Wednesday, March 22, 2023

NHL Star Power Index: Jonathan Huberdeau makes Panthers history, Connor McDavid chasing Art Ross Trophy

Welcome to the NHL Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players who are controlling substantial buzz around the league. When a player is included on this list it may not be a good thing — it means that they are capturing a large amount of the hockey world’s attention.

These players are in no particular order when it comes to the amount of buzz that they’re creating. We’ll revisit the Star Power Index every week throughout the regular season.

Florida Panthers star Jonathan Huberdeau made franchise history in Tuesday’s 7-6 comeback win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He scored two goals and recorded three assists to give him 102 points on the season. In doing so, Huberdeau set a new franchise single-season points record and also became the first player in Panthers history to tally 100 points in a season.

In addition, Huberdeau became the 14th player in NHL history to record his first 100-point season in his 10th NHL season or later. The Panthers winger also recorded the 600th point of his NHL career on his game-winning goal.

The Panthers winger was able to reach the historic milestone in dramatic fashion. Huberdeau scored the game-winning goal in overtime and it marked the second time in three games in which the Panthers came back from a four-goal deficit to win. The Maple Leafs possessed a 5-1 lead in the second period before the Panthers came roaring back. Over his last three games, Huberdeau has registered three goals and five assists as the Panthers have ripped off a five-game winning streak. It also hasn’t hurt that Huberdeau is now playing on Florida’s second line with recent acquisition Claude Giroux. After all, Huberdeau has tallied multiple points in two of the team’s last three games.

It’s safe to say that the Panthers look like an absolute juggernaut now with Giroux on the roster. With Huberdeau playing the best hockey of his career on Florida’s second line, this is going to be a very formidable roster come playoff time.

Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid is aiming to win his second consecutive Art Ross Trophy (most points) this season. McDavid’s 108 points are the most in the NHL and he currently leads Huberdeau by six points for that distinction. Teammate Leon Draisaitl is also in the hunt with 101 points.

McDavid has been on fire, as he’s registered points in 15 consecutive games and at least one goal in six straight games. In addition, the Oilers center has recorded multiple points in two of those contests.

Earlier this week, McDavid played the role of hero in the Oilers’ 2-1 overtime win over the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday.

Just seconds into the overtime period, the Sharks had an odd-man rush, but Oilers goaltender Mike Smith was able to make a glove save on Sharks defenseman Brent Burns. However, Smith immediately noticed that McDavid was ahead of everyone else on the ice and drifting towards the blue line. Smith made the snap decision to flip the puck ahead with his stick and McDavid was able to race down to score the game-winning goal on a breakaway.

It was a true heads-up play by McDavid. 

Once the dust settles on the 2021-22 season, McDavid has a strong chance of winning the Art Ross Trophy for the fourth time in the last six seasons as long as he keeps producing at his current rate.

It hasn’t exactly been the banner season that the Vegas Golden Knights may have envisioned with their very talented roster. Still, the Golden Knights are just two points out from the top Wild Card playoff spot in the Western Conference. Center Jonathan Marchessault has been one of the biggest reasons why.

Marchessault has registered points in five of his last six goals and scored three goals during that span. The Golden Knights center has also recorded multiple points in three of those contests.

In Sunday’s 3-2 overtime win over the Vancouver Canucks, Marchessault put his talent on display. In the opening period, the Golden Knights star was the beneficiary when the puck ricocheted off the boards and landed right in his direction. Marchessault made his way into the Canucks zone and ripped a scorching shot past Vancouver goaltender Thatcher Demko for the impressive goal.

With star forwards Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone out of the lineup due to injury, Marchessault’s recent success has been huge for the Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights have been victorious in five of their last six games and are going to need to keep up their winning ways in order to earn a playoff spot in the final weeks of the 2021-22 season.

On Tuesday, Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf, who is the franchise’s all-time leader in points and games played, announced that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2021-22 season. The 36 year old has spent his entire 17-year career with the Ducks and has been the team’s captain for the past 11 seasons.

Getzlaf has missed Anaheim’s last four games due to a lower-body injury. However, Getzlaf is expected to resume skating this week and is expected to be in the lineup for the Ducks’ final home game on April 24.

The star center was the No. 19 pick in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Ducks and helped the franchise win a Stanley Cup in the 2006-07 campaign. Getzlaf has scored 282 goals and recorded 731 assists in 1,150 NHL games across his 17-year career. He is also one of just 13 players in league history to win two Olympic medals and a Stanley Cup.

The Ducks star also leads the franchise in:

  • All-time assists
  • Even strength points
  • Overtime goals 
  • Power-play assists

Getzlaf is the 92nd player in NHL history to register 1,000 points and joined that illustrious club in November. The veteran center also became the 39th player to record his first 1,000 points all with the same franchise and the 45th player in NHL history to tally 1,000 points with just one team.

For the final couple of weeks of Getzlaf’s career, it’s a celebration of a player that meant so much to the Ducks and to the sport over the past 17 years.

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