Around the Rink
NHL careers are not linear. As such, sometimes a player will come out of nowhere and make a name for themselves in the league. It can be short-lived, sure, as a series of one or two season wonders could tell you. Some players, though, are late bloomers. While it may be a little early to call that the case here, it seems like you can add Mike Hoffman to that list.
Before last season, Hoffman was a journeyman who had never stuck in the NHL. He had six points to his name over scattered appearances across three seasons. Then, as a 25-year-old, he broke out, scoring 27 goals and 48 points.
Those are notable numbers, but it was one season. Hoffman could have fallen to Earth this year and nobody would have been surprised. That hasn’t happened, though. When you peruse the scoring leaders of the league, Hoffman is up there. He already has 15 goals, and 27 points, through 24 games. Hoffman is playing more than four more minutes per game, and he’s already taken 75 shots. Now, it’s still not even two full seasons of a sample size, but, at the moment, it looks like Hoffman has solidified himself as the real deal in the NHL.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Canadiens (Mike Condon), 7:30 PM
Sharks (Alex Stalock) at Oilers (Anders Nilsson), 9:30 PM
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Avalanche (Reto Berra*), 10:00 PM
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Canucks (Ryan Miller), 10:00 PM
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Wednesday
Chris Kelly, RW (leg) – Out 6-8 months
Joonas Kemppainen, C (undisclosed) – Will not play
Colin Miller, D (undisclosed) – Did not play Monday
David Pastrnak, LW (foot) – Off crutches, out indefinitely
Dennis Seidenberg, D (undisclosed) – Did not play Monday
Brendan Gallagher, RW (hand) – Out six weeks
Zack Kassian, RW (suspension) – Suspended indefinitely
Torrey Mitchell, C (lower-body) – Day-to-day
Carey Price, G (leg) – Out at least six weeks
Devante Smith-Pelly, RW (lower-body) – On injured reserve
Ben Smith, RW (head) – Out indefinitely
Raffi Torres, RW (suspension) – Suspended until Jan. 14
Marc-Edouard Vlasic, D (lower-body) – Did not play Saturday
Andrew Ference, D (undisclosed) – On injured reserve
Rob Klinkhammer, LW (lower-body) – On injured reserve
Connor McDavid, C (shoulder) – Out months
Benoit Pouliot, LW (lower-body) – On injured reserve
Nail Yakupov, RW (ankle) – Out 2-4 weeks
Kris Letang, D (undisclosed) – Did not play last weekend
Ben Street, C (chest) – On injured reserve
Jesse Winchester, LW (concussion) – On injured reserve
Kevin Klein, D (oblique) – Out 2-3 weeks
Derek Stepan, C (ribs) – Out 4-6 weeks
Luca Sbisa, D (hand) – Did not play Monday
Brandon Sutter, C (abdomen) – Out 4-6 weeks
Jake Virtanen, LW (hip) – Week-to-week
Claude Giroux, C, PHI – Giroux picked up a goal and an assist Tuesday against the Islanders, and notched seven shots on net. He has three multi-point games in his last six outings, and he has 10 goals on the year now. He got off to a slow start, by his standards, but of course we were saying that last year, too, and look how that turned out. Maybe he’s just a guy that takes a little time to get going, but once he does, few players are better.
Kyle Palmieri, RW, NJD – Palmieri lit the lamp Tuesday, and while it was against Toronto, it still gives him a goal in three straight games, and a goal in five of his last six games. Of course, he has no assists in those games, and only nine on the season, but few players are as scoring like Palmieri at the moment. On the other hand, since he is close to reaching his career high in goals, this probably isn’t going to continue.
Jarome Iginla, RW, COL – Iginla is closing in on 600 career goals, but his production as screeched to a halt as he’s neared that hallowed number. He only has one goal, and one point, in his last nine games, and he’s a minus-6 in those games. Before this cold streak, he did notch seven goals, and he scored well last year, so while he’s not the player he used to be, there’s probably a little life left in him. Then again, sometimes a player does just suddenly hit the wall, and that is that, but given Iginla’s resume that’s unlikely.
Mikko Koivu, C, MIN – Koivu, like Iginla, is no longer the contributor he used to be, but Koivu also has even fewer goals in his last nine games, because he has zero. He does have four assists in that time, but he has zero points in his last six games, and he’s a minus-5 in that time. Koivu hasn’t been a goal scorer for a while, he hasn’t had 20 goals in six seasons, so he’s fairly reliant on other guys putting the puck in the net to get any real fantasy value.
Jussi Jokinen, LW, FLA – Jokinen was a little off last year, only scoring eight goals. However, he only had a 6.0 shooting percentage, less than half of his career number. He’s bounced back this year, as he already has six goals to go with 11 assists. Jokinen has seen power-play time, is playing almost 18 minutes a night, and has taken 52 shots on goal (These stats were of Tuesday afternoon. On Tuesday night, he picked up an assist, two shots on goal, and, inexplicably, 12 penalty minutes). While, at 32, he’s at the tail end of his prime, there’s still value here, for Florida, and for fantasy owners.