This week's article includes a new top center for the Devils, a playoff hero on a roll in Boston, a slew of defensemen injuries and a hot waiver pick from early in the year taking his lumps.
First Liners (Risers)
Adam Henrique, C, NJD - Henrique grabbed an assist and finished plus-2 in the Devils' 4-3 loss to Boston on Tuesday and then followed that with two assists Wednesday. Henrique was one of the hottest players in the league at the beginning of the month, and after a brief two-game drought, he is back on the beam. As long as he skates on a line with Zach Parise, and at times, Ilya Kovalchuk, Henrique should remain a viable option in leagues.
Derek Roy, C, BUF - Roy grabbed a goal and an assist in Buffalo's shootout win over Montreal on Monday, giving him 10 points in the last seven games. After a very slow start, Roy has been performing well the last week as he has seen his name on the scoresheet quite often following coach Lindy Ruff moving him back to a line with Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Roy is a dynamic talent and is on pace for a strong season with 14 points in 18 games.
Jannik Hansen, LW, VAN - Hansen netted his fifth goal of the season Wednesday against the Blackhawks. Before you say, so, that's nice, big deal, the big deal is that Hansen scored his fourth in five games since joining the Canucks' top line. Ah, so now maybe he is a bit more interesting. As long as Hansen continues to skate alongside the Sedin twins, he is worth a look, but be aware Mason Raymond will be back soon and Hansen could turn back into a pumpkin at any moment.
Brad Marchand, RW, BOS - Marchand grabbed a goal in Tuesday's 4-3 win over New Jersey, extending his points streak to six games and nine points and goal streak to three. Marchand was a domino in the playoffs, and after a bit of a slow start, he clearly had righted the ship, justifying the two-year, $5 million deal he signed in September. The second-year center has 13 points and 35 penalty minutes on the season, totals that play on a lot of fantasy rosters.
Jakub Voracek, RW, PHI - Voracek, who came over to the Flyers in the Jeff Carter trade, posted two assists in Philadelphia's win over Carolina on Monday, extending his points streak to four games. Voracek has seven points over the last four games and appears to be finding his stride after a slow start. Voracek typically has been a streaky player in his career, but it has never been a lack of talent with the 22-year-old winger, so ride him while he is hot.
Dustin Byfuglien, D, WPG - After a rough start and appearance on the Fallers side of this column, the Buff has been on a roll. Byfuglien picked up a goal and added an assist Monday against Tampa Bay, giving him seven points in his last five games. Buff now has three goals, 11 points and 34 penalty minutes in 18 games, putting him close to his career-year pace of a season ago.
Kyle Quincey, D, COL - After a miserable 2010-11 in which he managed just a lone assist in 21 games, Quincey's off to a red-hot start this year, racking up 13 points in 18 outings, largely in part to a significant commitment of power-play ice time. John-Michael Liles and Quincey have each benefited from Liles' move to Toronto, which has opened the door for Quincey to be relied on in Colorado.
Jhonas Enroth, G, BUF - Ryan Miller was off to a slow start, and while Enroth had seen some additional action, it was unlikely that he was going to supplement him. It took an injury, which came on a very questionable play by Milan Lucic that has opened the door for Enroth to become the starter. Enroth lost Wednesday, which was his first loss of the season and almost his first in a year. Enroth has talent and he will be the man in the crease for as long as Miller is sidelined.
Ilya Bryzgalov, G, PHI - After an insanely difficult start, during which he questioned his own performance in net and showed little confidence, Bryzgalov has started to right the ship. He has won five of his last six starts and not allowed more than two goals in any of them as he attempts to justify the nine-year, $51-million deal he signed this offseason. That said, as any hockey fan knows, the key in Philly will be the postseason, so Bryzgalov will have to earn his contract then, making the regular season somewhat less important for him.
Others include David Backes, Vincent Lecavalier, Tomas Plekanec, Stephen Weiss, Jordan Staal, Jonathan Toews, Brad Richards, David Desharnais, Anze Kopitar, Tyler Seguin, Mike Fisher, Kris Versteeg, Tomas Fleischmann, Ryan Smyth, Erik Cole, Max Pacioretty, Valtteri Filppula, Loui Eriksson, Martin Erat, Milan Michalek, Vanek, Pominville, Kris Russell, Jason Garrison, Nick Leddy, Kevin Shattenkirk, Dan Girardi, Steve Montador, Cam Fowler, Chris Pronger, Sheldon Souray, Jaroslav Halak (solid in past four games), Corey Crawford, Mike Smith, Jonathan Quick and Antti Niemi.
Training Room (Injuries)
Brayden Schenn, C, PHI - Schenn practiced with his teammates Wednesday for the first time since breaking his foot Oct. 26. Schenn is just three weeks removed from the injury, so he appears to be making rapid progress in his recovery. Schenn will need a few practices to get back into playing shape, but it looks like he'll be ready to play again before the end of the month. When he does return, look for Schenn to be slotted in on the third line.
