scorers since the beginning of 2020 and I’ll share some thoughts about a few players from the Eastern Conference. As always, shoot me a message on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza if there’s ever a topic you want me to cover in one of these articles.

 

Rank

Player

GP

G

A

P

TOI/GP

1

Leon Draisaitl

10

6

15

21

22:07

T2

Nikita Kucherov

14

11

9

20

19:14

T2

Steven Stamkos

14

9

11

20

18:26

4

J.T. Miller

13

6

11

17

19:05

T5

David Pastrnak

12

9

7

16

19:32

T5

Artemi Panarin

11

5

11

16

19:53

T5

Evgeni Malkin

13

5

11

16

20:26

T5

Jonathan Toews

11

5

11

16

20:00

T5

Mitchell Marner

12

4

12

16

22:19

T5

Sean Couturier

13

3

13

16

20:23

T11

Alex Ovechkin

11

13

2

15

20:51

T11

Connor McDavid

10

7

8

15

21:45

T11

Mike Hoffman

12

6

9

15

15:49

T11

Pierre-Luc Dubois

13

4

11

15

17:39

T15

Dominik Kubalik

11

10

4

14

15:17

T15

Auston Matthews

12

10

4

14

22:01

T15

Jakub Vrana

12

8

6

14

15:42

T15

Bo Horvat

13

7

7

14

18:52

T15

Nathan MacKinnon

10

6

8

14

20:51

T15

Elias Pettersson

13

5

9

14

17:43

T15

Tomas Tatar

14

4

10

14

17:34

T15

Patrick Kane

11

3

11

14

21:26

T15

Brayden Point

14

3

11

14

18:58

T24

William Nylander

12

8

5

13

19:03

T24

David Perron

12

7

6

13

19:00

T24

Bryan Rust

13

6

7

13

21:31

T24

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins

10

6

7

13

21:28

T24

Kyle Connor

13

5

8

13

21:49

T24

Taylor Hall

12

5

8

13

18:48

T24

Jonathan Huberdeau

12

3

10

13

17:49

T31

Evgenii Dadonov

12

9

3

12

16:14

T31

Frank Vatrano

12

7

5

12

14:32

T31

Jake DeBrusk

12

6

6

12

16:41

T31

Jack Eichel

11

6

6

12

22:11

T31

Sam Reinhart

11

6

6

12

20:46

T31

Mark Scheifele

13

5

7

12

21:47

T31

Dylan Larkin

13

4

8

12

20:57

T31

Tanner Pearson

13

4

8

12

16:19

T31

Mika Zibanejad

12

4

8

12

22:22

T31

Sidney Crosby

7

4

8

12

19:54

T31

Alex Pietrangelo

12

3

9

12

25:01

T31

John Carlson

12

0

12

12

23:40

T31

Roman Josi

13

0

12

12

27:51

T44

Paul Stastny

11

5

6

11

18:18

T44

Zach Hyman

12

5

6

11

18:50

T44

Quinn Hughes

13

5

6

11

22:38

T44

Lars Eller

12

5

6

11

16:25

T44

Robert Thomas

12

4

7

11

15:23

T44

Tony DeAngelo

12

4

7

11

20:12

T44

Teuvo Teravainen

12

4

7

11

18:23

 

Pierre-Luc Dubois – It comes as no surprise that Dubois has more points in the new year than guys like Auston Matthews and Jack Eichel. Wait – what? Do you mean to tell me that only 10 players in the league have tallied more points in 2020 than Pierre-Luc Dubois?

