Around the Rink
The big news Wednesday was Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury getting a four-year contract extension worth $23 million, with an AAV of $5.75 million.
Lots of grumbling was heard over this one, unsurprisingly. You can probably separate the grumblers into the camp that thinks Fleury is actually a terrible goaltender and that this is a terrible contract and then those who are grumbling because they think it's a great contract and are sick of hearing from the first group.
The truth is probably in between. It's not a terrible contract. This is what a starting goaltender, a known quantity, costs for a team under the current salary cap. On the other hand, the stats on Fleury aren't really all that great. At a minimum, his stats are probably not four-year contract in November great.
Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Fleury ranks 47th in 5-on-5 save percentage among goaltenders who played at least 2,400 minutes. Goaltenders ahead of him include Ondrej Pavalec, Ray Emery, Johan Hedberg, Al Montoya, Peter Budaj, Jason LaBarbera (who was in net for Anaheim last night after their top two goaltenders went down with injuries), Ben Scrivens, and Antero Niittymaki, to name a few. (Stats via War On Ice. Save percentage is their unadjusted save percentage.)
If you expand those stats to include goaltenders who played at least 1,000 minutes you bring Fleury's back-up Thomas Greiss into the grouping. Greiss ranks fifth among all goaltenders in 5-on-5 save percentage, while Fleury falls to 57th. Maybe give Greiss a little more game time and wait till later in the season. Fleury is maybe better held on the short-term and see if you've got something in Greiss.
But I'm just a fantasy GM. What do I know? I know about injuries, who has been hot, and who you should be taking a look at, so we'll get to that before I start dropping charts about Fleury in here.
Ok. One chart. Here's overall save percentage and quality-adjusted save percentage for goaltenders who have played at least 150 games since the 2008-09 season. (Not all goaltenders have their name on the chart, but all have dots. Stats via Progressive Hockey, where you can get a definition if you're unfamiliar with qual-adjusted save percentage.)
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Edmonton Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 PM
Florida Panthers (Roberto Luongo) at Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Minnesota Wild (Darcy Kuemper) at Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:30 PM
Calgary Flames (Jonas Hiller) at Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider) at St. Louis Blues (Brian Elliott), 8:00 PM
Pittsburgh Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 8:00 PM
Nashville Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
Toronto Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Colorado Avalanche (Reto Berra), 9:00 PM
New York Islanders (Chad Johnson) at Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 PM
Vancouver Canucks (Ryan Miller) at San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi*), 10:30 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Luke Gazdic, LW (shoulder) - Is in the AHL on a conditioning assignment.
Taylor Hall, LW - Was placed on IR Sunday.
Andrew Ference, D (suspension) - Ference will be banned for the next three games.
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)
David Krejci, C - Krejci (lower body) skated prior to Wednesday's practice, csnne.com reports. (11/5/2014)
Torey Krug, D - Krug (finger) skated prior to Tuesday's morning session. (11/4/2014)
Kevan Miller, D - Miller (upper body) skated at Monday’s practice, Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reports. (11/3/2014)
Zdeno Chara, D - Chara (left knee) acknowledged Tuesday that a timetable for his return to action has yet to be established, the Bruins' official site reports. "There is not a timeline right now. I wish I could tell you guys exactly when I'm going to return," Chara noted. "But at this point, it's really such a slow process, that who knows when the day is going to be." (11/5/2014)
Sean Bergenheim, LW (lower body) - Did not play in Tuesday's game against the Bruins.
Dave Bolland, C (lower body) - Has been placed on IR.
Brandon Pirri, C (concussion) - Was placed on IR in late October.
Jonathan Huberdeau, LW (illness) - Did not practice Wednesday.
Aleksander Barkov, C (lower body) - Skated on Wednesday at practice.
Samuel Morin, D (jaw) - Is still out.
Michael Raffl, LW (lower body) - Will miss the next six weeks.
Sean Couturier, C (illness) - Missed Wednesday's practice.
Andrew MacDonald, D (lower body) - Is on IR.
Braydon Coburn, D (lower body) - Is making progress and should be back before the end of his four-week timetable.
