St Louis Blues v Colorado Avalanche
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Welcome to the NHL Star Power Index: A weekly gauge of the players who are controlling substantial buzz around the league. When a player is included on this list it may not be a good thing — it means that they are capturing a large amount of the hockey world’s attention.

These players are in no particular order when it comes to the amount of buzz that they’re creating. We’ll revisit the Star Power Index every week throughout the regular season.

Mikko Rantanen

COL • RW • #96

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The Colorado Avalanche have been forced to defend their Stanley Cup without captain Gabriel Landeskog, who is slated to be out until at least January due to knee surgery. Lucky for the Avalanche, the team has plenty of star playmakers that they can turn to when they need offensive production.

One of those has recently been star winger Mikko Rantanen.

Over the past week, Rantanen has been absolutely on fire, as he’s racked up four goals and five assists in just his last three games. The Finnish forward has registered at least two points in each of those three contests, including a four-point performance (one goal & three assists) against the Carolina Hurricanes this past Saturday.

In total, Rantanen has registered seven goals and seven assists in five games this month, including two multi-goal games. His recent offensive surge has elevated him among the league’s top point producers. The 26-year old’s 25 points ranks third in the NHL behind only Connor McDavid (32) and Leon Draisaitl (28). In addition, Rantanen’s 11 goals are currently tied for fourth in the league.

Jack Eichel

LV • C • #9

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Nearly a full calendar year after being traded by the Buffalo Sabres, Jack Eichel exacted some revenge against his former team. In last Thursday’s 7-4 win over the Sabres, the Vegas Golden Knights star registered a three goals and an assist against his old team. Eichel scored all three of his three goals in the final period.

The former Sabres star even made sure to taunt the crowd after he scored his first goal after getting booed during pregame warmups and every time he touched the puck throughout the contest.

Eichel became just the fifth former Sabres player to record a hat trick against Buffalo as he joined Tyler Ennis (Jan. 25, 2022), Ray Sheppard (Nov. 26, 1996), Pierre Turgeon (Jan. 6, 1996) and Tony McKegney (Feb. 24, 1987). This was just Eichel’s second game against his former team since being traded to the Golden Knights last November.

Eichel’s triumphant performance against his former team was just the latest in a strong stretch for him. Over the past four games, Eichel has registered five goals and an assist, including at least one goal in three of those four contests. In addition, the 2015 No. 2 pick is enjoying a sensational month in which he’s racked up six goals and four assists.

Eichel has been a driving force for a Golden Knights team that currently has the best record in the Western Conference.

Nico Hischier

NJ • C • #13

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The New Jersey Devils have easily been the most exciting story in the NHL this season. They are currently riding a 10-game winning streak, which is the third-longest in franchise history.

One of the biggest reasons for the team’s success has been the play of captain Nico Hischier

Hischier may not have the most gaudy numbers on the season (8 goals & 9 assists), but he’s been very productive as of late. The 2017 No. 1 pick has tallied three goals and two assists over his last four games, including a two-goal performance in a 4-3 overtime win over the Ottawa Senators last Thursday.

Hischier also tipped home the game-winning goal in the final minute of overtime off a point shot from defenseman Dougie Hamilton. The entire play was made possible after Hischier won the face-off against Ottawa’s Tyler Motte.

The Devils center has been extremely dependable in the face-off circle throughout the first 16 games of the year, as he has won 190 face-offs (58.5 percent), which is the seventh-most in the NHL. Hischier dealt with injuries early on in his NHL career and didn’t develop quite as quickly as many expected him to. However, now the Devils top-line center is really hitting his stride and showcasing why he was a top pick.

Jacob Markstrom

CGY • G • #25
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It’s been a rough recent stretch for the Calgary Flames with the team losing seven of their last nine games. Goaltender Jacob Markstrom has also been at the forefront of those struggles.

Markstrom, who was a finalist for the Vezina Trophy as the league’s best goalie last season, has compiled a 3.06 goals-against-average and a .889 save percentage so far this season. Both of those rank outside of the top 30 among NHL goaltenders. Most recently, the Flames netminder surrendered five goals in a 6-5 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. In that contest, he only stopped 24 of the 29 shots that he faced.

The 32-year old has allowed two goals or fewer in only four of his 12 starts on the year thus far. It’s a far cry from a goalie that compiled a 37-15-0 record, 2.22 goals-against-average, and .922 save percentage during the 2021-22 campaign. For a goalie with the pedigree of Markstrom, it’s likely that this won’t continue throughout the entire season, but it’s certainly concerning thus far.