With the season now well underway, there are certain key players who are coming forward and presenting themselves as above the rest of the pack. These players can change monthly and as such, this lineup is subject to change monthly. Now we take a look at the best players in their position for the month from both conferences and build a lineup of these players to name the team of the month.
Left-Wing: Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
What more needs to be said than simply, the great eight? Ovechkin has put up 15 points as of yet this month and still has another couple of games to put up more. Overall, he has put up some stellar performances as he looks to beat Wayne Gretzky‘s all-time goal record, which has already seen him overtake Marcel Dionne and Brett Hull. The player will look to continue his goal-scoring prowess as he still has to get past the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Gordie Howe before taking on the great one himself. These performances to try and overtake the record are a key reason why this player has so many points already this season, which sees him claim a spot in this team easily.
Centre: Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
Matthews is considered a young prodigy of the league right now, as the former first overall pick has helped the Maple Leafs win a fair few games lately to recover from a rocky start to the season. The player can get around defenders and potshots on the goalie at a high degree of efficiency. Between this, and the fact that he is the only of the top four forwards of the Maple Leafs with a positive +/- rating, it is easy to see him make it into this team with ease. Fans can expect more amazing goals, that rival the likes of his Western counterpart with the Oilers, as well as some stellar passes from the poster boy of the Maple Leafs.
Right Wing: Mitch Marner, Toronto Maple Leafs
Marner has the most points of a right-wing in the league this month, regardless of his conference. The player has made a solid impression, which has seen him rotate through playing next to captain John Tavares, and the aforementioned star Auston Matthews. The player has both set up a lot of goals for those around him, and scored a few for himself as well, with five goals this month, and nine assists. The player is expected to have every bit of star power as his fellow team star and could make a real push to continue making this team each month. Defensively, the player will often come back to help his teammates even if his job is mostly to guard the point, he still manages to work further back and perform his duties all at the same time.
Left Defence: Travis Sanheim, Philadelphia Flyers
Sanheim has had the most consistently positive plus-minus of the left defencemen in the division. He has been a contributor to his team’s relative success in keeping their goal differential as close as possible and has continued to push for a reputation as a strong young defenceman at the age of 25. While his team has not had a lot of success, this player has made a solid effort whenever he is on the ice and tried his best to keep his team in the running as a challenging team to face off against. The player has seemingly benefited from playing alongside Rasmus Ristolainen, as is evident from his +/- rating this month.
Right Defence: Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers
Ekblad has been an amazing player ever since his days in the OHL and has taken on a real leadership role with the Panthers organization ever since taking on the role of an alternate captain a few seasons ago. The player has been looking to make it to the big stage of the Canadian Olympic team. While he may not have put up a ton of points this month, he has maintained a positive +/- throughout the month, with a positive seven. So far he has made a huge impact with his team, as a constant source of leadership throughout an ever-evolving injury crisis that has faced the team as a whole throughout the season. With captain Aleksander Barkov out currently, the team will be able to look for a solid leader in Ekblad, and with these reasons combined it’s plain to see why he deserves to make the team for November.
Goalie: Jack Campbell, Toronto Maple Leafs
Perhaps the most humble of the goalies in the league, Campbell has the most wins of any goalie during November, although you would never catch him mentioning it. The player has done an amazing job so far this season to help backstop his team to victory continually with only 11 goals on 273 shots against. Overall the goalie has proven himself to be a solid starting option, despite what he was originally signed to the Maple Leafs to do, and his past career as a backup. Even with this fact, he has taken on the role of one of the best goalies in the league this season and will look to be the starter for the first time in a full 82-game NHL season.
Seventh Skater: Seth Jarvis, Carolina Hurricanes
Jarvis is a rookie in the NHL this season and has looked stellar during November, which has seen him move up to the first line with the Hurricanes to play alongside Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho. While he may not be on the list of Calder Candidates early this year, but he had a six-game point streak during November, which certainly sees him make the list for a team of the month, however, with the unpredictability of how he could continue to perform, he stays in the position of the seventh skater. Jarvis looks like a stellar help to the team, and a solid two-way player, moving forward we could see him move up in the Calder race and could contribute to a solid season for the Hurricanes.
