Thursday, February 22, 2024
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NHL Power Rankings: One best supporting actor nominee from every team, including Canucks’ Dakota Joshua

NHL Power Rankings: One best supporting actor nominee from every team, including Canucks' Dakota Joshua

These players make the NHL’s stars look good

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In the entertainment industry, it is awards season, and the Oscar nominations were announced yesterday. In that spirit, we are going to nominate one player from every team for Best Supporting Actor in this week’s NHL Power Rankings.

The stars get a lot of the attention and credit in the NHL, as is the case in every league. That’s understandable, but hockey is a true team game, and it takes every player on the roster to win a Stanley Cup. Each team has at least one player in a supporting role who makes the leading men look good.

The nominees are relatively easy to find on the NHL’s top teams. Things are going well for just about everyone at the top of the power rankings, but it gets harder to discover Oscar-worthy performances near the bottom. For instance, Anthony Duclair has been forced to ride the wave on a bad Sharks team until he gets traded, and Dmitri Voronkov is enjoying a productive rookie season for the middling Blue Jackets

Unlike the actual Academy Award nominations, there will be no snubs on this list. Let’s get into the best supporting actor on every team in the updated NHL Power Rankings.

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1

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Oilers

Mattias Ekholm | The Oilers have perhaps the most lethal offense in the NHL, and Stuart Skinner has been fantastic of late, but their defense has really taken a step forward throughout this winning streak. The biggest driver of that has been Ekholm, who did get off to a slow start this season. What he lacks in offensive numbers, Ekholm makes up for with elite shutdown ability. With Ekholm on the ice at five-on-five, the Oilers have been mowing down opponents with a plus-10 goal differential. 1 27-15-1
2

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Jets

Dylan DeMelo | There are plenty of unsung heroes on a Jets team that has wildly overachieved this season, but DeMelo is near the top. He has helped solidify the Winnipeg blue line while adding 14 assists. The Jets are in command of the expected goals and have a huge 23-goal edge in actual goals when DeMelo is in the game at five-on-five. He may not be the biggest name, but DeMelo is playing some great hockey this season. 1 30-11-5
3

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Canucks

Dakota Joshua | The Canucks are getting contributions from up and down the lineup, and Joshua has done some serious work in the bottom six. His 12 goals this season are already a new career high, and Joshua is on pace for 21. Joshua has helped make Vancouver a Cup contender because opponents can’t exhale when players like Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller are on the bench. 1 32-11-5
4

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Bruins

Trent Frederic | For the second season in a row, Frederic is excelling in a depth role for the Bruins. The former No. 29 overall pick has evolved into a strong forechecker who can provide some scoring pop. This season, Frederic has already lit the lamp 13 times in 46 games, and he should easily surpass last season’s total of 17. Drafting and developing players like Frederic allows the Bruins to keep their championship window open. 2 29-9-9
5

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Panthers

Evan Rodrigues | Rodrigues has become something of a journeyman over the last few seasons, but he has really found a nice role in Florida. Rodrigues has spent most of the year alongside Aleksander Barkov and Sam Reinhart, and that trio has been terrific. Rodrigues himself has seven goals and 20 assists to go along with a 60.1% five-on-five expected goals share. Rodrigues looks like a bargain at $3 million for the next three seasons. 2 29-14-4
6

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Avalanche

Logan O’Connor | After going undrafted in 2018, O’Connor joined the Avalanche organization, and he has become a great role player for them. In 2023-24, O’Connor has even elevated his role by setting a new career high in goals (11) in just 45 games. O’Connor’s speed is a real weapon, especially on the penalty kill, and that has led to him scoring three shorthanded goals. 1 31-14-3
7

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Stars

Thomas Harley | Harley is very quickly transitioning from supporting role to leading man. After showing some real promise in last year’s playoff run, Harley’s development has hit another gear this season. Now second to Ryan Suter in five-on-five ice time, Harley is on track to become a true No. 1 defender one day. With Harley on the ice, the Stars have torched opponents in shot attempts, expected goals and actual goals. It also doesn’t hurt Harley is on pace for over 40 points this year. 28-13-6
8

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Hurricanes

Stefan Noesen | Last season, Noesen really emerged as a strong presence within a deep Hurricanes lineup. He is at it again in 2023-24, and this year Noesen has found something of a scoring touch. His 11 goals are two off a career high, and he is seven assists away from his career high in that category (23). As is the case with most of his Carolina teammates, Noesen is also a force to be reckoned with when it comes to his impacts at five-on-five. 26-15-5
9

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Golden Knights

Nicolas Roy | A fourth-round pick by the Hurricanes in 2015, Roy has helped provide the Golden Knights with elite depth down the middle. Roy has become a consistent contributor on offense with 38 goals over the last three seasons, and he has even earned some ice time higher up in the lineup following Jack Eichel’s injury. Once Eichel returns, Roy will likely slide back down the lineup and keep schooling other teams’ bottom six. 3 28-14-6
10

