Around the Rink
A few quick hits today.
- Jeff Skinner is expected to be scratched by Hurricanes coach Bill Peters against Arizona tonight. That's too bad for Skinner owners, not only because he's out, but because Mike Smith has proved to be one of the more porous goaltenders in the league this year. It's an alarming situation for Skinner owners. He's always an injury risk, but he was certainly worth giving a chance this year after scoring 33 goals in 71 games last season.
Now, it looks like it may be worth seeing what you can get from him through trade. He's got just 10 goals on the year and is getting scratched. Though, maybe he bounces back and it's a wake up call for the young forward. Or maybe that's a good line to e-mail someone in your league to see if they bite.
- Pekka Rinne is expected to return tonight. Big deal for the Preds. Big deal for Rinne owners. With how well he's played -- maybe only rivaled by Carey Price and Tuukka Rask for the Vezina this year -- it's unlikely a Rinne owner in your league dropped him when he got injured.
However, if you're in desperate need of a goaltender, Darcy Kuemper is expected to be back with the Wild soon after a conditioning stint in the AHL. Largely, Kuemper has not been good this year. But, he's played alright in spurts and he performed well with the Iowa Wild on his conditioning stint (apart from his first game) and posted a 24-shot shutout last night with Iowa, including the beauty of a save that starts the video below. He looks like he's gotten his game back since the injury.
The Wild will have their hands full, carrying three goaltenders on the active roster, but they still believe that Kuemper is the goaltender of the future there and want him to get games. They also can't ride Devan Dubnyk into the ground if they expect to have a shot at the playoffs. There's no point getting into the playoffs if you've killed your goalie en route to doing that and have to turn back to the goaltenders who got you into the position where you needed to trade for a goaltender in the first place.
Kuemper will be the #2 over Niklas Backstrom, who has been terrible this year. Kuemper is probably available in most leagues and could be a pickup worth a few games if you're in dire need of a netminder.
- David Perron scored last night in his return to Edmonton. It wasn't a pretty goal, but you have to be happy for him. The players in Edmonton are relentlessly scrutinized and beat up on for bring on a team that just isn't good enough and has been poorly constructed.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
St. Louis Blues (Brian Elliott) at Buffalo Sabres (Jhonas Enroth), 7:00 PM
New York Islanders (Jaroslav Halak) at Philadelphia Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Washington Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Ottawa Senators (Robin Lehner), 7:30 PM
Los Angeles Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Florida Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30 PM
Anaheim Ducks (Frederik Andersen) at Nashville Predators (Carter Hutton), 8:00 PM
Tampa Bay Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Dallas Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
Detroit Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Colorado Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 9:00 PM
Carolina Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Arizona Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00 PM
San Jose Sharks (Alex Stalock) at Vancouver Canucks (Ryan Miller), 10:00 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
St. Louis Blues
Kevin Shattenkirk, D - (abdomen) will undergo surgery in the next 7-10 days and should be considered week-to-week after the procedure is complete.
Chris Porter, LW - (high-ankle sprain) is no longer wearing a cast.
Jori Lehtera, C - (concussion) is out indefinitely.
Patrik Berglund, C - (shoulder) remains out.
Michal Neuvirth, G - (lower body) remains out.
Marcus Foligno, LW - (hand) is making progress in his recovery, but he still doesn't not have a timetable to return.
Mikhail Grigorenko, C - (knee) is expected to miss the next two weeks.
Cody McCormick, C - (blood clot) is out for the season.
New York Islanders
Matt Carkner, D - (back) is expected to miss the rest of the season.
Kyle Okposo, RW - (detached retina) will remain out for weeks.
Eric Boulton, LW - (lower body) has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to Jan. 17.
Braydon Coburn, D - (lower body) skated on his own prior to Wednesday's practice, but remains out.
Nicklas Grossmann, D - (shoulder) is on track to return to the lineup Thursday against the Islanders.
Zac Rinaldo, LW - (suspension) is still serving a suspension for boarding Kris Letang.
Scott Laughton, C - (concussion) was a full participant in Tuesday's practice.
Michael Raffl, LW - (pneumonia) will be kept off the ice for a while.
John Erskine, D - (neck) remains out.
Nate Schmidt, D - (shoulder) will miss another couple weeks.
Edward Pasquale, G - (hip) is out indefinitely.
Dmitry Orlov, D - (wrist) is out indefinitely.
Alex Chiasson, RW - (undisclosed) missed Tuesday's game.
Craig Anderson, G - (hand) will not start Thursday.
Zack Smith, C - (wrist) has skated.
Los Angeles Kings
Slava Voynov, D - (suspension) remains out due to charges of domestic violence.
Tanner Pearson, LW - (leg) is unlikely to play for the rest of the season.
Clayton Stoner, D - (illness) did not play Tuesday.
Stefan Noesen, C - (Achilles) has skated, but is not close to a return.
Pekka Rinne, G - (knee) looks like he'll be available for Thursday's game.
Ryan Ellis, D - (lower body) skated on his own before Tuesday's morning session.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Carle, D - (hip) was moved to injured reserve Saturday.
