Around the Rink
As we get into the second half of the season, it's no longer too early to start looking toward the trade deadline, which looms on March 5, less than two months away and even less than that in terms of game action, since the Olympics will take up a couple weeks between then and now. There have been a lot of trade rumors already, but for today, let's focus on one specific area of trade possibilities: goalies.
There are a few teams in the league with excess in goal, and seemingly many more with serious issues between the pipes. Once Viktor Fasth is healthy, the Ducks will have three quality netminders (Jonas Hiller, Frederik Andersen and Fasth); with Jonathan Quick healthy, the Kings already do (with Ben Scrivens and Martin Jones); and the Bruins, who already have Tuukka Rask and capable backup Chad Johnson, also boast Niklas Svedberg at the AHL level. Another team to watch: the Capitals, who have seen their top two goalies, Braden Holtby and Michal Neuvirth, struggle with injuries and ineffectiveness, while the unheralded 22-year-old Philip Grubauer has come up and provided respectability in net.
Meanwhile, there are plenty of teams searching for answers in net. Edmonton, of course, remains desperate for a quality goalie -- Devan Dubnyk has been a disaster, and Ilya Bryzgalov has not been the cure. The Islanders, who just lost Evgeni Nabokov to injury again, are truly hurting and have no answers in net for the future. Ondrej Pavelec is a disaster in Winnipeg, and Al Montoya isn't more than a stopgap. Nashville's hurting for a quality backup and/or interim starter for Pekka Rinne. The Jackets have not seen Vezina-quality work from Sergei Bobrovsky this year, and the organizational depth is very ugly behind him.
All this sets us up with plenty of trade potential. The Caps could move a goalie for depth on the wing, where they're awfully thin; the Bruins could move one to pick up a defenseman after losing Dennis Seidenberg for the year; and the Oilers have plenty of young forward talent to move for goalie help.
But the team that really bears watching is the Islanders, who need some steadiness in net and have forwards to deal. They're almost certain to move Thomas Vanek, and any Vanek deal that doesn't bring back a promising goalie and/or a promising defenseman will be just the latest disappointment on Long Island. It also wouldn't be surprising to see them move the disappointing-yet-talented Michael Grabner.
Let's get into Tuesday's action.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.
Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Sabres (Ryan Miller), 7:00
Islanders (Kevin Poulin) at Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00
Flyers (Steve Mason) at Devils (Martin Brodeur), 7:30
Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Predators (Carter Hutton), 8:00
Lightning (Anders Lindback) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00
Flames (Reto Berra) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Blues (Jaroslav Halak) at Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov), 9:30
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Canucks (Eddie Lack), 10:00
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 10:00
Wild (Josh Harding) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30
Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday
Cam Ward, G (lower body) Placed on injured reserve Sunday
Eric Staal, C (lower body) Expected to miss a little less than a week
Jay Harrison, D (concussion) Activated from IR, but didn't go Sunday
Jiri Tlusty, LW (appendix) Out another week or so
Riley Nash, C (lower-body) Out through next week; placed on IR
Kevin Porter, C (leg) Should be getting close, but no word
Tyler Myers, D (suspension) Banned for three games
Cody Hodgson, C (finger) Apparently closest among injured Sabres to returning
Ville Leino, C (lower body) Won't go Tuesday
Drew Stafford, RW (upper body) Missed Saturday's game; no word on Tuesday status
Cody McCormick, C (finger) Out nine games already, and no word on return
Henrik Tallinder, D (undisclosed) Out about another week
New York Islanders
Evgeni Nabokov, G (lower body) Back to IR after leaving Monday's game
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (concussion) Still no timetable
Radek Martinek, D (back) No word on potential return
Kyle Okposo, RW (personal) Missed Monday's game with baby coming; could be back Tuesday
Toronto Maple Leafs
Carl Gunnarsson , D (elbow) Day-to-day
Dave Bolland, C (ankle) Probably won't be back 'til after the Olympics
David Clarkson, RW (foot) Day-to-day
Erik Gustafsson, D (knee) Expected back as soon as end of this week
Michael Raffl, LW (concussion) Could be back Tuesday
Matt Read, RW (upper body) Has missed two games, but could return Tuesday
New Jersey Devils
Damien Brunner, C (knee) Sounds like he's likely out through Olympics
Adam Larsson, D (lower body) Won't go Tuesday
Patrik Elias, LW (upper body) Placed on IR retroactive to New Year's Eve
San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) Rehab going well
Logan Couture, C (hand) Out 3-4 weeks with surgery
Tyler Kennedy, LW (flu) Not traveling with the team
Tommy Wingels, RW (leg) Placed on IR, but it could be a pretty short stint
Tomas Hertl, C (knee) Could be out as much as 6-9 months
Pekka Rinne, G (hip) Still doing limited activity for the next week or so
Tampa Bay Lightning
Keith Aulie, D (hand) Expected out about two weeks yet, maybe more
Ben Bishop, G (hand) Could be back as soon as Thursday
Steven Stamkos, C (leg) Getting some non-contact practice in
J.T. Brown, LW (shoulder) Questionable for Tuesday
Grant Clitsome, D (back) No timetable
Paul Postma, D (blood clot) Still no timetable for return, but he has skated
Curtis Glencross, LW (ankle) Likely out through Olympic break
Blair Jones, C (knee) Remains out indefinitely
Lee Stempniak, RW (undisclosed) Picked up an assist Monday after being questionable
Kris Russell, D (knee) Skated on his own Saturday and Sunday
