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Monday Daily Puck: Is Braden Holtby Back?

John Toperzer

John has written for since 2003 and serves as the beat writer for the Pittsburgh Penguins and Pittsburgh Pirates. Heís worked for the Pirates for 17 years, written for the Penguinsí Web site as the first game-day editor, and rooted for the Steelers dating back to the Immaculate Reception.

Around the Rink

Two weeks remain until the Sochi Winter Olympics. The NHL trade deadline follows March 5. Poolies are a lot closer to the finish line than the start. Here are some tips to set up winning stretch drives. Good luck!

Washington plays four times in Week 18. The Caps have only one home game, but goalie Braden Holtby is back on the map after a shutout against Montreal over the weekend.

Columbus won eight straight before falling to the Sabres on Saturday. With a four-game Week 18 slate, including three at home, the Blue Jackets figure to offer decent value. Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky is 10-6 with a 2.32 GAA and .920 save percentage at home. He figures to benefit from Columbusís schedule.

The Bruins have been slogging around (for them) in January, with a 5-3-1 mark. Reilly Smith has slid under the radar a bit but has a five-game point streak. He ranks second on Boston with 37 points. Second-tier players should do well in Beantown for the coming week.

Montrealís struggles canít continue that much longer, can they? It might be safer to recommend starting the Canadiensí opponents this week than the Habs, but they are one of only six Eastern Conference squads with single-digit home losses.

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

Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at New York Islanders (Kevin Poulin), 7:00 PM
Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin), 7:00 PM
Buffalo Sabres (Ryan Miller) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:30 PM
Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
Edmonton Oilers (Ilya Bryzgalov) at Vancouver Canucks (Eddie Lack), 10:00 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:00 PM

Injury News For Teams Playing Monday

Boston Bruins
Dennis Seidenberg, D - Seidenberg tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee and will be out for the remainder of the season, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports. (12/28/2013)
Chris Kelly, C - Bruins coach Claude Julien said Sunday that he thinks Kelly (leg) is "getting pretty close" to a return. (1/26/2014)
Adam McQuaid, D - McQuaid (leg) did not travel with the team to Philadelphia for Saturday's game against the Flyers. (1/24/2014)
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)
Ryan Spooner, C - Spooner (illness) will not be in the lineup Saturday vs. the Flyers,'s Joe Haggerty reports. (1/25/2014)

New York Islanders
Evgeni Nabokov, G - Nabokov (quad) will likely be removed from IR either Sunday or Monday, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple (1/25/2014)
Lubomir Visnovsky, D - Visnovsky (concussion) could play Monday versus the Bruins, according to Newsday. (1/25/2014)
Travis Hamonic, D - Hamonic (concussion) has been cleared to resume skating, according to Newsday. (1/25/2014)

Columbus Blue Jackets
Jared Boll, RW - Boll will miss the next 3-4 months after undergoing surgery on his ankle Monday. (12/17/2013)
David Savard, D - Savard (illness) is out for Saturday's game in Tampa Bay, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. (1/25/2014)
Marian Gaborik, RW - Gaborik (collarbone) skated lightly on his own Thursday, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports. (1/23/2014)

Carolina Hurricanes
Joni Pitkanen, D - Pitkanen (heel) was placed on long-term injured reserve Tuesday, the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (10/1/2013)
Cam Ward, G - Ward (lower body) has been picking up his workouts in recent days, Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports. (1/21/2014)

Buffalo Sabres
Mike Zigomanis, C - Zigomanis was sent to the AHL Toronto Marlies on Sunday. (9/25/2011)
Cody McCormick, C - McCormick (finger) practiced Monday in a non-contact role, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports. (1/13/2014)
Drew Stafford, RW - Stafford left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury and will not return. (1/25/2014)
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 was placed on injured reserve Tuesday. (1/21/2014)
Ville Leino, C - Leino left Saturday's game with an upper-body injury and will not return. (1/25/2014)
J.T. Compher, C - After suffering a broken foot from blocking a shot, Compher will not travel with Team USA to Sweden for the 2014 World Junior Championships, reports Mike Morreale of (12/18/2013)

Pittsburgh Penguins
Joe Vitale, C - Vitale (wrist) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/14/2014)
Beau Bennett, RW - Bennett (wrist) skated on his own Wednesday morning, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/22/2014)
Brian Gibbons, C - Gibbons (lower body) skated on his own Wednesday morning, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/22/2014)
Chris Conner, RW - Conner underwent successful hand surgery Saturday. (1/4/2014)
Tomas Vokoun, G - Vokoun, who has yet to play this season due to a blood clot, was taken off his blood-thinning medication about a week ago, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/21/2014)
Pascal Dupuis, RW - Dupuis (knee) will undergo his ACL surgery on Feb. 12, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. (1/20/2014)

Colorado Avalanche
David Van der Gulik, RW - Van der Gulik (undisclosed) has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 10. (1/13/2014)
Cory Sarich, D - Sarich (back) has been ruled out indefinitely. (1/16/2014)
Jean-Sebastien Giguere, G - Giguere is day-to-day with a back injury and will not play Saturday. (1/24/2014)

Dallas Stars
Stephane Robidas, D - Robidas (leg) began skating on his own Wednesday,'s Mark Stepneski reports. (1/15/2014)

