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Tuesday Daily Puck: Don't Be Shy About Scheifele

Andrew Fiorentino

Managing hockey editor, talent wrangler, football columnist, FSWA's 2015 fantasy hockey writer of the year. Twitter: @akfiorentino

Around the Rink

The trade deadline came with a reasonable amount of moving and shaking for fantasy purposes, and Monday’s three-game slate provided a nice first look at some of the guys who got shipped off – none more noteworthy than new-minted New York Ranger Keith Yandle, who went minus-1 (on the ice for the Preds’ only goal – on which he was outmuscled in front of the net – and none of the Rangers’ four) with three shots in his debut.

Surprising trade chip Kimmo Timonen also played in his first game of the season after being held out all year due to career-threatening blood clots and then dealt to Chicago last week. He delivered a quieter minus-1, but you had to expect a few rust-shaking games for the 39-year-old, who was playing in his first NHL contest in 11 months.

Finally, the Sharks immediately benefited from their addition of Ben Smith, a little-regarded forward with the Blackhawks for the past several years who debuted with a thump on Monday night, tallying the game-winning goal, an assist, a plus-2 rating, four hits, and seven wins on 10 faceoffs. A sparkling night all around. Once upon a time (2011-12 and 2012-13), Smith was a productive scorer in the AHL, and who knows? Maybe the move to San Jose will be to his benefit. Don’t expect a lot, but don’t expect the kind of fantasy disaster he posted with Chicago this year (nine points in 61 games) to necessarily be the norm in his new home.

A lot more debuts to come on Tuesday’s slate. Let’s get at it.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Devils (Cory Schneider), 7:00 PM
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00 PM
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00 PM
Islanders (Michal Neuvirth) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:30 PM
Maple Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30 PM
Senators (Andrew Hammond) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 8:00 PM
Islanders (Jaroslav Halak) at Stars (Jhonas Enroth), 8:30 PM
Ducks (John Gibson) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00 PM
Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Oilers (Ben Scrivens), 9:30 PM
Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Vancouver Canucks (Jacob Markstrom), 10:00 PM

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.

Injury News For Teams Playing Tuesday

Nashville Predators
Anton Volchenkov, D (lower body) – Returned to practice last week

New Jersey Devils
Bryce Salvador, D (back) – Likely done for the year, but not officially yet
Ryane Clowe, LW (concussion) – Done for the year
Damon Severson, D (left ankle) – Could be back in Tuesday

Calgary Flames
Matt Stajan, C (personal) – Likely to return Tuesday
Ladislav Smid, D (upper body) – Skating, but return date unknown
Mark Giordano, D (biceps) – Done for the year
Paul Byron, C (lower body) – Not expected to return in near future
Joni Ortio, G (lower body) – Out another 5-7 weeks yet

Philadelphia Flyers
Shayne Gostisbehere, D (knee) – Should return to AHL action by next week
Radko Gudas, D (knee) – Will start skating soon
Nicklas Grossmann, D (upper body) – Doubtful for Tuesday's game
Ray Emery, G (lower body) – Practiced Monday

Washington Capitals
Dmitry Orlov, D (wrist) – Status remains "in limbo"
Nate Schmidt, D (shoulder) – Fracture’s healed, but still needs strength & conditioning

Columbus Blue Jackets
Brandon Dubinsky, C (concussion) – Out indefinitely
Jack Skille, RW (shoulder) – Having season-ending surgery
Jeremy Morin, LW (upper body) – Skating lightly
Kevin Connauton, D (foot) – Likely won't play for another week
Matt Calvert, LW (concussion) – Hit IR on Friday
Boone Jenner, LW (back) – Not expected back at practice this week
Ryan Murray, D (ankle) – Out another 1-3 weeks; probably toward the longer end

Buffalo Sabres
Josh Gorges, D (lower body) – Done for the year
Patrick Kaleta, RW (lower body) – Out until late March or early April
Tyson Strachan, D (illness) – Practiced Monday
Mark Pysyk, D (heart) – Will return soon, but not until docs figure out what’s wrong
Zemgus Girgensons, C (ankle) – Out at least another week-plus
Cody McCormick, C (blood clots) – Not likely to return this year

Tampa Bay Lightning
Matt Carle, D (abdomen) – Still at least a week away from returning
Michael Blunden, RW (knee) – Needs season-ending surgery

Toronto Maple Leafs
Trevor Smith, C (lower body) – Practicing; should return very soon
Nathan Horton, RW (back) – Career still in jeopardy, but hey, he’s a Leaf now

Florida Panthers
Dave Bolland, C (upper body) – Close to returning; Tuesday possible
Willie Mitchell, D (upper body) – Also may return Tuesday

Ottawa Senators
Chris Phillips, D (general soreness) – “Weeklong” absence now approaching a month
Chris Neil, RW (thumb) – Out another 2-3 weeks
Clarke MacArthur, LW (concussion) – Timetable unclear
Zack Smith, C (wrist) – Practicing, but return date not set
Robin Lehner, G (concussion) – No timeline for return yet
Curtis Lazar, C (illness) – Sat out Saturday, but probably feeling better by Tuesday

Minnesota Wild
Jason Zucker, LW (collarbone) – Out another two-plus months
Jared Spurgeon, D (head) – Skated on his own prior to Monday's practice
Ryan Carter, C (shoulder) – Out for at least another week, probably more
Marco Scandella, D (undisclosed) – Likely to play Tuesday
Keith Ballard, D (concussion) – Unlikely to play again this season
Matt Cooke, LW (sports hernia) – Likely out another couple weeks

