Around the Rink
I had planned on talking a bit about depth scoring today. I wanted to take a look at a few teams you can look to for some solid scoring if you need to dig deep and hit third and fourth line players. But, there wound up being a few things we couldn't go without mentioning, so that'll have to wait for another day.
But quickly, a few quick stats if you're scouring the depth charts looking for a little help with scoring. Going into last night, the Blues have the most players with at least 20 points in the NHL at 12. The next closest team has nine players. (Actually, that's a four team tie with Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, San Jose, and Montreal.) Philadelphia and Winnipeg are tied for the most players with 10 or more goals at 7. If you lower that to players with at least eight goals, there are 10 teams with that have eight players with at least eight goals. (St. Louis and Winnipeg among those.) If we look for players with at least 10 assists, there's a three way tie St. Louis, Boston, and Chicago, who all have 12 players with 10 or more assists.
There are a lot of factors there — injuries making a team go deeper, big goal scorers taking up a lot of ice time and pp time — but the 20 point stat is interesting. Winnipeg might be a team you overlook due to their recent struggles and plummet to the bottom of the Central Division.
- The NHL had its first big trade in a while yesterday as the Edmonton Oilers made two moves to shake up their goalie situation significantly. Devan Dubnyk was moved to Nashville for fourth line forward Matt Hendricks. The Oilers almost immediately afterward announced they had acquired Kings goaltender Ben Scrivens from the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for a third round pick in 2014.
Scrivens was thriving in Los Angeles, but will be a UFA at the end of this season and found himself expendable as the Kings appear to be happy spending their time developing rookie goaltender Martin Jones, who has shined in appearances while Jonathan Quick was out of the lineup.
We'll talk a bit more about Dubnyk's problems below, but he is presumably taking over starting duties — or at least being given the opportunity to earn the spot — in Nashville until Pekka Rinne gets healthy, as the Preds have struggled to move up the standings behind their goaltending merry-go-round with Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec (Magnus Hellberg also found his way into the net this season). While a new environment and a somewhat fresh start make it a move worth keeping your eye on in fantasy, it doesn't mean that you should spend that FAAB on Dubnyk quite yet. Dubnyk's .894 save percentage and 3.36 goals against are not markers for guaranteed success in Music City.
More interesting is Scrivens in Edmonton. He'll presumably be given the chance to take over the starting position behind an Edmonton team that has a league-leading 3.51 goals against per game and allows 31.7 shots per game. While the Edmonton defense has been porous to say the least, the goaltending has also been miserable. It's a real chicken or the egg situation. Scrivens will bring to the team a .931 save percentage, third-best in the NHL, and a 1.97 goals against, fifth-best in the NHL. Scrivens, in deeper league formats, is an interesting pickup. He's certainly in line to be getting some work.
- Speaking of goalies getting work, Eddie Lack has been solid in relief of the injured Roberto Luongo. The team hasn't been very forthcoming about Luongo's injury (a John Tortorella team? no way!) and never put him on IR even though he's missed over two weeks of play. Nonetheless, he practiced on Wednesday and should be back soon. Good news for Vancouver as Lack was struggling early last night during a 9-1 thrashing against Anaheim, night two of the Canucks' "Getting Walloped in the South" tour. Lack allowed three goals before getting the hook. He exited the game with a .769 save percentage. After Lack was yanked we got our first look at the third-stringer in Vancouver, Joacim Eriksson. (Every team has to play three goalies this year, that's a new rule right? No? Then why do I know who the third or fourth goalie on the depth chart for every team is now?) Eriksson had a rough night. He let in six goals on 31 shots as the Ducks set franchise records for goals in a game with nine and power-play goals, with six. I'm not recommending you pick up Eriksson for your team any time soon.
