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.
Despite being the No. 3 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, Tim Stutzle is developing into the biggest star of that class.
After delivering a 58-point season (22 goals & 36 assists) last year, the Ottawa Senators star is playing some of the best hockey of his short career in recent weeks. Stutzle has registered five goals and two assists over his last five games.
Due to his recent scoring outburst, Stutzle is now tied for the team lead in goals (15) with veteran winger Claude Giroux. The German native is one of six Ottawa players that have tallied at least 10 goals throughout the 2022-23 season thus far.
Stutzle's most impressive effort was a two-goal performance against the Buffalo Sabres on Sunday. What made that showing even more special was the fact that Stutzle was able to score on each of his two shots-on-goal.
In Tuesday's 4-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, Stutzle found the back of the net once again.
Stutzle has definitely been more aggressive this season, which is why a career season is well within reach. The Senators winger is currently on pace to register 84 points (36 goals & 48 assists). That would obliterate his previous career-high of 58 points from last season. If Stutzle continues to be a big-time producer, there's no doubt that Ottawa has the potential to be a playoff team this season.
It's been a tough week for the Buffalo sports community. On Monday night,. Hamlin remains in critical condition at a Cincinnati hospital.
On Tuesday, Buffalo's other professional sports team -- the Sabres -- found themselves in a dogfight against the Washington Capitals. In a 5-4 overtime win, Sabres star Tage Thompson provided quite an inspiring performance when the city of Buffalo needed something to lift their spirits.
Thompson ended up tallying three goals, with the third coming exactly three minutes into the overtime period on Jan. 3. The three goals also brought Thompson's season total to 30.
Thompson's four-point performance put him at 55 points for the 2022-23 season, which is third behind only Edmonton Oilers stars Connor McDavid (73) and Leon Draisaitl (58). Thompson has registered goals in six of his last eight games, including a stretch in which he scored goals in four consecutive contests.
The veteran defenseman has logged five points (two goals and three assists) over his last three games. Hamilton currently has 33 points, which is fourth on the team behind only Jack Hughes (44), Jesper Bratt (38) and Nico Hischier (36).
Hamilton has always been an offensive-minded defenseman that is capable of logging big-time minutes for an NHL franchise. The 29-year-old star has also proved to be an asset on the power-play throughout his career, as he's registered three goals and 13 assists as a member of the team's top power-play unit this season.
Most recently, Hamilton tallied a goal and an assist in a 5-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday. Both of his points came when the Devils were on the man-advantage.
Hamilton continues to log big-time minutes for a defensive unit that yearns for his leadership. If he starts scoring at a more consistent rate, that's just another feather in the cap for a team that already averages 3.39 goals-per-game
Few goaltenders have been more spectacular than Connor Hellebuyck this season. The Winnipeg Jets netminder currently ranks second in wins (19), second in save percentage (.928) and fifth in goals-against-average (2.31) among NHL netminders. Hellebuyck also is one of just five goalies in the league to register three shutouts throughout the 2022-23 season.
Since allowing nine goals over a two-goal stretch in mid-December, Hellebuyck has really thrived. In seven games since, the 29-year old keeper has recorded a 5-2-0 record to go along with a 1.86 goals-against-average and a .936 save percentage.
Hellebuyck has allowed two or fewer goals in five of those seven contests, including three games where he yielded just one goal. Most recently, the Jets netminder stopped 33 of the 35 shots that he faced in a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday.
Considering the start that he's had to the season, Hellebuyck certainly is in the Vezina Trophy conversation as the NHL's best goaltender. It also doesn't hurt his chances that the Jets currently sit in second place in the Central Division just three points behind the division-leading Dallas Stars.