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Thursday Daily Puck: King's Ransom

Dustin Nelson

Dustin Nelson

Dustin Nelson is a writer based out of NYC. His fantasy team is full of loafers.

Around the Rink
It's Henrik Lundqvist's world and we just gripe in it.

Yes, there's been no shortage of hand wringing over Lundqvist's new seven-year, $59.5 million contract extension. Is it an albatross for Lundqvist? Critics seem to think so, but the truth is it's pretty fashionable to bring up the handful of missteps in the new world of major goaltender contracts and not point out that some of those big deals are working pretty well for teams like Dallas, Boston, Montreal, Los Angeles, or Nashville.

The comparison to those busts is a little unfair. Do we really think that Lundqvist is in the same league as someone like Rick DiPietro? Probably not. He's a seven-time team MVP, he's ben nominated for the Vezina in five of his last eight seasons, and has a .920 save percentage in his over 500 career games. Lundqvist is not good, he's great, and you can't lose a goalie that good. The Rangers had no choice. They're probably lucky they got the contract to end when Lundqvist is 39 and not 40, as it would have been if Lundqvist had his way, according to Katie Strang.

While I don't think it's quite an albatross, I don't think Rangers' GM Glen Sather was quite telling the truth when he said of the contract negotiation, "It was fun. I enjoyed it." Yeah, I bet. I think that's called Stockholm Syndrome.

In the end, Lundqvist is making a bit more than the previous top earners, Pekka Rinne and Jonathan Quick (both locked in at a $7 million cap hit), but Lundqvist is an elite player. The real worry should be if has an effect on the Rangers ability to resign Ryan Callahan, Derick Brassard, Taylor Pyatt, Mats Zuccarello, Chris Kreider, Dan Girardi, et al. Henrik will be a big $8.5 million cap hit for years to come.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid

New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Buffalo Sabres (Ryan Miller), 7:00 PM
Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Toronto Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00 PM
San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:30 PM
Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson) at Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Florida Panthers (Tim Thomas), 7:30 PM
New York Islanders (Kevin Poulin) at St. Louis Blues (Jaroslav Halak), 8:00 PM
Carolina Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Nashville Predators (Marek Mazanec), 8:00 PM
Chicago Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Minnesota Wild (Josh Harding), 8:00 PM
Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Edmonton Oilers (Devan Dubnyk), 9:30 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Buffalo Sabres
Patrick Kaleta, RW - Kaleta suffered a torn right ACL during Friday's game with AHL Rochester, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports. He will miss the rest of the season. (11/30/2013)
Matt D'Agostini, RW - D’Agostini missed Wednesday’s practice due to illness, Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News reports. (12/4/2013)
Alexander Sulzer, D - Sulzer has missed three straight practices and likely headed to the IR, reports Mike Harrington of The Buffalo News. (12/4/2013)
Rasmus Ristolainen, D - There's speculation that Ristolainen suffered a concussion after being sucker-punched by AHL Lake Erie's Mitchell Heard on Friday night, reports The Buffalo News. (12/4/2013)

Dallas Stars
Aaron Rome, D - Rome (lower body) was placed on injured reserve by the Stars on Monday. (12/2/2013)
Stephane Robidas, D - Robidas underwent surgery Saturday to repair a broken fibia and will be out for the next four to six months, TSN's Darren Dreger reports. (11/30/2013)
Tyler Seguin, C - Seguin (concussion) practiced for about 45 minutes Wednesday, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. (12/4/2013)

Toronto Maple Leafs
Tyler Bozak, C - Bozak (upper body) did not practice with the team Wednesday, David Alter of Sportsnet 590 reports. (12/4/2013)
Dave Bolland, C - Bolland has been placed on long-term injured reserve, David Alter of Sportsnet 590 The Fan reports. (11/8/2013)
Phil Kessel, RW - Kessel left Wednesday’s practice with an undisclosed ailment, David Alter of Sportsnet 590 reports. (12/4/2013)
Joffrey Lupul, LW - Lupul (groin) skated prior to Monday's practice, reports TSN.ca. (12/2/2013)
Colton Orr, RW - Orr is dealing with an elbow injury, David Alter of Sportsnet 590 reports. (12/4/2013)

