From goal scorers to defenders to the men who keep the puck out of the net, each week we'll take a spin around the rink and touch on some of the players that are in the news.
Alexander Ovechkin has been a miserable performer this season (10g, 12a in 31 games), and the “good times” have just kept on rolling in December when he has a mere four points in eight games. At their whit's end with the "former" superstar, the Caps have decided to shake things up by shifting Alex from the left to right wing. Who knows if the move will stick, or if it will help, but at this point they have to try something.
Jannik Hansen had 29 points in 82 games for the Canucks last season. In just 33 games this season he has 18 point. Already having set a career-high with 11 goals, Hansen has been a substantial offensive performer in the month of December with six goals and two helpers in nine games. Take that Alexander Ovechkin.
T.J. Oshie isn't exactly a household name, but the young forward is a leader on and off the ice, and he's also a pretty darn good hockey player. Skating on the Blues' first line with Alex Steen and David Backes, Oshie has seen his offensive talents emerge as he's scored a goal in his last two games, has points in 3-straight games, and he has four goals and seven points in his last five outings. With 11 goals on the year he is well on pace for his first 20-goal season in the NHL in his fourth year in the league.
Derek Roy isn't an elite goal scorer, but in his last four healthy seasons he's produced 21, 32, 28 and 26 goals (he had 10 in 35 games last season). This year he's fallen well off the pace with just seven markers in 32 games, and it's been 15 games since he lit the lamp for the Sabres. He'll continue to get prime ice-time with the Sabres and could be a nice pickup on the cheap.
Teemu Selanne is 41 years old, but the guy is simply an offensive marvel. After racking up 80 points as a 40 year old, Selanne is off to the races yet again with 35 points in 33 games this season. Included in his point total is 16 points with the man advantage. This is likely be his last season, but it's clear his skills are still borderline elite.
Eric Staal is still saddled with a (-18) mark, but at least he has picked up the pace a bit with eight points in his last eight games. He's still well off the pace though with only seven goals in 34 games. Moreover, he's the only skater in the league with more than 107 shots who doesn't have at least 10 goals. His total of 120 shots on net is tied for fourth in the league.
Kyle Turris will make his Ottawa debut on Tuesday. Skating on a line with the Nick Foligno and Erik Condra, Turris will attempt to kick start an offensive game that was non-existent when he was with the Coyotes (zero points in six games). The third overall selection in the 2007 NHL has shown little of the flair that he possessed when he was drafted.
Blue Line Business
Dan Boyle didn't produce a point from November 11th through December 5th. For a guy who had recorded at least 50 points in five of six seasons, that was a massive run of futility. Now we found out why. He suffered a broken foot but played through it. He has four points in his last four games for the Sharks and is finally starting to look like the offensive weapon that he always has been.
Brian Campbell is second amongst blue liners with 25 points. He has only one point in his last five games though.
John-Michael Liles is living the life in his first year with the Leafs. After recording 46 points last year in Colorado, he's moved on to Toronto and the points have continued to flow. JM has 21 points in 33 games with 10 of those points coming with the man advantage. As the season inches toward the half way point it should be pointed out that his total of 21 points is the same that have been scored by Ryan Suter, Duncan Keith and Zdeno Chara.
Bryce Salvador isn't likely to be on any fantasy clubs after averaging 15 points the last two years. This season he has only four points and is just a +4 on the year, but that plus/minus mark is on the rise of late as has has posted a rather amazing +11 in his last six games.
Ian White leads the Red Wings with a +23 mark. Guess what? That also leads the NHL, one ahead of Tyler Seguin.
There are only three blue liners with 50 PIMs on the year: Theo Peckham (66), Shane O'Brien (58) and Andy Sutton (50). O'Brien has more points, 10, than the other two combined (Peckham and Sutton each have three points).
Ray Emery has become an early season savior for the Blackhawks. With Corey Crawford failing miserably to live up to the standards he set last year, Emery has emerged as the starter in net for the 'Hawks. Emery has won his last five starts, and over his last eight outings he has posted a .936 save percentage. Don't give up on Crawford though since Emery last appeared in 40 NHL games during the 2006 season.
J-S Giguere continues to tend some excellent net for the Av's. He's improved his record to 6-4 with a victory in his last two outings, an in his 10 starts this season nine times his save percentage has been at least .909 leaving him with a .929 mark on the year. He hasn't stolen the job from Semyon Varlamov but the team simply must play him more with the way that he's playing in net.
Roberto Luongo is back. After struggling with his performance and some minor healthy issues, and watching Cory Schneider impress the hockey world while tending some impressive net, Luongo has reasserted himself as the star between the pipes for the Canucks. Luongo has won six of his last seven games, and for the month of December he's sporting a 1.67 GAA and .937 save percentage. Hopefully you didn't bail when he had some struggles because he's back to being the elite goaltender that he is.
The last two weeks Carey Price has had a disappointing 2.96 GAA and .900 save percentage. Still, he's been facing a cavalcade of shots as his 190 saves lead the NHL (11 more than Pekka Rinne).
Claude Giroux (concussion) skated for an hour and half on Monday. He also skated with his teammates on Sunday while wearing a no-contact jersey. No return date has been set, but clearly he's feeling better by the day so a return before the New Year would seem to be possible.
Martin Havlat (lower body) will likely miss one game, maybe even a couple. He was injured when he tried to jump over the boards to get back to the bench. Yeah, it's been a tough start to his career in San Jose as he also has only two goals in 26 games.
Mikko Koivu (left) has missed two straight games, but after a strong workout on Monday the hope is that he will return to action on Tuesday against the Flames.
Brent Seabrook (upper body) is traveling with the 'Hawks, but it's not known if he will be able to suit up on Tuesday against the Penguins. Seabrook was smashed into the boards by Rene Bourque and many have speculated that he might have suffered a concussion. Since he's traveling with the team, a concussion seems rather unlikely, so hopefully he won't miss much, if any, time.
Ray Flowers can be heard daily on Sirius/XM Radio on The Fantasy Drive on Sirius 210 and XM 87, and his NHL thoughts can be read at Rotowire.com . Ray's baseball analysis can be found at BaseballGuys.com and his minute to minute musings can be located at the BaseballGuys' Twitter account.To email Ray a question for next week’s piece, drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.