We're far enough into the season now where some "longer term" injuries are going away, which might leave some gems lingering on the wire after early season panic may have forced owners to drop some key players.
You aren't likely to have all of them available in your league, but there might be one and finding yourself with one more Patrick Sharp than you started off with could be a difference-maker at the end of the season.
Let's start there. Patrick Sharp is back in action after missing just over a month. He returned on Tuesday night, logging an assist and five shots. Sharp is less likely to be out there, but in one of my leagues I had Sharp, Corey Perry, Kris Letang, and John Gibson out. Do you whether the storm or might you drop one? It's possible Sharp is out there.
Brandon Dubinsky made his season debut for the Blue Jackets on Tuesday as well, registering an assist on Boone Jenner's game-opening goal. We'll talk a bit about Jenner later on, but Dubinsky is interesting. Having not played a game yet this season he may be out there in more leagues that Sharp. With all the injuries the Blue Jackets have been dealing with Dubinsky has the opportunity to jump into the lineup and get some really good ice time.
Marian Gaborik is back for the Kings, who got shutout by the Sabres in his return on Tuesday. (Yikes.) Gaborik is tricky because he could always pay huge dividends to owners, but he carries risks too with how often he gets injured. Gaborik is another who could be sitting out there on the wire. Owners may have him out and know how often he's out and think they're better off with someone off the wire. Now that Gaby is healthy, he may fill a gap on your team.
There are lots of others who will have similar situations throughout the season and are worth checking in on if you see them hit the wire and don't have an open IR spot to stash them on. David Krejci, Chris Kunitz, Patric Hornqvist, Zdeno Chara, Kris Letang... keep an eye on IR for guys who aren't on your team. Your trophy mantle will thank you.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Chicago Blackhawks (Antti Raanta) at Boston Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00 PM
Calgary Flames (Karri Ramo) at Buffalo Sabres (Jhonas Enroth), 7:00 PM
New Jersey Devils (Cory Schneider) at Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Columbus Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) at Washington Capitals (Braden Holtby), 7:00 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Ottawa Senators (Craig Anderson), 7:30 PM
Carolina Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
New York Islanders (Jaroslav Halak) at St. Louis Blues (Jake Allen), 8:00 PM
Winnipeg Jets (Ondrej Pavelec) at Colorado Avalanche (Calvin Pickard), 9:00 PM
Nashville Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Arizona Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00 PM
Minnesota Wild (Niklas Backstrom) at San Jose Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Corey Crawford, G - (lower body) will miss up to three weeks.
Trevor van Riemsdyk, D - (knee) had surgery to repair a broken knee cap.
David Krejci, C - (groin) practiced again Wednesday.
Adam McQuaid, D - (thumb) is on IR.
Zdeno Chara, D - (knee) practiced Wednesday.
Simon Gagne, LW - (personal) is on a leave of absence from the team for personal reasons.
Mikael Backlund, C - (abdomen) is considered week-to-week following surgery.
Joe Colborne, C - (wrist) resumed contact in Wednesday's practice
Sam Bennett, LW - (shoulder) is hoping to resume skating in January.
Andrej Meszaros, D - (concussion) was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.
Tyson Strachan, D - (undisclosed) Ted Nolan said he was "still a little ways away" from a return on Wednesday.
Matt Hackett, G - (knee) took part in Wednesday's practice.
Joel Armia, RW - (upper body) remains out.
New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias, LW - (groin) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Dainius Zubrus, RW - (leg) missed Tuesday's game due to lacerations on his leg.
Bryce Salvador, D - (lower body) is on IR.
Michael Cammalleri, LW - (lower body) sat out of Tuesday's game.
Travis Zajac, C - (lower body) has recently recovered from a case of the mumps.
Ryane Clowe, LW - (head) could be long-term.
Adam Larsson, D - (illness) has been diagnosed with the mumps.
Steve Santini, D - (wrist) underwent surgery.
Shayne Gotisbehere, D - (ACL) will miss several months.
Ryan White, RW - (chest) will return in late December or early January.
Kimmo Timonen, D - (blood clots) is unlikely to play this season.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Nathan Horton, RW - (back) may need to have career-ending surgery.
Fedor Tyutin, D - (knee) will miss another few weeks.
Mark Letestu, C - (groin and abdomen) will miss about five weeks following surgery.
Artem Anisimov, C - (triceps) will miss several months.
Cody Goloubef, D - (knee) has been activated and sent to the AHL for conditioning.
Ryan Murray, D - (knee) is out indefinitely.
Edward Pasquale, G - (hip) is out indefinitely.
Dmitry Orlov, D - (wrist) has practiced with the team.
John Erskine, D - (neck) is on IR following surgery.
Mike Green, D - (upper body) did not play Tuesday and is questionable for Thursday.
Los Angeles Kings
Kyle Clifford, LW - (flu)
Slava Voynov, D - (suspension) continues to serve a suspension while issues are resolved from charges of domestic violence that he currently faces.
Milan Michalek, LW - (upper body) was placed on IR Wednesday.
Clarke MacArthur, LW - (illness) left Wednesday's practice early due to illness.
Jordan Staal, C - (leg) will join the Hurricanes for their pregame skate Thursday.
Brett Bellemore, D - (lower body) has re-joined practice.
