NHL Barometer: Risers and Fallers

NHL Barometer: Risers and Fallers

This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.

This week's article includes the Rangers second center, a hot winger in Jersey, a possible new No. 1 netminder in Detroit, a major loss on the Devils' blueline and a defenseman missing in action in Carolina. 

First Liners (Risers)

Vincent Trocheck, C, NYR – Trocheck had a solid first season in New York but got off to a slow start this season. He posted 22 goals and 42 assists last year, though he and Artemi Panarin struggled to find chemistry. Trocheck was moved to the third line this year and had a goal and four assists his first 11 games. Filip Chytil's injury created an opening and Trocheck has driven a tractor trailer through it. His two assists Sunday gave Trocheck five markers and 12 helpers his last 14 games and 22 points in 23 contests on the season. Plus, he's leading the league in face-off win percentage at over 63 percent. 

Tyler Seguin, C, DAL – Seguin's placement here depends on your league settings, as he is skating as Dallas' second-line right winger but may be listed as a center. He notched his seventh goal in his last 11 games Saturday, a run in which he has also added six assists. Those are 13 of the 17 points he has scored in 22 games on the year, showing how much he has upped his game since starting the season slow. Seguin will likely settle into the 50-point range, which is where he has finished his

This week's article includes the Rangers second center, a hot winger in Jersey, a possible new No. 1 netminder in Detroit, a major loss on the Devils' blueline and a defenseman missing in action in Carolina. 

First Liners (Risers)

Vincent Trocheck, C, NYR – Trocheck had a solid first season in New York but got off to a slow start this season. He posted 22 goals and 42 assists last year, though he and Artemi Panarin struggled to find chemistry. Trocheck was moved to the third line this year and had a goal and four assists his first 11 games. Filip Chytil's injury created an opening and Trocheck has driven a tractor trailer through it. His two assists Sunday gave Trocheck five markers and 12 helpers his last 14 games and 22 points in 23 contests on the season. Plus, he's leading the league in face-off win percentage at over 63 percent. 

Tyler Seguin, C, DAL – Seguin's placement here depends on your league settings, as he is skating as Dallas' second-line right winger but may be listed as a center. He notched his seventh goal in his last 11 games Saturday, a run in which he has also added six assists. Those are 13 of the 17 points he has scored in 22 games on the year, showing how much he has upped his game since starting the season slow. Seguin will likely settle into the 50-point range, which is where he has finished his last three full seasons. 

Carter Verhaeghe, LW, FLA – Verhaeghe scored a goal and added an assist Saturday, his sixth multi-point performance in the last 15 games. During this stretch, Verhaeghe has amassed eight goals and 16 points, including four power-play tallies. Those numbers should not come as a huge surprise, as Verhaeghe posted career highs with 42 goals and 73 points in 2022-23. Verhaeghe skates on the second line and power-play unit but moves up a line when needed, affording him additional production chances. 

Zach Benson, LW, BUF – Benson, taken 13th overall last season, made the Sabres out of training camp. He notched two assists his first four games before suffering a lower-body injury on October 20. After being in-and-out of the lineup the next four games, Benson was finally shut down for seven games. Since returning to the lineup, Benson has been hot, notching five points (two goals, three assists) in his next seven games, resulting in Buffalo keeping him with the parent club rather than sending him back to juniors. He's been shut out the last two contests, but the future is bright for Benson.

Zach Werenski, D, CLM – Werenski posted a career-high 48 points, 11 goals and 37 assists, in 68 games in 2021-22, but was limited again by injuries last season. He suited up for only 13 games, as he didn't play past Nov. 10 because of a separated shoulder and torn labrum. Werenski is on pace to exceed that career-high total, posting 11 assists his last 12 games, upping his season mark to 18 helpers to go along with one goal in 29 games. The clear No. 1 blueliner in Columbus, Werenski is skating more than 23 minutes a night, including three-plus minutes on the man-advantage. 

MacKenzie Weegar, D, CGY – After posting a career-best 44 points in 2021-22, Weegar was dealt with Jonathan Huberdeau to Calgary for Matthew Tkachuk. His first year in Calgary can be termed kindly as "disappointing," as he notched 31 points in 81 contests, Weegar's lowest scoring output in three years. After a slow start to the year, Weegar has more than picked it up lately. He's picked up seven points over his last nine outings, giving him 13 points in 24 games, while playing well in a top-four role.

Alex Lyon, G, DET – Could we be seeing a changing of the guard, or at least a sharing of the role between the pipes in Detroit? The 30-year-old Lyon has started three of the Red Wings' last six games and won them all while allowing only two total goals. He appears to be working his way into a timeshare with Ville Husso, leaving James Reimer as the odd man out in the crease for Detroit. Lyon stole Sergei Bobrovsky's starting job at the end of the regular season for Florida, but Lyon couldn't keep the job past the middle of the first round of the playoffs, so he does have a history in terms of playing his way into more action. 

