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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.

Auston Matthews
TOR • C • #34
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There are few goal scorers with the offensive acumen of Auston Matthews. Through the first quarter of the 2023-24 season, Matthews is putting the puck in the net at an absurd rate, to say the least.

Matthews registered two goals in Tuesday's 5-2 loss against the New York Rangers. It marked the third consecutive contest in which the Maple Leafs star scored two goals and the fourth time he has done so in his last five games.

The Maple Leafs center also became the first NHL player to score 25 goals this season, and he leads the league in the goal-scoring department. According to NHL Stats, Matthews became the fifth player in team history to score 25 goals in 28 or fewer games. In doing so, he joined Babe Dye (15 GP in 1920-21, 16 GP in 1922-23, 19 GP in 1921-22 and 20 GP in 1924-25), Reg Noble (17 GP in 1917-18), Charlie Conacher (24 GP in 1931-32) and Wendel Clark (27 GP in 1993-94) as the only players in Maple Leafs history to achieve that feat.

Matthews got the Maple Leafs on the board in the second period. Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly was able to carry the puck into the offensive zone, and Matthews knew exactly where he needed to be. As Rielly took the puck to the side of the net, he got it to Matthews, who was patiently waiting right in the slot and buried a one-timer to tie the game at 1-1.

Just 1:16 into the third period, Matthews was able to light the lamp yet again. Teammate Jake McCabe had the puck behind the net and dished a pass to Matthews in the face-off circle. Matthews then sniped one past Rangers goaltender Igor Shesterkin to tie the game once again at 2-2.

The former No. 1 pick has now registered six goals and three assists in his last three games. Matthews recorded two goals and an assist in a 6-5 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Dec. 14 and two goals and two assists in a 7-3 win over the Rangers back on Dec. 12.

Matthews is currently on pace for 73 goals this season, which would shatter his previous career-high of 60 goals that he recorded during his Hart Trophy season in 2021-22. 

The Maple Leafs are quietly attempting to climb back to the top of the Atlantic Division, and they currently trail the Bruins by just six points. If Matthews continues to put the puck in the net at an impressive clip like has has been, Toronto certainly could end up winning the division when the dust settles later this season.

Jack Eichel
LV • C • #9
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The Vegas Golden Knights have gotten off to a sensational start after winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. Pacing the league-leading Golden Knights is captain Jack Eichel, who has been extremely impressive of late.

Eichel has racked up three goals and an assist over his last three games, including scoring a goal in three consecutive games. In Tuesday's 6-3 loss against the Carolina Hurricanes, Eichel registered a goal to keep his franchise-record point streak going at 11 consecutive games.

In Sunday's 6-3 win against the Ottawa Senators, Eichel established a new Golden Knights record with points in 10 straight games when he found the back of the net early on.

In the first period, Eichel skated the puck into the Senators zone and had a two-on-one with defenseman Alex Pietrangelo. Instead of passing the puck off to Pietrangelo, Eichel ripped a scorching snap shot over the blocker of Senators goaltender Joonas Korpisalo to give the Golden Knights a 1-0 lead just 1:37 into the game.

During the 11-game point streak, Eichel has tallied seven goals and nine assists, while registering multiple points in four of those contests. Eichel has also scored at least one goal in six of his last nine games over that stretch.

Eichel currently leads the Golden Knights in points (37), goals (15), power-play goals (5) and shots (139). 

Eichel's offensive prowess has been on full display as he's pacing a Golden Knights squad that currently has the league's highest point total (47). For a Pacific Division race that has Vegas and the Vancouver Canucks neck-in-neck thus far, Eichel's production has been monumental thus far.

Josh Morrissey
WPG • D • #44
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Josh Morrissey has established himself as a steady defenseman throughout his nine-year NHL career, but his offensive numbers have really seen an uptick over the past three seasons.

The Winnipeg Jets defenseman is currently riding on a three-game point streak and has registered three assists in those three contests. In addition, Morrissey has recorded at least one point in six of his nine games during the month of December.

Morrissey's best performance came in a 6-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 16, when he tallied a pair of assists.

In the opening period of that contest, Morrissey patiently carried the puck into the offensive and threaded the puck into a very tight window to teammate Mark Scheifele by the net. Scheifele then dished it across to a wide-open Gabriel Vilardi, who deposited the easy goal past Avalanche goaltender Ivan Prosvetov to give the Jets a 1-0 lead.

Morrissey also earned a secondary assist on Vilardi's second goal of the game in the third period.

Morrissey is currently on pace for 73 points this season. If that rate were to hold, it would mark the second-highest point total of the Jets defenseman's career following a 76-point campaign in 2022-23.

The Jets blue-liner currently ranks seventh in the league in points (28) while ranking eighth in the NHL in assists (23). Morrissey's vision has been incredibly impressive throughout the first half of the season, and he should continue to be a force on Winnipeg's back end.

Thatcher Demko
VAN • G • #35
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After a rough stretch earlier this month, Vancouver Canucks goaltender Thatcher Demko has rebounded in a big way.

Over his last three games, Demko has accumulated a 3-0-0 record to go along with a 1.33 goals-against-average and a .957 save percentage. 

On Dec. 14, the Canucks goaltender turned aside all 36 shots he faced in a 4-0 win against the Florida Panthers. It marked the third shutout of the 2023-24 season, and it's the first time in Demko's career he's registered multiple shutouts in a single season.

Demko registered his 16th win of the campaign in a 4-3 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday. The Canucks netminder's 16 wins lead the entire league, and he's one win ahead of Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev and Winnipeg Jets goaltender Connor Hellebuyck in that department.

Demko now ranks first in wins (16) and shutouts (3), while ranking fifth in goals-against-average (2.34) and seventh in save percentage (.921). 

After registering a lackluster 3.16 goals-against-average in 2022-23, Demko has bounced back in a big way. The Canucks goaltender has been one of the biggest reasons the team has seen a remarkable turnaround this season.