San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW - Torres (knee) skated on his own Tuesday, the David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports. (10/22/2013)
Adam Burish, RW - Burish will undergo back surgery in the coming days and is out indefinitely, CSN Bay Area's Kevin Kurz reports. (10/16/2013)

Pittsburgh Penguins
Tanner Glass, LW - Glass will miss 3-4 weeks with a broken hand, according to coach Dan Bylsma. He was subsequently placed on injured reserve. (11/26/2013)
Beau Bennett, RW - Bennett will miss the next 8-10 weeks after undergoing surgery to repair his hand and wrist Monday. (11/25/2013)
Chuck Kobasew, RW - Kobasew (lower body) resumed practicing with the Penguins on Monday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (12/3/2013)
Paul Martin, D - Coach Dan Bylsma said Martin is dealing with a fractured tibia and will be out for four-to-six weeks, TSN's Mark Masters reports. (11/27/2013)
Robert Scuderi, D - Scuderi (ankle) is expected to ramp up his rehab in the next week or so, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (11/21/2013)
Tomas Vokoun, G - Vokoun (blood clot) hasn't ruled out a return to the Penguins this season. "I feel great. I don’t have any health issues," said Vokoun. "It’s hard to look that far ahead. Definitely if I can (return) I want to try." (11/30/2013)

Boston Bruins
Torey Krug, D - Krug (undisclosed) will travel to Montreal for Thursday's game against the Canadiens. (12/4/2013)
Marc Savard, C - The Bruins are expected to place Savard (concussion) on Long-Term Injured Reserve, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports. (7/6/2013)
Adam McQuaid, D - McQuaid (lower body) will not travel to Montreal for Thursday's game against the Canadiens. (12/4/2013)

Montreal Canadiens
Davis Drewiske, D - Drewiske will miss the next five-to-six months following shoulder surgery, Dave Stubbs of the Montreal Gazette reports. (10/16/2013)
Rene Bourque, LW - Bourque will miss Wednesday’s game against the Devils with an upper-body injury, Arpon Basu of LNH.com reports. (12/4/2013)

Tampa Bay Lightning
Mattias Ohlund, D - Ohlund (knee) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Times reports. (10/2/2013)
Eric Brewer, D - Brewer (lower body) is not expected to play Thursday against the Senators, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (12/4/2013)
Ryan Malone, LW - GM Steve Yzerman said Malone is dealing with a non-displaced ankle fracture and is expected to miss three-to-four weeks, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (12/3/2013)
Brian Lee, D - Lee (knee) is still only doing off-ice workouts. (11/9/2013)
Steven Stamkos, C - Stamkos (leg) had X-rays taken last week and everything is healing as planned, ESPN's Pierre LeBrun reports. (12/4/2013)
Tom Pyatt, RW - Pyatt expects to miss two more weeks of action after a recent scan showed his collarbone hasn't healed completely, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports. (11/30/2013)
Pierre-Cedric Labrie, LW - Labrie (upper body) will not play Tuesday against the Blue Jackets, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (12/3/2013)
Radko Gudas, D - Gudas (upper body) was on the ice for Wednesday's practice, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports. (12/4/2013)

Winnipeg Jets
Zach Bogosian, D - Bogosian (lower body) was placed on injured reserve Friday. (11/22/2013)
Paul Postma, D - Postma (leg) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday retroactive to Sunday. (10/29/2013)
Jim Slater, C - Slater underwent surgery for a sports hernia Thursday and will be out indefinitely, Scott Brown of True North Sports reports. (11/7/2013)
Evander Kane, LW - Kane (lower body) did not participate in the team’s practice Wednesday, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports. (12/4/2013)

