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By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week's article includes Columbus' No. 1 center on a roll, Duchene's resurgence in Music City, the Ghost back from the dead, a future changing of the net-guard in the Sunshine State, Laine out long-term, and Eklund returning to Sweden.
First Liners (Risers)
Boone Jenner, C, CLB
Filling the role of Cy Young early this season is Jenner. He notched his first assist Saturday to go with six goals through the first 10 games of the season. Jenner's shooting percentage will fall, as he is way above 20 percent, but if he can stick in a top-six role, the drop in goals should be offset by a rise in helpers. His production had declined substantially the last few seasons, so take his hot start with a grain of salt, but his line placement and the talent next to him should allow him to post a fair number of counting stats.
Nikolaj Ehlers, LW, WPG
Following a slow start, Ehlers has been red-hot lately. His goal and assist Friday gave the Danish winger all eight of his points this season in the last six games after he was held off the scoresheet in four games to open the year. The 25-year-old benefited from the trades of Jack Roslovic and Patrik Laine to match his career-high with 13 power-play points and tally 21 goals and 46 points in just 47 games last season. He is just scratching the surface of how good he can be while filling a prominent role in the Jets' attack. Check his status though, as he left practice Monday early.
Matt Duchene, RW, NAS
Duchene continued his 2021-22 resurgence, scoring a goal on four shots Friday. His offense has come alive lately with four goals and five assists in his last six games, giving him 10 points, 37 shots on net, a minus-1 rating and four power-play points in 11 games this season. After missing a good chunk of last season with a lower-body injury and managing just six goals and 13 points in 34 games, little was expected from Duchene. It's unclear if he can keep up this kind of scoring pace, but the 30-year-old seems to have benefited from a move to right wing after previously working as a center throughout much of his career.
Jesse Puljujarvi, RW, EDM
Our preseason update showed why Puljujarvi should have been on your list of breakout candidates: "After a one-year sabbatical in Finland, Puljujarvi returned to a top-six role in Edmonton in 2020-21. He posted 15 goals and 10 assists in 55 games, though it's important to note 23 of his 25 points came in his last 44 appearances of the year." The latter piece was the key. Puljujarvi is skating with Connor McDavid, boosting his value, and he has looked right at home. He is up to five tallies and seven helpers in 10 games and could finish the season as a point-per-game player.
Shayne Gostisbehere, D, AZ
Gostisbehere needed a change of scenery, as his career had flat-lined in Philly. Dealt to Arizona, Ghost has been by far the Yotes' most productive blueliner. After tallying his first goal of the season Friday and then adding a trio of helpers Saturday, Gostisbehere is up to nine points in 12 games. He likely won't score 65 points as he did in 2017-18, but finishing around or north of the 46 points he notched as a rookie in 2015-16 is possible, especially if he continues to see consistent ice time on the man advantage.
Rasmus Andersson, D, CGY
Andersson notched 19, 22 and 21 points the last three years, the latter two being mildly disappointing as he saw an uptick of ice time. This year, it looks like he is starting to put it all together, posting seven points, including five on the power play, through the first 11 games of the season. For the third straight year, his ice time has risen while skating on the top pairing in Calgary, which bodes well for continued success.
Jack Campbell, G, TOR
Campbell, profiled earlier in the season, gets another mention, as he is on a roll. He has won four consecutive games and allowed just five goals in that span. Those wins have not come against the Weak Sisters of the Poor but against talented teams, including the Golden Knights, Lightning and Bruins. Campbell is 6-3-1 with a 2.09 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. Those latter two numbers will in all likelihood decline based on the nature of the offensive talent in the NHL, but as the No. 1 netminder for the Buds, Campbell should continue to rack up wins, especially with Petr Mrazek aggravating his groin injury; he's expected to be out four weeks.
Spencer Knight, G, FLA
I profiled Sergei Bobrovsky last week; this week, it's Knight's turn. Bobrovsky is the No. 1 netminder for the Panthers, a role he has done his best to hold on to thanks to his strong early season performance. But Knight has been more than solid when between the pipes, as he started the season 4-0-1, after a 4-0-0 mark in his debut last year, before his loss Monday.
Taken 13th overall in 2019, Knight is the future in net for Florida — the only question is how quickly that time will arrive.
Others include Ryan Getzlaf, Paul Stastny, Brock Nelson, Mikael Granlund, Adrian Kempe, Anthony Cirelli, Alex Iafallo, Connor McMichael, Rasmus Asplund, Sean Couturier, John Tavares, Chris Kreider, Lucas Raymond, Jonathan Dahlen, Drake Batherson, Anthony Duclair, Zach Hyman, Arthur Kaliyev, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Brad Marchand, Jonathan Huberdeau, Cole Sillinger, Troy Terry, Tyler Bertuzzi, Mario Ferraro, Ryan Graves, Darnell Nurse, Neal Pionk, Moritz Seider, Matt Dumba, Gustav Forsling, Kale Clague, Brent Burns, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ilya Sorokin, Alex Nedeljkovic, John Gibson, James Reimer, Jacob Markstrom, Mikko Koskinen and Elvis Merzlikins.
