By Jan Levine, RotoWire
Special to Yahoo Sports
This week's article includes the new No. 2 pivotman in Boston, the Duke racking up goals, ADA succeeding with the Canes, Sid the Kid back, a much-hyped rookie sent to the minors and a veteran center turning back the clock.
First Liners (Risers)
Charlie Coyle, C, BOS
The departure of David Krejci left a major hole at second-line center for the Bruins. Stepping in — at least initially — to try and fill the breach is Coyle. The early returns have been relatively solid, as Coyle has five points and 15 shots on goal in his first seven games, though the points have come in just three contests. If Coyle does not prove up to the task, Boston might explore the trade market or try either Erik Haula or Jack Studnicka in that spot. But for now, the position is Coyle's.
Isac Lundestrom, C, ANA
Isac who? Lundestrom appeared in only 15 games for the Ducks last year, registering four assists, doubling his output from the prior year. Drafted 23rd overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, Lundestrom is exceeding all expectations early this season, stepping into the third-line pivot role. Lundestrom's point streak is at four games (one goal, three assists) after his helper Sunday. The Swede has eight points, 11 shots on net and a plus-5 rating in 10 games while averaging more than 15 minutes of ice time.
Anthony Duclair, LW, FLA
Duclair has Cy Young-like stats early this season, notching his sixth goal against one assist Saturday. Last season, on his sixth team in seven years, Duclair posted 10 goals and 22 assists with a career-high plus-27 rating. The goal Saturday gave Duclair points in four consecutive games, as he skates on the Cats' top line. If Duclair can retain his spot on that trio, look for him to bolster that helper column, evening out his overall production.
Alex Killorn, LW, TB
Killorn has been remarkably consistent in his NHL career, finishing with 33 to 49 points every full season. On other teams, Killorn likely could be a 50-60-point scorer, but in Tampa Bay, he moves up and down the lineup, filling whatever role is needed. With Nikita Kucherov out 8-10 weeks following surgery, Killorn has moved up to the first-line left-wing spot. That swap has resulted in Killorn posting five goals and three assists over a five-game scoring streak and 10 points in nine games overall.
Timo Meier, LW, SJ
Meier continued his early season success, tallying the game-winning goal along with posting an assist Saturday. Those two points gave the 25-year-old winger five goals and six helpers in eight games with Meier hitting the scoresheet in seven of those games. Meier, drafted ninth overall in 2015, burst on the scene with 66 points in 78 games in 2018-19, but saw his production decline the following two campaigns. On the top line in San Jose, Meier looks like the player from the breakout season. Be advised though, the Sharks recently added Meier to their COVID protocol list.
Tony DeAngelo, D, CAR
DeAngelo, after missing most of last season following his suspension from the Rangers, signed a one-year. $1 million deal with the Hurricanes after his contract was bought out by New York. Through the early part of the season, ADA has provided tremendous value to Carolina, notching two goals and seven assists with five of those points coming on the man-advantage. His performance shouldn't come as a major shock, as DeAngelo did total 53 points in 68 games in 2019-20. As long as his focus remains on the ice, DeAngelo adds a lot to a very deep Canes roster.
Jacob Markstrom, G, CGY
Markstrom is off to a brilliant start to the season, going 4-1-1 with a 1.33 goals-against average and .957 save percentage. We know the numbers will fall, but as seen last year, Calgary will ride Markstrom heavily between the pipes, resulting in a substantive number of victories. After signing a six-year, $36 million deal with the Flames in 2020, Markstrom finished second among all NHL netminders in starts (43), posting a 22-19-2 record while backstopping the Flames to a postseason berth in 2020-21. More problematic for the Flames, however, was the Swede's 2.66 GAA and .904 save percentage. With a slightly improved defense around him, look for Markstrom to post better across-the-board numbers.
Sergei Bobrovsky, G, FLA
Following a disappointing first two years in Florida after signing a seven-year, $70 million contract, Bobrovsky has been brilliant this year. The 33-year-old remains perfect to start the year, as he's collected a win in six consecutive starts, including Friday versus the Red Wings. He's only allowed more than two goals once, in the season opener versus the Penguins and sits with a 1.81 goals-against average and .944 save percentage. Spencer Knight is seeing starts and poised to be the No. 1 netminder is needed, but for now, Bobrovsky is holding onto that spot.
