Player Power Rankings: Panthers need boost for Nick Bjugstad


Trending up: Teuvo Teravainen, Chicago Blackhawks -- Considering the injury to Patrick Kane, who is expected to miss 12 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a broken clavicle, Teravainen’s progression has never been more important for a Blackhawks team missing its biggest star. In the wake of Kane’s injury, Teravainen was recalled by the Hawks in advance of their game against the Panthers Thursday night, and the 20-year-old Finnish center wasted no time getting himself on the score sheet. Teravainen scored 3:08 into play to help lead Chicago to a 3-0 win over Florida.

Trending down: Nick Bjugstad, Florida Panthers -- Though the Panthers added veteran scorer Jaromir Jagr in a trade Thursday to help propel the club’s push for the playoffs, the Cats will need the help of their talented youngsters as well. That means Bjugstad has to work his way out of his current rut if Florida is going to catch Boston in the race for that last wild-card spot in the East. Bjugstad has been held off the score sheet in his past five games and is minus-7 over that span.

Surprise of the week: David Clarkson/Nathan Horton, Columbus Blue Jackets/Toronto Maple Leafs -- Don’t feel bad if you did not expect the stunning swap between the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets. No one did. But in a creative deal that has garnered Leafs general manager Dave Nonis tons of credit, Clarkson and his albatross of a contract were shipped to Columbus in exchange for injured winger Horton. Initially, the deal was a head-scratcher, considering the assumption that Horton’s degenerative back injury could prevent him from ever playing again. But the Leafs gained some much-needed cap space by utilizing their ability to place him on long-term injured reserve and pay him to not play, while the Blue Jackets gained an actual roster player who can contribute for the money they were already spending because Horton's contract was not insured. Very interesting.


Trending up: Andrej Sekera, Los Angeles Kings -- Things are looking up for Sekera, who upgraded from a floundering Carolina Hurricanes squad to a potential Cup contender in the Kings via trade this week. Sekera was a coveted trade target as teams honed in on defensive help, but it was ultimately GM Dean Lombardi who snatched up the defenseman in hopes of bolstering the Kings’ blue line. Lombardi told reporters it was a reward for the team’s fine play recently. Had to feel like a reward for the 28-year-old Sekera, too.

Trending down: James Wisniewski, Columbus Blue Jackets -- First, he was scratched. Then he was placed on the trading block. And the most recent development in the ongoing saga between the veteran defenseman and the Blue Jackets is that he is reportedly using his limited no-trade clause as a way to obstruct a potential move. According to The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline, Wisniewski's recently submitted list of the 10 teams to which he would approve a trade makes it “difficult” for GM Jarmo Kekalainen to find a suitable partner. According to the report, Wisniewski’s list was all teams with limited cap space (Wisniewski carries a $5.5 million cap hit) and no need for an offensive defenseman.

Surprise of the week: Adam Larsson, New Jersey Devils -- Larsson’s tenure in New Jersey has been puzzling to say the least, but the 22-year-old seems to be finally finding his way as of late. Larsson, the fourth overall pick in the 2011 draft, has five points in his past four games, including a three-point effort in the team’s 4-2 win against the Vancouver Canucks last Friday.


Trending up: Andrew Hammond, Ottawa Senators -- The rookie netminder posted back-to-back shutouts this week, blanking both the Anaheim Ducks and Kings on consecutive nights. The 27-year-old Hammond, thrust into action by Ottawa as a result of injuries to both Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner, has won all four of his starts this season and has turned away 60 of 60 shots in his past two games.

Trending down: Eddie Lack, Vancouver Canucks -- With Ryan Miller out the next four to six weeks with a sprained knee, the pressure falls squarely on Lack’s shoulders as the playoff race heats up out West. And while Lack bested the Boston Bruins in his first start following Miller’s injury, he faltered in the Canucks’ 6-3 loss to the lowly Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, giving up five goals on 23 shots to the worst team in the league, despite the fact that Buffalo was also without its top two scorers in Zemgus Girgensons and Tyler Ennis. Yikes.

Surprise of the week: Jonathan Bernier, Toronto Maple Leafs -- Following a brutal stretch in which he was winless in 10 games, Bernier has since rattled off two straight victories for the Leafs. Most recently, he delivered a spectacular 47-save performance as the Leafs edged the Philadelphia Flyers 3-2 on Thursday night. Captain Dion Phaneuf told reporters that Bernier stole the game for Toronto, and Phaneuf was right. That hasn’t happened too often recently for Bernier.