Nick Suzuki, C, MTL
As bad as Montreal has been this year, Suzuki has very quietly been close to a point-per-game player. His goal and assist Saturday gave the third-year center three goals and nine helpers in 13 games. Suzuki is on this side of the ledger because Montreal is 3-10-0 on the season, which might be masking just how good Suzuki has played. Chicago just fired its coach, could the Canadiens be looking to do the same? Maybe the future return of Carey Price will spark the Habs; even if that is not the case, Suzuki should continue to produce.
Training Room (Injuries)
Patrik Laine, RW, CLB
Laine, off to a strong start with three goals and seven assists in nine games, landed on injured reserve with an oblique strain and will miss 4-6 weeks. He suffered the injury last Wednesday against Colorado, and barring any setbacks, Laine figures to be back on the ice sometime in mid-December. Laine signed a one-year deal to remain with Columbus after a brutal 2020-21 campaign, hoping to rebuild his value. Missing this length of time may not help his case, but if he plays as he did before he was sidelined, Laine should garner a multi-year deal on the open market. But that is for down the road.
Others include Brayden Schenn (upper body, injured Thursday, sent back to St. Louis for evaluation), Trevor Zegras (upper body, missed games Friday and Sunday, day-to-day), Mark Scheifele (leg, injured in the third period of Saturday's game), Nicklas Backstrom (hip, out since the beginning of the season, skated with the Capitals' conditioning coach Saturday), Anthony Mantha (underwent successful shoulder surgery Friday, out indefinitely), Victor Olofsson (undisclosed, missed fourth straight game Monday), Bryan Rust (lower body, out since first game of the season, played Saturday). Dougie Hamilton (lower body, missed Friday's game), Sergei Bobrovsky (upper body, missed Saturday's game) and Carey Price (knee/mental health, met with the Canadiens' athletic therapists Monday to develop a plan).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
William Eklund, RW, SJ
Eklund, drafted seventh overall in 2021, was reassigned to Djurgarden of the SHL. The move is not a major surprise but came even though Eklund played pretty well during his nine-game audition with the Sharks, picking up four helpers while averaging 14:20 of ice time in that span. San Jose opted to send the 19-year-old winger back to his native Sweden for the remainder of the season to avoid burning a year off his entry-level contract. Although Eklund has likely seen his last NHL action in 2021-22, he'll almost certainly be ready to take on a prominent full-time role with the Sharks next season.
Alexander Romanov, D, MTL
Romanov is still a decent bet to produce solid across-the-board numbers — at least, I keep telling myself that since I have him rostered in the RotoWire Staff League. To date, he's disappointed, posting just two points in 12 games while serving as a healthy scratch in another. Romanov has 29 hits and 18 blocked shots, giving him value in leagues that use those stats, and he could start to see second-pair and power-play usage. Until then, he is only worth rostering in deeper leagues.
Philipp Grubauer, G, SEA
Sometimes the grass isn't always greener on the other side. Grubauer was unable to reach an accord with the Avalanche, signing a six-year, $35.4 million contract with the Kraken in July. The hope was that he would have a Marc-Andre Fleury-like impact with Seattle, but that has not been the case. The German has been inconsistent at best this year, posting a 4-5-1 record with a 2.97 GAA and an .886 save percentage in 10 outings. Grubauer has been hurt by the Kraken's tendency to give up a few too many odd-man rushes despite not allowing a high shot volume.
Others include Clayton Keller, Kirby Dach, Jack Roslovic, Roope Hintz, Maxime Comtois, Kyle Palmieri, Ivan Provorov, John Klingberg, Nick Leddy, Tristan Jarry, Marc-Andre Fleury and Jake Allen.
Adam Henrique, C, ANA
No, I am not picking on the Ducks, and their solid start is a good story, but several of their veterans are posting stats not in line with their production the last several seasons. After scoring between 40 and 50 points in eight of his full seasons, including seven in a row, Henrique fell to 21 in 45 games last year. Henrique's bloated contract ($5.825 million through 2023-24) wasn't a fit for a rebuilding Anaheim team, but the Ducks have found no takers, resulting in the team holding onto the veteran center. The team has been rewarded, as the 31-year-old Henrique has three multi-point efforts in his last five games. He's enjoying a resurgent start to 2021-22 with five goals, six helpers, 35 shots on net and a plus-1 rating in 13 contests while working in a top-six role, making him worth a look while hot.