This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes a new #1 center in Ottawa, Haula at your boy, the best d-man in Anaheim on a roll, a pair of top centers down for the season, and Yak has been yucch.
First Liners (Risers)
Mika Zibanejad, C, OTT – Zibanejad scored a natural hat trick in a team-record 2:38 during the third period of the Senators' win on Saturday. The three goals gave Zib 14 on the season but that's not why he is profiled. Kyle Turris' ankle injury may sideline him for the rest of the year, thrusting the Swede into the first line center role between Mike Hoffman and Bobby Ryan.
Mike Ribeiro, C, NAS – Ribeiro added another helper Tuesday, giving him 13 assists in his last 13 games. He has tallied just six goals but has made up for that subpar number by tallying 36 assists. With 42 points, this marks the twelfth season Ribeiro has done so and is on a 60-point pace.
Alex Killorn, LW, TB – Killorn has been on fire lately, grabbing points in six of his last eight. This streak leaves him at 12 goals and 21 assists, close to his career-highs of 17 and 24 set in 2013-14.
Erik Haula, LW, MIN – Haula's hot stretch continued with another goal Tuesday. That starts March nicely for him after a terrific February, where he scored four goals and dished out seven assists – doubling his point total. Haula is still on the third line but clearly is making the most of the ice time.
Brayden Schenn, LW, PHI – Schenn notched a hat trick Monday, giving him 27 points in 2016. What makes this even more impressive is he now sits at 21 goals and 21 assists, which shows you just how slow his start was. Schenn, who is playing left wing but can also handle center, adds to his value with 132 hits.
Sami Vatanen, D, ANA – Vatanen had been mentioned in trade rumors when he struggled earlier this season but Anaheim wisely didn't deal him. He has rewarded the Ducks for their patience, with three goals and nine points in his last eight, which have all been wins. Those nine points give the blueliner 34 for the year, the second consecutive season he has broken 30 and he sits just three shy of his career-high.
Andrei Markov, D, MTL – The season started off with such promise for Montreal but it has since gone up in flames. Like the Canadiens. Markov began well but hit a rough patch. Lately, he has discovered his game, notching a goal and eight assists in his past 10 to leave him at a solid 34 points.
Tuukka Rask, G, BOS – Rask still has his occasion bobbles but he has been a stalwart in net. He has victories in five of his last seven, giving him a total of 25. Rask's goals-against average and save percentage are not at his usual levels but he has the Bruins right in the mix for the top spot in the Atlantic.
Michal Neuvirth, G, PHI – Neuvirth was brought in to back up Steve Mason but he taken a hold of the top job between the pipes. He is helping Philly stay on the fringe of the playoff race, winning five of his last seven. That makes Neuvirth 16-7-4 with a 2.22 GAA and .927 SV%.
Others include Joakim Nordstrom, Andreas Athanasiou, Claude Giroux, Derek Stepan, Sean Monahan, Joe Thornton, Steven Stamkos, Ryan Getzlaf, Mike Ribeiro, William Nylander (promoted), Alexander Wennberg, Patrice Bergeron, Jeff Carter, Mark Scheifele, Aleksander Barkov, Joe Thornton, Ryan Callahan, Charlie Coyle, Mark Stone, Nino Niederreiter, Tomas Hertl, Daniel Sedin, Brendan Gallagher, Johnny Gaudreau, Shane Doan, Blake Wheeler, Corey Perry, Jason Pominville, Mike Hoffman, Vladimir Tarasenko, Wayne Simmonds, Jarome Iginla, Jaromir Jagr, Kris Letang, Erik Karlsson, Brent Burns, John Klingberg, Roman Josi, T.J. Brodie, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Tyson Barrie, Brandon Davidson, Henrik Lundqvist, Ben Bishop, Braden Holtby, Pekka Rinne, Martin Jones, Corey Crawford, Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Quick.
Training Room (Injuries)
Bryan Little, C, WPG – Little is out the rest of the season with a compression fracture of his vertebrae. Due to injury, Little played fewer games and scored less than last season, which is the second straight year those numbers have declined. He finishes 2015-16 with 17 goals and 25 assists along with a minus-13 rating for a Winnipeg squad that will miss the playoffs again.
Kyle Turris, C, OTT – Turris has dealt with ankle injuries all season and is now sidelined with a high-ankle sprain that could cost him the remainder of the campaign. It has a disappointing year for Turris, who has just 13 goals and 17 assists with a minus-15 rating after scoring 24 goals and 40 assists last year.
Others include Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (hand, returned to practice Tuesday but several weeks away), Jori Lehtera (possible concussion, indefinite), Tyler Bozak (head, no timetable), Andrej Nestrasil (fractured vertebra, out for season), Rick Nash (leg, about a week from resuming lower-body exercises), Jonathan Huberdeau (upper-body injury, injured reserve), James van Riemsdyk (foot, out for season), Joffrey Lupul (abdomen, out for rest of season), Marian Gaborik (knee, could return before end of season), Michael Cammalleri (hand, possibly done for year), Jakub Voracek (knee, out two weeks), Justin Faulk (leg, has missed four straight), John Carlson (lower-body injury, out 3-4 weeks), and Craig Anderson (lower-body, day-to-day).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Riley Sheahan, C, DET – Sheahan's goal on February 24 snapped a 17-game goalless streak. He is still the Red Wings' second center, but he has posted just eight goals and seven assists with an awful minus-14 rating. With Andreas Athanasiou doing well, it may not be long before a change in lines is made.
Nail Yakupov, LW, EDM – Yakupov may be getting a final chance to show he should remain in Edmonton. Despite just tallying one point in his last 15, Yak was moved up in class Tuesday. Coach Todd McLellan bumped him up to the top line with Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle. That didn't pay immediate dividends for the former top pick, but he is getting an opportunity to resurrect his disappointing career.
Erik Johnson, D, COL – Johnson has just two points – both goals – with a minus-8 his last 10. He is still logging heavy minutes – 24:14 nightly in that stretch, 1:41 of which has been on the man-advantage – but has been unable to consistently dent the score sheet. Johnson is what he is: a solid defenseman who can contribute some points but one who will never meet what was expected of him when he was selected first overall in 2006.
Ryan Miller, G, VAN – Miller, who has one year remaining on the three-year, $18 million deal he signed with the Canucks in July of 2014, has had a rough campaign. He is just 14-18-8 with a 2.62 GAA and .916 SV%. With Vancouver out of it, don't be surprised if Jacob Markstrom sees more action down the stretch.
Others include Ryan Johansen, Jonathan Toews, Eric Staal, Martin Hanzal, Mathieu Perreault, Tomas Fleischmann, Tomas Tatar, Brian Gionta, Dustin Brown, Ron Hainsey, Rasmus Ristolainen, Dan Boyle, Ryan Murray, James Reimer, Cory Schneider (mild slump) and Antti Niemi.