While the 2021 NHL entry draft isn't viewed as being as deep as the 2020 class, as with Alexis Lafreniere last season, there appears to be a consensus No. 1 - Michigan's Owen Power. The Wolverines freshman defenceman didn't look out of place playing with the men at the IIHF world championship, winning a gold medal skating for Canada, playing in the top defensive pairing. Power is almost certainly going to the Buffalo Sabres.
NHL 3 Stars of The Week
Canadian NHL Stars of the Week
Third Star – C Ryan Getzlaf
One of the main strengths of the Anaheim Ducks happens to be their depth down the middle, lead by dominant pivot Ryan Getzlaf. Over the last week, he contributed seven points during the Ducks push for the playoffs, including five assists and a pair of goals.
Ryan started with an assist against Vegas and a pair of points during Anaheim’s 2-0 shutout win over Dallas. The Coyotes managed to quiet the entire forward corps, but Getzlaf responded with a four-point game against the Oilers to help savage another point.
The Ducks held on to their third-place position in the Pacific Division due to Getzlaf’s superb play. A seven-point outburst helped to maintain his point-per-game pace during the 2017-18 season. After 40 games, Getzlaf has 33 assists and 42 points, second in Anaheim scoring.
Second Star – G Pekka Rinne
Pekka Rinne continues to show no signs of aging, despite playing a lot of hockey over the past couple of seasons. He’s completely avoided a Stanley Cup hangover which afflicts many finalists, ranking second in wins and shutouts with 32 victories and six blank sheets. He has the fifth best GAA at 2.27, along with a .929 SV%.
Rinne deflected 36 shots against the Senators, rejected 31 attempts by the Sharks, then earned a 27-save shutout against the Blues. Over these three wins, he held the opposition to a microscopic 1.00 GAA with a sparkling .970 SV%.
Nashville’s looking great down the stretch thanks to fine performances by Rinne. The Predators jumped the Jets for first place in the Central Division while watching the Blues slip away. They’re only a point away from Vegas for first overall in the west, and a pair of points away from the NHL-best Lightning.
First Star – C Eric Staal
Eric Staal found a second wind in Minnesota after languishing during his final years with the Carolina Hurricanes. He’s turned back the clock during the 2017-18 regular season, scoring 30 goals and chipping in 29 assists over 62 games, producing at a rate which matches his mid-20s prime years.
Over the past week, Staal added to his totals with 4 goals and seven points in four games, earning an assist against the Islanders and a goal against the Devils. Eric broke out for a four-point game against the Rangers, including a pair of goals. He finished his fantastic week by bulging the twine against the Sharks.
The Wild have usurped third place in the Central from the Blues and the Stars with their four-win week, six points behind the Jets with 77 points. Staal’s the first star of the week for leading Minnesota back to contention.
Three Stars Canadian Honorable Mentions:
LW – Matthew Tkachuk - Calgary Flames
Tkachuk was sandpaper against the opposition last week, earning three goals and a pair of assists in four games which Calgary split. Matthew also threw his body around, registering seven hits and earning eight minutes in penalties. This rising young star enjoys more ice time and responsibility than ever with the Flames, who need his pesky scoring and agitation skills to progress to the playoffs.
RW – Patrik Laine – Winnipeg Jets
Patrik Laine can’t stop scoring, notching goals in five consecutive games. The Finnish sniper passed the 30-goal threshold once again, netting four markers and pitching in an assist over the last week. Laine’s part of the ridiculous forward depth of the Winnipeg Jets, who recently added Paul Stastny to go all in on a Stanley Cup run for 2018.
C – Mitch Marner – Toronto Maple Leafs
After Auston Matthews was sent to the press box with another upper body injury, the Maple Leafs were in tough against a Boston Bruins team which recently dominated them by a 4-1 score. Mitch Marner ended up lifting Toronto with another masterful performance, scoring a goal and three assists for the win. He also pitched in a goal against the Islanders, helping Toronto earn a four-game winning streak to challenge for top spot in the Atlantic Division.
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