This week's article includes big-name players injured, the No. 1 goalie in the Peg struggling and several players who received a trade-deadline bump, via either being traded or benefiting from a deal that created a better opportunity for them.
First Liners (Risers)
Ryan Getzlaf, C, ANA - Getzlaf was credited with a goal and two assists in the Ducks' 5-2 defeat of the Stars on Wednesday. He was removed from the game in the third period after scoring the goal with an apparent lower body injury, but is not expected to miss time. Getzlaf's performance in Wednesday's game continues his hot streak, now having tallied 12 points over the course of his last 10 games. His hot streak coincides with him signing an eight-year, $66 million extension to remain in Anaheim. Happy player, productive player?
Joe Thornton, C, SJ - Thornton contributed a goal and an assist to the Sharks' win Wednesday over Minnesota. Super Joe has had a hot hand lately with six points in his last four games and 12 points in his last 13 games, giving him 35 in 36 games for the year. While Thornton is not a goal-scoring threat, his ability to rack up assists, especially on the PP, enables him to retain his strong fantasy value.
Jaromir Jagr, RW, BOS - Jagr, who was traded by Dallas for Lane MacDermid, Cody Payne and a pick, skated on a line with Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand on Thursday against the Devils. Boston leaned heavily on Jagr, giving him 19:12 in ice time and he rewarded the Bruins with the only goal scored in the game. Prior to the trade, Jagr scored 26 points in 34 games in Big D; he should be able to match or exceed that scoring pace in the Hub.
Marian Gaborik, LW, CMB - Gaborik was suffering through a nightmarish campaign in N.Y., and a change of scenery for him and the Rangers had been rumored for a while. With time running down before the trade deadline Wednesday, that location change occurred as Gaborik was dealt with two minor leaguers to Columbus for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett, John Moore and a sixth-round pick. Gaborik was reunited in Rangers Midwest with several former teammates, including Vaclav Prospal, Brandon Dubinsky and Artem Anisimov. Gaborik, who scored 40 goals twice for N.Y., and Dubinsky showed immediate chemistry with Dubinsky notching two assists, including one on Gaborik's game-winner in the Blue Jackets' 3-1 win over Nashville on Thursday.
Brandon Saad, LW, CHI - Saad, the Blackhawks' second-round pick in the 2011 draft, has more than lived up to his draft status lately, which is why he warrants his second mention on this side of the ledger in a month. Saad scored for the third consecutive game Thursday, giving him eight on the season to go with 13 assists in 35 games. Of those 21 points, 17 have come since March 1, further evidence of how hot he has been as he continues to thrive skating on a line with Jonathan Toews.
Matthew Carle, D, TB - Carle picked up two assists Thursday in Tampa's win over Carolina and has now notched helpers in three straight games. It's not a whole lot, but at least it's some sign of life from the two-time 40-point scorer. Carle's about the best offensive defenseman the Lightning have now that they've traded Marc-Andre Bergeron to the Hurricanes, but he's generally made little of his opportunities to this point despite playing with an electric offense. Maybe he gets on a hot streak to end the season to try and live somewhat up to the six-year, $33 million deal he signed last offseason.
Mike Green, D, WAS - Stop the presses as Green looks to be back. Green scored for the fourth straight game and fifth in his last eight contests Thursday, giving him eight on the year. After looking washed up, Green has flipped the switch since returning March 22 from the groin injury that sidelined him 10 games. Green has struggled miserably to regain both his health and his scoring form since his brilliance in 2008-09 and 2009-10. He's far too talented to not put up offense, so let's hope he's finally healthy, as his production has helped Washington take over first place in the Southeast Division.
Ben Bishop, G, TB - Bishop goes from splitting time in Ottawa to the main man in Tampa Bay following his acquisition by the Lightning for Cory Conacher and a fourth-round draft pick. Most evaluators have given the edge in the deal to the Senators, but Bishop did his best to hold up his end of the bargain, making 45 saves in a shutout Thursday against Carolina. The big change in the move to Tampa is going from a defense-oriented to more-open style of play, so there will be more pressure put on Bishop. For one game at least, he answered the bell.
Antti Niemi, G, SJ - Niemi had 31 saves on 33 shots Wednesday against Minnesota to get his sixth straight win. Niemi is about as hot as a goalie gets, as he is up to 18-8-5 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .925 save percentage. The GAA and SV% are the best of Niemi's career and his play is a big reason why the Sharks are firmly in the middle of the top eight in the Western Conference.
Others include Mikael Granlumd, Jeff Carter, Sean Couturier, Nicklas Backstrom, David Krejci, Nazem Kadri, David Legwand, Derick Brassard, Brandon Dubinsky, Henrik Sedin, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jonathan Toews, Brad Richards, Derek Stepan, John Tavares, Cory Conacher. Benoit Pouliot (beneficiary of Conacher going to Ottawa), Alexander Ovechkin, Teemu Selanne, Justin Williams, Martin St. Louis, Taylor Hall (on fire), Tuomo Ruutu, Michael Ryder, Matt Calvert, Nikolai Kulemin, Chris Kunitz, Brett Connolly (promoted in Tampa), T.J. Galiardi, Taylor Beck, Matt Moulson, Claude Giroux, Rob Klinkhammer, Jonathan Huberdeau, Paul Postma, Alex Goligoski, Jared Spurgeon, Francois Beauchemin, Kevin Shattenkirk (addition of Jay Bouwmeester to give him more PP TOI), Dan Boyle, Brent Burns, Erik Gustafsson (picking up slack with Kimmo Timonen out?), Dustin Byfuglien (PT at forward increases his value), P.K. Subban, Keith Yandle, Braden Holtby, Jacob Markstrom, Henrik Lundqvist, Tuukka Rask, Peter Budaj, Cory Schneider, Robin Lehner (with Bishop gone, value until Craig Anderson returns) and Sergei Bobrovsky.