Keith Ballard, D (illness) - Has been practicing, but it's not clear if he'll be back in the lineup on Thursday.
Zach Parise, LW (upper body) - Is being evaluated, but will miss at least the next two games.
Josh Harding, G (foot) - Is skating on his own, but will not be back in the near future.
Kyle Brodziak, C (personal) - Missed Wednesday's practice to be with his expectant wife. He should join the team on Thursday.
Matt Cooke, LW (lower body) - Was placed on IR Wednesday and won't play Thursday.
Jared Spurgeon, D (shoulder) - Will not play Thursday.
Mark Borowiecki, D (undisclosed) - Practiced on Wednesday.
Chris Phillips, D (lower body) - Did not practice Wednesday.
Marc Methot, D (back) - Is still without a timetable for his return.
Alex Chiasson, RW (lower body) - Practiced on Wednesday.
Sam Bennett, LW (shoulder) - Will miss months following mid-October shoudler surgery.
Michael Ferland, LW (concussion) - Will not play Thursday.
Matt Stajan, C (knee) - Will be out for while.
Mason Raymond, LW (upper body) - Is considered week-to-week.
Mikael Backlund, C (abdomen) - Is also considered week-to-week.
Joe Colborne, C (wrist) - Is "a little more" than day-to-day.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Victor Hedman, D (hand) - Has his cast off, but has not yet returned to practice.
Brett Connolly, RW (lower body) - Has started skating again, but isn't close to a return.
Alex Killorn, C (upper body) - Is doubtful for Thursday.
Andrej Sustr, D (hand) - Practiced on Monday.
New Jersey Devils
Martin Havlat, RW (lower body) - Will miss at least two more games.
Michael Cammalleri, LW (neck) - Is back on skate, but will miss at least the next two games.
Jordin Tootoo, RW (foot) - Is expected to return.
Jon Merrill, D (arm) - Is not joining the team on their upcoming road trip.
Stefan Matteau, LW (upper body) - Is still nursing his injury.
Steve Santini, D (wrist) - Has undergone surgery.
St. Louis Blues
T.J. Oshie, RW (concussion) - Is on IR.
Paul Stastny, C (upper body) - Is close to a return.
Beau Bennett, RW (knee) - Has been sent to the AHL for conditioning.
Olli Maatta, D (neck) - Underwent successful surgery on Tuesday.
Anthony Peluso, RW (upper body) - Has been cleared to play.
Mike Fisher, C (achilles) - Has resumed skating.
Anton Volchenkov, D (suspension) - Is serving a four-game ban.
Calle Jarnkrok, C (upper body) - Is still out.
Patrik Nemeth, D (arm) - Is on IR and expected to miss the rest of the season.
Cody Eakin, C ("banged up") - Eakin missed Wednesday's practice after getting "banged up" in Tuesday's game.
Sergei Gonchar, D (soreness) - Is experiencing soreness following his season debut on Tuesday.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Brandon Kozun, RW (ankle) - Is still not back from his mid-October injury.
Joffrey Lupul, LW (hand) - Was placed on IR Monday.
David Booth, LW (foot) - Has skated, but isn't close to a return.
Roman Polak, D (illness) - Missed Wednesday's practice, but is expected to play Thursday.
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) - Has experienced a setback in his recovery.
Ryan Wilson, D (shoulder) - Remains out.
Patrick Bordeleau, LW - Is on IR.
Brad Stuart, D (hamstring) - Will miss at least a couple weeks.
New York Islanders
Matt Carkner, D (back) - Should miss the rest of the season.
Michael Grabner, RW (hernia) - Won't be back yet.
Josh Bailey, LW (hand) - Has resumed practicing.
Los Angeles Kings
Slava Voynov, D (suspension) - Won't be back any time soon with the ongoing suspension from his domestic violence charges.
Jordan Nolan, RW (suspension) - Is serving a two-game suspension for a boarding penalty.
Justin Williams, RW (face) - Has been ruled out of Thursday's game.