David Jones, RW (eye) Scratched Monday
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D (upper body) Will not play in Tuesday's game
Zbynek Michalek, D (lower body) Missed Saturday's game, his eighth straight
St. Louis Blues
Alexander Steen, C (concussion) Skated on his own this weekend
Roman Polak, D (ankle) Should be nearing a return to practice
Jaroslav Halak, G (illness) Wasn't available Saturday
Corey Potter, D (groin) Has missed five games so far
Tomas Vokoun, G (pelvis) Remains on blood thinners; no timetable offered
Pascal Dupuis, RW (knee) Out for the year with torn ACL
Chuck Kobasew, RW (lower body) Day-to-day; has missed two games so far
Paul Martin, D (leg) Got back to skating Saturday
Chris Conner, RW (hand) Underwent successful surgery Saturday
Beau Bennett, RW (hand/wrist) Should be about 2-4 weeks away
Jayson Megna, LW (lower body) Out about another three weeks
Jordan Schroeder, C (ankle) Skating; should be relatively near a return
Zack Kassian, RW (undisclosed) Left Sunday's game
Ryan Stanton, D (ankle) Out multiple weeks
Andrew Alberts, D (concussion) Has missed four straight since suffering injury Dec. 29
Alexandre Burrows, RW (jaw) Skating; should be getting close
Alexander Edler, D (knee) Back on the ice, but not practicing yet
Roberto Luongo, G (ankle) Out a week or two
Dennis Seidenberg, D (knee) Out for the year with torn ACL/MCL
Shawn Thornton, LW (suspension) Two games left on 15-game ban
Loui Eriksson, RW (concussion) Practicing without contact
Chris Kelly, C (leg) On track to return sometime in the next two weeks
Jordan Caron, RW (back) Missed Saturday's game with stiffness
Viktor Fasth, G (lower body) Past his initial timetable, and still apparently not practicing
Mikko Koivu, C (ankle) Expected out four weeks after surgery
Zach Parise, LW (foot) Could get back to skating this week
Josh Harding, G (illness) Back home on IR again; hopefully a short stay
Jared Spurgeon, D (lower body) Placed on IR; out a few weeks
Justin Fontaine, LW (undisclosed) Missed Saturday's game after suffering injury in practice
Ryan Suter, D, MIN Currently the hottest defenseman in the league, Suter's hat trick on Saturday was the icing on what's been an impressive cake of scoring. Okay, this metaphor broke down somewhere along the line. The key takeaway is, Suter's ripped off seven points in his last four games and 14 in his last 12. All in all, he's almost looking more like his old teammate Shea Weber than Weber is himself.
Alexander Semin, RW, CAR Your stereotypical enigmatic Russian, Semin has disappointed this year after raising hopes in Carolina by posting 44 points in as many games last season. With 18 points in 31 games (thanks to injury) this year, he hasn't been blowing anyone away. However, half of those points have come in the last nine games, meaning he's suddenly back to putting up a point-per-game scoring rate. Will he maintain that pace? Will he stay healthy? The answer to both questions is probably not. But you should be rolling him out right now while he's, well, rolling.
Tyler Bozak, C, TOR After missing a dozen games with an upper-body injury, Bozak has stepped right back into his top-line role with Toronto and hasn't missed a beat, collecting points a goal and four assists in total in all three games since returning. Bozak was hot before suffering the injury, so he's actually got a seven-game point streak that dates all the way back to Nov. 27. As long as he can stay on the ice not typically a big problem for him in his career Bozak should be one of the more intriguing options at center going forward.
Dan Boyle, D, SJ Boyle's scoring fell off a cliff last year, as the usually reliable 50-point man collected just 20 in 46 games, and though he's looked better at times this season, this is not one of those times. The veteran blueliner has managed just a goal and an assist in his last 10 games, and he's not even shooting that much Boyle's taken one or zero shots on goal in half of those contests. Ugly.
Travis Zajac, C, NJ There are few forwards in the NHL who can boast Zajac's combination of playing time and failure to score over the last two seasons. He picked up just 20 points last year despite not missing a game and averaging 19:32 of ice time, and this year has been little better 19 points in 41 games despite a ridiculous 20:23 of average time on ice. The fact that he's the best New Jersey has to offer at center makes the Devils' 17-18-8 record make a ton of sense.
Jaromir Jagr, RW, NJ Another struggling Devil, Jagr came into New Year's Eve one point short of tying his old teammate Mario Lemieux for seventh on the all-time scoring list, but he's now been held off the score sheet in three consecutive games and has managed just a single lonely assist in his last six contests. It's been a streaky season for Jagr, who had points in seven straight games prior to entering this slump, but with 34 points and a plus-11 rating on the year, his fantasy owners can't complain too much. Well, as long as he gets back on the horse soon. On a related note, Jagr was named to the Czech Olympic team Monday, surprising no one. Surprising some, though, is one name veteran NHL fans will remember: Petr Nedved. Petr Nedved! That dude hasn't played in the NHL since '06-'07, when he scored five points in 19 games with Edmonton.
Kyle Palmieri, RW, ANA Though he's seeing just third-line minutes for the Ducks and figures to continue doing so as long as their top wingers are healthy, Palmieri's been very productive in his limited ice time lately. He's ripped off eight points half of them goals in his last seven games despite skating less than 13 minutes in four of those contests and seeing only spotty power-play time. Though his season stats remain quite mediocre (17 points in 39 games), Palmieri's showing the promise that made him a first-round pick in 2009 and a 33-goal, 58-point scorer in 51 AHL games two years ago. Snatch him up; if he finds his way into some more ice time, he could be quite the boon to fantasy owners.