Others include: Trevor Zegras, Josh Norris, J.T. Compher, Vincent Trocheck, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Evgeny Kuznetsov, Dylan Larkin, Chandler Stephenson, Sean Couturier, Dillon Dube, Tanner Jeannot, Drake Batherson, Andreas Johnsson, Troy Terry, Oliver Wahlstrom, Andrew Mangiapane, Philipp Kurashev, Vladimir Tarasenko, Mike Hoffman, Chris Kreider, Troy Terry, Kyle Connor, Gabriel Landeskog, Victor Olofsson, Brandon Tanev, Cam Atkinson, Johnny Gaudreau, Alex Kerfoot, Rasmus Dahlin, Ethan Bear, Moritz Seider, Adam Fox, Kale Clague, Neal Pionk, Kevin Shattenkirk, Aaron Ekblad, James Reimer, Juuse Saros, Frederik Andersen, Igor Shesterkin, Filip Gustavsson and Ilya Sorokin.
Artem Zub, D, OTT
Zub had a solid first season for the Senators, posting 14 points, 89 hits, 70 blocks and a plus-four rating in 47 games. After his assist Friday, Zub has recorded four assists, 25 blocks, 18 hits, 12 shots on net and a plus-4 rating in seven games. The Russian blueliner is seeing top-pairing minutes alongside Thomas Chabot — that's a role that could lead to solid secondary scoring for Zub, making him a nice sleeper in deeper leagues.
Training Room (Injuries)
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT
Crosby, out after offseason wrist surgery, made his season debut Saturday against the Devils. He failed to crack the scoresheet in his return to the lineup, but now fully healthy, Crosby is back centering the Pens top line and first power-play unit. Crosby racked up 24 goals and 62 points through 55 games last campaign and is just 14 goals shy of 500 for his career, a mark he should reach — barring further injury — this season.
Others include: Nolan Patrick (undisclosed, landed on IR on Saturday), Nikita Kucherov (lower body, underwent surgery Wednesday, expected to miss 8-10 weeks), Bryan Rust (lower body, out since first game of the season, might play Thursday). T.J. Oshie (lower body, listed as week-to-week), Mikko Rantanen (lower body, missed second straight game Saturday), Ryan Ellis (undisclosed, missed last four games through Saturday's action), Devon Toews (undisclosed, practicing, likely to make debut this week), Mike Smith (leg, missed fifth straight contest Monday) and Matt Murray (head, injured Oct. 23 after making contact with Chris Kreider's knee, on road trip with team).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Cole Caufield, RW, MON
There is cold, there is frigid and there is Caufield. Normally a sniper, Caufield couldn't hit water if he fell out of a boat right now. Caufield burst onto the scene late in 2020-21 with five points in 10 games after wrapping up his season at the University of Wisconsin. The diminutive winger then proved he was set to stay in the NHL with four goals and eight assists in 20 postseason games as the Canadiens made a run to the Stanley Cup Finals. Caufield opened the season on the top line but was dropped to a middle-six role amid Montreal's offensive struggles and now sent to Laval (AHL). He had just one point in 10 games and looked somewhat lost on the ice. Hopefully, the AHL stint helps him re-find his game
Jakob Chychrun, D, AZ
A first-round pick in 2016, Chychrun had a brilliant fifth campaign, producing 18 goals, 23 assists and 176 shots on goal as a breakout defenseman. Last year was the third consecutive season his point total rose. This year, it has been a completely different story. Chychrun has yet to record a point in nine games while posting an unsightly minus-15 rating. The ancillary stats — shots on goal, hits and blocked shots — are in line with last season, but his offense to date has gone completely south.
Adin Hill, G, SJ
Hill was traded from the Coyotes to the Sharks in July, as San Jose was determined to upgrade from the underwhelming duo of Devan Dubnyk and Martin Jones. Despite the team signing James Reimer, Hill was projected to be the team's top netminder. His early season struggles have put that status severely in doubt, especially since Reimer has outplayed him between the pipes. Hill is now 3-2-0 with a 2.95 GAA and an .893 save percentage through five appearances and likely will cede more starts to Reimer.
Others include: Martin Necas (maybe the two points Sunday will kickstart his game), Anders Lee, James van Riemsdyk, Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tkachev. Ryan Pulock and Jake Allen.
Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA
Who says you can't turn back the clock? The changing of the guard as the top-line center has not yet happened in Anaheim, though likely to occur before the end of the season with Trevor Zegras ascending to that spot. Until then, Getzlaf is still filling that position. Through 10 games, Getzlaf is playing like a younger version of himself with seven helpers and adding 25 shots on net, 20 hits, 11 blocks and a minus-4 rating, and his 18:26 of ice time per game is nearly two minutes higher than it was last year.
Ride the wave for however long it lasts but be ready to jump at a moment's notice.