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.
Jack Hughes is in the midst of a career year, but specifically has been playing some of his best hockey of the season lately.
Over his last three games, the Devils star has scored four goals and dished out an assist. Prior to Tuesday's game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Hughes had recorded at least one goal in five consecutive games.
In addition, Hughes had registered two goals in three of those five contests. One such game came when Hughes registered two goals and an assist in a 4-3 overtime win over the New York Rangers on Sunday.
As impressive as that goal was, Hughes, 21, wasn't done. Devils defenseman Ryan Graves uncorked a slap shot that deflected off of winger Dawson Mercer in front then Hughes happened to be in the right place at the right time. Hughes sniped a rebound shot into a wide-open net on a sequence in which Shesterkin had no chance.
It marked Hughes' 19th goal in his last 21 games. Now Hughes is up to 26 goals in 41 games throughout the 2022-23 season, which is good for eighth in the NHL. His heroic performance comes just days after learning that he'll be headed to the NHL All-Star Game for the second consecutive season.
Hughes already has 49 points (26 goals & 23 assists) and that's just eight points from establishing a new career-high. He's currently on pace for 98 points (52 goals & 46 assists) this season. It's been made clear that when he's healthy, Hughes is one of the most dangerous players in the sport.
After some terrific seasons with the Minnesota Wild, star winger Kevin Fiala found himself on the move this past offseason. Immediately after being traded to the Kings, Fiala signed a seven-year, $55.125 million contract extension.
It's certainly been a strong partnership for both sides thus far this season.
Fiala currently leads Los Angeles in points (46) and assists (31) and has been arguably the team's most dynamic player. Over his past four games, Fiala has racked up an absurd five goals and two assists, including a hat trick performance in a 5-1 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.
Fiala followed up the hat trick with a four-point performance (two goals & two assists) in a 6-3 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday.
Much like Hughes, this performance came just days after Fiala was selected to the 2023 NHL All-Star Game as the Kings' representative. It marks the first time in Fiala's career that he'll be headed to the league's All-Star Game when it descends upon Sunrise, Fla. next month.
He has been a constant source of offensive production for a Sharks team that is rebuilding. Entering Thursday, Karlsson leads all NHL defenseman in points (56) and assists (43) while being tied for first in goals (13) and tied for second in game-winning goals (3).
The San Jose defenseman has tallied an assist in 16 of his last 17 games, including five multi-assist performance during that stretch. Karlsson has also registered at least one point in 31 of his 43 games this season.
His increased production couldn't have come at a better time with NHL trade deadline being less than two months away. With that date creeping closer, teams are beginning to call the Sharks to see if they can acquire the veteran defenseman, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun.
Karlsson does have a no-trade clause, so if he's content in San Jose, he's not going anywhere. Considering the season he's having, the Sharks will likely want a hefty package in return for his services.
After all, Karlsson ranks seventh in points in the entire NHL and has been one of the most consistent offensive-minded defensemen around. If he's willing to waive his no-trade clause for the right situation, Karlsson could be the most sought-after commodity at the trade deadline.
Oettinger currently ranks third in wins (19), third in goals-against-average (2.29) and fifth in save percentage (.923) across the NHL. In addition, the Stars netminder also has a pair of shutouts to his name.
The 24-year-old netminder is enjoying an extremely stellar stretch in which he's allowed two or fewer goals in six of his last seven starts. Oettinger has also yielded just one goal apiece in back-to-back victories against the Florida Panthers and New York Islanders over the past week.
In three starts this month, Oettinger owns a 1.64 goals-against-average and has allowed a grand total of just five goals.
As the 2022-23 season progresses, Oettinger has established himself as one of the NHL's top goalies. In fact, he would've had a case to be the Stars' 2023 All-Star Game representative, but teammate Jason Robertson received the honor thanks to his torrid scoring pace.
Still, it's definitely not going to be a huge surprise if Oettinger ends up being a finalist for the Vezina Trophy when the season is all said and done.