Stuart Skinner, G, EDM – Skinner's season has been a roller coaster, down, up, down, up. He now is on a hot streak, cementing his role between the pipes for the Oilers. The 25-year-old netminder has allowed two goals or fewer in three of his last four starts, winning all of those outings. Skinner's now 8-7-1 with an .881 save percentage and 3.16 goals-against average on the campaign, numbers that show just how much he has struggled overall considering how good he has been lately. He won 29 games last season and with Jack Campbell in the AHL, Skinner has a chance to run with the job.

Others include Aleksander Barkov, Matty Beniers, Casey Mittelstadt, Kevin Hayes, Jordan Eberle, Frank Vatrano, Michael Carcone, Brady Tkachuk, Oliver Bjorkstrand, Jake Neighbours, Noah Dobson, Luke Hughes/Simon Nemec, K'Andre Miller, Ivan Provorov, Cam Talbot, Charlie Lindgren and Jordan Binnington

Buy Low 

Alexander Holtz, RW, NJ – Holtz, the seventh-overall pick in 2020, got his NHL career off to an extremely slow start. All but buried in the minors his first few seasons, he earned a roster spot out of camp this year, albeit in the bottom six. Holtz is more than making the most of his opportunity, especially lately, where he lit the lamp three times and added a pair of helpers in five games. Overall, he is up to seven markers and four apples in 22 games, earning the confidence of coach Lindy Ruff and resulting in increased ice time, including on the power play. 

Training Room (Injuries) 

Dougie Hamilton, D, NJ – Hamilton suffered a torn pectoral muscle Tuesday, underwent surgery Thursday and will be sidelined indefinitely. New Jersey's No. 1 defenseman, Hamilton had posted five goals and 16 points in 20 contests while averaging 20:59 of ice time after notching 22, 74 and 21:46 the prior season. His absence leaves a huge hole on the Devils' blueline that Luke Hughes and Simon Nemec will attempt to fill. No word has yet been provided as to a possible return date.

Others include Travis Boyd (upper body, injury Thursday, week-to-week), Alex Newhook (high-ankle sprain, injured Thursday, will miss the next 10-12 weeks), Jaden Schwartz (lower body, expected to miss the next six weeks), Alexander Barabanov (finger, out of the lineup since Oct. 24 versus the Panthers, scored in return Sunday), Timo Meier (lower body, missed seven games, returned to action Friday), Mark Giordano (suffered a broken finger versus Florida on Tuesday, week-to-week, likely out 4-6 weeks) and Adin Hill (lower body, left Thursday's game, missed Saturday's and Monday's contests).    

Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)

Sean Monahan, C, MTL – Monahan has slumped after a strong start. He failed to record a point in eight consecutive games after opening the season with 13 points over the first 16 contests. In addition, Montreal has struggled to generate offense 5x5 when Monahan has been on the ice. Monahan is skating on the top line, but the longer his struggles last, the better chance he's moved down a line. But with Kirby Dach (knee) out for the year and Juraj Slafkovsky still finding his game, Monahan has a bit of a leash. He took advantage of that bandwidth, scoring twice Monday. 

Anthony Mantha, LW, WAS – Maybe the goals in back-to-back games Wednesday and Thursday will be what Mantha needs to get his season going, because prior to that, he had pretty much been invisible. The two markers lift his season totals to five goals and a pair of assists in 18 games. After several solid seasons in Detroit, Mantha has been unable to match that production in Washington. He is skating on the third line at even strength but remains on the first power-play unit, affording him the chance to have some offensive success. 

Tony DeAngelo, D, CAR – DeAngelo had the second-best year of his career his first go-around in 2021-22 in Carolina. He posted 10 goals and a career-best 41 assists along with a plus-30 rating. He followed that up with a decant campaign last year in Philly before re-signing for a year with the Hurricanes. After playing 16 of the first 17 games of the year, notching a goal and six assists along with a minus-10 rating, ADA has been a healthy scratch the last five contests. With six other healthy d-men, DeAngelo may be a press box denizen for a while. 

Others include Ryan Strome, Barclay Goodrow, Evan Rodrigues, Andrew Copp, Scott Perunovich, Darcy Kuemper, Devon Levi (sent to AHL) and Andrei Vasilevskiy

Sell High

Carter Hart, G, PHI – Hart had a little bit of a bounceback season last year after a few rough few seasons in a row. He got off to a strong start this year, as did Philly as a whole, which makes sense because the play of the goalie between the pipes goes a long way to the team's success. He was 4-2 his first six starts of the year, then was winless his next two before posting two more victories in a row. But Hart is now in the middle of a rough patch, going 0-3-1 prior to Monday's start, even though the Flyers are 6-3-1 in their last 10 contests, aided by strong play between the pipes by Samuel Ersson. Hart rebounded Monday with a 31-save, 2-1 victory, so maybe that gets him going. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jan Levine
Levine covers baseball and hockey for RotoWire. He is responsible for the weekly NL FAAB column for baseball and the Barometer for hockey. In addition to his column writing, he is master of the NHL cheat sheets. In his spare time, he roots for the Mets and Rangers.
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