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.
We all know that Connor McDavid is one of the most gifted players in the NHL. Still, it's downright impressive when he gets on a run like the one that he's currently on. Over his last three games, McDavid has racked up a mind-boggling six goals and five assists.
During that stretch, the Oilers star center has recorded at least three points in each of those contests. McDavid really rose to the occasion when he recorded a hat trick and dished out an assist in a 6-5 comeback win over the Chicago Blackhawks last Thursday.
The Oilers forward capped off the hat trick with the type of goal that we've come to expect from him over the years. Defenseman Evan Bouchard was able to keep the puck in the zone and found McDavid on the other side of the ice. McDavid displayed a gorgeous toe-drag move on Jake McCabe and put the puck through Stalock's five-hole for the goal.
If that weren't impressive enough, McDavid put together another three-point performance (one goal & two assists) against the Calgary Flames in the "Battle of Alberta" over the weekend. The Oilers star scored the game-tying goal with 10:58 left courtesy of a careless error from Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom. Markstrom went to play the puck from behind the net, but it whizzed right by him. McDavid was waiting on the boards and fired it right on net before Markstrom even settled back in the crease. McDavid also assisted on teammate Zach Hyman's game-winning goal just three minutes later to give the Oilers a huge 3-2 win over their arch rivals.
McDavid just possesses an unbelievable ability to put the puck in the back of the net, even when it looks like there's no possibility of doing so. He carves up opposing defenses like few players can and he's already playing at a ridiculous level just across the opening month of the season.
New Jersey Devils winger Jesper Bratt made history on Tuesday in the team's 5-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Bratt tallied an assist against the Canucks and, in doing so, tied a franchise record for the longest point streak to begin a regular season. It marked the 10th consecutive game in which Bratt has registered at least one point.
Bratt, 24, dished out a remarkable assist on captain Nico Hischier's first period goal, which came just 4:36 into the contest. He received the puck from teammate Jack Hughes, whipped a picture perfect cross-ice pass over to Hischier and Hischier tapped the puck into the back of the net.
While he only has four goals, Bratt has displayed his phenomenal playmaking ability throughout New Jersey's first 10 games. In fact, Bratt is second in the NHL in assists (12) behind only Edmonton Oilers star Leon Draisaitl, who has 16 on the year thus far. He's a huge reason why the Devils are tied for the Metropolitan Division lead with 14 points.
Don't look now, but perhaps Erik Karlsson has found the fountain of youth.
The San Jose Sharks defenseman has been a relative disappointment since being acquired by the franchise back in 2018. However, Karlsson has been on fire during the first month of the 2022-23 season with six goals and three assists over his last three games. Karlsson's offensive prowess really was on full display during San Jose's 6-5 shootout win loss against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The 32-year-old vet recorded his first career hat trick and added an assist despite the losing effort.
Karlsson scored all three of his goals on shots from the point against the Ducks. With 2:12 remaining in the third period, the Swedish defenseman tied the game as he snapped a shot past Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz off a feed from teammate Alexander Barbanov.
Entering Thursday, Karlsson currently leads the Sharks in points (15) and goals (9). Karlsson's career-high in the goals department came during the 2014-15 season when he scored 21 goals as a member of the Senators. Through 12 games, Karlsson is scoring on a mind-boggling 28.1 percent of his shots. Obviously, he's not going to keep up that kind of a pace, but it's been impressive to see the elite defenseman playing at such a high level once again.
However, star winger David Pastrnak has been a strong source of offensive production for the Bruins since the puck dropped for the first time last month. Pastrnak is currently third in the NHL with 18 points and trails only Connor McDavid (22) and Leon Draisaitl (21). The 26-year-old star has registered at least one point in eight of his 10 games so far this season. In three games over the past week, Pastrnak tallied two goals and four assists.
In fact, the Bruins star just had a four-game goal streak snapped in Boston's 6-5 overtime win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Pastrnak has scored in seven of his 10 games on the year. Pastrnak has really had his playmaking ability on full display all season, but his goal scoring acumen has shined as of late. The Bruins winger displayed his sensational shot as he scored on a one-timer on the power-play against the Red Wings last Thursday.
Even without Marchand, this Bruins team showed just how dangerous they already were. If Pastrnak can continue to produce at an elite level, this is a group that is going to be a tough out in the Eastern Conference when the postseason rolls around.