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Fantasy 30: Latest on Galchenyuk's return, potential Avalanche trades

With Alex Galchenyuk returning soon, how will the Canadiens' top lines be impacted from a fantasy standpoint? Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

While you might be an avid fan of a particular NHL team -- and keep up to date on all the news and rumors regarding that franchise -- there are 29 others playing in 2016-17.

As a fantasy owner, it can be a bit daunting to keep tabs on everything.

That's where the Fantasy 30 comes in -- a rundown of the most fantasy-relevant updates on every team. Here's what's happening around the NHL this week.


Anaheim Ducks: Out since New Year's Day with a lower-body injury, Ryan Getzlaf could return as soon as Thursday in Colorado. The 31-year-old is considered a game-time decision. Getzlaf's comeback would likely result in Rickard Rakell shifting back to the wing, bumping Joseph Cramarossa from the top six.

Arizona Coyotes: Finally free of the migratory red-tape, and with his work visa secured, Alexander Burmistrov is hoping to join the Coyotes before the week is through. While the former eighth-overall draft selection (2010) was a disappointment for the Winnipeg Jets/Atlanta Thrashers franchise, a fresh start in the desert could bring about a semi-productive renaissance. Especially if the 'Yotes deal a player (or three) before this year's deadline. Just imagine if Burmistrov ends up centering a top-six scoring line. Not out of the question.

Boston Bruins: Forward Brad Marchand is heating up another few degrees, which the Bruins' head coach partially credits for the team's overall recent run of productive play. Claude Julien said of Marchand: "I knew at some point things were going to turn around for him. The same with [Patrice Bergeron]." While Marchand was already enjoying a fairly consistent campaign, the same can't be said for Bergeron. So this trend portends nicely for both the 31-year-old veteran and his patient fantasy owners.

Buffalo Sabres: Fortified with one of the better goaltending tandems in the NHL, the Sabres can switch between Robin Lehner (when healthy) and Anders Nilsson without much worry. Not exactly a benefit to fantasy owners, unless both are included on the same roster.

Calgary Flames: And just like that, Calgary's crease belongs to Chad Johnson again. Following a string of superb performances, one dud of a showing quickly booted Brian Elliott back to the bench. Goes to show that head coach Glen Gulutzan won't hesitate in flipping between veteran netminders in the Flames' push to the playoffs. Invested fantasy owners must remain on the ball.

Carolina Hurricanes: If you hadn't noticed -- and in-house attendance numbers suggest you wouldn't be alone, even among local hockey fans -- the Hurricanes are playing well enough to remain in the postseason conversation.

Relevant fantasy takeaways include:

  • Derek Ryan appears somewhat entrenched on a top scoring line with Victor Rask and Jeff Skinner. Owned in only 4.3 percent of ESPN leagues, the 30-year-old journeyman has four goals in his past four games (plus an assist).

  • Elias Lindholm -- spoken for in only 3.3 percent of leagues -- looked no worse for wear Tuesday following a five-game absence. Scoring in the two contests preceding the upper-body injury, the 22-year-old earned an assist in his first game back.

  • Also, keeper-league darling Sebastian Aho appears increasingly comfortable as his rookie season wears on. The teen forward has seven goals and five assists in his past 16 games.

Chicago Blackhawks: The Blackhawks' third line is creating a minor stir, combining for five goals and five assists in their most recent two contests. But before you jump all over Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero and/or Richard Panik, remember it's just a couple of games (and two of Hartman's hat-trick tallies were scored on an empty net). We're more interested in who Chicago management might acquire, pre-deadline, to play alongside Jonathan Toews.

Colorado Avalanche: While all remains quiet on the NHL trade front, Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman suggests the Avalanche might ("please!") get the ball as teams call them in pursuit of Rene Bourque, Jarome Iginla, John Mitchell and Fedor Tyutin. Of that quartet, Iginla projects the most fantasy promise with a contending squad. Friedman also proposes that the Carolina Hurricanes might be a suitable trading partner in dealing for either Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog.

