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Player Power Rankings: Steen up, Lecavalier down

FORWARDS

  • Trending up: Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues The 30-year-old winger has had a slow start, but he seems to be coming on as of late. Most recently, Steen chipped in with a three-point effort in a 6-3 win over the New York Islanders on Thursday night. Steen, back from a two-game injury hiatus, tallied a power-play goal to get the Blues on the board and then snapped a 2-2 tie in the third period as the Blues pulled within a point of the surging, first-place Chicago Blackhawks in the Central Division.

  • Trending down: Vincent Lecavalier, Philadelphia Flyers You've gotta feel for the 34-year-old veteran, who was a healthy scratch for the fifth straight game Thursday night against the New Jersey Devils. Lecavalier has had a disappointing season, with a measly two goals and two assists in 16 games, leading many to speculate about his future. With a limited role under coach Craig Berube and drawing little interest in the trade market, one has to wonder whether Lecavalier is considering retirement.

  • Surprise of the week: Cody Hodgson, Buffalo Sabres Not that he doesn't deserve to take a seat for his struggles, but man, what to make of the struggling forward, who has only one goal in 28 games in the second year of a six-year, $25.5 million deal? Both his ice time and production have dropped and he's paying the price. He’s not the only one being singled out for the Sabres, though. Head coach Ted Nolan benched veteran forward Chris Stewart this week, as well.

DEFENSEMEN

  • Trending up: Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers The 18-year-old rookie is playing with the type of poise well beyond his years while he continues to make his bold bid for the Calder Trophy. Ekblad, the first overall pick in the summer, has been on a tear for the Panthers, with seven points in the past five games. Ekblad is third among all rookies in scoring with 18 points on the season and is tied with fellow youngster Nick Bjugstad for the team lead. Good thing the Panthers chose to keep him around.

  • Trending down: Brian Strait, New York Islanders It's not really Strait's fault that he's been exposed. After all, he's shouldering more minutes with the Islanders' defensive depth taking a hit, but Strait is a minus-six in the past four games and has left Islanders fans counting down the days until Travis Hamonic and Johnny Boychuk return.

  • Surprise of the week: Eric Gelinas, New Jersey Devils Count me as someone who was surprised to see defenseman Gelinas scratched for Thursday's game against the Flyers. The young blueliner has the type of offensive potential the Devils need from their back end, and he has shown that he can get his shot through, yet he watched from the press box for the second consecutive game. I think Pete DeBoer is a tremendous coach, but sometimes the way the team handles young defensemen is rather baffling. Case in point: Adam Larsson.

GOALTENDERS

  • Trending up: Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets That's right, "Bob" gets the top spot once again, as the netminder helped lead his basement-dwelling Blue Jackets to their fifth consecutive victory with a 39-save effort in a 3-2 win over the Washington Capitals on Thursday night. Bobrovsky has given up only nine goals during the team's five-game winning streak, giving the Blue Jackets life as they try to climb back up the standings.

  • Trending down: Jake Allen, St. Louis Blues Could the young netminder be rattled by veteran Martin Brodeur's addition? Allen, considered by many to be the goaltender of the future in St. Louis, has had a few shaky moments in the past week. First, he was pulled last Saturday after giving up three goals on 12 shots in the first period. He then coughed up a two-goal lead to the Isles in Thursday's game before recovering to hold on for the win with a strong third period. Allen has posted a save percentage under .900 in five of his past six starts.

  • Surprise of the week: Michael Hutchinson, Winnipeg Jets The backup netminder might very well be making a push for the starting job. The 24-year-old undrafted goaltender has won four of his past five starts for the Jets and has impressive numbers. Hutchinson leads the league in both goals-against average (1.67) and save percentage (.941), giving Ondrej Pavelec legitimate reason to feel worried.