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Rangers

Jonathan Quick | Igor Shesterkin hasn’t quite been himself this season. Shesterkin has allowed 1.19 goals above average, and he is nowhere near the Vezina Trophy conversation. Quick, his 38-year-old backup, has had a resurgent campaign to pick up the slack. Quick boasts a .913 save percentage and 4.14 goals saved above average. Quick has taken on a smaller role in the twilight of his career, and he is thriving. 1 29-15-3
11

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Flyers

Sean Walker | I need to get this blurb written quickly because Walker has played himself onto the trade block. The veteran defenseman has played exceptionally well for the Flyers this season, resulting in a 52.6% expected goals share and plus-7 goal differential at five-on-five. Simply put, Philadelphia has been controlling the game with Walker in the mix, and he might be one of the hottest names on the trade market these days. 25-17-6
12

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Lightning

Nick Paul | Paul has found a home in Tampa Bay, and that home is directly in front of the opposing goaltender on the power play. After being acquired from the Senators in the 2021-22 season, Paul has emerged as an extremely useful pest on the man advantage. Paul takes some punishment in the low slot, but he has been rewarded with six goals and five assists on the power play this season. He has fit in perfectly with the Lightning, even if he doesn’t always get top billing. 5 25-18-5
13

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Red Wings

Robby Fabbri | Fabbri has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, but he has remained on the ice with the Red Wings in 2023-24. Fabbri has already notched 13 goals this season, which is tied for third on the team. That puts him five off his career high of 18, which he hit as a rookie with the St. Louis Blues in 2015-16. Fabbri has given Detroit some more firepower throughout its forward group. 5 24-18-5
14

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Maple Leafs

Calle Jarnkrok | Throughout his career, Jarnkrok has brought versatility to every team, and that continues to be the case with the Maple Leafs. Toronto takes some heat for its lack of depth behind the “Core Four,” but Jarnkork probably should be an exception. He can play up and down the lineup and can play roles on the power play and penalty kill if necessary. His 10 goals this year are fifth on the team, behind only that “Core Four.” 1 24-14-8
15

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Devils

Erik Haula | Much like Jarnkrok, Haula has shown the ability to play up and down the lineup in a pinch. Since joining the Devils ahead of the 2022-23 season, Haula has been a highly effective depth winger, and he has helped keep the ship afloat this season as the team has dealt with poor injury luck. Haula’s 23 points are sixth on the team, and the Devils own 55.2% of the expected goals with Haula in the game at five-on-five. 1 24-18-3
16

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Kraken

Joey Daccord | Daccord has finally gotten his first real shot in the NHL at the age of 27, and he has made the most of it so far. Since their inception, the Kraken have been in search of consistent goaltending, and they might have found it in Daccord. In his 30 appearances, Daccord has posted 15.6 goals saved above average and a .922 save percentage. He has stabilized Seattle in the crease. 6 20-18-9
17

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Penguins

Marcus Pettersson | Over the last couple of years, Pettersson has sneakily been one of the more reliable defensemen in Pittsburgh. He’s been great in 2023-24, with a 52.3% expected goals share and plus-17 goal differential at five-on-five. Pettersson may not put up the gaudy offensive numbers like Kris Letang or Erik Karlsson, but he is still extremely valuable to the Penguins’ blue line. 2 21-17-6
18

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Flames

Yegor Sharangovich | It’s hard to say Sharangovich is a supporting actor when he’s tied for first on the team in goals (20) and third in points (34), but I don’t think he was originally cast in a leading role. New Jersey acquired Sharangovich as part of the Tyler Toffoli trade last summer, and he has been a key cog in Calgary’s offense. Sharangovich is on pace for 33 goals this season, which would blow away his previous career high of 24. 2 21-21-5
19

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Coyotes

J.J. Moser | The Coyotes have an impressive young core to build around, and one of the more underrated players in that group might be Moser. At the age of 23, Moser already looks like the type of defenseman Arizona will want to keep around for a long time. Not only does Moser have 17 points to his name this season, but he has a very impressive plus-12 goal differential at five-on-five too. 2 23-20-3
20

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Predators

Colton Sissons | Sissons is now in his 10th season with the Predators, and he just keeps playing the role of a dependable bottom-six center. This season, Sissons has really taken his special teams game to the next level. Sissons has found the back of the net 12 times this year, three away from a career high, and six of those have come on special teams. Sissons has tallied three power play goals and three shorthanded goals. He’s getting the job done in every area. 1 25-21-1
21