Columbus Blue Jackets: The Blue Jackets hope goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (illness) regains his health ahead of Friday's contest in Tampa Bay. The club's No. 1 netminder is a possibility to take part in practice Thursday. If not, current No. 2 Anton Forsberg -- an underwhelming presence between the pipes Tuesday -- projects to start, with a recalled Joonas Korpisalo serving as back-up.

Dallas Stars: Forward Jamie Benn remains day-to-day with a lower-body injury. If Benn isn't ready to go Thursday versus the Detroit Red Wings, check in with who slots in on the left side of Tyler Seguin and Jason Spezza. Veteran Jiri Hudler was coach Lindy Ruff's most recent candidate for the gig.

Detroit Red Wings: While Jimmy Howard continues to recuperate from a knee injury, Petr Mrazek is tapped to start his third-straight for the Red Wings against the Stars Thursday. Mind you, that doesn't mean we're suggesting you invest in the struggling netminder -- instead, target sizzling youngsters Anthony Mantha and Andreas Athanasiou against a Stars squad that has surrendered its generous share of goals this season (third-most in the league).

Edmonton Oilers: Those who earlier hitched their respective fantasy carts to dark-horse Patrick Maroon must be loving this run of eight goals in 10 games. And -- good news! -- the imposing forward appears in little jeopardy of losing his top-line assignment alongside superstar Connor McDavid. Continue to enjoy your unforeseen spoils.

Florida Panthers: Checking in with Florida's sick bay, Aleksander Barkov (lower-body injury) likely remains out until shortly after the All-Star break, while fellow prominent forward Jonathan Huberdeau (Achilles tendon injury) is still targeting a mid-February return, at the earliest. Until then, ASG-bound Vincent Trocheck shines as an underrated fantasy asset, centering the Panthers' top line with Jaromir Jagr. The 23-year-old has nine points in eight games, including four goals.

Los Angeles Kings: There's talk of the Kings having "heavy interest" in trading for Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog. Accounting for his substandard 13 points in 29 games with the Avs, a move just about anywhere would bolster Landeskog's prospects for an improved second half to the season. That includes a potential top-six role in Los Angeles aside either Anze Kopitar or Jeff Carter.

Montreal Canadiens: The Canadiens hope to have a healthy Alex Galchenyuk (knee) back within the week, which raises the question of what to do with top-line substitute Phillip Danault. The 23-year-old center has held his own, centering Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov, as made evident by Wednesday's two even-strength goals versus the Winnipeg Jets. Our guess is coach Michel Therrien drops Danault to the second scoring line, alongside red-hot rookie Artturi Lehkonen, while -- maybe -- splitting up the veteran wingers (Pacioretty, Radulov) for balance. Keep an eye.

Minnesota Wild: If foraging for a contrarian DFS pick from Thursday's slate, consider well-rested goalie Devan Dubnyk versus Carey Price and the Canadiens. Not only was Dubnyk superior in this season's previous matchup, stopping all but two of 36 shots for the victory (Dec. 22), but the beat-up Habs are playing their second in back-to-back nights.

Nashville Predators: Participating in Thursday's morning skate, P.K. Subban appears to be nearing return. Battling a suspected herniated disc, the defenseman has missed nearly a month of action. Check his status ahead of the Predators' meeting with the Boston Bruins.

New Jersey Devils: Coach John Hynes toyed with five unconventional lines ahead of Thursday's "homecoming" for former Oiler Taylor Hall. However, unless the pregame skate in Edmonton indicates otherwise, we anticipate New Jersey's top six remains generally intact, including centers Travis Zajac (if not, Pavel Zacha) and Adam Henrique, flanked by Hall, Michael Cammalleri, Kyle Palmieri and P.A. Parenteau.

New York Islanders: Current undisputed No. 1 for the Islanders, Thomas Greiss is doing a fine job in keeping the puck out of his own net, surrendering just 10 goals in his past six starts. Unfortunately, John Tavares and Co. aren't scoring in support of their netminder, resulting in Greiss earning three-straight losses. If wins carry significant weight in your league, steer clear of the Isles' top banana until the offense out front revs up.

New York Rangers: Keen on securing Michael Grabner for your keeper league? This season's unforeseen eruption for 19 goals and eight assists might inspire such inclination. Now, would you feel the same if the 29-year-old ends up joining the upstart Vegas Golden Knights in 2017-18? Here's why that's a genuine possibility.

