Thursday Daily Puck: Taylor Made
Thursday Daily Puck: Taylor Made

This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.

I don't see how they make the playoffs, particularly with how strong the Central Division is, but the Edmonton Oilers finally look like they're making significant steps forward.

The defense has holes and their goaltending leaves something to be desired, but you're starting to see signs of life on the blue line and they are becoming as offensively dynamic as they should be.

You can't count them out of games any more. Down 2-0 to Chicago they tied it up in the third Wednesday night. Chicago took the lead back and Edmonton tied it up again, forcing overtime.

On offense there is so much to be excited about for fans, even if you aren't looking at people named Connor McDavid. Leon Draisaitl has been fantastic, Taylor Hall continues to be undervalued, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has proven himself to be an incredible talent, Oscar Klefbom and Darnell Nurse look like there's finally some young talent to be excited about on the blue line and Todd McLellan has found ways to get Benoit Pouliot and Nail Yakupov going.

If the development of guys like Anton Slepyshev, Griffin Reinhart, Justin Schultz, Ethan Bear and others continues to move along, the Oilers could finally see the fruits of this long, long rebuild.

At a minimum, they're a lot of fun to watch for the first time in a few years.

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

Wild (Devan Dubnyk) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 PM
Sharks (Martin Jones) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Avalanche (Reto Berra) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Stars (Antti Niemi) at Capitals (Philipp Grubauer), 7:00 PM
Coyotes (Mike Smith) at Canadiens (Mike Condon), 7:30 PM
Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:30 PM
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
Ducks (Frederik Andersen) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30 PM
Sabres (Linus Ullmark) at Blues (Jake Allen), 8:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday

Minnesota Wild
Ryan Carter, LW (illness) - missed practice Wednesday
Erik Haula, LW (illness) - is expected to play Thursday
Justin Fontaine, RW (knee) - has resumed skating, but doesn't have a timeline
Tyler Graovac, C (hernia) - is approaching a return, but it won't be Thursday
Zach Parise, LW (knee) - has resumed skating, but doesn't have a timeline

Boston Bruins
Chris Kelly, RW (femur fracture) - is out for the season
David Pastrnak, LW (foot) - doesn't appear ready to return yet
Alexander Khokhlachev, C (hand) - will likely miss another three weeks
Colin Miller, D (lower body) - missed Tuesday's game
Kevan Miller, D (upper body) - is unlikely to play Thursday

San Jose Sharks
Logan Couture, C (foot) - is making progress, but isn't ready to return
Ben Smith, RW (head) - skated Monday, but is not ready
Raffi Torres, LW (suspension) - remains sidelined

Philadelphia Flyers
R.J. Umberger, LW (undisclosed) - won't return Thursday
Mark Streit, D (pelvis) - was placed on long0term injured reserve this week
Ryan White, RW(upper body) - will be out two-to-four weeks
Michal Neuvirth, G (upper body) - is reported to be healthy enough to play Thursday

Colorado Avalanche
Alex Tanguay, LW (knee) - will be out for a while
Brad Stuart, D (back) - returned to Denver to deal with his injury
Semyon Varlamov, G (groin) - returned to practice, but is unlikely to be activated on Thursday
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) - remains out
John Mitchell, C (oblique) - missed Tuesday's game
Gabriel Landeskog, LW (suspension) - is eligible to return from suspension on Thursday

Pittsburgh Penguins
Olli Maatta, D (upper body) - is likely to miss over a month following an injury on Tuesday
Bryan Rust, RW (arm) - remains out
Nick Bonino, C (illness) - missed Tuesday's game

Dallas Stars
Brett Ritchie, RW (wrist) - is getting close

Washington Capitals
Jakub Vrana, RW (wrist) - will miss three-to-four months
Brooks Orpik, D (lower body) - did not play Wednesday

Arizona Coyotes
Nicklas Grossmann, D (lower body) - is out Thursday
Dylan Reese, D (Achilles) - remains out indefinitely
Steve Downie, RW (upper body) - is unlikely to play Thursday
Joe Vitale, C (fracture orbital bone) - won't play