New York Islanders
Eric Boulton, LW (lower body) – No timeline
Casey Cizikas, C (lower body) – Could play on road trip that starts Tuesday
Kyle Okposo, RW (eye) – Skated before practice Monday
Mikhail Grabovski, C (concussion) – No timeline still

Dallas Stars
Rich Peverley, C (chest) – No timetable
Tyler Seguin, C (knee) – Skating lightly; a couple weeks away yet
Valeri Nichushkin, LW (hip) – Could be back in action as soon as mid-March
Travis Moen, LW (upper body) – Not progressing as quickly as originally anticipated

Anaheim Ducks
Matt Beleskey, LW (shoulder) – Should return within the week
Korbinian Holzer, D (concussion) – No timeline for return after being acquired via trade
Sami Vatanen, D (lower body) – Out until late March
Tim Jackman, RW (lower body) – Day-to-day; Tuesday status uncertain
James Wisniewski, D (foot) – Has a bone bruise

Arizona Coyotes
Martin Hanzal, C (back) – Done for season following surgery
Mikkel Boedker, LW (spleen) – Out for the year

Los Angeles Kings
Slava Voynov, D (suspension) – Trial delayed until next week
Alec Martinez, D (concussion) – No word on return date
Tanner Pearson, LW (leg) – Kings acting as though he won’t be available for playoffs

Edmonton Oilers
Iiro Pakarinen, RW (knee) – Got MRI Monday; no results released yet
Taylor Hall, LW (lower leg) – Out another three weeks
Tyler Pitlick, RW (spleen) – Non-contact practice Monday
Nikita Nikitin, D (shoulder) – Also practiced Monday without contact
Anton Lander, C (shoulder) – Another no-contact practitioner Monday
Viktor Fasth, G (knee) – Remains out indefinitely

San Jose Sharks
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) – Expected back next year following ACL surgery
Mike Brown, RW (leg) – Skated with the team in practice this weekend

Vancouver Canucks
Ryan Miller, G (knee) – Out another 3-5 weeks yet
Brad Richardson, C (ankle) – Resumed skating last week
Kevin Bieksa, D (hand) – Hit IR over weekend
Alex Burrows, RW (groin) – Made an ice appearance before practice Monday
Alexander Edler, D (upper body) – Practiced fully Monday
Chris Tanev, D (head) – Returned to practice Saturday

Hot

Michael Del Zotto, D, PHI – Already a two-time castoff at the tender young age of 24, Del Zotto has reminded us this season of just how young he was throughout his early-career rise and fall. It’ll be seven years this summer since the Rangers drafted him, but he’s just a couple years older than this year’s rookies out of the college game. And he’s had a fine campaign, averaging about a point every other game. He's been particularly productive lately, with his game-winning shorthanded revenge tally against the Rangers on Saturday gave him seven points in his last eight contests. With plenty of season left, he’s got a great chance for his first double-digit-goals campaign since 2011-12, and he’s also hitting and blocking shots at the best rate of his career.

Michal Neuvirth, G, NYI – Sure, he was traded from starter status in Buffalo to backup status with the Isles, but it’s hard for Neuvirth to feel bad about leaving the sinkhole known as the Sabres for the rarefied air of Long Island. After all, the Icelanders are tied for second in the Eastern Conference in points. Fantasy owners won’t be thrilled about the loss in playing time, but Neuvirth just went 3-4-2 (which is amazing by Buffalo standards) with a 2.28 GAA and .938 save percentage (great marks by anyone’s standards) in the month of February. Meanwhile, Jaroslav Halak has been the definition of “so-so.” The widely available Neuvirth would be my recommended pickup if not for that slot being filled already.

Cold

Mike Smith, G, ARI – There was a period of time there when things were going well for Smith and it looked like he might be turning his season around. From Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 10, Smith posted save marks of .920 or better in seven out of eight starts, and even though he only won three of those games, it was a much-needed sign of life. Unfortunately, his sharp Feb. 10 outing against St. Louis (34 saves on 36 shots) ended up as the start of a brand-new losing streak. He’s dropped eight in a row now, all in regulation, and given up 13 goals over his last three games. So things are ugly again. Very ugly. And they’re probably not going to get better this year.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, WAS – The first full NHL campaign for Kuznetsov has not exactly been a breakout effort, as the highly talented Russian owns just 24 points in 62 games. It’s been particularly rough lately, though; Kuznetsov’s gone eight straight without a point (and is minus-5 in that span), and he’s coming up on a month-long run without scoring a goal. Worse, his minutes were cut to single digits on Sunday (9:19) – the first time that’s happened since November. At least he took two shots Sunday, bringing him to a not-so-grand total of four in the last five games. The 22-year-old’s game clearly needs work.

Recommended Pickup
Mark Scheifele, C, WPG – Who’s got 36 points and is criminally under-owned in fantasy? Oddly enough, it’s Scheifele, the seventh overall pick in 2011 and one of the more exciting young players in the NHL. The 21-year-old pivot is skating career-high minutes (more than 18 per game), his substandard shooting percentage points to a rise in goal-scoring, he’s producing points steadily of late – five in the last four games – and it’s all upside from here. What are you waiting for, people?

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.