The NHL released its Three Stars for last week, with Filip Forsberg leading the way. The Nashville Predators winger scored five goals and seven points in three games, extending his lead in the team scoring race. Forsberg now has 14 goals and 32 points in 35 games, not quite the same pace he set last season when looking for a new contract. Even with a Forsberg hat trick on New Year’s Eve, the Predators failed to secure two points against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Second and third went to Erik Karlsson and Antti Raanta, who each had outstanding weeks. Karlsson had seven assists in four games and now leads the entire NHL in that category with 40 through his first 39 games. The San Jose Sharks defenseman is having an incredible bounce-back campaign and will once again be a Norris candidate thanks to a huge point total. Raanta, meanwhile, stopped 67 of 71 shots across three wins, keeping the Carolina Hurricanes on their 11-game streak.
- Patrik Laine is out of COVID protocol and back with the Columbus Blue Jackets, according to Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. The star ginger will be back in the lineup tomorrow and is expected to skate with Kent Johnson and Jonny Gaudreau on the top line. Laine’s season has been constantly interrupted by injury and illness, resulting in just 20 games played so far. He has nine goals and 16 points in those appearances.
- Portzline adds that Nick Blankenburg, who has been out since November, will travel with the club for their game against the Ottawa Senators but is not expected to play. The 24-year-old was averaging more than 18 minutes a night in his seven appearances before going down to a broken ankle.
- Now that the calendar has been turned to 2023, players on one-year deals are eligible to sign extensions as Joe Pavelski did yesterday. Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reports that Ethan Bear and the Vancouver Canucks are expected to talk this week about a potential deal, though there is no guarantee a contract is signed so quickly. Bear has played well for the Canucks since they acquired him at the end of October from the Carolina Hurricanes, and is currently scheduled to become a restricted free agent when his one-year, $2.2MM deal expires.