NHL Star Power Index: Mitch Marner joins elite company, Jack Hughes records first career hat trick

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.

Mitch Marner joined some elite company this week, tying a Maple Leafs franchise record by recording a point in 18 consecutive games. During Wednesday’s contest, Marner was able to extend his point streak with an empty-net goal with 1:11 remaining in the game and helped cement the Maple Leafs’ 3-1 victory.

In doing so, Marner tied streaks set by Darryl Sittler and Ed Olczyk. Sittler registered 33 points from Jan. 26 to March 8, 1978 while Olczyk tallied 28 points that spanned from Dec. 2, 1989 until Jan. 8, 1990.

During Marner’s historic streak, the Toronto winger has registered 24 points (7 goals & 17 assists). Marner will have a chance to break Sittler and Olczyk’s franchise record on Saturday when the Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 18-game points streak is impressive in its own right, but Marner has really been shooting the puck well as of late. He has scored a goal in four consecutive games and has really been the most consistent Maple Leaf on the offensive end of the ice.

Marner currently leads the Maple Leafs in points (29) and assists (21), despite getting off to a slow start in the scoring department.

The Devils have been one of the biggest surprises throughout the first half of the 2022-23 season. For a team with an NHL-best 38 points, young center Jack Hughes‘ star is shining brighter than ever.

Hughes is coming off a week in which he registered five goals across three games. Within that stellar stretch. Hughes recorded his first career hat trick in a 5-1 win against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. It marked the seventh multi-goal game of Hughes’ professional career and second in the month of November.

It was a masterclass of offensive acumen by Hughes throughout Saturday’s contest. After Devils captain Nico Hischier opened up the game with a power-play tally in the opening period, Hughes scored a pair of goals in the second period to give New Jersey a commanding 3-0 lead.

The Devils star concluded his historic night midway through the third period. Capitals defenseman Erik Gustafsson had a shot blocked at the blue line by Devils forward Erik Haula, who raced down the ice to secure the puck. With a two-on-one situation developing, Haula put the puck right on Hughes’ stick and Hughes snapped a shot past Lindgren to clinch the hat trick.

Hughes followed up his hat trick performance with a goal in a 5-3 win over the New York Rangers. He put a bow on a month of November in which he tallied nine goals and nine assists and played some of the best hockey of his career.

From one remarkable point streak to another, Wild winger Kirill Kaprizov has been on quite an impressive stretch. Kaprizov has recorded at least one point in nine consecutive games, including four multi-point games in that span. Over his past three games, the Wild star has racked up a grand total of three goals and four assists.

Most recently, Kaprizov registered a three-point night (one goal & two assists) in a 4-3 against the Arizona Coyotes on Nov. 27.

Entering Thursday, Kaprizov is tied with seventh with 13 goals, but he’s really done a great deal of his damage on the power-play. He is currently tied for third in the NHL with seven power-play goals while also registering six assists on the man-advantage.

Kaprizov may just be entering his third NHL season, but he’s already established himself as one of the league’s most gifted playmakers. 

Ilya Sorokin has established himself as one of the top goaltenders. The Islanders netminder is coming off a week in which he earned the NHL’s “Third Star of the Week” honor after racking up a 3-0-0 record to go along with a 1.32 goals-against-average, a .963 save percentage and a shutout against the Edmonton Oilers on Nov. 23.

In his 3-0 shutout against the Oilers, Sorokin recorded a career-high 49 saves, which is the third-most in Islanders history behind only Glenn Healy (51 on Jan. 16, 1990 against the Canucks) and Jaroslav Halak (50 on Feb. 15, 2018 against the Rangers). 

In addition, Sorokin continued his stellar player by turning aside 30-of-32 saves in a 3-1 against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Entering Thursday, Sorokin ranks second in save percentage (.933) and third in goals-against-average (2.18). 

Sorokin has developed into one of the league’s premier goaltenders as he embarks on his third professional season. As he plays at an elite level out of the gate, Sorokin has certainly placed himself in the Vezina Trophy conversation for the NHL’s top goaltender.

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