This article is part of our NHL Barometer series.
This week's article includes a young center in Big D, an acquired pivotman in Vancouver, a possible new No. 1 netminder at the Rock, Toronto's center out at least two weeks and a big-money free agent signing off to a slow start. .
First Liners (Risers)
Roope Hintz, C, DAL – Hintz was a popular sleeper entering the season, and so far, he has delivered on that potential. He notched his sixth goal of the season Saturday, leaving him just three short of his total from last year. Hintz centers Dallas' second line, flanked by Jamie Benn and Corey Perry, giving him a pair of decent scoring wings. He is seeing two-and-a-half more minutes of ice time per game, including 30 seconds more on the man-advantage. Hintz has showed no signs of slowing, so ride the wave for as long as it lasts.
Jack Eichel, C, BUF – Eichel's output rose each of the last three seasons, capped by an 82-point performance last year. He tallied 56 points as an 18-year-old rookie, then added 57 and 64 points his next two campaigns before last year's explosion. Eichel has four goals and six assists his first nine games of the season, helping lead the Sabres to a 6-1-1 start. He has matured into his role as the face of the franchise and could take that next step forward this season.
Jonathan Drouin, LW, MTL – Drouin notched his third goal of the season — his first on