The Nation Notebook: Art Ross Marchand, Cold Minnesota Wild, Underachieving Jets

The Nation Network Notebook is a regular feature that rounds up interesting news, stories, and  rumours from around the NHL that don’t quite deserve their own article.  

Art Ross Marchand?

Brad Marchand had a career season last year, and he’s already topped it by almost 20 points, with 11 games yet to be played. It’s not often you see a 28-year old player go from a solid top-line player one year  to a potential Art Ross Trophy candidate the next, but finally playing on the power play helps a lot. 

Marchand’s 21 power play points are 13 more than last year, and he’s getting the most minutes with the man advantage than any season prior. He’s only broken 100 minutes on the power play three times in his eight-year career, but he’s made good on it this season. 

Marchand’s eight-year, $49 million dollar contract extension seemed like a high price for an elite two-way player who only has 60 point season to his name, but Boston will be very happy if Machand continues to be a great even strength player, as well as a power play producer. Marchand is currently tied with Connor McDavid for the league lead in points, although McDavid has a game in hand.

Draisaitl setting records 

Leon Draisaitl now holds the most points in a season by a German-born player with 61, previously held by Marco Sturm with 59. Draisaitl had three points in a victory against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, and should gain a heathy lead for the next German-born challenger. 

Some might be confused after hearing that. Dany Heatley was born in Freiburg, Germany, and had multiple 100-point seasons, but Heatley immigrated to Canada early on and represented Canada internationally. It’s similar to both William and Alex Nylander being born in Calgary, but are considered Swedish and represent Sweden internationally. 

Draisaitl is now holds the record, and also leads his draft class in points with 121. 

Minnesota Mild

The Minnesota Wild have lost three consecutive games in regulation for the first time this season. The Wild look like a rejuvenated team under head coach Bruce Boudreau, who seems to win the division just about every time he’s coaching in the NHL. The Wild have the best goal differential in the Western Conference at +56, and third best in the entire league behind Washington and Columbus.

The Wild have Devan Dubnyk to thank for providing a Vezina-caliber season. Dubnyk is 36-15-3 with a .930 save percentage in 55 games. You’re going to win a lot anytime your goalie is that good. But is Dubnyk slowing down? He’s lost five out his last seven starts with only three performances above .910. Minnesota is 4-6 in their last 10 games, and Chicago is red hot. They will have a tough time winning the division with how the Blackhawks are playing. They also have a 48.09 CF%, which is good for 22nd in the league. They are third in goals for percentage, so the Wild might be benefiting from an amazing season from Dubnyk more than we think.

High Powered Jets

The Winnipeg Jets have some big guns on the roster. A team with Mark Scheifele, Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, and Blake Wheeler should easily be higher than 23rd in the league. The Jets score the sixth most goals in the league, yet will miss the playoffs again.

Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff did make the right decision by waiving Ondrej Pavelec before the season began, but not providing Connor Hellebuyck with a better safety net than Michael Hutchinson was a mistake. Hutchinson has a .893 save percentage in 22 games, and Hellebuyck has recovered a bit at .907, but still wasn’t good enough. 

The Jets even recalled Pavelec and he predictably went 4-4 with a .888 save percentage. When options like Jaroslav Halak were available all season, it’s hard to see why the Jets didn’t do more. They’re a playoff team that just needs some saves.

Stats from stats.hockeyanalysis.com and puckalytics.com.