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Kings

Jordan Spence | Spence has gotten his first extended look with the Kings this season, and he has played extremely well in limited minutes. As a depth defenseman, Spence is absolutely crushing it in his role, tallying 14 assists and helping the Kings control possession at five-on-five. With the way Spence has played this season, it may only be a matter of time before he gets more responsibility a little higher in the lineup. 5 22-14-9
22

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Capitals

Connor McMichael | The No. 25 overall pick in 2019, McMichael has slotted in nicely as a third-line center for the Capitals. Very few Capitals have performed well at five-on-five this season, but McMichael is at least roughly breaking even when it comes to expected goals. In addition to that, McMichael has found ways to chip in offensively, and he is on pace for about 15 goals and 15 assists on the year. 1 22-18-6
23

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Wild

Marco Rossi | This might be cheating because Rossi was a highly-touted prospect, but Rossi’s first 21 NHL games didn’t go so well. After playing in just two games in 2021-22, Rossi played in 19 last season. In that span, he tallied just two assists and spent much of last year in the AHL. This season, Rossi has started to deliver on some of his potential with 13 goals and 15 assists in 46 games. It may only be a matter of time before Rossi is a leading man. 4 21-21-5
24

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Sabres

Casey Mittelstadt | While Mittelstadt has been the star of the show in Buffalo this season, that has not usually been the case in recent years. Mittelstadt came into the NHL with a lot of hype as the No. 8 overall selection in 2017, but his first few years in the league were a bit of struggle. Since then, Mittelstadt has settled into a middle-six role, and he is currently leading the Sabres with 39 points. Mittelstadt has been a bright spot in a frustrating campaign for Buffalo. 1 21-23-4
25

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Blues

Joel Hofer | The Blues have been a mess defensively this season, and the team is in a bit of a transition period. Hofer has helped ease both of those issues, at least to some degree. The 23-year-old goaltender has shown flashes of being a possible star at the NHL level by saving 2.43 goals above average in one of the worst defensive environments in the league. Hofer has kept St. Louis in games and given fans a reason to be hopeful about the future of the crease. 3 24-20-2
26

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Islanders

Semyon Varlamov | The Islanders are already spoiled in goal by having Ilya Sorokin, a top-five goalie in the world. That said, when the Isles need to give Sorokin a breather, the drop-off isn’t as sharp as you’d expect. That’s because Semyon Varlamov still has plenty of juice left in the tank at the age of 35. He has a .918 save percentage and 6.05 goals saved above average in his 14 appearances. 2 20-16-11
27

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Senators

Ridly Greig | Greig, a former first-round pick, got off to a strong start this season but missed almost all of November due to injury. After returning, it took Greig a minute to get his legs under him again, but it seems like he is back to being a menace to opposing teams now. After a goal against the Canadiens on Tuesday, Greig is now up to seven goals and 18 points on the year, and he should be a solid piece in Ottawa for a while. 3 18-24-1
28

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Canadiens

Sam Montembeault | Montreal surrenders scoring chances at an alarming rate, and given that context, Montembeault has acquitted himself quite nicely this season. Montembeault’s raw numbers probably won’t blow anyone away, but he has been more than serviceable between the pipes. Montembeault has been about even when it comes to goals saved above average, and it would be reasonable to expect an improvement in those numbers on a better team if he gets moved before the trade deadline. 2 19-21-7
29

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Blue Jackets

Dmitri Voronkov | Let’s face it. Even the stars haven’t really been stars in Columbus this season. Having said that, Voronkov is a lesser-known name who is doing some damage for the Blue Jackets this year. The 23-year-old has 10 goals and 13 assists in 39 games as a rookie, and he will give Columbus something it can build upon heading into next season. 14-23-9
30

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Sharks

Anthony Duclair | We have now entered the “good soldier” portion of the power rankings. After getting traded from the Panthers to the Sharks in the offseason (ouch), Duclair has done what he can given the circumstances. His eight goals are tied for third on the team, and Duclair shouldn’t be stuck in San Jose much longer. He will give the Sharks more support by getting some draft capital in a trade this year. 2 13-31-4
31

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Ducks

Radko Gudas | Another former Panther, Gudas, made his way out to California this past offseason. Gudas is being paid handsomely to bring a calming veteran presence to the Ducks’ blue line, and that is exactly what he’s done. Somehow, Gudas has a 55.9% expected goals share and a plus-11 goal differential at five-on-five on this Ducks team. 3 16-30-1
32

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Blackhawks

Nick Foligno | This past offseason, Foligno signed with the Blackhawks to provide some mentorship for Connor Bedard. Well, that didn’t quite work out. Bedard will be out for 5-6 more weeks, Taylor Hall is done for the season and Corey Perry had his contract terminated for off-ice behavior. Foligno is the last man standing in Chicago, but he did get rewarded for his troubles with a two-year extension at $4.5 million per season. 1 14-32-2

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