This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes a change of scenery making a difference, a 2017 high draft pick finding his way, a Norris Trophy candidate in the Desert, Montreal's No. 1 goalie sidelined and a winger struggles continuing after coming to the Island.
First Liners (Risers)
Sam Bennett, C, FLA – Bennett, drafted fourth overall by the Flames in 2014, never reached his potential in Calgary. This season, he posted just 12 points and a -14 rating in 38 games as Flame, but had shown signs of life with five assists in his last four games before he was traded two weeks ago. The Panthers acquired Bennett and a 2022 sixth-round pick via trade from the Flames for a 2021 second-round pick and prospect Emil Heineman. Bennett has carried over his hot play before the deal, scoring four goals while adding three assists in six games for Florida, centering the second line between Jonathan Huberdeau and Anthony Duclair.
Casey Mittelstadt, C, BUF – Mittelstadt, the eighth overall selection from the 2017 draft, looked like a bust coming into this season. In 114 games, Mittelstadt had just 17 goals and 22 assists with a minus-23 rating. He did little to inspire confidence the first part of this year, notching six points with a minus-13 in his first 20 games. But from March 31 forward, Mittelstadt has looked like a completely different player, displaying signs as to why he was selected so high, tallying eight goals with four assists