Back from a one-week Turkey Day break, ESPN presents the best player in the world of the week. Each Tuesday, we’ll honor the skater or goalie from around the hockey world — every league, every level, every player — who had the best previous week, Monday through Sunday. If there’s a player you’d like to nominate, from your local team to a high school team to your beer league, email us here. And remember: Stats only tell part of the story, so tell us why he or she deserves this honor.
Best player in the world of the week (for the week ending Nov. 26)
Zach Boychuk, Slovan (KHL): Yes, indeed, we have a Boychuk sighting! The 28-year-old center, whom the Carolina Hurricanes‘ picked No. 14 overall in 2008, has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League for the past two seasons and is currently a member of Slovan Bratislava. In two games last week, Boychuk had four goals and an assist combined against Amur and Vityaz. As the KHL announced in naming him forward of the week: “Unsurprisingly, he received no negative ratings, earning a plus-2 overall!”
Josh Chamberlain, Oklahoma City Blazers (WSHL): The Blazers are a junior team in the Western States Hockey League, and Chamberlain is a 21-year-old forward who had 11 points (!) in a three-game weekend sweep of their hated Plains states rivals, the Wichita Thunder. Chamberlain now has 20 goals and 25 assists in 16 games for the Blazers. He’s from Spokane, Washington — just like Tyler Johnson! — and JuiniorHockey.com once called him “the real and true junior hockey player,” so accept no substitutes.
Brian Ferguson, St. Louis Beer League: From reader Dave Vorhies: “Brian Ferguson didn’t dominate any traditional stats categories this week (although his Corsi through 2.5 periods was likely strong). In the 3rd period, ‘Ferg’ stepped on the stick of a defenseman and as we found out later broke his fibula. After hopping/being carried of the rink, he offered to crawl the final 200 yards to the locker room, so me and another guy can finish the third period. A heroic offer for a man trying to inspire a last-place team to a third-period comeback.” Um, did someone eventually get this guy to a hospital?
Cody Glass, Portland Winterhawks (WHL): The Western Hockey League standout had 12 points (5 goals and 7 assists) in four games to help fuel a Portland winning streak that stands at 10 games. Glass now has 44 points in 23 games, including 16 goals. Oh, and if the name sounds familiar, that’s because you won that bar bet because you knew Glass was the first-ever draft pick of the Vegas Golden Knights, sixth overall in 2017.
Carter Hart, Everett Silvertips (WHL): Oh, it’s a regular old Western Hockey League hootenanny happening in the POTWOTW countdown. Hart was named WHL goalie of the week for a 43-save shutout against Tri-City, a 34-save effort in a 4-1 win over Spokane and then a 22-save game in a 5-2 win over Vancouver. The shutout was No. 22 in his career, a Silvertips’ franchise record, passing Leland Irving. Hart was selected No. 48 overall in 2016 and is considered the goalie of the future for the Philadelphia Flyers, as such as any goalie has a future with the Philadelphia Flyers.
Brittany Howard, Robert Morris University (CHA):
— RMU Athletics (@RMUAthletics) November 26, 2017
Howard led RMU to a win over Ohio State in a big nonconference battle between two teams that were first in their conferences. Howard tied it up in the third period with a beautiful goal against arguably the best goalie in the nation, Kassidy Sauve. Then Howard got the OT winner as well. This was the first win for Robert Morris over a ranked opponent since 2014. Howard is two goals away from being the leading scorer in team history.
Justin Losacco, His Couch: From reader Justin Losacco: “I would like to throw myself in the running for the Best Player in the World for this week. … Well it’s not quite me, but it’s my ‘NHL 18’ Be A Pro. In my rookie season with the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL, I put up 123 goals and 82 assists for 205 points. The goals and points are OHL records, by the way! (I also led the league in plus/minus at plus-164, while I know that’s not a very useful stat, that seems like a good number.) Virtual me is very good at hockey, apparently.” Well, that’s all good, but I threw my hat and controlled a mustached T-Rex on “Super Mario Odyssey,” so, by comparison …
Serron Noel, Oshawa Generals (OHL): Noel, a player to watch for the 2018 NHL draft, had four goals and four assists in three games. The second-year forward from Ottawa has 22 points in 22 games, including 14 goals, and generally seems like a nice sort of person based on his Twitter.
Dylan Strome, Tuscon Roadrunners (AHL): What a week for Strome: Four goals and four assists in three games for the Roadrunners, who moved to the top of the AHL’s Western Conference. That included a four-point game against San Diego. He ended the week with a scoring streak of seven games, with 16 points in that stretch. Oh, but the best part of the week? That his scoring prowess earned him a call-up back to the Arizona Coyotes, having missed much of their time as a flailing embarrassment while he tore up the AHL.
Maksim Zhukov, Green Bay Gamblers (USHL): The Russian netminder was 2-0-0 with a 0.50 goals-against average and a .980 save percentage for the Gamblers, He stopped 22 of 23 shots in a win over Cedar Rapids and then posted his second shutout of the season in a 28-save effort over the powerhouse Chicago Steel. It’s the second time he’s won goalie of the week honors in the USHL this season and, inexplicably, has not played for the Golden Knights this season despite being drafted by the team and being a healthy goalie in their system.
And the best player in the world of the week is …
Dylan Strome, Tuscon Roadrunners/Arizona Coyotes: Strome capped a dominating stretch by getting his ticket punched to the show. He was the third-overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft, and, um, has some catching up to do with his peers.
Congratulations, Dylan Strome: You are the best hockey player in the world, at least for this week.