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The Daily Puck: To Victor Go The Spoils

Andrew Fiorentino

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

Around the Rink

Big news for a Monday night/Tuesday morning:

1. Chicago gave Joel Quenneville a three-year extension. My only question is, why not just make it a lifetime deal? I simply can’t imagine a Blackhawks team playing badly enough under Coach Q to get the guy fired. The winningest active head coach in the NHL, he’s 343-168-69 at the head of the Blackhawks. That’s sick, even if you do have Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews that whole time.

2. The Panthers, playing the latter half of a back-to-back set on their West Coast swing, finally took a loss in Vancouver, ending their 12-game winning streak – in overtime, so Tuesday still marks the one-month anniversary of Roberto Luongo’s last regulation loss.

3. If you haven’t noticed – and buzz around the league on the matter has been low, all in all – Jacob Markstrom, who finally ended Florida’s streak with a 26-save performance Monday night, has finally been coming into his own after a number of seasons with the ‘goalie of the future’ label affixed to his forehead. Ryan Miller has been highly inconsistent, and even after being activated from IR on Friday, he sat and watched as Markstrom made consecutive starts. The goalie of the future is rapidly becoming the goalie of the present.

4. Alex Ovechkin is playing the lottery. Sure, why not?

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Blue Jackets (Anton Forsberg) at Islanders (Thomas Greiss), 7:00 PM
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00 PM
Devils (Keith Kinkaid) at Blues (Brian Elliott), 8:00 PM
Sabres (Chad Johnson) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 8:00 PM
Sharks (Alex Stalock) at Jets (Connor Hellebuyck), 8:00 PM
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Blackhawks (Corey Crawford), 8:30 PM
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 9:00 PM
Oilers (Cam Talbot) at Coyotes (Louis Domingue), 9:00 PM

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

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

Columbus Blue Jackets
David Clarkson, RW (upper body) – Will be out a while
Curtis McElhinney, G (ankle) – Hit IR last week
Nick Foligno, LW (upper body) – Out indefinitely
Matt Calvert, LW (knee) – Out four weeks
Sergei Bobrovsky, G (groin) – Skated before practice Monday
Markus Hannikainen, RW (shoulder) – Skating, but return date unclear

New York Islanders
Travis Hamonic, D (lower body) – Out 2-to-3 weeks
Jean-Francois Berube, G (lower body) – Has been on IR since November; no timeline
Eric Boulton, LW (undisclosed) – No timeline announced
Johnny Boychuk, D (shoulder) – Out 3-to-5 weeks more

Pittsburgh Penguins
Beau Bennett, RW (upper body) – Out another 1-to-3 weeks

Carolina Hurricanes
James Wisniewski, D (knee) – Could in theory return in April
Nathan Gerbe, LW (lower body) – Should be approaching a return
Victor Rask, C (upper body) – Has sat two straight; return unclear
Phil Di Giuseppe, LW (concussion) – Out indefinitely

New Jersey Devils
Patrik Elias, LW (knee) – Still not ready to return
Tuomo Ruutu, LW (lower body) – Practiced Monday, but unlikely for Tuesday
Michael Cammalleri, LW (upper body) – Could join team on road trip
Jiri Tlusty, LW (upper body) – No timeline; placed on IR
Jacob Josefson, C (lower body) – Lingering on IR; timeline unclear
John Moore, D (lower body) – Won’t play Tuesday

St. Louis Blues
Jaden Schwartz, LW (ankle) – Skating again, but out through All-Star break
Jake Allen, G (lower body) – Week-to-week
Carl Gunnarsson, D (upper body) – Week-to-week
Magnus Paajarvi, LW (upper body) – Week-to-week, for a change of pace
Steve Ott, C (hamstring) – Out another couple months yet
Paul Stastny, C (upper body) – Hasn’t been ruled out for Tuesday
Jay Bouwmeester, D (upper body) – Also in the week-to-week crew

Buffalo Sabres
Cody McCormick, C (blood clots) – No timetable
Tyler Ennis, LW (upper body) – Placed on IR last week; week-to-week
Nicolas Deslauriers, LW (lower body) – Also hit IR last week; out about 2-to-4 more

Minnesota Wild
Nate Prosser, D (hand) – Getting closer; Tuesday status unclear
Zac Dalpe, C (hip) – Out into April

