The NHL has handed out the Three Stars of the Week for the first time this season, naming Auston Matthews as the top performer through the first few games. Matthews leads the NHL with eight points through three games including five goals, and has been a huge part of the Toronto Maple Leafs getting off to a 2-1 start. The Maple Leafs have looked shaky in their own end to start the year, but with the firepower that Matthews and John Tavares can provide up front it might not matter on most nights.
Jonathan Toews and Ben Bishop were named to the other two spots, noting a bounce back for both players this season. Toews especially had a down year as the Chicago Blackhawks disappointed in 2017-18, but is off to a blistering start with five goals in his first seven periods and six points total through three games. If the Blackhawks are to return to relevancy this year, they’ll need their captain to be among the best players in the league once again.
- Speaking of captains not living up to expectations, the Anaheim Ducks were without Ryan Getzlaf today at practice while he deals with a lower-body injury. That meant first-round pick Isac Lundestrom was skating between Andrew Cogliano and Kiefer Sherwood according to Eric Stephens of The Athletic, giving the young forward a chance to make his NHL debut later tonight. Lundestrom has been surprisingly polished through training camp, and even at the age of 18 looks like a possible contributor for the Ducks this season. The 23rd-overall pick scored 15 points in 42 games in the Swedish Hockey League last season, and will try to make an even bigger impact in the NHL.
- The Ducks aren’t the only one with an impressive young prospect though, as Buffalo Sabres draft pick Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen has won the OHL Player of the Week award. Luukkonen is playing for the Sudbury Wolves this season as he prepares for life as a professional in North America, and is already 5-0 with a .944 save percentage. Selected 54th overall in 2017, Luukkonen signed his entry-level contract this offseason and is quickly becoming one of the top goaltending prospects in the league. He’ll likely start out next season in the AHL, but the Sabres are hoping for big things from him down the line.