NHL Star Power Index: Johnny Gaudreau wraps up career year, Aleksander Barkov continues to pace Panthers

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.


There have been few players that have elevated their stock more than Johnny Gaudreau throughout the 2021-22 season. 

Gaudreau is slated to become a unrestricted free agent this summer and he’s wrapping up what has been a career year. The Calgary Flames winger has recorded new career highs in points (109), goals (38), assists (70), plus/minus (+60), and game-winning goals (9) while leading his team to the top of the Pacific Division.

Making history has been the name of the game for Gaudreau as of late. The star winger recently became the fifth player in Flames history to register 600 career points with the club when he accomplished the feat against the Blackhawks.

In the Flames’ 3-2 win over the Blackhawks on Monday, Gaudreau also registered his 85th even-strength point of the season. The last person to record at least 85 even-strength points in a season was Jaromir Jagr when he had 95 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the 1995-96 season. To put Gaudreau’s accomplishment into perspective, only 17 players in NHL history have recorded 85 even-strength points in a single season.

Additionally, Gaudreau recently became the first Flames player to record 70+ assists in a single season since defenseman Al MacInnis tallied 75 assists during the 1990-91 campaign. Gaudreau had never accumulated more than 63 assists in any of his previous eight NHL seasons.

Over his last seven games, Gaudreau has registered four goals and six assists. The Flames star has also produced two goals apiece in games against the Arizona Coyotes and Blackhawks over the last week.

With just four games remaining in the regular season, Gaudreau is in the midst of a phenomenal month of April in which he’s scored seven goals and dished out 11 assists. The veteran winger has had three multi-goal games this month as well as three multi-assist performances.

Due to his stellar play as of late, Gaudreau has placed himself into the Art Ross Trophy (most points) and Hart Trophy (MVP) conversations. His 109 points and only trail Jonathan Huberdeau and Connor McDavid (both with 113 points) for the league lead.

The timing couldn’t be more perfect for Gaudreau to have the best season of his career. Considering that he’ll hit free agency this summer, there will be no shortage of teams bidding for his services.


The Florida Panthers have proved to be an absolute juggernaut all season and center Aleksander Barkov is among the biggest reasons why.

Barkov is having a terrific month of April in which he’s recorded points in nine of the Panthers’ 10 games, including a hat trick in a 3-2 overtime win over the New York Islanders on Tuesday. It marked the first hat trick of the 2021-22 season for Barkov and the third of his NHL career.

Barkov even was able to provide the theatrics in Tuesday’s overtime win. Just 20 seconds into the overtime session, Barkov found himself cutting to the net and received a terrific pass from teammate Jonathan Huberdeau, which he tapped past Islanders goaltender Ilya Sorokin for the game-winning tally.

The Panthers center is wrapping up one of the best seasons of his nine-year NHL career. Barkov has racked up 86 points (38 goals and 48 assists) despite missing over a month of action due to a lower-body injury.

Barkov now has a chance to have his best month of the 2021-22 season. Entering Friday, the Panthers star has 18 points (seven goals and 11 assists), which is just one point from tying his most productive month of the season.

The Panthers will be one of the favorites to win the Stanley Cup when the postseason begins next month. With the addition of Claude Giroux at the trade deadline, this group has been on a completely different level. If Barkov can continue to add to the team’s goal-scoring punch, the sky is the limit as to what they can achieve this season.


Elias Pettersson has a chance to record the best campaign of his young career if all goes according to plan over the final week of the season.

The Vancouver Canucks star center already has recorded a career-high in goals (31) and is just one point from tying his career-high. With four games remaining and Vancouver having an outside chance of grabbing the final w4ild card spot in the West, it’s certainly plausible that Pettersson finishes with the best campaign of his career.

Over his last seven games, Pettersson has scored seven goals and dished out five assists, including goals in five of those contests. In addition, the 2017 top pick has also recorded four multi-point games during that stretch.

In Monday’s huge 6-2 win over the Dallas Stars, Pettersson rose to the occasion with a pair of goals while also recording an assist. It was Pettersson’s fourth three-point performance over his last seven games.

The Canucks are very fortunate to have a terrific one-two punch at center in the form of Pettersson and J.T. Miller. While they’re going to have to go on a tear over the final four games in order to make the playoffs, it’s still been impressive how lethal Pettersson has been in the final weeks of the season with so much on the line.


When it comes to the Minnesota Wild, a great deal of the talk surrounds star winger Kirill Kaprizov and for good reason. However, the Wild have also been getting stellar production from fellow winger Kevin Fiala on the team’s second line.

Fiala is in the midst of a terrific April in which he has registered nine goals and seven assists. Over his last six games, the Wild star has scored six goals while registering six assists. Fiala has also has three two-goal games and has scored goals in five of his last six games.

In Tuesday’s 2-0 win over the Montreal Canadiens, Fiala scored his 30th goal of the season, which marked the first time that he’s hit that mark in his nine-year NHL career. 

The Wild forward has the beneficiary of some tremendous patience from teammate Mats Zuccarello. Zuccarello possessed the puck behind the Canadiens and waited for the passing lane to open before hitting Fiala with a pinpoint pass that Fiala buried on a scorching one-timer.

Fiala is finishing up the best reason of his NHL career. Entering Friday, Fiala has registered 77 points (32 goals and 45 assists) and hadn’t had more than 54 points in any of his previous campaigns. The Wild winger has also set new career highs in goals, assists, plus/minus (+22), and game-winning goals (6).

The Wild have already clinched a playoff spot and Fiala’s success has been a big reason for that. As Minnesota looks to advance out of the opening round for the first time since the 2013-14 season, Fiala’s presence on the second line will go a long way towards attempting to achieve that goal.