Don’t get me wrong, the 21-year-old center is developing into a special player. But he plays for the Blue Jackets, a team that lost their elite goaltender and superstar forward during the offseason – they aren’t supposed to be any good, right? What if I told you that Columbus is 10-2-1 since January 1st and only the Tampa Bay Lightning (11-2-1) have a better record in that span. Not only is the team currently in a playoff spot but they have the seventh best record in the league! It’s important to recognize that Columbus’ success this season has been a product of strong goaltending and defensive play. They’ve allowed an average of 2.51 goals per game – representing the league’s third-best defense. In stark contrast, their offense sits 24th, scoring just 2.70 goals per game. I mention all this to highlight how impressive Dubois’ recent stretch of production has been. Sure, the Blue Jackets have a few scoring threats in Cam Atkinson and Oliver Bjorkstrand, but the team’s offense pales in comparison to other teams in the playoff race. Since the beginning of the calendar year, Dubois leads Columbus with 15 points in 13 games. Here’s the crazy thing though, since Atkinson and Bjorkstrand were sidelined with injuries for a good portion of that stretch, Zach Werenski actually sits second in team scoring since 2020 began – but he only has eight points in 13 games. In other words, Dubois essentially has twice as many points as the team’s next leading scorer. Last year, some said that Dubois’ offensive output was inflated because he played alongside the talented Artemi Panarin. This year, Dubois is showing us he’s more than capable of driving the offense.

 

Tomas Tatar – When the Canadiens traded Max Pacioretty to the Golden Knights, they were targeting Nick Suzuki – a highly-touted prospect who is currently developing into an outstanding player. Montreal also acquired Tomas Tatar in that deal, but his inclusion was seen as a salary dump, so Vegas could make room for Pacioretty’s contract. The Golden Knights threw away money all right, and the Habs have benefitted from that donation.

Through 134 games in a Canadiens jersey, Tomas Tatar has 107 points. He’s posted back-to-back 20-goal seasons as a Hab and is on pace for 74 points this season. On a team that is often criticized for a lack of finishing ability, Tomas Tatar is one of the few players who makes the most of his chances. He’s become a staple of the team’s top line that also features Philip Danault and Brendan Gallagher. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but those three make up one of the most underrated lines in hockey. Danault always impresses me with his strong two-way play while Gallagher seems to have Red Bull running through his veins, bringing an insane amount of energy and hard work to each and every one of his shifts. I think it’s important to mention that line as a whole when we discuss Tatar’s success, because his offensive output is often a product of strong play from his linemates. In addition, rumours are swirling that GM Marc Bergevin might trade Tatar because he has just one year left on his contract and the team is falling out of the playoff race. From a fantasy perspective, I feel like Tatar’s value drops if he gets traded. I know that other teams probably have more offensively-gifted players than the Habs, but I don’t know if Tatar would have as big a role on another team, or if he’d be able to replicate the chemistry he’s established with his current teammates.

 

 

Tatar’s production last year was hindered by Montreal’s struggles with the man advantage. The team converted on just 13.3-percent of their chances and finished with the league’s second-worst power play. Tatar had just eight power-play points through 80 games. Fortunately, that’s changed this year as Montreal has capitalized on 20.1-percent of their opportunities and Tatar already has 11 PPPs with nearly 30 games left to play.

 

Quick Thoughts

 

Sean CouturierHe’s on pace for his third-straight 70-point season but I don’t think many people realize how good he is. Watch out for Couturier down the stretch. He started off slow last year with 29 points in his first 39 games but caught fire in the second half with 47 points in his final 41 contests.

 

Frank Vatrano – He has 12 points in his last 12 games, but he’s been riding an unsustainable shooting percentage of 26-percent and seeing just 14 and a half minutes of ice time during this stretch.

 

Jake DeBrusk – During this third quarter of the campaign, he has 12 points in 10 games. He’s seeing 17 minutes of ice time during this stretch, with nearly three and a half minutes of power-play action. Last season saw him put up 26 points in his final 35 games after starting off with 16 in his first 33. Perhaps he’s a second-half performer?

 

Zach Hyman – He’s solidified himself as a member of Toronto’s top-six which means he’ll always have exposure to at least one really talented offensive player – whether it be Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner, John Tavares or William Nylander. Hyman has 11 points in his last 12 games and has been seeing nearly 19 minutes of ice time during this hot stretch.