Here's our weekly look at the fortunes of some of the game's brightest young stars. Behold, the latest under-24 player rankings.
The Canadiens have cooled off ever so slightly but remain the top point-producing team in the NHL and No. 1 center Galchenyuk has continued to come into his own. The 22-year-old has two goals and five assists in his past six games, including two power-play goals and a pair of power-play assists for a power play that has scored seven goals in its past seven games.
The Oilers have quickly reversed their fortunes after it looked like they were falling off the proverbial map and now have recaptured the Pacific Division lead with three straight wins. Not surprisingly, the Oil have been led by 19-year-old captain McDavid, who started the streak with his first NHL hat trick and has collected eight points in his past three games to retake the league lead in points with 27.
The Blues have emerged from a rocky stretch to close the gap on the Central Division-leading Chicago Blackhawks. Not coincidentally, the Blues' strong play has coincided with improved production from big Parayko, who has six assists in his past seven games after the 23-year-old collected just four through his first 14 games. Parayko, a member of Team North America at the World Cup of Hockey, has yet to score this season, but that seems only a matter of time.
The Devils are lights-out at home (7-0-1) but have struggled on the road as they fight for a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference. Without Taylor Hall for the next few weeks, the challenge will be in finding offense from other sources, but it hasn't come from big 19-year-old Zacha, who has gone 10 games without a goal (he has just one on the season) and has just one assist over the same period. Zacha is 6-foot-3 and has oodles of skill, although it's been a steeper learning curve for the sixth-overall pick in 2015 than one might have imagined.
Part of the thought process by the Islanders in moving on from Kyle Okposo, Frans Nielsen, and Matt Martin, et al. in the offseason presumably was that the young talent, like Strome, the fifth-overall pick in 2011, would step up. But it hasn't happened for the Isles -- who are last in the Eastern Conference -- or for the 23-year-old Strome, who has gone 14 games without a goal. A natural center, Strome has played briefly on the wing with captain John Tavares but has floated up and down the lineup as head coach Jack Capuano struggles to find a place from which Strome can produce.
One of the good things for Schmaltz, one of the top-rated collegiate players in the past couple of years (he was the 20th-overall pick in 2014 after playing two years at the University of North Dakota) is that there's lots of veterans on the Blackhawks who can take the heat off when things are going tough. Well, it's been an education for the 20-year-old Schmaltz, who has had some looks playing with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, but has just one goal on the season and one assist in his past seven games.
Young guns showdown
The Flames are trying to crawl out of an early-season hole and Hamilton, 23, the subject of trade discussion (not to mention consternation among Flames fans) has picked it up of late, with four assists in his past four games. Meanwhile, Gostisbehere, 23, is learning that playing for head coach Dave Hakstol means playing at both ends of the ice: The rookie of the year finalist from a year ago was recently a healthy scratch and has just one assist in his past six games.