This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article looks at the biggest risers and fallers from the unofficial "first half" of the season. Players that missed a significant amount of time due to injury are not included.
First Liners (Risers)
Sean Couturier, C, PHI – Couturier has scored between 34 and 39 points the past four seasons, carving out a role as a solid shutdown center. Coach Dave Hakstol placed him with Jakub Voracek and Claude Giroux, moving Giroux to left wing. Couturier has exploded offensively since that change, already racking up 26 goals – a new career high — and 23 assists in 49 games.
Mathew Barzal, C, NYI – The NHL has been blessed by an amazing crop of rookies the past several seasons. This year was expected to be good, but not at the same level as the Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews classes. Leading the newest group group is Barzal, who has settled in nicely as the Islanders' No. 2 center.
Mikko Rantanen, RW, COL – The Avalanche sit in a playoff spot and a big driver in their climb to that spot, especially in their recent hot streak, has been the play of Rantanen. Taken 10th overall in 2015, Rantanen already sits at 17 goals and 30 assists in 49 games, exceeding his total from his rookie season last year. Skating alongside Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, Rantanen should be a threat to score for the remainder of the season.
Jonathan Marchessault, LW, LV