Around the Rink
The NHL’s Central Division is considered by many to be the best division in the league. That seems fair, based on the way the season has gone thus far. That’s even with the Dallas Stars, Colorado Avalanche, and Minnesota Wild all arguably disappointing by and large. However, none of them have been bad, the “worst” in the Central is better than the worst in any other division. The Pacific Division was also expected to be pretty impressive, but, so far, that hasn’t been the case.
That’s not just because the Arizona Coyotes and Edmonton Oilers are awful, even though they are. Neither of them are Buffalo Sabres bad, but they may be the 29th and 28th best teams in the league. However, the rest of the division has not exactly been great either. The San Jose Sharks have had their struggles. The Calgary Flames got off to a hot start, but they are fading. The Los Angeles Kings are doing what they do, which is scuffle during the regular season before turning it on in the postseason.
The Anaheim Ducks have opened up a sizable lead at the moment, the one team that has risen above mediocrity. Even so, that’s only a matter of record. Their goal differential is thoroughly mediocre. Before Tuesday’s games, not a single team in the division had a goal differential better than plus-9. There is plenty of talent in the Pacific Division, and maybe the second half of the season will be different. So far, however, it’s looking like the winner of the Central Division, whomever they may be, will be the clear favorite to come out of the Western Conference.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Canadiens (Carey Price*) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky) 7:00
Flyers (Ray Emery*) at Capitals (Braden Holtby) 8:00
Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Ducks (Frederik Andersen) 10:00
Devils (Cory Schneider*) at Kings (Martin Jones) 10:30
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Wednesday
P.A. Parenteau, RW (upper-body) – Skated Monday, likely to play Wednesday.
Artem Anisimov, C (triceps) – Skating, not likely to return for another month or so.
Brian Gibbons, C (knee) – Skating, may return soon, but no signs of that yet.
Scott Hartnell, LW (illness) – Didn’t practice Monday, but likely to play Wednesday.
Nathan Horton, RW (back) – Out for season.
Boone Jenner, LW (back) – On injured reserve.
Ryan Murray, D (knee) – Practicing in a limited fashion.
Jack Skille, RW (lower-body) – Out two weeks.
James Wisniewski, D (illness) – Didn’t practice Monday, expected to play Wednesday.
Braydon Coburn, D (foot) – Out four weeks.
Nicklas Grossmann, D (upper-body) – On injured reserve.
Steve Mason, G (lower-body) – Could miss up to two weeks.
John Erskine, D (neck) – On injured reserve.
Dmitry Orlov, D (wrist) – Practicing, but not close to returning.
Aaron Volpatti, LW (neck) – Ready to play when activated.
Peter Holland, C (upper-body) – On injured reserve.
Leo Komarov, LW (lower-body) – Didn’t play Monday, questionable for Wednesday.
Joffrey Lupul, LW (lower-body) – Will miss four weeks.
Eric Brewer, D (foot) – Out of walking boot, still week-to-week.
Ryane Clowe, LW (head) – Out long term.
Patrik Elias, LW (elbow) – Status unknown.
Eric Gelinas, D (illness) – On injured reserve, but should return soon.
Stephen Gionta, C (hand) – Out 3-5 weeks.
Jaromir Jagr, RW (illness) – Will not play Wednesday.
Tuomo Ruutu, LW (illness) – Will not play Wednesday.
Bryce Salvador, D (lower-body) – Has not resumed skating.
Damon Severson, D (ankle) – Has not resumed skating.
Tanner Pearson, LW (leg) – Out for season.
Robyn Regehr, D (hand) – Shooting the puck, no return date known.
Tyler Toffoli, RW (illness) – Return date unknown.
Slava Voynov, D (suspension) – Suspended indefinitely.
Mathieu Perreault, C, WPG – Perreault would deserve to make this article solely on the strength of his four goal game against the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. However, this is also the fourth game in a four game point streak, and he had four points in those three prior games. He’s also on the positive side of the plus/minus ledger now. He’s not the kind of player you expect to score four goals in a game, but this also isn’t a total fluke, so there is reason for enthusiasm beyond one great outing.
Colin Wilson, C, NAS – For years, the Predators struggled to find secondary scoring, or scoring at all, to be frank. Now, guys like Wilson are starting to emerge. Wilson now has a four game point streak after scoring two goals and adding two helpers on Tuesday. In addition to his 30 points, he’s also a plus-21, so he’s really helping out there. He’s nothing special, but he is good, and he’s certainly hot at the moment.
Patrick Marleau, C, SAN – Marleau has not scored a goal in his last 10 games, and that’s part of the reason he has a mere seven goals on the year. He does have one assist in that time, but that’s not saving your fantasy team. He’s also a minus-7 in his last six games, and the Sharks are having issues in general. Marleau has been a Sharks legend, but all good things must end.
Zemgus Girgensons, C, BUF – Girgensons is an All-Star. He’s also on a seven game streak without scoring a single point, and he’s a minus-7 in those games. He’s not an All-Star on merit. He’s an All-Star because Latvians love him. That’s cool, but it’s not a fantasy category.
Bobby Ryan, RW, OTT – In past season, finding Ryan available would have been surprising. However, his star has cooled, and he’s in Ottawa now as opposed to skating alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, so there is a not inconsiderable number of leagues where you can grab him. He has nine points in his last eight games, he’s taking a lot of shots, and this is a guy who has scored plenty of goals in the past. He has four 30 goal season and he’s only 27. It’s far from a gamble.