Left-Wing: Matthew Tkachuk, Calgary Flames
Tkachuk has been on the team on top of the conference so far this season, with the Flames putting up an astounding performance both offensively and defensively. Tkachuk is a big contributor in this team’s winning ways, wearing an ‘A’ on his jersey and really putting up a fight to help his team on both offense and defense as a gritty two-way forward on the wing. In terms of his production, he is the top left-wing in points this month from the Western Conference and is only below Ovechkin in overall points from left-wing players. While he may not be everybody’s favorite player, due to his gritty play style and ability to rile up opposing players to get them to take a penalty, he certainly has shown how deserving he is of a spot in this team.
Centre: Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
While McDavid could easily make this team each month, he’s been especially hot during November. Having just ended an 18 game point streak, the player has scored some phenomenal goals and set up some stellar plays. McDavid has been creating a name for himself as one of the best players in the league for a while now, and it was put on display with his clutch performances to come back and put up points and motivate his team to come back for a win. This can be seen in the game against the New York Rangers, in which McDavid’s breakaway goal helped the Oilers come back for an overtime win.
Right-Wing: Matt Duchene, Nashville Predators
Duchene has really taken to the positional change that sees him playing on the right-wing this season. While playing with the Predators, this player has put up a fair amount of points, totaling fifth in the league for November. He’s quick on the puck, and his veteran sensibilities while combined with his natural skill have seen him outperforming a lot of players. If he can keep this form up, he most certainly will be a mainstay on the first line, and on the Western Conference team of the month. His team might not be performing the absolute best in the league right now, but he has certainly been shining through it all.
Left Defence: Hampus Lindholm, Anaheim Ducks
Lindholm has been a consistently strong defenceman across the league and has played his heart out so far this season, which has come through in his +/- score in a big way, with the highest in the league this month at a positive 13. This has directly impacted his team, as when he’s on the ice it becomes a lot harder for the opposition to put up points, instilling his team with some confidence to play more aggressively leading to the number of points they’ve scored this month. Whether it be in his own end or playing forward, he has been positively solid all over the ice and seems like he could take on a much larger role within the team in the coming years in taking over a leadership role and making a hopeful cup push with the Ducks.
Right Defence: Jared Spurgeon, Minnesota Wild
Before picking up an injury, captain Spurgeon has made a great push to be a top defenseman in the league. His efforts reflected in six points, and a +/- of positive eight, which makes for arguably a lot of confidence for both the player and the team, as the captain has put up a good enough performance to see his team on top of the division, and placing fairly high in the conference. The majority of his games have been played from the top line, and he continually looks like he could fit into the majority of organizations as a top-line defenseman. Despite his advancing age, the player has still looked strong and will hope to come back from his injury just as strong as before.
Goalie: John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks
Gibson has shown everyone who had said he wouldn’t be able to help carry his organization to victory just how wrong they were, as he is one of the top goalies in the league this season, holding a higher save percentage than Andrei Vasilevskiy this season. Overall, the 28-year-old has shown that he most definitely still has what it takes to help his team win games, a big reason why his team is tied for third in the conference and doesn’t have an extreme amount of goals against, keeping a differential of positive 12.
Seventh Skater: Leon Draisaitl, Edmonton Oilers
Leon Draisaitl has the most points in the league this month, as well as in the league in general, largely due to his setting up of Connor McDavid which has seen him tally up his assist total. The player from Germany is only in the seventh skater position due to his flexibility in position, as he can take to the left wing to play with McDavid, or come back to his natural position of center and play alongside Ryan Nuggent-Hopkins to guarantee that the points be spread across the top two lines rather than just putting all that power on the first. Overall this player seems just as likely as McDavid to be able to feature on this team at any point during the season, and if he can keep performing at the level he has been, he very well might.
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