Joel Embiid Should be Considered an MVP Candidate
It is only January and a lot of people are talking about either James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo to win the MVP, but what about Joel Embiid?
With it just being a few weeks away before the short holiday break, some teams have been rolling and some are starting to find their stride. The NHL is a marathon and not a sprint for a reason. Who are the top 10 teams in the NHL so far this season?
10. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets remain to be a force in the NHL, despite being in fifth place in the Central Division right now. They are playing in a tough division right now and at some point they will take off. Mark Scheifele continues to do wonders for Winnipeg. He has scored 13 goals and recorded 13 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 8. They have a team goal differential of 11. The Winnipeg Jets record so far this season is 13-8-2 with 28 points.
9. Calgary Flames: The Flames led the Pacific Division with a 14-9-2 record with 30 points. Calgary doesn't play in a very tough division. The Calgary Flames lost a tough overtime game at home against the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Wednesday night. Dave Rittich was an unhappy camper in net after the loss because he thought he was interfered with. Rittich has actually been pretty good in net so far this season. His record is 8-2-1 with a .924 save percentage and a 2.21 GAA, along with one shutout.
8. Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets are showing no signs of a possible let down this season. They have been pretty good on offense this season and Columbus has scored 84 goals so far this season. Cam Atkinson leads the team with 15 goals and he also has 10 assists. Pierre-Luc Dubois also has 10 assists, but he has scored 12 goals. Josh Anderson has scored 11 goals and Artemi Panarin leads the team with 26 points (6 goals and 20 assists). Sergei Bobrovsky has been much better in net than Joonas Korpisalo has. Bobrovksy's record so far this season is 9-7 with a .912 save percentage and a 2.74 GAA. John Tortorella has kept his players focused. Columbus's record so far this season is 14-8-2 with 30 points.
7. Boston Bruins: Not having Patrice Bergeron has made an impact on this team. Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak is also feeling the effect because they play on the same line as him. The Bruins have not been scoring enough goals this season. They have only scored 67. Boston has been playing very good defense and they have only allowed 59. The Boston Bruins might need to make a deal at some point. They sit in fourth place in the Atlantic Division with a 13-7-4 record with 30 points. Jake DeBrusk has stepped up his game for Boston and he has the second most goals scored with 10. Goaltending has been a big deal for them this season. Jarsolav's Halak record so far this season is 8-3-2 with a .936 save percentage and a 2.06 GAA, along with two shutouts. Tuukka Rask's record is 5-4-2 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.72 GAA.
6. Washington Capitals: It isn't a surprise that the Capitals are starting to heat up after having a slow start to the regular season. They have won six straight games and Washington sits a top of the Metropolitan Division with a 14-7-3 record with 31 points. They have scored 84 goals so far this season. They have given up 74 goals. Alex Ovechkin has scored 18 goals and has recorded 10 assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 4. Other than Ovechkin, no body else has scored double digit goals, but a lot of players have been chipping in. Braden Holtby has been average so far this season and he has missed time due to injury. Holtby's record so far this season is 9-5-2 with a .917 save percentage and a 2.74 GAA, along with one shutout.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning: It is has been an impressive stretch for the Lightning without Andrei Vasilevskiy. Louis Domingue has stepped up and Tampa Bay hasn't lost its juice. Dominque's record is 8-4 with a .903 save percentage and a 3.19 GAA. When Vasilevskiy comes back, it is going to this team even more of a boost. Nikita Kucherov has scored nine goals and recorded 24 assists so far this season. Brayden Point has had a breakout season with 18 goals and 14 assists. His plus/minus is 12. J.T. Miller and Ryan McDonagh each have 18 points so far this season. Tampa Bay has one of the best goal differentials in the NHL this season at 22. Their record so far this season is 17-7-1 with 35 points. The Atlantic Division is top heavy. They are one point behind the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres. Tampa Bay plays against Buffalo on Thursday night at home.
4. Toronto Maple Leafs: In Auston Matthews first game back for the Toronto, he scored two goals and recorded an assist, in a 5-3 win at home against the San Jose Sharks on Wednesday night. The Maple Leafs have the best goal differential in the NHL at 26. It will be interesting to see whether or not William Nylander gets traded, signed, or sits out for a year. Kasperi Kapanen has scored 10 goals and recorded eight assists so far this season. Kapanen wants Nylander back in Toronto and so does other teammates. Mitchell Marner leads the team in points with 36 (6 goals and 30 assists). Toronto's record so far this season 18-8 with 36 points. They are tied for first in the Atlantic Division with the Buffalo Sabres. They play each other next week in Buffalo.
3. Colorado Avalanche: The Avalanche have a ton of speed and skill and they have won six games in a row. Colorado could be the biggest threat in the west to the Winnipeg Jets and the Nashville Predators. The line of Gabriel Landeskog-Nathan MacKinnon-Mikko Rantanen has combined for 111 point so far this season. It is the best top line in the league right now. MacKinnon scored a goal and recorded three assists in a 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins at home on Wednesday night. The Colorado Avalanche have the second best goal differential in the NHL at 25. They sit in second place in the Central Division. Their record so far this season is 15-6-4 with 34 points.
2. Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres have reeled off 10 straight wins. That ties a franchise record and they hope to make it 11 straight wins when they face the Tampa Bay Lightning on the road on Thursday night. Everyone is buying into Phil Housley's system right now. Jeff Skinner has been a great edition for this team. He has scored 19 goals and recorded nine assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 15. Jack Eichel leads the team with 28 points (5 goals and 23 assists). His plus/minus is 4. Carter Hutton and Linus Ullmark has been a good goaltending duo so far this season. Buffalo is tied for first in the Atlantic Division with Toronto. The Buffalo Sabres record so far this season is 17-6-2 with 36 points.
1. Nashville Predators: The Predators are the most consistent team in the NHL. Nashville has nightmare players for opponents. Filip Forsberg is one of those players as he has scored 14 goals and recorded eight assists so far this season. His plus/minus is 12. The Nashville Predators have not been as good offensively from their defenseman, but they have a plus 22 goal differential. Pekka Rinne is posting Vezina like numbers once again. His record is 10-3-1 with a .938 save percentage and a 1.77 GAA, along with two shutouts. Nashville sits atop of the Central Division with a 17-7-1 record with 35 points.