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Thursday Daily Puck: The Spirit Of St. Louis

Dustin Nelson

Dustin Nelson

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

Around the Rink
Tension is building with one week to go before the trade deadline. For the most part the storylines remain the same. We're talking about big moves involving Ryan Miller, Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Ryan Callahan, Dan Girardi, Steve Ott, Martin Brodeur, Sam Gagner, David Legwand, and every team with three solid goalies in the system.

But we got a couple fresh trade deadline storylines Wednesday in the form of two superstar forwards reportedly requesting trades. Reports came out yesterday that both Martin St. Louis and Ryan Kesler have requested trades. Kesler's agent has denied the rumor, but there's a certain logic to it. Torts is a tough coach to work with, Vancouver is looking like a team that's going to need to do a little rebuilding, and there may not be a Cup in their near future. Nonetheless, Kesler's injury and his $5M cap hit will make him difficult to move if they are in fact looking to move him.

St. Louis addressed the rumors himself stating that he and "Steve [Yzerman] have talk, I'll leave it at that." St. Louis has a no trade clause, so moving him is tricky, but the rumors that he'd like to go to the Rangers are corroborated by past rumors that there had been discussion between the two teams about a trade involving St. Louis and Callahan.

While these are the big splashy headlines hockey fans love to speculate about, at the moment, they carry no real significance for fantasy. Those players may give a boost to future linemate if traded, but neither is in a terrible situation and both are producing already. There's not too much room to move up for them.

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

Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider), 7:00 PM
Toronto Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at New York Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov), 7:00 PM
Detroit Red Wings (Jimmy Howard) at Ottawa Senators (Robin Lehner), 7:30 PM
Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Calgary Flames (Joni Ortio), 9:30 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday

Columbus Blue Jackets
Fedor Tyutin, D - the Blue Jackets placed Tyutin (ankle) on IR on Monday
Jared Boll, RW - (ankle) joined the Blue Jackets for practice Sunday

Toronto Maple Leafs
Carter Ashton, LW - (hand) underwent a bone scan Tuesday on what is believed to be a broken hand
Colton Orr, RW - (undisclosed) is day-to-day and may not suit up Thursday against the Islanders
Dave Bolland, C - (ankle) was back at practice Wednesday
Trevor Smith, LW - (hand) was on the ice for Wednesday's practice

New York Islanders
John Tavares, C - suffered a torn MCL and torn meniscus during the Sochi Olympics -- will not need surgery to repair his knee, and is out for the season
Frans Nielsen, C - Nielsen (hand) was officially placed on IR Sunday, though it's retroactive, so he could be ready soon
Matt Martin, LW - (lower body) has been ruled out for Thursday's game

Chicago Blackhawks
All fine in the Windy City.

New York Rangers
Derek Dorsett, RW - (fibula) went through contact during Tuesday's practice
Mats Zuccarello, RW - (hand) is out 3-4 weeks

San Jose Sharks
Brad Stuart, D - is nursing an upper-body injury and will not travel with the Sharks during their upcoming three-game road trip
Raffi Torres, LW - (knee) could be activated from injured reserve to play in Thursday's game against the Flyers
Tomas Hertl, C - (knee) is with the team in Philadelphia and "may skate" Wednesday or Thursday, but won't be back any time soon

Philadelphia Flyers
Nicklas Grossmann, D - (upper body) was injured prior to the break

Montreal Canadiens
Brandon Prust, LW - (upper body) has been moved to injured reserve
Michael Bournival, C - (concussion) did not take part in Monday's practice
Carey Price, G - Price's lower-body injury suffered during the Olympics will keep him out of the Canadiens' next two games

Pittsburgh Penguins
Kris Letang, D - The Penguins are set to proceed as if Letang (stroke) will not play again in 2013-14
Tomas Vokoun, G - (pelvis) skated with the team Wednesday morning
Pascal Dupuis, RW - (knee) is out for the season
Taylor Pyatt, LW - (lower body) returned to practice for the Penguins on Friday
Paul Martin, D - (hand) is out 4-6 weeks
Chris Conner, RW - Conner has been on the ice for conditioning work before practices the last two days
Joe Vitale, C - (right wrist) returned to practice Sunday
Beau Bennett, RW - is now expected to miss another three-to-four weeks after experiencing a setback in his recovery from a wrist injury

Detroit Red Wings
Stephen Weiss, C - (sports hernia) won't play in the Red Wings' next two games
Henrik Zetterberg, LW - (back) underwent surgery Friday, the team hopes he will play again at some point this season
Jakub Kindl, D - (knee) doesn't expect to play either Wednesday or Thursday
Mikael Samuelsson, RW - (shoulder) is on injured reserve with a shoulder injury
Alexey Marchenko, D - (ankle) is expected to miss the remainder of the season

Ottawa Senators
Craig Anderson, G - (personal) will rejoin the Senators for Friday's practice
Clarke MacArthur, LW - (foot) was injured prior to the break

Washington Capitals
Jack Hillen, D - says he is "very close" to returning to the Capitals' lineup
Tomas Kundratek, D - (knee) is out for the season
Aaron Volpatti, LW - (left shoulder) has not been cleared for practice

Florida Panthers
Aleksander Barkov, C - Coach Peter Horachek said that while Barkov (knee) won't require season-ending surgery, he will remain out indefinitely
Tomas Kopecky, RW - (concussion) is out indefinitely

Tampa Bay Lightning
Valtteri Filppula, C - (ankle) is likely to play Thursday,
Steven Stamkos, C - (leg) expects to play March 6 against the Sabres, barring any setbacks
Anders Lindback, G - (ankle) was sent out to AHL Syracuse on Wednesday for a rehab assignment

