This week, we’re flipping the script and looking at some of the hottest players. However, we’re looking at some of the players whose streaks may not be getting the attention they deserve.
After all, you don’t need the list to know that Connor McDavid, Nathan MacKinnon or Nikita Kucherov are running hot. They’re elite players, and it’s only newsworthy when they’re not getting points. The players on this list may still be available in some of your leagues, so they could be worth grabbing until they finally cool off.
10. Blake Coleman
Coleman is already highly sought after in most banger leagues (his 515 hits since the start of the 2017-18 season is 11th highest among all players), but recently he’s stepped up his offensive game as well. He has 10 points in his last nine games, buoyed by a four-point night against Montreal last Thursday night. This streak, however, is more of a blip than a sign of things to come. His ice time is down 1:30 per game from last year, his shot rate is almost a full shot less per game than last year and he’s not seeing any power-play time.
Usually, you can start to see a hot streak develop when a player gets more ice time, better linemates or a promotion to the power play. None of that can be traced back to the start of Cirelli’s hot streak, so this has come slightly out of the blue. The 22-year-old Lightning forward has 10 points in his last eight games. Overall, he’s shooting the puck slightly more than last year, and his ice time is more than three minutes a night higher than it was last season. He was finally rewarded for his streak on Saturday, seeing a small sliver of power-play time and lining up with Steven Stamkos at even strength.
8. Cam Fowler
Fowler has a chance to do what he hasn’t done since his rookie season. After he reached 40 points in 2010-11, he never again reached that mark. With six points in his last five games this year, he is on a 46-point pace. Although injuries are bound to arise, as they seem to do every season with Fowler, there are some positive signs. He’s starting in the offensive zone 58 per cent of the time, easily a career-high (until last season, he normally hovered at 50 per cent or below). He’s also on the ice for 64.5 per cent of Anaheim’s power-play time, which is his highest mark since his sophomore season.
Bjorkstrand had a six-game point streak (where he picked up seven points) snapped on Saturday against the Islanders. There are reasons to be excited about his production this season. First off, his deployment is the best it has ever been. At just under 17 minutes a night, he’s averaging about 4:30 more a game than last year. His power-play time is also up a minute per night. However, perhaps most impressively has been his willingness to shoot. He’s at 2.85 shots per game, up from 2.09 last season, and he’s had only one game where he failed to register a shot.
With eight points in his last eight games, Connolly is now on pace for 38 goals and 60 points. Is this just a matter of Connolly taking so long to finally figure out the game? His 1.77 shots per game is slightly higher than last year, and is the highest of his career. It helps that he’s is also averaging 14:39 per game, almost 1:30 higher than last year, and again a career-high. He bounces around the lineup and doesn’t get top power-play minutes, but it’s great to see Connolly do so well considering he was labelled a bust for so long.
5. Adam Fox
Slowly but surely, Fox is earning the trust of the Rangers’ coaching staff, which is evident in his ever-increasing ice time. Fox played just 12:24 in the first game of the season, and averaged 16:18 in his first 11 games, where he picked up two points. In 14 games since, he’s averaged 19:27 a night and has 12 points. He also seems to have taken over the Rangers power-play recently, so there’s a good sign this isn’t a flash in the pan.
4. Ryan Suter
It’s amazing how productive Suter continues to be each season considering his style of play and how many minutes he plays. Despite that, with seven points in six games, Suter is back to a 50-point pace. Of those seven points, four came with the man advantage. While he’s never been a big volume shooter, it is concerning that he is on pace for only 120 shots, which would be his lowest of the past decade. Despite that, he is still getting power-play time and you can count on another 45-point season from the veteran.
3. Bryan Rust
It seems as if every season, there’s a Penguin who grabs a top-six role and runs with it for a while. This year, it’s Rust’s turn. He’s been the most consistent surprising top-six player for the Pens since possibly Chris Kunitz many years ago. Rust has 17 points (including nine goals) in 14 games on the season, including 10 in his last six, thanks to playing with Evgeni Malkin. With all the injuries to Pens, his ice time was up over 20 minutes a game recently. He did miss both games on the weekend with a lower-body injury, but he’s day-to-day and should be back this week, so he’s still worth a pickup.
2. J.T. Miller
While much of the focus has been on his linemates, let’s not overlook what Miller has accomplished so far. He is a point-per-game player getting ample power-play time and elite linemates. He has seven points in his last five games going into Sunday’s game. His most impressive stat? He’s had one two-game pointless skid, his longest drought of the season. Expect him to keep up similar paces all season as long as he continues to play even strength with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser and staying on that dominant top power-play unit.
1. David Perron
Technically his entire season has been a hot streak, as he has gone three games with a point only once. He has 27 points in 28 games, and eight points during a seven-game point streak. One thing to watch out for is his crazy power-play production. He has 13 man-advantage points already, only one short of last year’s total and only five off his career-high. It helps that he’s stuck on that top unit. Those 13 power-play points were fifth-highest in the league going into Sunday night’s action and were the highest among all Blues players.
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