NHL Weekly Stock Up, Stock Down: 2/18-2/24by Christopher Gallagher February 26, 2022 0 comments
With the end of February now officially upon us, nearly every team in the NHL has played over 50 games. Playoff races are beginning to take shape as fans gauge which clubs are truly cup contenders. The trade deadline remains a little under a month away as the rumor mill league-wide develops. Multiple big-time names have been floated around as the buyer and seller market develops. Back with our weekly stock up, stock down article, the Calgary Flames have continued to be the hottest team in hockey. Led by their outstanding top line, the team has won nine of their last ten games. This has helped them secure the top spot in the Pacific Division. Along with this, the New York Rangers are hot on the heels of the Carolina Hurricanes.
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Stock Up: Calgary Flames
The Flames have entered themselves into true Stanley Cup contender status. The team won ten games in a row before falling 7-1 to the Vancouver Canucks. Their outstanding top-line is leading them, and star winger Johnny Gaudreau is pacing the group with 64 points. The upcoming unrestricted free agent has recorded 12 points over his last ten games. Along with this, center Elias Lindholm has continued to prove why he is one of the most underrated players in the league. The 27-year-old center was riding an eight-game goal streak before it was snapped on Thursday Night. Currently allowing the fewest goals against at just 2.42 per contest, Jacob Markstrom has also been rock solid in his second year with the franchise.
Stock Down: Toronto Maple Leafs
Toronto is sitting just five points back of the division-leading Florida Panthers. They snapped a three-game losing skid with a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Vaulting his name into the Hart Trophy conversation, Auston Matthews has scored three goals over his last five games to retake the NHL lead with 36. However, the group has struggled to get any production from anyone outside their top line of late. John Tavares is currently riding an 11 game goalless streak. Along with this, William Nylander has just four points over that stretch of time. The team is also now facing a goaltending dilemma as both Jack Campbell and Petr Mrazek have struggled as of late. The Leafs will also be without defenseman Jake Muzzin after the 33-year-old suffered a concussion.
Stock Up: Los Angeles Kings
To the shock of many, Los Angeles is holding a two-point lead over the Edmonton Oilers for the final playoff spot in the Pacific Division. They have earned a point in eight of their last ten games. This includes victories over the Vegas Golden Knights, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the Detroit Red Wings. As well balanced a team as they come, the group is currently top five in shots on goal and shots given up per game. Once again strong in his 16th season in the league, captain Anze Kopitar leads the group in both assists (33) and points (47). Firmly in the conversation for the Selke Award as the league’s top two way forward, the 34-year-old is winning more than 57 percent of his faceoffs.
Stock Down: Philadelphia Flyers
A team that has been unable to garner any momentum during the 2021 season, the next month will be very interesting for the Flyers. They have lost six games in a row to fall to last place in the Metropolitan Division. One of the worst clubs in the league on the offensive end, Philadelphia has scored just 129 goals in 52 games, the fifth-lowest total in the league. Furthermore, Mike Yeo’s group is 28th in shooting percentage and 30th in power play percentage. The Flyers will likely start receiving calls on their top players over the next few weeks as the trade deadline inches closer and captain Claude Giroux has begun to draw interest. Winger Travis Konecny and defenseman Justin Braun are also two names to watch.
Stock Up: Montreal Canadiens
Looking lifeless under former head coach Dominique Ducharme, the Canadiens were trending towards challenging the Arizona Coyotes for the top odds to hold the number one pick in next April’s draft. However, the team has won four games in a row under new bench boss Martin St Louis. They defeated the St. Louis Blues in overtime before picking up a 5-2 win over their bitter rival in the Maple Leafs on Monday. Injecting life into the team’s struggling top players, Cole Caufield is riding a four-game point streak, while Nick Suzuki has added five markers over that stretch of time. Furthermore, after finishing 13th in Norris Trophy voting a year ago, number one defenseman Jeff Petry has finally begun to play with some life.
Stock Down: Seattle Kraken
With just two wins in February, the Kraken are limping along to March’s trade deadline. They primarily focused on preserving cap space and building for the future in the expansion draft. Unfortunately, this has led the team to struggle mightily on the offensive end. Dave Hakstol’s group has scored just eight goals over their last four games to fall to 27th in the league in average goals per contest. More disappointing for the group has been the play of their goaltending tandem in Philipp Grubauer and Chris Driedger. After inking both to free-agent deals in the offseason, the former has racked up just a .888 save percentage in 39 starts while the latter is currently carrying a 3.30 goals against average.
Follow Chris Gallagher on Twitter @ChrisGally06
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