NHL Weekly Stock Up, Stock Down: 1/07-1/13by Christopher Gallagher January 15, 2022 1 comment
With the halfway point of the 2021 NHL season in sight, we have reached the midway point of January. The league is still forced to postpone games on a nightly basis as a result of COVID-19 and crowd limits in Canada. This means there will be a sprint to the finish during the final half of the year as teams try to push into the playoff race. Back with our weekly stock up, stock down article, the Carolina Hurricanes have continued to prove that they are elite contenders in the Eastern Conference. Along with this, the Florida Panthers remain red hot. They chase the defending Stanley Cup champions in the Tampa Bay Lightning for the top spot in the Atlantic Division.
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Stock Up: Colorado Avalanche
Beginning to catch fire after an 11-7-1 start to the season, the Avalanche have won five of their last six games. They thrillingly beat the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night after falling behind 4-1. They also knocked off the Seattle Kraken on Monday before falling to the Nashville Predators on the second half of a back-to-back. Full of star power, the team is driven by its four superstars.
Finally getting up to speed after a slow start, Nathan MacKinnon has racked up seven points over his last four games. Furthermore, Nazem Kadri continues to enjoy one of the best seasons of his 13-year NHL career. Pair that with the outstanding play provided by Cale Makar and Devon Toews on the back end, and it’s hard not to imagine Jared Bednar’s group advancing to their first Stanley Cup Finals since 2001.
Stock Down: New York Islanders
A team that everyone keeps waiting to get going, the Islanders have failed to generate any momentum all year. The team lost six of their last nine games before the league-wide pause. Currently sitting in last place in the ultra-competitive Metropolitan Division, this appears to be a lost year for Barry Trotz’s group.
Failing to muster anything up on the offensive end, the team has averaged just 2.31 goals per game to sit 30th in the league. Furthermore, they also rank inside the bottom five in shots on goal and shooting percentage. Fresh off a 45-point campaign during the NHL’s shortened season, Mathew Barzal is the only one scoring at nearly a point-per-game pace with 22 points in 26 contests.
Stock Up: Boston Bruins
Brad Marchand has firmly entered his name into the Hart Trophy conversation as the league-wide MVP. He has helped the Bruins to remain hot on the tails of the Maple Leafs, Lightning, and Panthers for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. The 33-year-old has racked up three straight multi-point games, highlighted by a hat trick in Boston’s win over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday Night.
Red hot like his linemate, David Pastrnak is also scoring goals at a rapid pace. The former first-round pick has added eight tallies over his last six games. Receiving positive news this week, longtime goaltender Tuukka Rask inked a one-year deal with the team to return in goal. He is set to split starts with Linus Ullmark after Jeremy Swayman was sent down to the AHL.
Stock Down: Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks are beginning to cool off after they rattled off seven straight victories after hiring Bruce Boudreau. The team has lost two of their last three games. During their Florida road trip, Vancouver was outscored 9-4. Still struggling to find their games on the offensive end, Elias Pettersson has just two points in his last seven games, while Conor Garland has one goal in his previous six.
Remaining the backbone for the group, Thatcher Demko continues to give the team a chance to win every night. The 26-year-old has racked up a 2.65 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage across 29 starts. Still, they need to start banking points in the top-heavy Pacific Division race to stay in the playoff race.
Stock Up: Carolina Hurricanes
Frederik Andersen continues to post monster numbers in Carolina while running for the best free-agent signing of the offseason. He has gone a month without losing a game while recording a .609 quality start percentage and a 10.8 goals saved above-average rate. As stingy as they come on the defensive end in front of him, the Hurricanes are allowing a league-low 2.32 goals per game.
They have given up just ten in their last four games. Furthermore, the team also leads the NHL in penalty kill percentage by clicking at a 90 percent rate when down a man. As deep a lineup as you will find across the league, Rod Brind’Amour‘s group has five guys with over 20 points. They are looking to get back to the postseason for the fourth year in a row.
Stock Down: Philadelphia Flyers
Things have quickly gone from bad to worse in Philadelphia. The team has lost their last six games to sink to the sixth spot in the Metropolitan Division. They are struggling to find production outside of their top line of Claude Giroux, Cam Atkinson, and Joel Farabee. James van Riemsdyk has racked up just 15 points this season, while Sean Couturier has scored just six goals in 29 games.
More concerning for the group has been the struggles of goaltender Carter Hart. Keeping the Flyers in the middle of the pack to start the year as a result of his brilliant play, the 23-year-old has surrendered 12 goals over his last three starts. With the playoffs remaining a distant hope and the team full of expiring contracts, look for general manager Ron Hextall to unload some players at the trade deadline.
Follow Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06
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