NHL Weekly Stock Up, Stock Down: 3/25-3/31by Christopher Gallagher April 2, 2022 0 comments
Just over four weeks are remaining in the 2021 NHL regular season. Most playoff races across the league are wrapped up. However, the battle for seeding across the four divisions still rages on. This recent week of action featured some superstar performances from the game’s brightest stars. Pacing Leon Draisaitl in the race for the Rocket Richard Trophy, Auston Matthews became the first Toronto Maple Leafs player to score 50 goals since Dave Andreychuk in 1993-94. Furthermore, Florida Panthers star left-winger Jonathan Huberdeau set the NHL record for the most assists in a single season by a left-winger after he racked up his 71st helper of the year.
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Stock Up: Toronto Maple Leafs
The Maple Leafs are fresh off a dominating 7-3 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday Night. The team has now won three games in a row to remain a point up on the Tampa Bay Lightning for the second spot in the Atlantic Division. Led by the play of their top line, Matthews is riding a four-game goal streak to lead the league with 50.
Along with this, Mitch Marner has picked up 58 points in his last 32 contests as he closes in on his first 100 point campaign. Receiving an added boost to their defense core with the acquisition of Mark Giordano at the trade deadline, the veteran has provided a stabilizing presence on the blue line. He is currently playing over 20 minutes a night alongside Timothy Liljegren.
Stock Down: Ottawa Senators
Quickly falling further and further down the standings in the Eastern Conference, the second half of the year has not been kind to the Ottawa Senators. The team has lost four of its last five games while picking up just four wins in March. They are struggling to keep the puck out of the back of their net in the absence of top defenseman Thomas Chabot.
The young blueliner is out for the remainder of the season with a broken hand. This has led the group to fall to 23rd in the NHL in goals allowed per game while also ranking 26th in average shots on net each night. With a tough schedule remaining down the stretch, DJ Smith’s group still has games looming against the New York Rangers, Maple Leafs, and the Florida Panthers.
Stock Up: Colorado Avalanche
Proving to be a battle-tested club, the Avalanche continue to chug along despite a slew of injuries. Already without captain Gabriel Landeskog as he rehabs from knee surgery, the team was also without Nathan MacKinnon on Tuesday Night. On Sunday, the superstar center suffered an upper-body injury after fighting Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba. Narrowly knocking off the red-hot Calgary Flames, Darcy Kuemper made 44 saves to help Colorado pick up their 100th point of the year. Home to one of the best rosters in the game, the most impressive thing for Jared Bednar’s group has been the play of their back end, led by Norris Trophy candidate Cale Makar, along with former New York Islander Devon Toews.
Stock Down: Philadelphia Flyers
The Flyers are looking to take away any kind of positives from their disastrous 2021 campaign. However, after dealing captain Claude Giroux at the trade deadline, the group has continued to struggle mightily. Knocked off 4-1 by the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night, they have lost four games in a row and seven of their last ten. Struggling to generate on the offensive end, Philadelphia has scored just 41 goals during the month of March, the seventh-lowest mark in the league. Oskar Lindblom has racked up just one point during his previous ten contests while Owen Tippett has gone scoreless in his last five. Crunched up against the cap heading into the offseason, the franchise appears to be headed for a multi-year rebuild.
Stock Up: Winnipeg Jets
The Jets have turned their fortunes around during the second half of the season. The team is now just three points back of the Dallas Stars for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Guided by the play of their star center Mark Scheifele, the 29-year-old has amassed seven points in his last five games. Along with this, after a slow start to his 2021 campaign, captain Blake Wheeler is riding a seven-game point streak. The former first-round pick is now up to 11 goals and 42 assists on the year. Paired with the rock-solid play provided by Connor Hellebuyck, the star netminder has won four of his last five starts to bring his save percentage up to .912.
Stock Down: San Jose Sharks
Currently sitting in a tie with the Anaheim Ducks for the seventh spot in the Pacific Division, the Sharks have lost three of their last four games. They were knocked off by the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday night before falling to the Avalanche on Thursday. The team has now scored just seven goals over their previous five contests. Faced with multiple question marks heading into the offseason, the franchise has seen numerous surprise performances from their young talent in 2021. Timo Meier is leading the way for the group with 66 points in 61 games. Choosing to re-sign longtime center Tomas Hertl to an eight-year extension prior to the trade deadline, it appears that general manager Doug Wilson will not commit to a full-blown rebuild.
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