Alexander Semin, LW - (lower body) isn't ready to return.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Jake Dotchin, D - (ankle) will miss four to five weeks.
New York Islanders
Eric Boulton, LW - (lower body) is with the Islanders on their current road trip.
Johnny Boychuk, D - (upper body) isn't ready for a return.
Matt Carkner, D - (back) is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Jaroslav Halak, G - (upper body) has a minor injury that kept him out of Tuesday's game.
Travis Hamonic, D - (upper body) has been placed on IR.
Casey Cizikas, C - (upper body) was placed on IR Tuesday.
St. Louis Blues
Carl Gunnarsson , D - (concussion) will sit out Thursday's game.
Brian Elliott, G - (knee) was a limited participant in Tuesday's practice, but isn't ready for games.
David Backes, RW - (face) is doubtful for Thursday's game.
Jay Bouwmeester, D - (groin) rejoined the Blues for practice Wednesday.
Alexander Steen, LW - (lower body) returned to practice Wednesday.
Grant Clitsome, D - (lower body) was placed on IR.
Evander Kane, LW - (suspension) will be serving a suspension.
Toby Enstrom, D - (lower body) will miss another couple of weeks.
Zach Bogosian, D - (lower body) will miss another couple of weeks.
Ryan Wilson, D - (shoulder) will miss the rest of the season.
John Mitchell, C -(leg) missed the game Thursday.
Jesse Winchester, LW - (concussion) remains out.
Ben Street, C - (hand) is on IR.
Patrick Bordeleau, LW - is on IR.
Dennis Everberg, RW - (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve Friday.
Brad Stuart, D - (hamstring) is day-to-day.
Marc-Andre Cliche, C - (oblique) is set to miss a couple of weeks.
Semyon Varlamov, G - (groin) will miss a couple of weeks.
Jamie McGinn, LW - (back) will likely miss the rest of the season following surgery.
Derek Roy, C - (upper body) participated in Wednesday's practice.
Paul Gaustad, C - (lower body) exited Tuesday's game.
Taylor Beck, LW - (concussion) will miss at least the next three games.
Viktor Stalberg, LW - (knee) is on IR.
Brandon Gormley, D - (lower body) rotated in with the third pairing at Wednesday's practice.
Brendan Perlini, LW - (hand) is out indefinitely.
Matt Cooke, LW - (hip) will miss at least another couple weeks.
Keith Ballard, D - (concussion, face) is out indefinitely.
Josh Harding, G - (dehydration, MS) is out indefinitely.
San Jose Sharks
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D - (undisclosed) left Tuesday's game in the first period.
Tyler Kennedy, LW - (shoulder) will be out for a while.
Antti Niemi, G - (undisclosed) was on the ice for Wednesday's optional session.
Matthew Nieto, LW - (ankle) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
Raffi Torres, LW - (knee) will be out until 2015.
Mike Brown, RW - (lower body) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
Joe Pavelski, C/LW, SAN -- Like last year, Pavelski is scoring in clumps, but they tend to be pretty huge clumps. Like Eddie Murphy-sized clumps. He's only scored in two of the last four games, but in that stretch he has four goals and an assist. He's got six multi-point nights this season and in that four game stretch he has 18 shots. Pavelski might fall short of 40 goals, but he's playing some great hockey.
Mikko Koivu, C, MIN -- Koivu is maybe a proxy pick more than an individual pick. He's one of three Wild forwards who have points in five straight games. Koivu has three goals and three assists over the last five games to go along with a 56.9% face-off percentage on the season. That's seventh best in the league. He's been on fire lately too, going 42 of 59 off the dot in the last two games. The others: Zach Parise has two goals and six assists in his five-game point streak. Jason Pominville is also on a five-game streak where he's got two goals and three assists. You might as well throw Ryan Suter in there too. He's on a three-game point streak where he's tallied up five assists.
Martin Havlat, LW, NJD -- At some point in almost every league, someone picks up Havlat for a bit, figuring that he was once a top tier scorer and he must be able to get you through this terrible spate of injuries -- they've got injurie Columbus bad and Havlat is their Old Ben Kenobi. Except that Havlat isn't the player you're looking for. Havlat can't seem to stay healthy in any season and is without a point in five games. He's got only two goals on the year and hasn't scored in his last eight games. That's a statistic that'll be hard to change with his average of just one shot per game and a 40.7% Fenwick For%. It's a slow year for the Czech veteran and there aren't many signs that he's going to turn it around.
Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI -- Unlike Havlat, Okposo still has a lot of value, he's just hit a wall of late. After scoring 27 goals last season, despite being without John Tavares after the Olympic break, Okposo hasn't scored in 16 games. Nonetheless, he's not completely without value. He has ten assists over that stretch and his 84 shots on the season, which ranks 30th overall in the NHL. He's not on the torrid pace he set last year and the goals aren't coming, but Okposo should snap out of his slump and even now he's able to provide some value for your team.
Boone Jenner, C, CBJ -- The sophomore center has taken on a lot of responsibility for the Blue Jackets, both because he's talented and because the team has been savaged by injuries this season. In his 16 games this season, he's been over 19 minutes of ice time in 11 games and has been over 20 in his last three. He's on a four-game goal-scoring streak and seems to be hitting his groove. If he's still available in your league, he's probably worth a glance.