This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes Matthews on fire, a Blue settling in nicely with his new team, a fine option in Hockeytown, the return of the Devils' captain and several veterans scuffling.
First Liners (Risers)
Auston Matthews, C, TOR – Matthews continued his assault on NHL goalies Saturday, scoring twice while adding an assist. In 19 games, Matthews has 18 goals and 11 assists while shooting 23.1 percent, despite seeing his point streak end at 16 on Monday. He leads the league in goals, and at this pace, which will be difficult to continue, he could notch his first 50-goal campaign, taking on even more meaning in a 56-game season. Toronto is loaded, and Matthews looks like the leader of the band.
Logan Couture, C, SJ – San Jose is a mess but at least its captain is producing. Couture scored twice Saturday and added a marker Monday, increasing his season mark to 10 goals, eight of which have come in the last 11 games. Add six assists and a plus-minus in positive territory on a lousy team and you have a very productive player. Couture is seeing just about 20 minutes of ice time a game, including three minutes on the man-advantage, boding well for future success. After posting just 39 points last season, Couture looks to be more like the player who was brilliant the two previous campaigns before last year's decline.
Nino Niederreiter, LW, CAR – I debated several Hurricanes before landing on profiling