The NHL has released their latest Three Stars of the Week, and to absolutely no one’s surprise Patrik Laine finds himself on top. Despite plenty of other outstanding performances last week, Laine was the easy choice after scoring 11 goals in just four games including a five-goal effort on Saturday night. The young Winnipeg Jets forward set all kinds of franchise records with the outstanding performance, and joined an incredibly small group of players to post five goals in a game before their 21st birthday. Only Laine, Don Murdoch and Wayne Gretzky have ever done so; Laine will have to do it again this season to tie Gretzky with two such performances.
Coming in second and third this week are Marc-Andre Fleury and Nikita Kucherov, two players well versed in this award. Fleury earned third star honors just over a month ago, while Kucherov has been in the top three several times throughout his career. The Vegas Golden Knights goaltender and Tampa Bay Lightning forward will have to continue their strong play if they hope to compete for the Stanley Cup again this season, and may even find themselves on this list again down the road.
- While the William Nylander situation is still unresolved, Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic (subscription required) looks ahead to how it could affect several other future restricted free agents. LeBrun lists a group of players including Laine, Auston Matthews, Brayden Point, Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, Kyle Connor, Sebastian Aho, Timo Meier and Brock Boeser that are all about to see their entry-level contracts expire, and will be watching closely to see what Nylander is eventually signed for. Speaking to several agents and executives, LeBrun puts forward the idea that this may not be the last contract negotiation we see leak deep into the regular season.
- Patrick Marleau will play his 1,600th career game tonight when the Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Boston Bruins, becoming just the 11th player to ever do so in the NHL. Marleau hasn’t missed a game since the 2008-09 season and very well could finish the year in fifth place all-time on the games played list behind just Gordie Howe (1,767 GP), Mark Messier (1,756), Jaromir Jagr (1,733) and Ron Francis (1,731). Marleau is currently tied with Nicklas Lidstrom on the all-time point list with 1,142, and will try to take sole possession of 54th overall tonight.