Mikhail Grabovski, C, TOR - Coach Ron Wilson expects Grabovski to miss "at least" two weeks with a leg injury suffered in mid-ice collision Tuesday's game. The Maple Leafs have not announced details regarding the injury, but the length of Grabovski's expected absence could have him ticketed for injured reserve. Grabovski has 10 points in 18 games, skating on the second line, but was scoreless in his last five prior to the injury.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, ANA - Visnovsky suffered a broken finger in Friday's game and will miss about a month. Visnovsky will not need surgery to repair the break, but he will need some time to recover. Kurtis Foster figures to get the first shot at taking Visnovksy's spot in the lineup and look for Cam Fowler to be relied on even more to fill the gap created by Visnovsky's absence.
Alex Goligoski, D, DAL - Goligoski, who left last Friday's game after taking a puck to the hand, suffered a fractured thumb that will sideline him a month. Goligoski was the main player Dallas acquired in the trade of James Neal to the Penguins, and so far, Pittsburgh has won that deal. Goligoski was off to a slow start with six points in 15 games and may have been surpassed as the main threat from the blueline by Sheldon Souray before being hurt.
Ryan Whitney, D, EDM - Coach Tom Renney believes Whitney (knee) is about a week days from returning. Whitney first skated on his own Tuesday, but having not played since Oct. 25, he'll have to get back into playing shape before returning to game action
Mike Green, D, WAS - Green is no longer expected to join his teammates on their current road trip. Green had just returned from a foot injury when he exited last Friday's game with the groin injury. The Capitals hoped he would miss only a few days, but having still yet to resume skating, Green will instead remain in Washington and continue taking part in off-ice workouts. The Capitals have two games remaining on their trip, so don't expect to see Green back on the ice until next week at the earliest. After three stellar years in a row, Green has regressed heavily the last two years, mainly due to injury, putting his status as an elite D-man somewhat in doubt.
Ryan Miller, G, BUF - Miller took a nasty hit, which should have warranted a suspension due to intent and failure to avoid contact, from Milan Lucic on Saturday night and stayed in the game. But he felt increasingly worse after the hit and was removed from the game after the second period by the Bruins' doctor under the NHL's head injury protocol. Miller has officially been diagnosed with a concussion and is dealing with whiplash; sidelining him indefinitely.
Others include Brendan Morrison (knee, placed on IR), Tim Connolly (UBI, back in action), Tyler Ennis (ankle, started skating), Scottie Upshall (hip, out six-to-eight weeks), Andrei Markov (knee, skated Sunday, inching closer or season debut), Cam Barker (ankle, surgery, out three months), Roberto Luongo (UBI, DTD) and Evgeni Nabokov (groin, left Thursday's game).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Luke Adam, C, BUF - After a hot start in which he seemed to be a fixture between Vanek and Pominville, Adam was bumped down to the second line to start November. Since then, Adam has four points in eight games, but two in his last seven and the two he scored on Nov. 2 came after he was restored to the top line. I, like many, thought Adam was about to have that breakout year, and while that may still happen, it won't be as great as once thought and hoped due his downgrade in line partners.
Devin Setoguchi, RW, SJ - Seto had a solid year last year with 41 points in 72 games, which was his second subpar year after scoring 65 points in 2008-09. Setoguchi was dealt to Minnesota this offseason, where he was reunited by Dany Heatley. Despite the hopes that it would turn into a Peaches and Herb song, so far, the inconsistency that prevented him from taking that leap the past two years still seems to be in effect as he has just 10 points in 19 games, though he does have goals in back-to-back games.
Corey Potter, D, EDM - Potter was a hot add earlier in the year as he had picked up some of the slack left by Ryan Whitney's injuries while also superseding Tom Gilbert as the next best blueline option in Edmonton. Potter is scoreless in his last six, and with Whitney due back in a week, his value will take another hit. In addition, he left Thursday's game with an ankle injury that could sideline him.
Josh Harding, G, MIN - Harding, like Potter, was a hot add lately as it looked like he was about to take over from Niklas Backstrom in Minnesota following a four-game win streak coupled with Backstrom's struggles. Harding was pulled from Saturday's game after giving up four goals and taking a shot off his arm, which forced him from the contest and Backstrom has started the last two games. It looks like Harding is the backup to Backstrom again and the back-to-back starts isn't related to any injury issues with Harding. Backstrom will likely get the bulk of starts, though Harding could get back in the mix if he struggles.
Others include Jason Arnott (just one goal and point in last seven games), Derick Brassard (wearing a suit during games is never a good thing for a player), Kyle Okposo (healthy scratch the past two games), Rene Bourque (scoreless in last eight games, zero assists on season), Brendan Morrow (slow start with eight points in 17 games), Gabriel Landeskog (upside there but just one point in past seven games), Ian Cole (scratched past three games), Oliver-Ekman Larsson (fast start but a memory) and Jonas Gustavsson (the Monster anything but that this year).