Around the Rink
The season is young. Very young. But we're just far enough in where members of your fantasy league may be experiencing some early season jitters on players who have failed to produce so far. If you can be patient and play the long game, you may be able to turn those jitters into a big win for your team.
For instance, you may be able to buy low on Ducks goaltender John Gibson. Many still believe that he's going to be the starting goaltender in Anaheim by the end of the year, but the Ducks sending him down to the AHL today may have some owners balking. The truth on Gibson is that sending him down is actually an act of faith in the young netminder.
The Ducks gave him the first start of the season and still believe in him. Yes, he had a rough first outing and yes Frederick Anderson has been playing great. But Gibson is going to the AHL to get in a couple of games and some confidence while Anderson is hot. Bruce Boudreau has already said they plan on calling him up again after those two games. Gibson could be a sneaky pick-up if anyone in your league is feeling the panic or even just needs to get a goaltender into their rotation urgently.
Some owners may be feeling the same kind of disappointment in guys like Evgeny Kuznetsov, Valeri Nichushkin, James Neal, or Matt Niskanen. If you can grab these kind of players off waivers or in a trade (don't share this post with friends until after you rob them) for a player who was drafted lower than them, it could be a steal for you and the kind of trade that pays off in a big way as the season wears on.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi) at New York Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00 PM
Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider) at Washington Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:00 PM
Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at New York Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist), 7:00 PM
Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask*) at Montreal Canadiens (Carey Price), 7:30 PM
Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov) at Ottawa Senators (Robin Lehner), 7:30 PM
St. Louis Blues (Brian Elliott*) at Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 PM
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Wednesday
San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) - Is far from a return.
Mike Brown, RW (hand) - Will miss multiple games.
James Sheppard, LW (knee) - Remains out.
Tyler Kennedy, LW (upper body) - Is still without a timetable.
Barclay Goodrow, LW - Doesn't have a timetable for his return, but should be available soon.
New York Islanders
Calvin de Haan, D (upper body) - Hasn't been cleared by doctors, but the team hopes he will be available on Thursday.
Michael Grabner, RW (sports hernia) - Will be out four to six weeks following surgery.
Matt Carkner, D (upper body) - Is still on IR.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (back) - Remains out.
Rich Peverley, C (chest) - Is on long-term IR (LTIR).
Valeri Nichushkin, LW (groin) - Will miss the next week of play.
Sergei Gonchar, D (ankle) - Remains on IR with no time table for his return.
Steve Downie, RW (shoulder) - His availability has not yet been announced, but the team is hopeful that he will play on Thursday.
Beau Bennett, RW (leg) - Is still on IR.
Robert Bortuzzo, D (upper body) - Is a week away from returning to practice.
Derrick Pouliot, D (shoulder) - Is skating, but remains in a no-contact jersey.
Jay Beagle, C (upper body) - Is expected to return this week.
Dmitry Orlov, D (wrist) - Is on LTIR.
Aaron Volpatti, LW (neck) - Is also on LTIR.
Tom Wilson, RW (leg) - Could return soon.
John-Michael Liles, D (undisclosed) - He did not practice on Wednesday.
Eric Staal, C (upper body) - Does not have a concussion and could return soon.
Jordan Staal, C (leg) - Will be out for a while yet.
Patrick Dwyer, RW (lower body) - Was placed on IR yesterday, retroactive to 10/11.
Andrej Sekera, D (upper body) - Didn't practice Wednesday, but hasn't officially been ruled out of Thursday's game.
Jeff Skinner, LW (concussion) - Is no longer wearing a no-contact jersey.
New York Rangers
Dan Boyle, D (hand) - Will be out another three to five weeks.
Derek Stepan, C (fractured fibula) - Is progressing, but won't be back in the near future.
Anthony Camara, LW (illness) - Is still out.
Gregory Campbell, C (core) - Not yet ready for game action.
Alexei Emelin, D (lower body) - Practiced Wednesday.
Michael McCarron, RW (shoulder) - Is expected to miss a few weeks.
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) - Has yet to resume skating.
John Mitchell, C (head) - Is on IR.
Patrick Bordeleau, LW - Is also on IR.
Marc Methot, D (back) - Remains out with no time table for his return.
St. Louis Blues
Patrik Berglund, C (upper body) - Practiced this week, but no word on his availability.
