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THN Three Stars: Shesterkin, Kadri, Makar Show Muscle

Igor Shesterkin, Nazem Kadri and Cale Makar were among the top performers in the NHL last week. Adam Proteau breaks down all three and why they're in his three stars of the week.
Igor Shesterkin

It’s time for THN’s Three Stars of the past week. Let’s get to it. In reverse order:

3. Cale Makar, Colorado: The Avalanche defenseman posted seven points in four games this week. He’s also a major minute muncher, playing at least 23 minutes in three of four GP. Makar is only 23 years old, and the sky is the limit for the Calgary native. He rejected the chance to play in the 2018 Olympics, but he’s a lock to be invited again at the 2022 Beijing Games.

The best is yet to come for Makar, but he’s already solidified his status as one of hockey’s top blueliners. Representing his country in a high-pressure environment is going to make him that much better when the Games have ended and he’s back in Colorado. He’ll be a prominent member of Team Canada and put people on notice: there’s a new superstar just coming into his own. Soon, Makar will be at the top of all lists of the best defensemen out there. Really, he should be there already. The Avs know what a gem they have in him, and the Beijing Games could be a marquee moment for Makar.

2. Nazem Kadri, Colorado: Kadri has been a high-impact player for the Avalanche this year, generating six assists and eight points in four games this week. He’s now tied for fourth place among NHL point-getters, with 20 assists and 27 points in 18 games. Kadri’s career highs are 30 assists and 61 points, but if he continues to thrive, he’s on pace to wipe out those numbers and set new peak marks.

Naturally, some of Kadri’s production has come because the Avalanche are such a deep and talented squad. But he’s a crafty playmaker, and at 31 years old, he’s got the experience to make a difference come playoff time. Kadri has failed himself in the post-season a number of occasions when he stepped over the line and got suspended, but this might be the season he shows restraint and plays a key role in Colorado’s playoff run.

1. Igor Shesterkin, New York Rangers: The Rangers goalie went 3-0-0 in 3 games this week. He also posted a .951 save percentage and a 1.00 goals-against average in those games. Shesterkin has been phenomenal all season for the Blueshirts; the 25-year-old Russian has a sparkling 11-3-2 record thus far, as well as a .933 SP and a 2.22 GAA. He has bailed out the Rangers’ defense time and again, always giving his team a shot at winning.

Shesterkin should get more defensive support as the youngsters on the team blossom into first-rate NHLers. But at the moment, he’s got the team on his shoulders, and he’s doing a fantastic job of carrying them.

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