By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week's article includes Larkin heating up, another hot winger in Ottawa, ADA with a hat trick, a possible new No. 1 goalie in San Jose and Nashville's top pivotman scuffling.
First Liners (Risers)
Dylan Larkin, C, Detroit Red Wings
Larkin hasn't had a particularly good season but has been better lately. He has a pair of goals and four helpers his last six games, moving his season numbers to 30 points, 142 shots on goal and a minus-15 rating in 46 contests. After scoring 63 points in 2017-18 and 73 points last season, Larkin appeared to have taken that major step forward and become close to an elite player, which was expected of him when he was selected 15th overall in 2014. But he, like Detroit overall, has had his struggles this year.
Tyler Bozak, C, St. Louis Blues
Bozak's production fell from 55 points in 2016-17 to 43 and then 38 last season, his first as a Blue. His slow start made it look like Bozak would see a drop in output once again, but he has righted the ship recently. Bozak tallied his 11th goal of the season Monday; his sixth in the last nine games. He’s now up to 24 points in 46 games. Those numbers aren't elite by any stretch but make him worth a look in deeper leagues.
Tyler Ennis, LW, Ottawa Senators
Ennis posted 49 points as a rookie for Buffalo in 2010-11, which has been his high-water mark in the NHL. Following that magical campaign, Ennis posted 34, 31, 43 and 46 points the next four campaigns before seeing his production fall off the table the next four seasons while bouncing between three teams. Given a fresh start in Ottawa, Ennis has made the most of that opportunity, reaching 25 points for the first time since 2014-15. He's added 92 shots on goal, six power-play goals, 44 hits, and a minus-5 rating through 45 outings this season.
Reilly Smith, RW, Vegas Golden Knights
Smith just continues to churn out points for the Golden Knights. He has five goals and as many assists in his last 11 games. Overall, Smith has 18 tallies, 36 points, and 119 shots on goal in 48 games this season. His career highs are 25 goals in 2015-16 and 60 points in 2017-18, but both marks are within reach for the 28-year-old who was traded by the Panthers to the Golden Knights at the expansion draft due to salary cap issues.
Anthony DeAngelo, D, New York Rangers
DeAngelo notched a hat trick and two assists Thursday for New York, becoming the first D-man to score a regular-season hat trick for the Blueshirts in 37 years. ADA, acquired by the Rangers in the Derek Stepan deal just before the 2017 NHL Draft, played in 32 games that season before earning a full-time role the following campaign. He increased his production to four goals and 26 assists last season but only signed a one-year, $900K contract due to New York's cap constraints. Arbitration-eligible after this season, DeAngelo is set up for a major pay raise as he is up to 11 goals and 25 assists.
Samuel Girard, D, Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche are set up to have a dominant defensive pipeline in the future. Cale Makar is rightly earning most of the publicity, but Girard is having a stellar season in his own right. Acquired from Nashville as part of the Matt Duchene deal, Girard showed immediately that he was ready for the NHL. He posted four goals and 23 assists in his sophomore campaign last season, resulting in Girard signing a seven-year, $35 million contract extension with the Avalanche in July 2019. The early returns are solid, as Girard has one goal and 24 assists in 45 games this season.
Aaron Dell, G, San Jose Sharks
San Jose has searched for solid play between the pipes all season. The Sharks finally might be receiving that from Dell. He posted a 30-save win over the Blue Jackets on Thursday and stopped 27 shots Saturday, making Dell 4-1-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and .939 save percentage in his last five outings. Overall, he is 8-7-2 with a 2.77 GAA and a .910 save percentage in 20 appearances. Interim head coach Bob Boughner may have found his starting netminder with Martin Jones relegated to opening the door on the bench.
Igor Shesterkin, G, New York Rangers
The chants of Igor, Igor, Igor have already resonated at Madison Square Garden. Called up to make his debut last week, Shesterkin posted back-to-back wins in consecutive starts, stopping 75 of 81 shots, including making 46 saves to defeat the Devils on Thursday. A fourth-round pick in 2014, Shesterkin earned the promotion by going 15-4-3 with a 1.93 goals-against average and .932 save percentage in 23 games played at Hartford. But he is in a three-goalie time-share, meaning that in some games he will be in the press box, so evaluate his status in single-season leagues accordingly.