Montreal Canadiens
Zack Kassian, RW (suspension) - has yet to play this season
Michael Bournival, C (concussion) - has skated, but doesn't have a timetable for his return
Alexei Emelin, D (lower body) - has been out since the weekend
Carey Price, G (lower body) - returned to practice Wednesday, but won't play Thursday

Columbus Blue Jackets
Brandon Dubinsky, C (elbow) - is out
Alexander Wennberg, C (foot) - will not play
David Clarkson, RW (lower body) - is on IR
Jared Boll, RW (foot) - is on IR

Ottawa Senators
Jared Cowen, D (lower body) - has been out since Nov. 12
Andrew Hammond, G - is still out
Clarke MacArthur, LW (concussion) - has no timetable for his return
Chris Phillips, D (back) - is out

Tampa Bay Lightning
Ryan Callahan, RW (lower body) - is likely out Thursday and is day-to-day
Tyler Johnson, C (upper body) - is out Thursday
Ondrej Palat, LW (lower body) - it out
Jonathan Drouin, C (undisclosed) - won't play Thursday
Cedric Paquette, C (undisclosed) - also won't play Thursday

Anaheim Ducks
Simon Despres, D (concussion) - has been out for a while
Josh Manson, D (illness) - is expected to be ready Thursday
Jiri Sekac, RW (ankle) - is out
Kenton Helgesen, LW (foot) - has been on Ir for quite a while
Nate Thompson, C (shoulder) - is getting close, but isn't ready

Florida Panthers
Dmitry Kulikov, D (lower body) - is out

Buffalo Sabres
Cody McCormick, C (illness) - is still out
Mike Weber, D (knee) - remains week-to-week
Evander Kane, LW (knee) - could return Thursday
Robin Lehner, G (ankle) - should be approaching a return, but hasn't had his timeline updated
Zemgus Girgensons, C (undisclosed) - isn't traveling with the team

St. Louis Blues
Colton Parayko, D (lower body) - is day-to-day after missing Tuesday's game
Jaden Schwartz, LW (ankle) - is on LTIR
Jori Lehtera, C (throat) - will be a game-time decision
Paul Stastny, C (foot) - is walking without a boot
Patrik Berglund, C (shoulder) - is on LTIR
Steve Ott, C (upper body) - has no timeline for his return

Teddy Purcell, RW, EDM — Purcell made a length adjustment to his stick after consulting with his skills coach, Adam Oates. He now has points in four of five games, scoring two goals and four assists. He also has a plus-4 rating and 14 shots in that time. Whatever he's doing is working.

Duncan Keith, D, CHI — Keith has been solid since returning from injury. In the three games since his return he has two goals and an assist, a plus-5 rating, seven shots and four penalty minutes. He's also played 27:34, 24:13 and 25:46. He's providing a lot of value for those who were patient and rostered him through his injury.

Alex Ovechkin, LW, WSH — You won't see the Great Eight in the "Cold" category often. But as pressure builds to score his next goal, which will make him the all-time highest scoring Russian player in NHL history, he's been snakebit. He has no points in four games. It's the first time since November 2014 that he's gone that long without a point. It doesn't happen often. He's likely to explode at some point, with 26 shots in his last four games and a ridiculously low 3.2% shooting percentage on the power play.

Ryan Miller, G, VAN — Miller has now gone six games without a win. He's posted an .886 save percentage in that time and only been north of .900 in a single game.

Recommended Pickup
Shayne Gostisbehere, D, PHI — If you need to take a high-upside chance on a player who will almost certainly cost you very little, Gostisbehere is an interesting guy. The 22-year-old rookie missed almost all of last season, playing two games in the NHL and five in the AHL. He grabbed five points in those five AHL games. This season he put up two goals and eight assists in 14 games for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL before getting the call up to the NHL. He currently has two points in two games for the Flyers. He's young and he's a rookie, so temper your expectations, but his pedigree is an offensive-minded defenseman and he's delivered so far. He's got a slight frame, weighing just 160 pounds, but if he can get rolling it could be a risk that pays off.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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Dustin Nelson
Dustin Nelson is a writer based out of NYC. His fantasy team is full of loafers.
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