- Another note on that game: If you're in a league that rewards penalty minutes you should consider investing in players on Vancouver. They managed to get 73 minutes in penalties last night against Anaheim. That follows their Monday loss to the Kings where they racked up 69 penalty minutes. They've got two straight games in which they accumulated more penalty minutes than minutes played. Though that doesn't seem to bother Tortorella. Those two nights brought their average penalty minutes per game up to 13.3, second most in the league. They made a pretty big jump during those two games, as they were in the middle of the pack just a few days ago. Philadelphia leads all teams in penalty minutes per game with 16.1
- The Islanders sent rookie Ryan Strome back to the AHL on Wednesday. Strome, though the Islanders have high hopes for him, has just a goal and three assists over his first 15 NHL games. This is mostly notable because it's an example of a move that a few teams might do, if they're able, with young players who are on the cusp of playing AHL or NHL time. Any player who plays 15 of 20 games prior to the Olympic break will not be eligible to return to the AHL over the Olympic break, which means that some teams may send down cusp players to make sure that their development isn't halted over the break. You can see the possibility of this happening rising as injured players get healthy for a number of teams. The Islanders activated Radek Martinek off the IR with this move, making the decision of sending Strome down a little easier. You could see this happening with Jason Zucker or Erik Haula in Minnesota. They could be sent down with the expected return of Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu before the break. The Sharks could also send down a young player or two as other forwards start to get healthy. They've got Eriah Hayes, Matt Nieto, Bracken Kearns, and John McCarthy in the lineup right now, all of whom have spent time in the AHL this season. Particularly Hayes and Nieto seem like strong candidates to be sent down over the break, though Nieto may have played himself into a necessary start with Logan Couture, Tomas Hertl, Adam Burish, Martin Havlat, and Raffi Torres still sidelined. Hard to predict, but that makes young players a risk coming off the waiver wire right now or in formats where you're selecting new players each week.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard) at New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00 PM
Nashville Predators (Carter Hutton) at Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price) at Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:30 PM
New York Islanders (Kevin Poulin) at Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Florida Panthers (Tim Thomas), 7:30 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at St. Louis Blues (Jaroslav Halak), 8:00 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Minnesota Wild (Niklas Backstrom), 8:00 PM
Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider) at Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 9:00 PM
Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Calgary Flames (Reto Berra), 9:00 PM
Vancouver Canucks (Roberto Luongo) at Phoenix Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Detroit Red Wings
Daniel Alfredsson, RW - (back) will not play Thursday against the Rangers
Stephen Weiss, C - has chosen to undergo surgery for a sports hernia and will be out until late-February
Pavel Datsyuk, C - (groin) will not play Thursday against the Rangers
Johan Franzen, C - concussion) took part in Wednesday's practice, is unlikely for Thursday
Jonathan Ericsson, D - (ribs) was a full participant in practice Tuesday
Darren Helm, C - (groin) was placed back on injured reserve Tuesday
Jonas Gustavsson, G - isn't expected to return from IR during the remaining four games of the Red Wings' road trip
Tomas Tatar, LW - will miss Thursday's game, as he will be in Slovakia for his father's funeral
New York Rangers
Derek Dorsett, RW - will be out for four to six weeks with a broken fibula
Pekka Rinne, G - (hip) was cleared Friday to begin weight-bearing exercises
Zac Rinaldo, LW - (ankle) was placed on injured reserve Friday morning
Scott Hartnell, RW - is listed as day-to-day with an ankle injury
Ryan White, RW - (upper body) skated on his own prior to Montreal's practice Monday
Davis Drewiske, D - (shoulder) has been able to skate on his own over the last three days
David Desharnais, C - (illness) missed practice Wednesday
Alex Galchenyuk, C - will miss six weeks with a broken hand
Chris Phillips, D - left the game after he was hit in the face with a deflected puck Tuesday against the Wild
New York Islanders
Travis Hamonic, D - (upper body) is not expected to play Thursday versus Tampa Bay
Evgeni Nabokov, G - (lower body) skated briefly Sunday morning, he remains out
Lubomir Visnovsky, D - (concussion) skated Monday for the Islanders, though will remain out
Radek Martinek, D - is still on IR
Tampa Bay Lightning
Nate Thompson, C - is suffering from the flu and missed Tuesday's game
Steven Stamkos, C - (leg) received positive reports during his eight-week checkup last week and is starting to accelerate his rehab activities
Mattias Ohlund, D - is on long-term IR
Sami Salo, D - (ankle) is considered day-to-day after tests revealed no structural damage to his left ankle
Keith Aulie, D - (hand) has practiced in a red no-contact jersey starting last week
San Jose Sharks
Martin Havlat, RW - (undisclosed) is on IR
Raffi Torres, LW - (ACL) is on IR
Adam Burish, RW - (back) is on IR
Logan Couture, C - (hand) is on IR
Tomas Hertl, C - (knee) is likely out 6-9 months
Jesse Winchester, LW - is close to returning
Dylan Olsen, D - was placed on injured reserve on Friday with an upper-body injury retroactive to Dec. 31
Alex Petrovic, D - (upper body) is out
Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene, D - (concussion) will not join the team on its upcoming four-game road trip
St. Louis Blues
Alexander Steen, C - Although Steen (concussion) was a full participant in Monday's practice, he said that there has still been no timetable established for his return
Maxim Lapierre, C - (lower body) was on the ice in a limited capacity for Wednesday's practice
Curtis Hamilton, LW - will miss 5-6 weeks with a knee injury
Ales Hemsky, RW - took a puck off the ankle during Tuesday's game, no word on availability
Corey Potter, D - (groin) is still not ready to play