Alex Burrows, RW (suspension) - Is serving a three-game ban for a headshot.
Tom Sestito, LW - Was placed on IR Tuesday.
San Jose Sharks
Tyler Kennedy, LW (upper body) - Could make his season debut Thursday.
Scott Hannan, D (upper body) - Missed Monday's practice.
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) - Won't be back soon.
Mike Brown, RW (hand) - Is still on IR.
Jussi Jokinen, LW, FLA -- Jokinen, who was criticized at the opening of free agency for having his numbers boosted last season by playing on the Penguins, is quietly have a great run on a very mediocre Panther team. He's got points in five straight games, totaling a goal and five assists. He's not getting huge minutes and the lack of goals is partly a result of him not taking many shots. Nonetheless, he's playing some good hockey right now and could be undervalued in your league. This pace isn't likely to continue, but many thought he was overrated last season and would take a steep drop off from his 21 goal, 36 assist campaign last year, which could make him an interesting and undervalued commodity in deep leagues.
Patric Hornqvist, RW, PIT -- Speaking of the Penguins-bump, Hornqvist is experiencing that right now. There are frequently complaints about guys like Jokinen or a James Neal not being as good as the stats say because Evgeni Malkin or Sidney Crosby (depending on the line) might be giving their stats a boost. (Though James Neal is on pace for over 40 goals and might prove he'll be just fine without Malkin.) What this argument overshadows for fantasy is that if you get an offensively capable winger on a line with Chris Kunitz and Crosby, they're going to put up some points. Hornqvist hit the 30-goal mark once in 2009-10, but few believed he'd get back to that mark. He's currently on pace for over 50 goals. He won't get there, but 30 is within reach if all three players on that top line can stay healthy. He's on a five-game points streak with three goals and four assists over those games and has seven goals, eight assists on the season. The Penguins-bump is real. Who wouldn't play better with Crosby as their center? It doesn't mean that Neal or Jokinen isn't a fine player without Crosby or Malkin, but it also does mean that you should take advantage of it when a guy like Hornqvist hits a groove with Crosby.
Matt Duchene, C, COL -- Preseason projections had most of the young forward talent in Colorado taking a big step forward this season, not expecting the team as a whole to take as big of a step backward as they have. There isn't anyone in Colorado whose fantasy stats are blowing you away. At least not in this sport. Duchene has not been the point-per-game player we're used to seeing over the last six games, where he has no goals and two assists. Both of those assits came in a single game as well. He's also a minus-3 with just eight shots in that span. In the end, Duchene is going to recover and he's going to provide for your team, but if you're playing daily games you might want to give Duchene a rest before putting him back on your roster. Wait for him to start being the point-per-game guy again before you trust him, if you can.
Mats Zuccarello, LW, NYR -- Zuccarello has had a tough start to the season after a very strong campaign last season -- both in the regular season and the playoffs. Through the season's first ten games he has just one goal and three assists, with those points coming in just two games. He's a minus-2 and averaging fewer than two shots per game (he averaged 2.21 shots per game last season). Zuccarello isn't Duchene and I might be looking to replace him in some formats. He's not guaranteed to match last season's totals of 19 goals and 40 assists even though you should expect the slump to stop at some point. In deeper formats I'm probably hanging onto him and hoping that he's going to recover and find a way to become a pivotal part of the Rangers attack again. In less deep leagues, I'm dropping him.
Matt Hunwick, D, NYR -- If you need a short-term fill-in on defense, Hunwick might be worth a look. He's not a top pairing defenseman and has been a role player throughout his career, but with Dan Boyle, John Moore, and Ryan McDonagh out for the Rangers, Hunwick is taking on a bigger role. He's played over 20 minutes in each of the last three games and has five assists in the last four games, over which he's averaging a shot per game and is a plus-1 with two penalty minutes. He's not going to blow your socks off, but he's a deep play who is getting good minutes is probably available on the waiver wire in your league. Like I said though, this is short term. The production won't last and no matter how well he plays, his minutes will be trimmed as the defense gets healthy in Manhattan.