Nashville Predators
Pekka Rinne, G - (infection) was assigned to the AHL for conditioning
Nick Spaling, LW - (lower body) wasn't skating with the Predators when they resumed practicing after the break

Phoenix Coyotes
Derek Morris, D - (upper body) practiced with the team Monday for the first time since being injured

Winnipeg Jets
Jim Slater, C - (sports hernia) has received full medical clearance to return to the lineup
Matt Halischuk, RW - (forearm) has received clearance to return to the lineup
Grant Clitsome, D - (back) is out for the season
Evander Kane, LW - (hand) will be available for Thursday's game

Carolina Hurricanes
Joni Pitkanen, D - (heel) remains on long-term IR

Dallas Stars
Stephane Robidas, D - is skating and "making improvements." His return is still on schedule for a mid-March return and "could even be bumped up to early March if he continues to make progress"

Los Angeles Kings
Alec Martinez, D - (elbow) was injured prior to the break and was a healthy scratch last night

Calgary Flames
Michael Ferland, LW - (knee) has undergone surgery and expects to miss the rest of the season
Patrick Sieloff, D - After missing the first half of the season with a staph infection, Sieloff was cleared for off-ice activities in January
Curtis Glencross, LW - (ankle) will not play Thursday
Karri Ramo, G - (knee) didn't skate over the Olympic break and remains without a timetable for return
Brian McGrattan, RW - (upper body) will not play Thursday
Lee Stempniak, RW - Coach Bob Hartley said Stempniak (personal) won't return to the team for a few more days

Minnesota Wild
Mikko Koivu, C - (ankle) is unlikely to play Thursday
Josh Harding, G - (multiple sclerosis) has still not resumed on or off-ice activities
Niklas Backstrom, G - (abdominal soreness) practiced Wednesday and could start either Thursday or Friday
Marco Scandella, D - (knee) is not expected to play Thursday
Jason Zucker, LW - (lower body) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday following a minor surgery during the break
Brett Bulmer, LW - (ankle and knee) remains out and assigned to the team's AHL affiliate

Edmonton Oilers
Curtis Hamilton, LW - (knee) remains out
Philip Larsen, D - (illness) was placed back on injured reserve in late January

HOT
Christian Ehrhoff, D, BUF: While most teams haven't played yet, the Sabres are two games into their post-Olympics schedule and Ehrhoff has been stalwart with a plus-1 rating. (I mean, this is Buffalo we're talking about. Plus-1 is nearly a miracle.) Over his last three games Ehrhoff has two goals and two assists. Furthermore, last night's 21:17 of ice time (solid by any measure) is the fewest minutes he's played since November 19. You're getting minutes and production from Ehrhoff right now and you can't argue with that. The plus/minus won't hold up for anyone on a team that has a league-worst minus-26 goal differential.

Gustav Nyquist, RW, DET: Nyquist scored the game-winner for Detroit last night and has been on a tear in recent games. In the last six games he's got six goals (including two game-winners) and two assists. Stretch that to his last 12 games and he's got 10 goals and five assists. He may see some extra ice time as well with Henrik Zetterberg out and Pavel Datsyuk nursing a sore knee.

Anze Kopitar, C, LAK: Kopitar built off a strong Olympic performance Wednesday night by scoring his 18th and 19th goals of the season as well as an assist. That gives him a three-game point streak over which he's tallied three goals and four assists. He's also a plus-3 in those games, adding to his eighth best in the league total of plus-24. On a team that has really struggled to score lately (though who'd have guessed they'd score 6 last night to take Colorado on the road) he's their great hope and seems to thrive under pressure. Kopitar is a candidate for having a very strong stretch run for the Kings, who were sliding rapidly down the standings prior to the break.

COLD
Steve Ott, C, BUF: You see this every season, some players thrive under the trade deadline spotlight, while others clam up. Ott has fallen into the latter category. Ott is without a point in his last four games and has only recorded two shots in those four games. Generally you could bail him and say that no one can produce much on the anemic Buffalo offense, but last night the Sabres pulled a miraculous OT win over the Bruins and Ott still didn't make his way onto the score sheet despite a solid defensive game and 21:51 in ice time.

Daniel Sedin, LW, Henrik Sedin, C, VAN: The Sedins are back! I mean, they're back from Sochi and injury, respectively. However, they are not back from slumps that are a big part of why Vancouver can't do better than a wild card spot in the West. Henrik hasn't scored a goal in 18 games and is without a point at all in the last seven. Daniel has gone 20 games without a goal and 10 without a point. How bad it is? In last night's game Torts put the fourth line out to get the energy going in the second period and left them out through two faceoffs. When the Canucks need a momentum swing kind of shift, it needs to be the Sedins who are driving the bus. That hasn't been the case of late.

Recommended Pickup
Alex Chiasson, X, DAL: Chiasson started his NHL career like a man shot out of a cannon. In his first seven NHL games played in the final seven last season he had six goals and an assist. This season he tallied point in his first four games and had give goals and four assists through the season's opening nine contests. But he's struggled through much of this season, with just a single goal and nine assists in the 30 games prior to the Olympic break. As Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News points out, the Olympic break may really benefit this young, highly skilled forward. He had the strep throat in late December and lost 15 pounds. With the grueling NHL schedule being what it is, it's nearly impossible to gain that weight back. But the break gave Chiasson the opportunity to clear his head and put the weight back on. Chiasson may be a good buy low candidate right now. The talent is there and it's possible that he can get out of the blocks sprinting, like he has twice already in his very short career.

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