Radko Gudas, D - (knee) remains on IR.
Valeri Nichushkin, LW - (hip) has skated, but won't return this month.
Patrik Nemeth, D - (arm) skated with the team Tuesday morning while wearing a no-contact jersey.
Detroit Red Wings
Jimmy Howard, G - (groin) practiced for about 30 minutes Tuesday and hopes to return February 11.
Johan Franzen, RW - (concussion) is without a timetable to return.
Jonas Gustavsson, G - (shoulder) will rejoin the Red Wings but will not start Thursday's game.
Patrick Bordeleau, LW - (knee) remains out.
Borna Rendulic, RW - (broken leg) could be out until March.
Erik Johnson, D - (knee) is on IR.
Jamie McGinn, LW - (back) is out for the season.
Jesse Winchester, LW - (concussion) may be shut down for the rest of the season.
Ryan Wilson, D - (shoulder) is out for the season.
Martin Hanzal, C - (upper body) is not progressing and is still considered day-to-day.
Mikkel Boedker, LW - (ruptured spleen) will rejoin the team on Thursday, but remains out for another three-to-five weeks.
Joe Vitale, C - (upper body) is skating again but remains out.
San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW - (knee) isn't close to a return yet.
Mike Brown, RW - (leg) has yet to receive clearance to skate.
Justin Braun, D - (finger) will miss the next three-to-five weeks.
Tommy Wingels, RW - Wingels has returned to the ice, but isn't ready to play yet.
Tye McGinn, LW - (undisclosed) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.
Frank Corrado, D - (illness) missed Tuesday's game.
Brad Richardson, C - (ankle) missed Tuesday's game.
Kevin Bieksa, D - (hand) is on IR.
Ryan Kesler, C, ANA -- Kesler's posted points in four of his last five games, with two goals and three assists. He's had a slump this year, which he's only recently come out of, but otherwise he's consistently producing for owners. He's getting good minutes, power play time, and he's on pace to surpass last year's point total of 43.
Rick Nash, LW, NYR -- Nash has four goals and an assist, plus 14 shots, over his last three games. He's not even playing that many minutes and he's getting this done. In those three games his ice time was 15:28, 18:10, and 15:41. He's not doing a ton for owners on that front, but you can't argue with the production. Last night's beautiful goal (see below) puts his season total at 32 goals, first in the NHL. He also ranks ninth in +/- with a plus-20 rating, he's first in short-handed goals with four, fifth in game-winning goals with five, and fifth in shots with 183. He's already surpassed the goal totals he's posted over the last four seasons and tied his total form the year before that. At 30-years old, Nash is on pace to set a career-high in goals. Slow clap, Mr. Nash.
Nail Yakupov, RW, EDM -- Poor Nail Yakupov. I don't want to kick a horse while its down, but Yakupov isn't doing much for owners. I'm arguing for Yak as an all-around improved player this year versus last year, but that's not helping fantasy owners at all. Yak has shown a little more hockey sense this year, played a little tougher at times (though didn't seem to care for it last night when Viktor Fasth tried to correct his sloppy breakout that lead to a turnover). Yakupov has just one goal in his last 25 games. Over that stretch he's a minus-13 and has been held to one or fewer shots 10 times. Things aren't going well for Yakupov owners and you can probably find a lower upside, but more stable option on the wire.
Teddy Purcell, RW, EDM -- I hate to pick on two players from Edmonton (especially after praising Perron in my open), but just because a team is bad doesn't mean there isn't good fantasy value to be had there. (See: Oliver Ekmann-Larsson, Cam Ward, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Bobby Ryan.) However, Purcell is a former 20-goal scorer and has crossed the 60-point threshold. He should be playing better than he is, especially since he's not been thrown on lines full of scrubs. He's been given a chance to succeed in the top six. He's got just one goal in his last 18 games. He's playing decent minutes and you can't even always count on him to bank some shots. He's only taken one shot in each of his last three games and over that 18-game stretch where he has only one goal, he's been held without a shot seven times, including a four-game run without a single shot. Purcell was a player who owners could bank on for some depth value off the wire in recent years. That's not the case this season.
Patrick Eaves, RW, DAL -- Of course... international superstar Patrick Eaves. Of course he's here. Of course. He does, after all, have six whole goals on the season... So maybe he's not the hottest commodity in fantasy, but it's hard to argue with what Eaves has done recently. He went on IR on December 2 and has only been back for four games, but he has points in all four, totaling three goals and an assist. All three goals are power play goals and he's averaging three shots per game. I'm not saying you need to run out and pick Eaves up, but he is producing. He's getting solid minutes and he's playing on the top power play unit with a few guys who know how to set up a play: Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Jason Spezza. Oh, and speaking of Spezza, Eaves is logging more ice time than him. There's not much doubt that he's on a roll and has the trust of the coaching staff, at least for now. If you micro-manage your roster and have a roster spot you're juggling between marginal players, hoping to catch them on a hot streak, you can do worse than Eaves. Just don't stick with him for too long if the streak ends.