It's been a wild first few weeks of the NHL season. Some teams with high expectations (Pittsburgh Penguins, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers, Toronto Maple Leafs) failed to build on the offseason hype. Of course, there are a few early surprise teams (Vancouver Canucks, Anaheim Ducks, Detroit Red Wings) at the top of the standings. It's just November, so nobody should get too high or too low.
However, it is the right time to talk about where we are in the MVP race. As we approach one full month of the season, the race has been very tight. Four players have 20 or 21 points. The race is very insane at this point in the NHL calendar.
Do you want to know how crazy it's been? This list has six names, but none of them are Nikita Kucherov (second in the NHL in points), Dylan Larkin or Alex DeBrincat (literally our number one from two weeks ago), Linus Ullmark (leading the Bruins to another historic start), or Jack Hughes (was number one prior to his injury, but missing a month knocks him out of the race). The race is just silly at this point. So, let's jump into it.
6. David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins
The Bruins are once again the cream of the NHL crop. They lost Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci, leaving Pavel Zacha as the number-one center. James van Riemsdyk is a quality top-line winger only because of who's on the other side. David Pastrnak is the greatest scoring forward since prime Alex Ovechkin. He lifts up his teammates and drives play at a rate that directly leads to wins. Right now, he has nine goals and eight assists. Only two of his nine goals were on the power play, showing he's a huge reason the Bruins are dominating 5v5 play.
5. Artemi Panarin, New York Rangers
On a team like the New York Rangers, it's hard to give credit to just one player, but it's hard to argue the Rangers are at the top of the Metropolitan Division without Artemi Panarin. The Russian sniper has been unstoppable. After a rough postseason in 2023, he's back with a vengeance. As of this writing, Panarin has recorded a point in every game this season. He's four games away from breaking the Rangers franchise record for point streaks to start a season.