Training Room (Injuries)
Sidney Crosby, C, PIT - Crosby lost "a few" teeth and suffered a broken jaw, requiring oral surgery, after being hit in the mouth by a deflected Brooks Orpik shot last Saturday against the Islanders. The good news is despite some inaccurate internet reports to the contrary Thursday, Crosby DID NOT suffer a concussion. Crosby, who still leads the league with 56 points, is out indefinitely, but once his jaw heals, he figures to return to action sporting a full face shield/mask sometime during the playoffs.
Patrice Bergeron, C, BOS - A riser last week, Bergeron lands on the injury list this week. Bergeron suffered a "mild" concussion Tuesday against the Senators, and given his history of such injuries, there is strong concern. While Bergeron leads the Bruins with 31 points in 35 games, he's also viewed as one of the league's top two-way pivots and his ability on face-offs is outstanding. Bergeron, who was hit below the ear Tuesday, also said his neck is sore. Given his concussion history, he most certainly will be brought along extremely cautiously. Tyler Seguin has shifted back to center in Bergeron's absence.
Tomas Plekanec, C, MTL - Plekanec's lower body injury, suffered during Wednesday night's loss to Philadelphia, is to his groin and he did not suit up for Thursday's game against Winnipeg. Plekanec is Mr. Everything for the Canadiens, so any long-term absence could be a huge loss for Montreal, though the injury is not expected to sideline him for a while.
Dany Heatley, RW, MIN - Heatley likely will be out awhile with a left wrist injury that he suffered via a slash that he took at the very end of Wednesday's game against the Sharks from Marc-Edouard Vlasic. Losing Heatley - who had 10 goals and 21 points in 36 games, including eight points in his previous 10 games - is a hit to the Wild's forward corps, but fortunately the team traded for Jason Pominville on Wednesday, so Minnesota did get some immediate help up front.
Joffrey Lupul, LW, TOR - Lupul, sidelined with a broken forearm since Jan. 23, made a successful return to action March 16. In the six games he had played, Lupul tallied a point in each, notching 13 overall, which might have been higher had he not received a two-game suspension. Thursday, Lupul was sandwiched between two Flyers and his head snapped side-to-side, striking one of the players on the cap of his shoulder pad. All signs point to a concussion, which could cost him the remainder of the regular season.
Jaroslav Halak, G, STL - Halak's lower-body injury suffered Monday night is to his groin and is expected to keep him out three weeks. This injury occurred just as Halak was regaining his job as the Blues' top netminder. While Halak is out, Brian Elliott and Jake Allen will battle to see who replaces him with Elliott getting the first shot.
Others include Ryan Kesler (foot, back in 7-10 days), J.T. Miller (wrist, DTD), Marian Hossa (UBI, returned to action Thursday), Damien Brunner (LBI, DTD), Ville Leino (UBI, out indefinitely), Kimmo Timonen (left Thursday's game with an undisclosed injury), Marc Staal (eye, working out a Rangers' training facility), Raphael Diaz (concussion, cleared to skate), Justin Faulk (knee, could rejoin Carolina next week), Victor Hedman (LBI, DTD), Kris Letang (broken toe, close to returning), Craig Anderson (ankle, on verge on returning) and Mike Smith (UBI, may start Friday).
Fourth Liners/Press Boxers (Fallers)
Andrew Cogliano, C, ANA - Cogliano scored a goal at the end of the Ducks' 5-2 win over the Stars on Wednesday. That goal snapped a 10-game goalless streak for Cogliano. Despite this scoring drought, it should be noted that Cogliano now has two points in his last three games, and he is prone to go on scoring streaks. Just be aware that because of all the hot-and-cold streaks, he still only has 20 points in 37 games, so don't overrate him down the stretch.
Ryan Smyth, LW, EDM - The addition of Jerred Smithson could leave Smyth as the odd man out in Edmonton. Smyth, whose point total will decline for the fourth straight season, had been playing fourth-line center for the Oilers due to the injuries up the middle and had been a key member on the penalty kill. Both of those jobs, however, will more than likely go to Smithson, leaving Smyth's role with the team unknown.
Jake Gardiner, D, TOR - Gardiner, who racked up 10 goals and 21 assists in 43 games in the AHL, was promoted March 19. It looked as if Toronto was going to give him a legitimate shot to play, but turnovers inside his own zone and spotty play overshadowed his moments of outstanding play, landing him in the press box to make room for John-Michael Liles. Gardiner may be the third or fourth defenseman talent-wise in Toronto, but for now, he looks to be on the outside looking in.
Ondrej Pavelec, G, WPG - Up, down, up, down; this has been Pavelec's season to date. Pavelec gave up four goals for the third straight game and took his fourth consecutive regulation loss Thursday against Montreal. His inconsistency - not to mention that of the Jets' defenders - continues to limit his fantasy value. In addition, it now has resulted in Winnipeg sliding from a playoff spot, though they are still in contention given how bunched the bottom of the East is.
Others include Saku Koivu/Peter Holland (looks like every center not named Getzlaf struggling in Anaheim), Derek Roy (third line center in Vancouver), Daniel Alfredsson (scoreless in last four and five of last six), Andrew Ladd (overall numbers are good, but no goals in 11 games dating to March 16 and no points in last five), Chris Kreider (back to AHL), Roman Josi (production on downswing again), Jake Muzzin (one point last eight games), Lubomir Visnovsky (two-year, $9.5 million deal but just one point in last eight games), Pekka Rinne (third loss in last four games Thursday) and Roberto Luongo (watching Schneider run with top job in Vancouver and salary has made him almost untradeable).