We're five weeks into the NHL 2011-12 season, and some trends are beginning to emerge. Top players that their teams depend on are kicking it into high gear. Five players in particular stand out from last week's NHL action.
5. Tyler Seguin, Boston Bruins
Seguin scored four goals, with two game winners, added two assists and was a plus-four in just three games. If the week was one day longer, his stats would include his first career hat trick against Toronto.
Seguin is on an absolute tear, having scored in each of his last four games. This is good enough to put him fourth in the NHL with 20 points, just four back of league leader Phil Kessel. In case you were wondering, it's also twice as many points as Taylor Hall.
No sophomore slump here.
4. Jimmy Howard, Detroit Red Wings
Howard put up three wins in as many games last week, posting a 1.33 GAA and .948 save percentage and one shutout.
Howard and the Red Wings are playing much better as of late, having won four straight after losing four straight. While Howard may not be considered an elite goalie in the NHL just yet, he rarely faces more than 30 shots a night. You should feel confident starting him in your fantasy league every game.
3. Johan Franzen, Detroit Red Wings
Franzen scored four times, with two game winners, added two assists and was a plus-five over three games.
The Mule is so important to his team that he has at least one point in seven out of their eight wins this season. By contrast, he has zero points in all six of their losses.
Sedin managed a game-winning goal and six assists in four games, placing him second in NHL scoring overall.
Sedin keeps showing up on this list. I'm running out of things to say about him, other than he will continue to provide you with consistent point production all season long.
1. Jamie Benn, Dallas Stars
Jamie Benn had six points in four games, including a game-winning goal, a short-handed assist and two power-play points. He was also credited with nine hits, 11 PIMs and was a plus-four.
Benn is becoming a premier power-forward in the NHL and is the reason the Stars could afford to trade away James Neal to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Benn has only been held pointless in four out of 16 games this season.
Surprisingly, Benn is still available in a few Yahoo! fantasy leagues. If yours is one of them, what are you waiting for?
You can follow Mark Hillier on Twitter.