Others include Nico Hischier, Erik Haula, Ryan Strome, Teuvo Teravainen, Mark Scheifele, Auston Matthews, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Steven Stamkos, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Jaden Schwartz, Blake Coleman, Roope Hintz, David Pastrnak, Brock Boeser, Bryan Rust, Chris Kreider, Max Pacioretty, Kailer Yamamoto, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nikita Kucherov, David Perron, T.J. Oshie, Artemi Panarin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Kyle Connor, Damon Severson, Esa Lindell, John Marino, Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Torey Krug, Quinn Hughes, Ilya Samsonov, Pekka Rinne (tallied a goal last week), Andrei Vasilevskiy, Jordan Binnington, Elvis Merzlikins, and Petr Mrazek.
Dominik Kubalik, LW, Chicago Blackhawks
Kubalik is skating on the top line in Chicago, earning that spot with his play this season. In his last 11 games, Kubalik has potted eight goals and added five assists. Selected 191st overall in 2013, Kubalik is in his rookie campaign in the Windy City. Overall, the 24 year old Czech Republic-native is up to 16 goals and 26 points in 44 games while also posting 59 hits. Jump on board due to his line placement and second unit power-unit power play placement.
Training Room (Injuries)
Logan Couture, C, San Jose Sharks
San Jose suffered a major injury last week, losing Couture to a fractured ankle, which will sideline the Sharks center approximately six weeks. After notching 70 points last season, Couture had tallied 36 points in 45 games before he was injured. His absence creates a hole at first-line center, which is being filled by Tomas Hertl. San Jose is eight points out of a playoff spot, so losing Couture won't help their chances at making up that ground.
Others include Sidney Crosby (sports hernia, sidelined since Nov. 9, skating with team, but no date for activation), Jack Hughes (upper-body, returned to lineup Sunday after missing five consecutive games), Jonathan Marchessault (lower-body injury, missed fifth consecutive game Saturday, practiced Monday, could play Tuesday), Andreas Johnsson (leg, injured Dec. 4, skated with regular sweater Saturday), Jason Zucker (lower leg, underwent surgery Dec. 20, was to miss 4-6 weeks, played Sunday), Colton Parayko (upper-body injury, missed fifth straight game Monday), John Klingberg (lower-body injury, last played Jan. 1, should play Tuesday), Ryan McDonagh (undisclosed, has missed five straight, could play Tuesday), and Shayne Gostisbehere (knee, underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday, will miss three weeks) and Antti Raanta (lower-body injury, left Friday's game, was sidelined Sunday).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Ryan Johansen, C, Nashville Predators
Johansen has just one point — a goal — in his last eight games. After posting 14 goals and 50 assists in 80 games last season, Johansen has just nine goals and 17 assists in 44 games. Acquired for Seth Jones during the 2015-16 season, Johansen has filled the role as the top-line center in Nashville. He isn't a goal-scorer (he’s known more for his playmaking ability), but he has struggled to produce this season, partially resulting in the Predators scuffling the first half of the year.
Brady Tkachuk, LW, Ottawa Senators
Tkachuk is in the midst of a mild slump. He broke a five-game drought with a goal Friday but was held off the scoresheet Saturday. Despite the lack of output lately, the fourth overall pick from 2018 now has 25 points (14 scores, 11 helpers), 161 shots, 179 hits and 53 PIM in 45 contests this season. This slump puts the odds of Tkachuk reaching the 45 points he tallied last year somewhat in doubt, but all he needs is one good stretch for that to occur.
Miro Heiskanen, D, Dallas Stars
Heiskanen's assist Saturday was his first point in eight games and just his second point in his last 14 games. Despite the slump, Heiskanen still has seven goals and 16 assists in 45 games after posting 12 and 21 as a rookie last season. Heiskanen, selected third overall in 2018, is still racking up shots, as he has surpassed 110 for the year, and blocking shots, as he is on pace for more than 100 this season. We are far from advocating dumping Miro, but you might want to bench him until he shows signs of productivity.
Others include Brock Nelson, Jeff Carter, James Neal, Kaapo Kakko, Zdeno Chara, Alec Martinez, Carter Hutton, and Henrik Lundqvist.
Braden Holtby, G, Washington Capitals
Holtby's season has been a roller coaster and now, he is at the bottom of the track. He surrendered four goals on 21 shots against the Devils on Saturday and has allowed three or more goals in each of his last six outings to compile a 1-5-0 record over that span. This rough patch comes on the heels of a several-week hot stretch. But until he rights the ship, Ilya Samsonov, who pitched a shutout Monday, could be in line for additional playing time between the pipes.