3rd Star, from the Carolina Hurricanes, number 53, Jeff Skinner! Nothing quite like trading a player just moments before (or in this case, during) a huge breakout. I dealt Skinner last Tuesday, but the other owner didn't accept until after the Hurricanes game was underway. As a result, I got to watch Skinner line up with Eric Staal for the first time in ages and score what would be his last two goals for my team. More painful was the hat trick that followed two nights later against Nashville. I still like the deal I made (acquired James van Riemsdyk) but Skinner isn't making it easy. This week: five goals, one assist, plus-2, 15 shots.
2nd Star, from the Edmonton Oilers, number 4, Taylor Hall. 21 shots in three games. Seven. seven, and seven. Played a combined 16:52 on the powerplay. Came away with four goals (two PPG), two assists, plus-2, two penalty minutes, three hits and two blocked shots. Hall turned 22 years old less than a month ago. If he can stay healthy, he could challenge for the Art Ross a couple of times over the next few years.
1st Star, from the Minnesota Wild, number 37, Josh Harding. Interesting to compare Harding and Roberto Luongo over the last week. Three games, three wins, four goals against for each goalie, with Luongo facing more shots (99-78) and thus coming away with a better save percentage (.960 - .949). Luongo also had a slightly better GAA (1.31 - 1.33) by virtue of playing 3:40 in overtime against Phoenix. BUT Harding takes this for two reasons: firstly, he had a shutout where Lu did not, and secondly, two of Harding's three wins came against Chicago and San Jose. He's still giving you elite stats against the best teams in the league. He's been great all year, but this was a statement week.
Rookie Star of the Week: Valeri Nichushkin, and it was not a remotely close race. Three games, two goals, five assists, and plus-5, and he did it with TOI totals of 13:49, 16:48, and 13:54, with next to no PP time. Playing with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin is a cushy gig for sure, but with Seguin and Benn managing only four and two points respectively this week, it makes one wonder who is running the show there.
Breakout Star of the Week: Mats Zuccarello. He's been a solid play for a while now, with nine points in his last nine games, so maybe we're a week late with this, but...another fine week from Zucca. Three goals, two assists, ten shots, seven hits. He's been spending most of his time on a line with Brad Richards and Ryan Callahan, and as long as that keeps up, the goodness should continue.
Breakdown of the Week: Marek Mazanec. If you're a Pekka Rinne owner, maybe Mazanec had been sort of holding the fort for a while there. Before last week began, he had a record of 11-5 with two shutouts and 2.00/.932 peripherals. Well, he spent the week losing 3-1 to Vancouver, getting pulled against Carolina, and losing 5-2 to Washington, and his peripherals suffered a swift and brutal correction. They now stand at 2.51/.915. Reality is lame.