Edmonton Oilers
Andrew Ference, D - Ference (head) won't play Sunday versus Nashville, according to the Edmonton Journal. (1/26/2014)
Ales Hemsky, RW - Hemsky (ankle) won't play Sunday versus Nashville, according to the Edmonton Journal. (1/26/2014)
Philip Larsen, D - Larsen (illness) was back at practice Monday. (1/20/2014)
Curtis Hamilton, LW - Hamilton will miss 5-6 weeks with a knee injury, Bob Stauffer of 630 CHED reports. (1/13/2014)

Vancouver Canucks
Hunter Shinkaruk, C - Shinkaruk will require major hip surgery and miss the rest of the WHL season, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports. (12/27/2013)
Jordan Schroeder, C - Schroeder (ankle) will head to AHL Utica for a conditioning assignment over the weekend. (1/22/2014)
Andrew Alberts, D - Alberts (head) has been placed on IR. (1/7/2014)
Mike Santorelli, C - Santorelli has been placed on injured reserve. (1/21/2014)
Henrik Sedin, C - Sedin (ribs/finger) will miss his third straight game Sunday against the Coyotes, the Vancouver Sun reports. (1/26/2014)

Los Angeles Kings
Matt Greene, D - Greene (head) has resumed working out off the ice, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports. (1/21/2014)

San Jose Sharks
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)
Logan Couture, C - Couture skated Friday for the first time since undergoing surgery on his hand last week, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports. (1/17/2014)
Tomas Hertl, C - A former NHL trainer familiar with Hertl's type of knee injury told CSN Bay Area that a best-case scenario for Hertl's return would be approximately 12 weeks, but he'll likely miss 6-9 months. (1/1/2014)
Scott Hannan, D - Hannan (concussion) was placed on injured reserve Thursday, David Pollak of the San Jose Mercury News reports. (1/16/2014)
Raffi Torres, LW - Torres, who has been sidelined since a preseason collision with Anaheim's Emerson Etem, is still undergoing rehab from right ACL surgery. He has been skating regularly and feels he's currently able to perform around "60 percent," according to CSN Bay Area. (12/29/2013)


Ryan Murray: The Columbus defenseman has tallied nine assists in 11 January tilts. Prior to then, Murray compiled six points in 40 games. The Blue Jackets selected him second overall in 2012. His scouting report said he was geared to contribute more in his own end, but the offense appears to be catching up. Not a bad scenario for a young blueliner on an up and coming team.

Andrej Sekera: The Buffalo Sabres could use a talented offensive defenseman like Sekera. He burnt his old team for three points Thursday and has a goal and six points the last three games. With 30 points in 49 games, Sekera has already eclipsed his best single-season point production Ė he had 29 points in 76 contests with Buffalo in 2010-11. As a long-time believer in the Czech, I only wish Iíd believed in him one more time.

Steve Ott: The physical forward has two goals and two assists in his last three games, yet his points (50 in 18 games) are down from last year (24 in 48). Thereís your half empty/half full cup of Ott. Itís likely Buffalo moves him at the trade deadline and Pittsburgh is one of the reported landing spots. If that happens, look for his fantasy value to spike.

Kris Letang: Letang saw 6:26 TOI on the power play Saturday, more than either Matt Niskanen (1:59) or Paul Martin (1:22). Letang has moved the puck better and looks more confident recently. January has been his best month Ė four goals and three assists in nine games. There have been rumblings in Pittsburgh that he could be on the move, given that his $58 million extension kicks in next year.

Dougie Hamilton: Playing in his first game since Jan. 11, he saw 18:55 TOI Saturday Ė including 2:25 on the power play. Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara are playing well in front of him, but Hamilton is much more likely to be available on waiver wires.

Thomas Vanek: Remember when Vanek bolted out of the gates a couple years ago, leading the NHL in scoring for the first couple months? Well, heís averaged a point per game (92 points in 92 games) since April of 2012. Vanek is meshing well with Kyle Okposo and John Tavares, totaling 25 points (9G, 16A) in his last 19 contests.

Sergei Gonchar: Heís scored only two goals but both have come in the last eight games. Gonchar has four points in his last three, including a goal and two assists on the power play. Dallas has outscored its last three opponents, 14-1, and Gonchar is playing his part on the man advantage.

Antoine Vermette: The forward potted a hat trick Sunday night, scoring three different ways; even-strength, short-handed and on the man advantage.


Anze Kopitar: Itís painful to even put him on this list, but Kopitarís got just one goal (and six assists) in the month of January. Those numbers are good for a defenseman but not someone with Kopitarís pedigree. Look for the 26-year-old to be at the forefront of a turnaround for a team which has lost five straight.

Brent Burns: Two goals and six points in his last 13. Everybodyís favorite sleeper, his numbers looked better when he was on the blue line. As a forward, his production is nothing special and heís overdue to get hurt.

Erik Johnson: The 2006 first overall pick has zero points and a minus-4 rating, with only seven shots in his last eight games. Colorado, which is having its best season in years, could look to improve its blue line at the trade deadline.

Mike Smith: Team Canada would be in trouble between the pipes if the Olympics started today. Smith held a 2.80 goals-against average for January and that was before Sundayís shabby showing. His seasonís GAA is even worse (2.86).

Daniel Sedin: Two goals scored since November.

Recommended Pickup

Brandon Dubinsky: The Blue Jackets have a good Week 18 schedule. Look for Dubinsky to not only pick up points -- he has five points in his last five games, but also add to his 130 hits, which rank him among the league leaders.

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.