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.
Connor McDavid continues to make wild plays at an absurd rate. Over his last four games, the Edmonton Oilers star has registered six goals and five assists, including multiple points in three of those contests. Among the impressive showings during this recent stretch was his four-point performance (two goals & two assists) in a 5-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday.
As if that wasn't impressive enough, McDavid registered two goals and two assists in Wednesday's 8-2 win against the Arizona Coyotes. In doing so, McDavid became the league's first player to record 50 points this season, while also leapfrogging Dallas Stars standout Jason Robertson for the NHL goals lead.
McDavid reached the 50-point plateau in just 27 games, which is the shortest amount of games it's taken him to hit that mark in his career. Only Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Wayne Gretzky and Kevin Stevens accomplished the feat in less games. He currently leads the league with 52 points (24 goals & 28 assists), which is eight points ahead of Draisaitl. The Oilers standout is also leads the NHL in assists (28) as well as power-play assists (16).
It's not exactly surprising that McDavid continues to make plays on the offensive end of the ice. However, the rate at which he's doing so is mind-boggling to think about sometimes considering that he's only failed to record a point in just four games this season.
Tage Thompson put on a show for the ages on Wednesday. The Buffalo Sabres star and registered an assist in a 9-4 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Thompson scored four of his goals in the first 16:40 of the opening period, becoming just the fourth player in NHL history to score four goals in the first period of a regular season game. He joined Peter Bondra (Feb. 5, 1994), Grant Mulvey (Feb. 3, 1982), and Joe Malone (Feb. 23, 1921) as the only players to achieve the feat.
Thompson also became just the sixth player over the last 40 years to score four goals in any period, as he joined the likes of Patrick Marleau (Jan. 23, 2017), Mario Lemieux (Jan. 26, 1997), Bondra, Joe Nieuwendyk (Jan. 11, 1989) and Al Secord (Jan. 7, 1987).
The Sabres center finished the night just one point shy of the team record for most points in a single game. Only Gilbert Perreault (7 points on Feb. 1, 1976) registered more points in a Sabres game.
In addition, Thompson reached the 20-goal mark on the historic night. He scored 20 goals in the fourth-fewest amount of games behind only Alexander Mogilny (23 games in 1992-93), Pat LaFontaine (24 games in 1991-92) and Richard Martin (24 games in 1972-73) in franchise history.
It's clear that Thompson was in the zone on this night. but it was part of a phenomenal start to December for him. Even if you take Wednesday's monumental performance out of the equation, Thompson still registered two goals and three assists in the opening two games of the month.
Simply put, Thompson is playing out of his mind right now and has established himself as one of the top centers in the sport.
Arguably the most polarizing move of the NHL offseason was the Florida Panthers ponying up with a hefty package to land star winger Matthew Tkachuk. The Panthers sent Jonathan Huberdeau, Mackenzie Weegar and draft capital to the Calgary Flames in order to get the deal done, on top of inking Tkachuk to an eight-year, $76 million contract extension.
It was a large price, but it's definitely paying off thus far for the franchise.
In three games over the past week, Tkachuk tallied two goals and four assists, including two multi-point performances. The 24-year-old star really rose to the occasion with a goal and two assists in a 5-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks last Thursday.
Tkachuk's goal was the start of an avalanche of offense for the Panthers, who scored three goals in the final two minutes of the first period. He also assisted on a pair of goals later in the game, including earning the primary assist on a goal from Panthers forward Sam Bennett.
Tkachuk's play has been downright electric since coming over to the Panthers. He's registered points in 19 of his 24 games this season and now has points in three consecutive contests. His playmaking ability has been on full display as he's tallied 23 assists, which is tied for fourth in the NHL this season.
Pettersson currently leads the team with 34 points while ranking second in assists (21), slightly behind defenseman Quinn Hughes. Pettersson has really had his playmaker hat on as of late with five assists over his past three games, which have resulted in three consecutive overtime victories for Vancouver.
Most recently, Pettersson scored the game-winning goal and recorded an assist in a 6-5 overtime victory against the San Jose Sharks.
Pettersson has now scored overtime game-winning goals in back-to-back games after netting an unassisted tally against the Montreal Canadiens in Monday's 7-6 overtime win.
In his fifth NHL season, Pettersson continues to develop into the superstar that the Canucks envisioned when they selected him with the No. 5 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The 24-year old is currently on pace for 103 points (39 goals & 64 assists) this season, which would obliterate his career-high of 68 points. Pettersson is coming off a 68-point performance during the 2021-22 campaign.