Florida Panthers
Tomas Kopecky, RW - Kopecky (elbow) completed a full practice Monday, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports. (12/3/2013)
Matt Gilroy, D - The Panthers placed Gilroy on injured reserve Monday with a lower body injury, Harve Fialkov of the Sun Sentinel reports. (11/25/2013)
Ed Jovanovski, D - Jovanovski will not accompany the Panthers on their five-game road trip beginning Friday, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports. (11/15/2013)

New York Islanders
Evgeni Nabokov, G - Nabokov (groin) returned to practice Monday, according to Newsday. (12/2/2013)
Lubomir Visnovsky, D - Visnovsky (concussion) rode a stationary bike Friday, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple. (11/22/2013)
Brian Strait, D - Strait (upper body) returned to practice Monday, according to Newsday. (12/2/2013)

St. Louis Blues
Jordan Leopold, D - Leopold will need surgery to repair a ligament in his hand and is expected to miss at least eight weeks, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports. (11/11/2013)
Ryan Reaves, RW - Reaves is expected to miss at least six weeks due to his broken hand, according to the Blues' official website. (11/25/2013)

Carolina Hurricanes
Anton Khudobin, G - Khudobin (ankle) will travel on the Hurricanes' upcoming two-game road trip that begins Tuesday. (12/2/2013)
Brett Bellemore, D - Bellemore (neck) will not play Thursday against the Predators, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports. (12/4/2013)
Tim Gleason, D - Gleason (lower body) returned to practice Wednesday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (12/4/2013)
Joni Pitkanen, D - Pitkanen (heel) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (10/1/2013)
Alexander Semin, LW - Semin (concussion) got in some on-ice work at Friday's morning skate, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (11/29/2013)
Eric Staal, C - Staal missed practice Wednesday with a touch of the flu but should be good to go Thursday against the Predators, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports. (12/4/2013)

Nashville Predators
Kevin Klein, D - Klein will miss at least two weeks with a lower-body injury, Josh Cooper of The Tennessean reports. (12/2/2013)
Shea Weber, D - Weber (eye) will miss Tuesday's game against the Canucks, Josh Cooper of The Tennessean reports. (12/2/2013)
Pekka Rinne, G - Rinne will receive an MRI on his injured hip Thursday, Nick Cole of The Tennessean reports. (12/4/2013)
Filip Forsberg, RW - Forsberg (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Saturday, ThePredatorial.com reports. (11/30/2013)

Chicago Blackhawks
Nikolai Khabibulin, G - Khabibulin (groin) was placed on injured reserve Sunday, ESPN Chicago reports. (11/17/2013)
Michal Handzus, C - Handzus (illness) will not travel with the team to Minnesota for Thursday's game against the Wild. (12/4/2013)
Bryan Bickell, LW - Bickell (lower body) will miss the next few weeks, Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville announced Thursday morning on WGN-AM Radio in Chicago. (11/21/2013)
Mike Kostka, D - The Blackhawks reassigned Kostka to AHL Rockford on Wednesday for a conditioning stint. (12/4/2013)
Brad Mills, C - Mills (lower body) was waived by the Blackhawks on Friday, TSN's Bob McKenzie reports. (11/15/2013)
Andrew Shaw, C - Shaw (undisclosed) will not travel with the team to Minnesota for Thursday's game against the Wild. (12/4/2013)


Minnesota Wild
Mikael Granlund, C - Granlund (concussion) will be shut down for a while, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. (12/4/2013)

Colorado Avalanche
Alex Tanguay, LW - Tanguay (knee) failed to practice Tuesday, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports. (12/3/2013)
Semyon Varlamov, G - Varlamov is nursing a slight groin tweak sustained in Saturday's win over the Wild, the Denver Post's Adrian Dater reports. (12/3/2013)
Ryan Wilson, D - Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said Wilson (back) is about two weeks away from returning to practice, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports. (11/26/2013)

