Around the Rink
Blake Wheeler is one of the league's most under-rated forwards. He has been at 60 points in five straights seasons (inclusive of a 70-point pace during the lockout), is a physical force in the corners and just doesn't get the love of other players of his caliber. This season he's on pace for 72 points and is tied for 13th overall in the league.
The trade deadline should have adversely impacted him as much as any player in the league. At the same time the struggling Jets traded away Andrew Ladd, they announced that Bryan Little was done for the season after suffering a compression fracture in his vertebrae.
Thus ended the Ladd-Little-Wheeler line.
Not only is the familiarity gone, two of the team's top three scorers since the 2010-11 season were gone. The Jets were sellers and it was time to look toward the future.
Yet, Wheeler continues to play well. He's not quite on the torrid pace he was on to start the season, but he has two goals and five assists over the 11 games since he was left alone on Ladd-Little-Wheeler island. He is averaging 3.6 shots per game. and is playing well at both ends, with a 58.6% Corsi For percentage.
Unfortunately, his ability to transcend a bad team and the loss of his two linemates isn't going to catapult him into notoriety. However, he remains a valuable player and a versatile option in fantasy. He gets power play time, lays some hits, will get you a few penalties and is generally able to control play at both ends of the ice.
Onward, to tonight's schedule.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid
Wild (Devan Dubnyk) at Devils (Keith Kinkaid), 7:00 PM
Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 7:00 PM
Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Blue Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00 PM
Panthers (Roberto Luongo) at Maple Leafs (Alex Stalock), 7:30 PM
Islanders (Thomas Greiss) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 8:00 PM
Lightning (Ben Bishop) at Stars (Kari Lehtonen), 8:30 PM
Sharks (Martin Jones) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 10:00 PM
Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:30 PM
Injury News For Teams Playing Thursday
Jason Pominville, RW (lower body) - has been ruled out Thursday
New Jersey Devils
Jacob Josefson, C (hand) - won't be back until Friday at the earliest
Cory Schneider, G (knee) - is still out
Jiri Tlusty, LW (wrist) - isn't likely to be back any time soon
Patrik Elias, LW (knee) - has done skating on his own, but isn't ready to return
Michael Cammalleri, LW (hand) - is "not close" to a return
Jordin Tootoo, RW (upper body) - has been ruled out of Thursday's game
Andrej Nestrasil, C (back) - is out for the rest of the season
James Wisniewski, D (knee) - has skated, but won't be back this week
Ron Hainsey, D (illness) - missed Tuesday's game
Justin Faulk, D (lower body) - is considered week-to-week
Oskar Sundqvist, C (undisclosed) - is out
Scott Wilson, LW (undisclosed) - is potentially out long-term
Evgeni Malkin, C (upper body) - is out six-to-eight weeks
Kevin Porter, C (ankle) - is on injured reserve
Ben Lovejoy, D (upper body) - is close, but remains questionable Thursday
Beau Bennett, RW (upper body) - has practice
Detroit Red Wings
Niklas Kronwall, D (knee) - will miss at least a week
Drew Miller, LW (ACL) - is done for the year
Johan Franzen, RW (concussion) - remains on long-term injured reserve
Columbus Blue Jackets
David Clarkson, RW (undisclosed) - is questionable for Thursday
Dalton Prout, D (suspension) - will serve his one-game suspension Thursday
Jack Johnson, D (shoulder) - is out for the rest of the season
Willie Mitchell, D (lower body) - will begin skating this week
Jussi Jokinen, LW (lower body) - didn't play Tuesday
Erik Gudbranson, D -(undisclosed) - will be out for a week
Derek MacKenzie, C (foot) - is out Thursday
Dave Bolland, C (lower body) - is on IR
Toronto Maple Leafs
Matt Hunwick, D (hernia) - is done for the year
Byron Froese, C (hand) - remains out
Leo Komarov, LW (undisclosed) - is likely to play Thursday
Viktor Loov, D (undisclosed) - didn't play Tuesday
James van Riemsdyk, LW (foot) - is out for the rest of the season
Tyler Bozak, C (head) - has been cleared for contact, but won't play Thursday
Joffrey Lupul, LW (abdomen) - is not expected to play again this season
Brooks Laich, C (foot) - is questionable
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) - has been shut down for the season
Brad Boyes, RW (undisclosed) - didn't play Tuesday
New York Islanders
Marek Zidlicky, D (upper body) - will be "out a little while"
Jaroslav Halak, G (groin) - will miss the rest of the regular season
Adam Pelech, D (undisclosed) - could return by the end of the month
Paul Gaustad, C (upper body) - is questionable
Eric Nystrom, LW (foot) - was sent to the AHL for conditioning
Tampa Bay Lightning
Valtteri Filppula, C (upper body) - could miss the rest of the team's road trip
Cedric Paquette, C (lower body) - could return soon
Jason Demers, D (shoulder) - is expected to miss six weeks
Colton Sceviour, RW (undisclosed) - missed Tuesday's game
Jordie Benn, D (lower body) - won't play Thursday
John Klingberg, D (lower body) - could return Thursday
Mattias Janmark, C (upper body) - isn't likely to play Thursday
Patrick Sharp, LW (lower body) - there's "a chance" he plays Thursday
San Jose Sharks
Matt Tennyson, D (head) - is likely to be out
Joe Vitale, C (concussion) - is done for the year
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, D (upper body) - remains day-to-day
Anders Lindback, G (Achilles) - is on IR
Jarred Tinordi, D (suspension) - has been suspended 20 games for a PED violation
New York Rangers
Dylan McIlrath, D (knee) - remains out
Los Angeles Kings
Jordan Nolan, RW (herniated disc) - is on IR
Marian Gaborik, RW (knee) - could return by the end of the season
Matt Greene, D (shoulder) - is done for the year
Max Pacioretty, LW, MTL — It can be hard to see any of the good things happening in Montreal at this point in the season. The year is lost. That's made all the more painful by an incredible start to the season and an injury list that's approaching a full roster in length. However, Alex Galchenyuk and Max Pacioretty have been bright spots in a bitter end to the season. With an assist Wednesday, Pacioretty has points in six straight games and an average of 3.7 shots per game during that stretch.
Zach Bogosian, D, BUF — Bogosian has put together a nice run over the last handful of games. He's not Erik Karlsson, but there's been value in running him on your roster with a goal and four assists over the last seven games. He's also compiled a plus-3 rating with 20 penalty minutes, five hits, eight blocked shots and an average of four shots per game. He's been a utility knife and is providing a lot of value in formats that score across a variety of categories.
Christian Ehrhoff, D, CHI — The hope that joining the Blackhawks might rekindle some offense for the once dangerous Ehrhoff is going up in ineffectual smoke. He's seen healthy scratches and has just one point in the five games he's gotten into. It came to a head Wednesday, when he only sniffed 10:25 of ice time. He didn't see much ice from the midpoint of the second period on. He skated around not doing much on the shift when Radko Gudas scored the go-ahead goal and eventual game-winner for Philly at 9:51 of the third period. Ehrhoff didn't touch the ice after that.
Shawn Matthias, C, COL — Matthias is liking his new digs in Colorado. He's put up two goals and two assists in the last five games. He's not getting a ton of ice time, but he's doing quite a bit with it. He's averaged two shots per game with four hits, a plus-1 rating and three blocked shots.