Carl Gunnarsson , D (hip) - Was a full participant in practice Wednesday.
Los Angeles Kings
Jake Muzzin, D (upper body)
Trevor Lewis, C (upper body) - Is on IR.
Andrew Bodnarchuk, D (knee) - Is on IR.
Marian Gaborik, RW (undisclosed) - No official word on his availability Thursday, but it doesn't look promising. Check in later in the day on Gaby.
Jonas Hiller, G, CGY -- Hiller hasn't had an outstanding run statistically so far, but his season-to-date stats will tell you a lot about what is going on and what's likely to go on with Hiller. He has a Goals Against Average of 2.62 (27th in the NHL) and a save percentage of .937 (ninth in the league). Hiller is playing well, but he's going to get have more heat thrown at him than the backstop in a batting cage. He's currently faced 121 shots and made 113 saves. He currently leads the league in shots faced (121) and saves made (113) through three games. He should maintain a solid save percentage, but the GAA isn't going to be impressive for any goaltender in Calgary. So why's he here? He stopped 49 of 50 shots against Chicago last night, giving the Flames a win they didn't earn. (Chicago's Fenwick For % was 75%. 75%!) That win belongs to Hiller, who has played fantastic. I think you can expect solid play from Hiller this season, but the Flames aren't going to give him a lot of help, so his stats are likely to be middle of the pack once there's a larger sample size of games.
Johnny Boychuk, D, NYI -- Boychuk was a great piece of the puzzle in Boston, but his brief time on Long Island makes you wonder if Boston wasn't misusing him. Or at least allowing him to be hidden behind a very deep defensive corps. (In the team's defense it's hard to see anyone standing behind Zdeno Chara.) In the first 321 games of Boychuk's career he had five power play points (1-4). In his first three games with the Islanders he has five power play points (2-3). In fact, he's got two goals and four assists total in those three games. He's getting good minutes, the team is winning, he's seeing lots of power play time, and seems to have found his groove early. Is he going to be a point per game player this season? I'm not betting on it (his shooting percentage is a wildly unsustainable 50% and he's averaging just over one shot per game, where he averaged 2.04 over the last five seasons), but could easily produce at a rate higher than preseason projections had him at.
Torey Krug, Zdeno Chara D, BOS -- It's been a tough start in Boston. Krug and Chara might be the top two fantasy defensemen from the Bruins, but right now they have a collective total of zero points through the first five games of the season. It's been a tough start, but if you're a Chara or Krug owner, don't panic. This isn't likely to continue and I don't think it's a situation where we'll need to adjust our season expectations for either of them. The Bruins are going to bounce back.
Brad Richards, C, CHI -- Richards was supposed to be the answer to the big question in Chicago's forward group: Who is the second line center? Richards has not been the answer. He's yet to tally a point despite having great players by his side. It's a tough gig for Richards after being bought out by the Rangers and not having Rick Nash to deflect the attention off guys with contracts bigger than their prodcution. Unlike with Chara and Krug, this is a situation to keep an eye on. Richards has had his struggles in recent seasons and it's worth thinking about your options with him, should you find him on your roster. It's still early in the year, but we haven't seen anything to indicate that there will be a resurgence this season and he's a player I would have been hesitant to draft in the first place.
Colton Sceviour, C, DAL -- Sceviour hasn't done much yet, but in his first game on Dallas' top line he got an assist and it's easy to see how there could be more of that in his immediate future. Sceviour has an offensive streak in him and he's playing wing on a line featuring Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin (who combined for seven points in Tuesday's win). Sceviour is going to, for now, get some good top line minutes with Valeri Nichushkin scheduled to miss about a week nursing a sore groin. Sceviour may not be a long-term pick-up -- though he's being given the opportunity to make his case -- but he'll be in a position to put up some points and be a great pick-up in deep leagues over the next few games.
T.J. Brodie, D, CGY -- Calgary is terrible. Verging on Buffalo terrible. However, the team is putting together some decent offense, so, depending on how your league scores, Brodie could be an interesting deep league waiver grab. He's got two goals and three assists through the season's opening five games. He's also a plus-4 with four penalty minutes and 11 shots on a team that isn't going to be producing a ton. He's looking like a player who could have a breakout year. Will it last? That remains to be seen, but Brodie is hot right now.