Ottawa Senators: With Craig Anderson still eyeing the end of January (post-All-Star break, presumably) for his return, Mike Condon remains the Senators' go-to goalie. Generally mediocre since taking over as Ottawa's No. 1, the ex-Penguin (briefly) does present as an intriguing DFS asset versus his former team Thursday. Particularly since Pittsburgh is playing it's second road game in as many nights.

Philadelphia Flyers: Coach Dave Hakstol is looking to mildly shake up his forward lines for Thursday's game versus the visiting Vancouver Canucks. Tom Dougherty of CSN Philly's observations from practice and conversations with the coach led him to believe that "Travis Konecny might see time at right wing with Claude Giroux and Michael Raffl, and Nick Cousins could draw back in after being a healthy scratch for the last five games." Perhaps this shuffling provides a much-needed kick in the pants to those up front. Aside from Brayden Schenn, Philly's corps of top forwards have consistently underwhelmed in recent play.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Recovered from a lower-body injury, goaltender Matt Murray is loosely favored to start in Thursday's matchup with the Senators. But check the Penguins' pregame lineup to make sure.

San Jose Sharks: Forward Mikkel Boedker may finally be finding his stride in San Jose, as suggested by his recent five points and eight shots in three games, including a hat-trick against the Oilers Tuesday. The confidence gained in under such circumstances can go a long way. Monitor how the versatile winger fares in the next week or so, beginning with Saturday's contest against the St. Louis Blues. Just last season the former first-round draft selection collected 17 goals and 34 assists, split between the Coyotes and Avalanche.

St. Louis Blues: This season's struggles in net have many wondering what is up with the Blues' No. 1 netminder. "I don't know what it is," Jake Allen said earlier this week. However, Allen did go on to rule out the mental aspect of the game, insisting he felt comfortable on the ice and in practice. This projects positively for the Blues and the goalie's persistent fantasy owners. A rapid run of three or four dominant starts could quickly snap the 26-year-old back to his consistent self of the past two campaigns. Don't toss in the towel on Allen quite yet.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Activated off injured reserve, Ben Bishop is pegged to reclaim his spot in net versus the Buffalo Sabres Thursday. And not a moment too soon, considering the recent ugly play of Andrei Vasilevskiy. Fantasy owners should unleash Bishop as is their habit.

Toronto Maple Leafs: The Maple Leafs have a new backup netminder in form of ex-Blue Jacket Curtis McElhinney, who is slated to see more action than forerunning secondary options in Toronto. Kevin McGran of The Star suggests that McElhinney could see around 12 starts over the remainder of the season, especially as the team attempts to monitor the playing time of Frederik Andersen.

With a 2.39 goals-against average and .924 save percentage earned in limited action with Columbus, McElhinney might merit spot investment in certain redraft leagues, and DFS action, when the matchup feels favorable.

Vancouver Canucks: TSN's Frank Seravalli reports the Canucks won't be "buyers" or "sellers" approaching the 2017 winter trade deadline. So, with young forwards Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi standing in as lone exceptions, ho-hum fantasy status quo, going forward. Mind you, a trade moving veteran Alex Burrows out as a rental wouldn't generate that much shock.

Washington Capitals: During the broadcast of Wednesday's contest between the Penguins and Capitals, NHL Insider Bob McKenzie suggested Washington management will leave the club well enough alone ahead of the 2016-17 trade deadline. That means we can look forward to the Caps plowing through the second half of the season with the same candidates filling out the top-six -- barring injury, naturally. As such, winger Justin Williams, with his 10 goals and eight assists in 18 games, remains underappreciated in a good portion of fantasy leagues and in DFS competitions.

Winnipeg Jets: Rookie Patrik Laine has been ruled out for the Jets' upcoming three-game road trip after suffering a concussion. Owned in only 2.2 percent of ESPN leagues, veteran winger Drew Stafford sees a significant bump in fantasy value as substitute on a scoring line with Mark Scheifele and Nikolaj Ehlers. Stafford has a goal and three assists in his past three games.