By this time next week, the vast majority of NHL clubs will have completed one-quarter of their season.
That means, whether things are going good or bad, there’s enough of a sample size to put some stock in a team’s record. This watermark also gives us a chance to check in with individual performances to see who is 25 per-cent of the way to a fantastic year.
With that in mind, here are this week’s pinch-hitting-for-Luke-Fox Power Rankings, first-quarter MVP edition.
John Carlson is on pace for nearly 125 points and, as you’d expect, the only defencemen to hit that number in league history are Bobby Orr and Paul Coffey.
It’s tough giving it to a guy who only plays half the games, but Thomas Greiss is the NHL leader in both GAA (1.88) and save percentage (.942).
Playoff heroes Ryan O’Reilly and Jordan Binnington are great options, but how about captain Alex Pietrangelo on pace for a career-best 73 points in a UFA-walk year?
It’s impossible to untangle the success of all three “Perfection Line” members from each other. It’s also real hard not to give the nod to David Pastrnak and his league-leading 16 tallies.
His linemates go out and Nathan MacKinnon just keeps flying with eight points in his past three games.
Ivan Provorov sees nearly three minutes a night more than any other Flyer and he’s a significant offensive contributor.
I was the only person to have Darcy Kuemper on my Hart Trophy ballot last year, so you best believe he’s my guy for this offence-challenged team.
LeCon DraiDavid? Not bad, not bad. Uh, it’s super weird to call anyone but Connor McDavid the Oilers’ MVP at any point, but McDavid’s running mate Leon Draisaitl is running wild.
Carey Price is always the epicenter of this club, but he’s only recently started looking like himself and Jonathan Drouin has been great all year in a critical third season with the Habs.
10. Dallas Stars
Remember when the Stars were in on trade talks for Erik Karlsson and refused to include Miro Heiskanen before he’d played a single NHL game? Fantastic choice. The 20-year-old is on the fast track to a Norris Trophy.
Captain Roman Josi got his new $72-million contract two weeks ago and now he gets this honour. You’re welcome, Roman.
12. Florida Panthers
Jonathan Huberdeau has nine even-strength goals, a number bested only by Draisaitl.
13. Winnipeg Jets
Nobody who’s played as many games as Connor Hellebuyck has a better even-strength save percentage than his .936 mark.
No eye-popping individual seasons here, but Victor Hedman has been his usual two-way force self.
15. Calgary Flames
It feels like we’ve been talking about Matthew Tkachuk as the heartbeat of this team since he arrived three-plus years ago. He’s got an even 10 goals and 10 assists this year.
Elias Pettersson’s 13 primary assists is the most in the league for anyone not named Draisaitl.
The Penguins played most of the first quarter without Evgeni Malkin and there’s a chance they’ll compete in the next 20-plus games without early-season MVP Sidney Crosby if ‘The Kid’ opts for surgery on a sports hernia.
Auston Matthews is known for goals, but he’s turned into an assist man during the past three games, notching seven helpers. That said, the Leafs have lost all three of those contests, so the universe doesn’t want Matthews passing?
19. San Jose Sharks
Evander Kane has played 108 games with the Sharks at a 38-goal pace, including 11 so far this year.
Things are going to another level for Dougie Hamilton in Year 2 with the Canes, as the D-man leads his team in scoring and is on pace to destroy his previous career-best of 50 points.
Max Pacioretty’s underlying numbers are off the charts and he’ll likely start scoring more goals soon as his 7.3 shooting percentage creeps up.
22. New York Rangers
Last year was Dylan Strome’s coming out party; this season, Dylan’s older brother Ryan — a fifth overall pick in 2011 — may finally be reaching his full potential, notching a point-per-game with the third club of his NHL career.
23. Buffalo Sabres
Only six forwards are seeing more ice time per game league-wide than Jack Eichel.
After an awful start, the Hawks have made a pitch to salvage their season with points in six of their past seven games. Patrick Kane has 14 points in that stretch.
25. Anaheim Ducks
If not for a nagging lower-body injury, minutes monster Hampus Lindholm would likely be the guy. But Jakob Silfverberg is on pace to blast by his previous personal best of 24 goals and he plays more than any other Ducks forward.
Everyone on the top trio of Dylan Larkin between Tyler Bertuzzi and Anthony Mantha has performed well. Mantha’s 11 goals, however, can’t be overlooked.
The Season After has been a slog for Columbus, but Pierre-Luc Dubois continues to look like a major building block. He just needs more help.
28. Ottawa Senators
Things are getting downright silly after Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s hat trick on Wednesday night. The hometown boy now has 11 goals on the season, putting a guy whose career best is 19 on pace for an even 50 tallies. Did we mention he’s a pending-UFA?
Could Taylor Hall be the MVP for two different teams this year?
30. Minnesota Wild
After posting a single point in his first seven contests, Eric Staal has 13 in his past 11.
If Anze Kopitar keeps up his point-per-game pace, his four-year point totals dating back to 2016-17 will basically go like this: 52, 92, 60, 82.