1 John Tavares, New York Islanders
Tavares has been tearing it up lately with seven goals, three assists in his past five games. The main reason is that he had two hat-tricks in three games. One against the Arizona Coyotes, and one against the Nashville Predators.
Tavares has his motivations to perform above and beyond, since he will be a free agent at the end of this season, and can elevate his worth accordingly.
When we are talking about worth, we are saying in the Connor McDavid, Patrick Kane, or Jonathan Toews range… or $10-10.5 million a year.
But then he is worth it and has shown it in his career when he has averaged 0.92 points a game. His leadership as captain of the Islanders is essential to their success.
2 Steven Stamkos, Tampa Bay Lightning
It’s not rocket science to predict that Stamkos will be in the top five of any offensive category. During his last five games, he registered two goals, seven assists including a four-point night against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
It’s almost as if opposing teams should know where his favorite spot is near the left faceoff circle and try to prevent him access to that area of the ice.
Easier said than done.
He’s a prolific goal scorer, and playmaker so stopping him is impossible. You may be able to contain him but stopping him is a useless waste of energy.
If Stamkos can stay healthy (I said if) he stands a good chance to lead the league in scoring. I mean he’s already on pace to score 144 points if he continues his torrid scoring prowess.
He’s one gifted player, and the Tampa Bay Lightning know that.
3 Clayton Keller, Arizona Coyotes
For a 19-year-old to even be in the same company as these top five NHL players speak volumes about the abundant talent he possesses.
He has had five goals, three assists in his last five games, and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. That is good news for Coyotes’ fans if only he could get some help from his teammates.
The Coyotes made a roster move obtaining goalie Scott Wedgewood from the New Jersey Devils for a fifth-round draft selection in 2018. They need to keep pucks out of the net, and Louis Domingue who was waived today just wasn’t doing that.
Keller is very mature and has received rave reviews on his game from head coach Rick Tocchet:
“He’s a respectful kid, but he’s got swagger,” Tocchet said. “I like that about him. He’s around the puck and he’s not scared … He’s 19 years old and I’m playing him 21 minutes (a game) and he’s producing. He’s battling. He makes mistakes like everybody, but he’s a battler. I can’t get him off the ice.”
4 Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews is continuing the pace he set last season when he scored 40 goals and 29 assists in 82 games to lead the team.
He had 0.84 points a game last year and is on a tear so far this season with a 1.36 points per game average.
He had three goals, four assists in his last five games to make the list here at #4.
He has such quick moves, and a terrific cannon of a shot, that he uses to disable a goalie’s chances at stopping the puck.
If the Toronto Maple Leafs are to move further into the playoffs, they will need Matthews to play at his best, and so far it seems he only knows how to play at that level.
5 Nikita Kucherov, Tampa Bay Lightning
Kucherov began the season on fire, and he really hasn’t slowed a bit. He accumulated four goals, three assists in his last five games, and tied Matthews for the #5 spot on the list. Matthews got the Arizona advantage to #4 since he grew up in the Grand Canyon state where this writer hails from.
Between Kucherov and Stamkos, the Lightning has the scoring punch to stay with any team, and in fact, are leading the NHL in scoring with 3.75 goals a game.
It just seems that Kucherov finds that open ice and is always in position for a rebound or a pass to execute a goal scoring opportunity.
So, it could come down to Kucherov and his teammate Stamkos fighting for the scoring crown in the NHL when all is said and done.
Who do you feel is deserving of the top NHL player over the last five games? Be sure to vote in the poll and leave any comments you wish in the section below.
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