Edmonton Oilers
Philip Larsen, D - Larsen (undisclosed) is uncertain to join the Oilers for their three-game road trip beginning Thursday in Nashville. (11/26/2013)
Tyler Pitlick, C - Pitlick (knee) skated with the team during Wednesday's session, Tom Gazzola of OilersTV.com reports. (12/4/2013)
Richard Bachman, G - Bachman (lower body) skated Wednesday morning for the first time since suffering his injury, Tom Gazzola of OilersTV.com reports. (12/4/2013)
Ilya Bryzgalov, G - Bryzgalov (concussion) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (12/4/2013)
Boyd Gordon, C - Gordon (undisclosed) will not play Sunday against the Stars. (12/1/2013)

HOT:
Dustin Penner, LW, ANA: After a relatively slow start — points in three of the season's first six games — Penner was sidelined by an injury. In the 17 games since his October 31 return he's got seven goals and 11 assists. He's on a five-game point streak, with seven points over that stretch. Penner is playing at the top of his game and with linemates like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, you have to like his odds on keeping the hot streak going. Oh, and he's a plus-17 on the season, which is tied for second in the NHL as of Wednesday night.

Chris Kunitz, LW PIT: As John highlighted in his Monday Daily Puck, Kunitz had 108 points over his last 108 games (you can make that 109 now). So it's no surprise to see Kunitz in the hot section. He's been hot since about 2011. But he's been especially good lately. Kunitz has points in five straight games and has 10 points over the last seven games. Kunitz, so hot right now.

Joe Thornton, C, SJS: If Jumbo were a superhero, he'd be Beast. The man took a puck to the forehead/eye area in Saturday's game against Anaheim. Did he cry? Did he go home? Nope. He got stitches and missed about one shift. He played 17:39 that game. He also assisted on a short-handed goal. Then, Tuesday evening, eye swollen like the Elephant Man, he came out and nabbed a powerplay goal in the first. He's got points in six straight games (3G, 5A) and his 25 assists is good for second in the NHL. He's got 30 points in 27 games this season and is a monster. How tough is he? There used to be a street in San Jose called Joe Thornton Way, but they had to change the name because no one crosses Joe Thornton and lives.

COLD:
Mathieu Perreault, C, ANA: After opening the season with nine points in nine games Perreault has slowed significantly. He's rolling a doughnut through the last four and has just one assist over the last 12 games. After sustaining an injury in Tuesday's game against San Jose, he'll miss the next two games. It's been a tough run for Perreault lately.

Martin St. Louis, RW, TAM: He's been mentioned in this space before, but things haven't improved. November was a rough month for St. Louis. Not only did he lose linemate Steven Stamkos, he started the month with a five-game drought and only had points in five of 14 games in the month. He's currently pointless over the last three games and a minus-4 since the start of November. You don't want to drop him, because things should turn around and he's Martin St. Louis, they better turn around...but yikes. It is not business as usual in Tampa.

Alex Pietrangelo, D, STL: Pietrangelo is the ranked eighth in points among defenseman and has been generally having an outstanding season. But his point production has dipped lately. He's got nothing over the last four and has just two assists over the last eight games — both coming in the same game. Don't lose hope for a turnaround though.

Recommended Pickup:
Curtis McElhinney, G, CLM / Mike McKenna, G, CLM: With starting goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky sidelined 4-5 weeks due to a groin strain sustained in Tuesday's game, it's McElhinney who is going to be taking over duties. Columbus doesn't make it easy for goaltenders in general, allowing an average of 30.4 shots per game and allowing 2.82 goals per game (that's 22nd in the NHL). Nonetheless, McElhinney has been solid in his eight games this season with a 2.34 GAA and .925 save percentage. If you're desperate for a goalie, he's your man. The other option in Columbus is 30-year old tender Mike McKenna, who got the call up from the AHL. He's a veteran of 17 NHL games, the last being for New Jersey in 2010. If you're goalie desperate, you don't get a ton of chances to pickup a workload like McElhinney will have, even if it's a stop gap. (And this is assuming that Marek Mazanec is no longer available in your league. He shouldn't be. If he is, correct that.)