Around the Rink
The Calgary Flames recalled forward Sam Bennett from the Kingston Frontenacs of the Ontario Hockey League on Friday. The 18-year-old, who is yet to play an NHL game, was the fourth overall selection in the 2014 NHL Draft.
Bennett will join a Calgary Flames team sitting third in the Pacific Division with 91 points – just one point ahead of the Los Angeles Kings and four points ahead of the rising San Jose Sharks. The Flames have four games remaining in the regular season as they aim to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2009. Bennett has joined the Flames and could be in the lineup for Saturday’s game against the Oilers.
In his three seasons with Kingston, Bennett has 65 goals and 155 points in 128 regular-season games. While being thrown into the mix at such a crucial time is nerve-wracking, the Flames have gotten tremendous production from 21-year-old rookie Johnny Gaudreau and 20-year-old Sean Monahan this season, so a young offensive weapon like Bennett should fit right in. While his short-term fantasy value remains limited, his play during these final four games and potentially the playoffs will give us an idea of where the youngster should be drafted in fantasy leagues next season and how he’s going to adapt to play at the NHL level.
Here’s what you need to know for Saturday’s NHL action.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Flyers (Ray Emery*) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 1:00
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky*), 2:00
Canucks (Eddie Lack) at Jets (Ondrej Pavelec), 3:00
Red Wings (Jimmy Howard*) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 7:00
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Rangers (Cameron Talbot), 7:00
Sabres (Anders Lindback) at Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:00
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Senators (Andrew Hammond), 7:00
Leafs (James Reimer) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 8:00
Sharks (Antti Niemi) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Oilers (Ben Scrivens), 10:00
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov*) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:00
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday
Lauri Korpikoski, LW (mouth) -- Has been ruled out for the Coyotes' back-to-back weekend games against the Sharks, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Mikkel Boedker, LW (ruptured spleen) -- Resumed skating Monday, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Dougie Hamilton, D (upper body) -- Could resume skating next week, Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald reports.
Matt Hackett, G -- Coach Ted Nolan indicated Thursday that the Sabres are uncertain when Hackett (knee) might return to action.
Zemgus Girgensons, C (ankle) -- Isn't likely to return to game action over the Sabres' final six games of the season, Bill Hoppe of the Olean Times Herald reports.
Paul Byron, C (lower body) -- Wasn't on the ice for the Flames' morning skate and appears unlikely to play Thursday against the Blues, Derek Wills of Sportsnet 960 The Fan reports.
Riley Nash, RW -- Is dealing with a concussion, NHL.com's Michael Smith reports.
Daniel Briere, C (foot) -- Will not join the Avalanche for their three-game California trip that begins Wednesday in San Jose.
Erik Johnson, D (knee) -- Has not been cleared to play and will not join the Avalanche for their three-game road trip through California this week.
Matt Calvert, LW (concussion) -- Practiced fully Monday.
Shawn Horcoff, LW -- Missed Thursday's practice due to an illness, NHL.com's Mark Stepneski reports.
Valeri Nichushkin, RW -- The Stars recalled Nichushkin (hip) from a conditioning assignment with AHL Texas on Thursday.
Tomas Jurco, RW (upper body) -- Won't play Thursday against the Bruins, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports.
Erik Cole, LW (upper body) -- Won't play Thursday against the Bruins, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports.
Pavel Datsyuk, C (lower body) – Will return to the lineup Saturday against the Wild.
Jonas Gustavsson, G (concussion) -- Should get medical clearance in the near future, Ansar Khan of MLive reports.
Boyd Gordon, C (back) -- Will not play Thursday against the Kings, Jack Michaels of Oilers Radio Network reports.
Matt Hendricks, LW (back) -- Will not play Wednesday against the Ducks, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Richard Bachman, G (personal) -- Has left the Oilers and will be unavailable for Wednesday's game against the Ducks, Joanne Ireland of the Edmonton Journal reports.
Scottie Upshall, RW (upper body) -- Will not play Thursday against the Hurricanes, Harvey Fialkov of the South Florida Sun Sentinel reports.
Al Montoya, G (groin) -- Worked out with goaltending coach Robb Tallas and strength coach Tommy Powers before the Panthers' morning skate on Thursday, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports.
Andrej Sekera, D -- Is sidelined with a lower-body injury, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports.
Tanner Pearson, LW (leg) -- Underwent an X-ray Tuesday, which didn't show as much healing as he had hoped, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports.
Jarret Stoll, C (upper body) -- Skated on the third line during Wednesday's practice, Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Matt Cooke, LW (sports hernia) -- May be ready to play as soon as next Tuesday's game against the Blackhawks, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Nate Prosser, D (lower body) -- Resumed practicing with the Wild on Wednesday, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Paul Gaustad, C (upper body) -- Has been ruled out for Saturday's game against the Stars, NHL.com's Robby Stanley reports.
Shea Weber, D (lower body) -- Practiced Thursday.
Matt Cullen, LW (lower body) -- Practiced with the team Thursday.
James Neal, RW (upper body) -- Was a full participant in Thursday's practice.
Eric Nystrom, RW (lower body) -- Participated in Tuesday's morning skate, John Glennon of The Tennessean reports.
Stephen Gionta, RW -- Will miss Friday's game against Montreal with a lower-back injury, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports.
Frans Nielsen, C (unspecified issue) -- Left the ice midway through Wednesday's practice.
Kevin Klein, D (arm) -- Was placed on injured reserve over the weekend.
Milan Michalek, LW -- Coach Dave Cameron said Thursday that Michalek (concussion) is not close to a return.