Philip Larsen, D - (illness) is on IR
Zach Parise, LW - (foot) practiced with the team Wednesday in a non-contact capacity
Josh Harding, G - (illness) skated with his teammates Tuesday morning
Mikko Koivu, C - (foot) was walking around without crutches at Wednesday's practice. though he remains out
Jared Spurgeon, D - (foot) is expected to begin skating again by the weekend
Chris Kelly, C - (leg) will not play in either of the team's upcoming road contests
Dougie Hamilton, D - (concussion) won't travel with the Bruins for the next two games
Aaron Rome, D - Ruff said Tuesday that Rome (lower body) is going to be out "a bit"
Stephane Robidas, D - (leg) began skating on his own Wednesday
New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias, LW - (upper body) practiced with the Devils on Wednesday
Jacob Josefson, C - is expected to miss a few days with a virus, no word on expected return date
Damien Brunner, C - (knee) is showing signs of improvement, but he has not resumed skating
Peter Harrold, D -(foot) has resumed skating
David Van der Gulik, RW - (undisclosed) has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 10
Cory Sarich, D - (back) received an MRI on Wednesday
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G - is dealing with back spasms
Alex Tanguay, LW - T(knee) practiced in a non-contact jersey last Thursday
P.A. Parenteau, RW - (knee) has been placed on injured reserve
Paul Stastny, C - (leg) did not play Tuesday against the Blackhawks
Erik Johnson, D - left Tuesday's game against the Blackhawks with a back injury
Nate Guenin, D - (ankle) was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 4
Jim Slater, C - (sports hernia) is making slow but steady progress in his recovery
Devin Setoguchi, RW - missed Wednesday's practice with an illness
Eric Tangradi, C - missed Monday's morning skate with a case of the flu
Matt Halischuk, RW - (forearm) is back skating for the Jets
Grant Clitsome, D - (back) "hasn't been able to do much" since landing on injured reserve
Paul Postma, D - (leg) was back at practice Wednesday
Evander Kane, LW - (hand) will not travel to Calgary for Thursday's game against the Flames
Blair Jones, C - out indefinitely
Kris Russell, D - (knee) has skated on his own, remains out
David Jones, RW - (eye) remained off the ice for Monday's morning skate
Michael Cammalleri, C - is out with a concussion and will not travel with the Flames for their two-game road trip that started Monday in Raleigh
Curtis Glencross, LW - was diagnosed with a high-ankle sprain and will miss eight weeks starting in late December
Roberto Luongo, G - (ankle) was a participant in Wednesday's practice, though Lack is expected to start tonight
Andrew Alberts, D - (head) has been placed on IR
Alexandre Burrows, RW - (jaw) won't be medically cleared to play until next Saturday against the Flames
Zbynek Michalek, D - (lower body) traveled with the team for their game in Winnipeg on Monday and was on the ice for morning skate
Martin St. Louis, RW, TBL: St. Louis continues to shine and carry a Tampa team that has been Stamko-less for all but 17 games this year. He's got a five-game point streak going with three goals and three assists over that stretch.
Ben Bishop, G, TBL: Bishop has been one of the top goaltending revelations of the season. There were glimpses of how good he is last season, but he's really shining now. On Tuesday he returned from injury to grab a win over the Rangers with a .971 save percentage. Bishop is great and it looks like missing time won't even make him miss a step. He currently leads the NHL with a .937 save percentage and ranks second with a 1.83 goals against.
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR: After signing $59.5 million seven-year contract extension on December 4 Lundqvist struggled. In his next eight starts he was only better than a .900 save percentage twice and dipped into the .700s twice. Over his last five starts he's only been above .900. He's 3-1-1 over that stretch has averaged just two goals allowed per game. The king is back in the building.
Devan Dubnyk, G, NSH & Ilya Bryzgalov, G, EDM: They've been mentioned around these parts recently, but with a significant scenario change for both of them, it merits revisiting. Let's recap. Last time on "One Team, Two Cold Goalies": Both goalies were playing terrible and didn't have much defensive support. Now, Dubnyk is heading into a new situation where he could be the temporary starter. He hasn't proved much this year, but he has the opportunity with a new team to hit the reset button and really take over duties until Pekka Rinne gets healthy. For Ol' Bryz, well, he's presumably taking a back seat to the team's new acquisition, Ben Scrivens. Bryz is likely to see a reduction in workload, making him even less attractive as a fantasy option.
Troy Brouwer, RW, WSH: Last season Brouwer showed the potential to be a 30-goal scorer. Unfortunately, he has taken a step back from that projection. He's got just nine goals this season and hasn't tallied a point in six games. In fact he's taken just eight shots over that stretch.
Nail Yakupov, RW, EDM: Things have improved lately for Yakupov. He's got back on the score sheet and hasn't been made a healthy scratch in a little while. (#moralvictory?) Though, despite a short burst of scoring, he has just one point in his last five games. The real thing to notice here is his abysmal plus/minus. It is almost comically bad and then it gets worse. Yak is a minus-6 over the last three games, adding significantly to his league-worst minus-30 rating. The next closest player is minus-21. Remember that stat next time someone tries to defend Yak's potential as a two-way player.
Basically anyone on the Ducks, LW, RW, C, D, G, ANA: Holy secondary scoring. Andrew Cogliano: seven goals and five assists in the last 14 games. Jakob Silfverberg: one goal and five assists in the last seven games. Sami Vatanen: two goals and three assists over the last five games. Hampus Lindholm: two goals and two assists in the last three games. He also ranks fifth best in the NHL with a plus-23 rating. Nick Bonino: five goals and five assists in the last eight games. Matt Belesky: two goals and five assists over the last eight games. Teemu Selanne: three goals and three assists over the last four games. Mathieu Perreault: two goals and four assists over the last five games. Patrick Maroon: three assists over the last five games and 32 penalty minutes over the last six games.