Player Power Rankings: Shea Weber shining, David Clarkson sitting


Trending up: Tyler Toffoli, Los Angeles Kings -- The 22-year-old forward has been a key contributor for the Kings since his return from mononucleosis. Toffoli paces the Kings with 18 goals after recording his first NHL hat trick in Thursday’s 5-3 win against the Calgary Flames. He now has six points in his past three games and six goals in the seven games since his return to the lineup.

Trending down: David Clarkson, Toronto Maple Leafs -- Granted, this space could just as easily accommodate his teammate Phil Kessel, who has been underachieving as of late. But unlike Kessel, who was simply demoted to the fourth line earlier this week, Clarkson was actually scratched -- twice -- by interim Leafs coach Peter Horachek, who said he would be paying no mind to the politics of the move, aka Clarkson's hefty contract.

Surprise of the week: Anders Lee, New York Islanders -- Isles fans are not surprised by the emergence of one of their most highly touted prospects, but it’s about time the rest of the league begins to take notice of the former Notre Dame standout. Lee notched a pair of goals in the Islanders’ 3-2 win over Toronto on Thursday night and has four points in his past three games. Lee’s 18 goals on the season signify the Isles’ scoring balance and offensive depth, key elements especially given Kyle Okposo's absence from the lineup thanks to injury.


Trending up: Shea Weber, Nashville Predators -- Weber anchors what is becoming one of the most dynamic, mobile defensive corps in the league right now, and he’s chipping in offensively as well. Most recently, the two-time Olympic gold medalist figured in on all three of the Predators’ goals in the team’s 3-1 win over Winnipeg. With a goal and two assists Thursday night, Weber now ranks sixth in scoring among the league’s defensemen with 39 points, just one point behind teammate Roman Josi's 40 points.

Trending down: Cody Ceci, Ottawa Senators -- Regarded as one of the Senators’ top young defensemen, the former first-round pick was a healthy scratch earlier this week against the league’s worst team, the Buffalo Sabres. Coach Dave Cameron’s somewhat surprising decision came after a 4-1 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets last weekend in which Ceci was a minus-4.

Surprise of the week: Zach Bogosian, Winnipeg Jets/Buffalo Sabres -- Sure, Evander Kane was the centerpiece of the stunning blockbuster deal between the Jets and the Sabres, but defenseman Zach Bogosian was also a significant subtraction from the Jets’ roster. The former third overall pick never quite lived up to the hype in Winnipeg but, at 23, still has plenty of hockey left to play and people to prove wrong. The Massena, New York, native heads home in hopes of bolstering a Buffalo team that is foundering in last place. Bogosian may benefit from a change in scenery just like Kane.


Trending up: Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild -- I’m almost tiring of lavishing praise on the midseason trade acquisition, but his accomplishments for a struggling Wild team make it hard to avoid. Dubnyk, who recently turned away 26 of 27 shots in the Wild’s 2-1 win against the Florida Panthers, is 9-1-1 for Minnesota since joining the team in mid-January. The Dallas Stars have to be hoping that Jhonas Enroth has a similar impact for them following this week’s trade.

Trending down: Ben Bishop, Tampa Bay Lightning -- As good as the Lightning can be, their success in the postseason will likely depend on the play of goaltender Ben Bishop, and he has not inspired much confidence lately. Bishop has surrendered 11 goals over the past three games, including five to the St. Louis Blues in the Bolts’ 6-3 loss on Thursday night. It was the second time in the past week that Bishop received the hook.

Surprise of the week: John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks -- No one knew what to expect out of the rookie netminder when he made his first start in more than three months. But the 21-year-old Pittsburgh native, who has spent the majority of the season in the American Hockey League, turned away 35 of 36 saves against the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday night. Good thing for the Ducks, too, because Ilya Bryzgalov is clearly not proving to be a suitable alternative in goal.