Chris Neil, RW -- Coach Dave Cameron said Thursday that Neil (thumb) has been Cleared for contact.
Andrew Hammond, D -- Relayed Monday that he has been dealing with a back issue, Don Brennan of the Ottawa Sun reports.
Luke Schenn, D -- Is slated to undergo abdominal surgery Thursday, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Evgeni Malkin, C -- Is considered day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.
Kris Letang, D -- Hasn't resumed skating or exercising since sustaining a concussion in last Saturday's win over the Coyotes, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Christian Ehrhoff, D (upper body) -- Resumed skating on his own prior to Wednesday's optional team session, Jenn Menendez of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Antti Niemi, G (illness) -- Is expected to return to the net Friday against the Coyotes, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Scott Hannan, D -- Is nursing a facial injury and is questionable to play Friday against the Coyotes, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Mirco Mueller, D (thumb) -- Appears done for the season, Curtis Pashelka of San Jose Mercury News reports.
Jason Garrison, D (upper body) -- Resumed skating on his own after Thursday's practice, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports.
Victor Hedman, D (lower body) -- Has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Senators, and isn't expected to play Saturday against the Panthers, either, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Tyler Johnson, C -- Coach Jon Cooper said Johnson has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Senators, and is unlikely to play Saturday against the Panthers, too, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Andrej Sustr, D (upper body) -- Will be out one-to-two weeks, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports.
Peter Holland, C (lower body) -- Could return as soon as this weekend, Paul Hendrick of Leafs TV reports.
Brad Richardson, C (ankle) -- Isn't expected to play Saturday against the Jets, Dan Murphy of Sportsnet reports.
Ryan Miller, G (knee) -- Is expected to join the Canucks for practice Friday, Dan Murphy of Sportsnet reports.
Zack Kassian, RW (back) -- Is not with the Canucks on their current four-game road trip, the Province reports.
Dmitry Orlov, D -- The Capitals have recalled Orlov (wrist) from his conditioning stint with AHL Hershey, the team's official site reports.
Jay Beagle, RW (shoulder) -- Has been ruled out for the entirety of the Capitals' three-game road trip that begins Thursday in Montreal, Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post reports.
Dustin Byfuglien, D -- Was handed a four-game suspension Thursday for his illegal cross-check on the Rangers' J.T. Miller during Tuesday's game.
Ondrej Pavelec, G -- Missed Thursday's practice with an illness, Kirk Penton of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Jonathan Toews, C, CHI -- Toews delivered for the Hawks Friday, netting a pair of goals, including the game-winner, in a win over Buffalo. This was the third time in four games Toews has scored the game-winning goal, once again proving his clutch ability. The 26-year-old is riding a five-game point streak and has piled up nine goals and 15 points in his last 16 games. He's up to 66 points in 78 games on the season and has been delivering in almost all fantasy categories. With Patrick Kane (broken left collarbone) out of the lineup, Toews has put the team on his back, helping them to four straight victories. With a stellar plus-31 rating and seven game-winners, this fantasy stud is a must-start every game.
Jamie Benn, C, DAL -- Benn hit the 30-goal mark Friday, scoring twice and adding an assist in a loss to the Blues. That's back-to-back 30-goal seasons for Benn, who has piled up seven goals and 13 points in his last eight games. He's sitting fourth in the NHL scoring race with 77 points in 78 games and could potentially hit the 80-point barrier for the first time in his career. Dallas may be out of the playoff race, but Benn and linemate Tyler Seguin are a big reason the team has managed to win 10 of their last 15 games. With a whopping 47 assists and 242 shots on goal, Benn can be rolled out with confidence in these final few games.
Brent Seabrook, D, CHI – Seabrook is going through another rough stretch, managing no points in 10 straight games. He fired five shots on goal Friday, but is still stuck at 31 points on the season. While this marks the seventh time in his career he’s hit 30 points, he’s taken small steps backwards after posting a career high 48 points in 2010-2011. While his eight goals are still noteworthy, the 29-year-old has seen less than 20 minutes of ice time in three of his last four games. He remains a good producer, but fantasy owners are going to need to become accustomed to these cold streaks. Seabrook, who had 15 points in 16 games in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, will get a prime chance to get back on track in the 2015 postseason.
Brian Elliott, G, STL –Elliott did manage his first win in five games Friday, but he only stopped 27 of 32 shots, as the Blues helped him out with a whopping seven goals. While the 29-year-old still owns a great 25-14-3 record on the season, he’s given up 14 goals in his last four games, dropping his save percentage to .916. He's been outstanding this season, but this recent rough patch has many questioning whether he'll be able to lead the Blues on a deep playoff run. If things don't pan out, the Blues could turn to 24-year-old Jake Allen and his impressive 20-6-4 record.
Rasmus Ristolainen, D, BUF – A Buffalo Sabre on the recommended pickup list? Did this author that forget April Fools’ Day was Wednesday? No, not really. Ristolainen has been rolling of late, most recently collecting three assists in Friday's loss to the Blackhawks. While the season is almost over, this is a player to keep your eye on next season. The 20-year-old, who was a first-round pick in 2013, is always jumping into the rush and has tremendous offensive instincts. He’s finishing the season strong, riding a four-game point streak in which he's recorded three goals and seven points. He's a plus-9 over his last nine games and is averaging 20:27 of ice time, making him a worthy of a look. With the Sabres likely to get Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel at the 2015 NHL draft, the emerging Ristolainen, who has 20 points in his first full NHL season, is likely to be a key part of the puzzle for the Sabres in the coming years.