San Jose Sharks
Dainius Zubrus, RW (upper body) – Didn’t play Monday
Raffi Torres, LW (knee/suspension) – May not be healthy enough to return when suspension is done

Winnipeg Jets
Ondrej Pavelec, G (knee) – Skating, but return not imminent yet
Mathieu Perreault, C (undisclosed) – Probable for Tuesday
Mark Scheifele, C (undisclosed) – Out another 5-to-7 days

Nashville Predators
Colin Wilson, LW (lower body) – Did not practice Monday
Gabriel Bourque, LW (upper body) – Participated in practice Monday

Chicago Blackhawks
Marcus Kruger, C - Kruger (wrist) was placed on injured reserve Monday, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports. (12/28/2015)

Tampa Bay Lightning
Joel Vermin, RW (hand) – Out a number of weeks yet following surgery

Colorado Avalanche
Brad Stuart, D (back) – Attempt to return to skating didn’t go well
Erik Johnson, D (lower body) – Still not skating
Reto Berra, G (ankle) – Has missed more than expected time on IR

Edmonton Oilers
Connor McDavid, C (collarbone) – Will return after All-Star break
Oscar Klefbom, D (finger) – No timetable for return
Nail Yakupov, RW (ankle) – Ready to go Tuesday
Andrew Ference, D (undisclosed) – No clear timeline
Matt Hendricks, LW (suspension) – Banned for three games

Arizona Coyotes
Joe Vitale, C (face) – Has been out far longer than original timeline
Mike Smith, G (lower body) – Out well into February, maybe even into March

Hot

Jonathan Toews, C, CHI – For a while there, it looked like this was going to be the worst season of Toews’ career – the Blackhawks’ captain put up a brutal 17 points in 32 games to start the year, a far cry from his typical 60-plus-point pace. But he's totally turned the page since mid-December, putting up seven goals and 14 points to go with a plus-9 rating over the last dozen games. That includes a major outburst this past weekend, when Toews factored into five of the Hawks’ nine goals over the course of two wins. There are still some black eyes on his season stat line, though – chiefly that he’s playing very low power-play minutes by his standards, an arrangement quite thoroughly entangled with the fact that he has only four points on the man advantage this year. You can still get a fairly massive haul if you sell his name in dynasty formats; depending on your position in the standings, this could be the time.

Anton Stralman, D, TAM – If you drafted Stralman with dreams of him matching last season’s nine goals and 39 points this time around, you’ve been experiencing a season of disappointment, but like Toews, he’s been picking it up lately. Although Tampa’s inconsistencies at even strength have been hurting him in the plus-minus column of late, he’s still piling up the points – seven of them in the last six games, with three of those on the power play. That run has placed Stralman just one point shy of the disappointing 21 put up by alleged stud blueliner Victor Hedman this year.

Cold

Radim Vrbata, RW, VAN – Coming into this year, everything was in place for Vrbata to at least approach repeating his 31-goal outburst from last season, but the results have fallen far short despite all the indicators being there. The Czech sniper may not get to spend all his minutes alongside the Sedin twins anymore, but he still gets some run with them – his assist Monday night came on a goal by Daniel – and his average ice time and power-play time are both a tad higher than they were last year. Yet he’s on pace to barely crack 20 goals in this campaign, and we’re starting to come up on a month since his last one (Dec. 18; he has two assists in nine games since). At the same time, Vrbata is firing pucks on net at a career-high rate – he’s on pace for nearly 300 shots. His shooting percentage has fluctuated throughout his career, but that’s still an indicator that Vrbata’s suffering from some tough luck; that might make this an opportune moment to buy him for pennies on the dollar.

Recommended Pickup
Victor Rask, C, CAR – A slump (four points in 11 games) followed by two games out of the lineup with an upper-body ailment sent Rask to a lot of waiver wires – his ownership rate has fallen below 50 percent on all the major sites. But he’s expected back in Tuesday, and that should spark a flurry of re-adding. Keep in mind that in the 25 games prior to that slump and injury, he’d put up 21 points (and, stunningly, a plus-7 rating for a Hurricanes team that isn’t very good at keeping pucks out of its own net). His return may not pay immediate fantasy dividends, but with Eric Staal and his expiring contract likely not long for Carolina, Rask has longer-term appeal this season.

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.