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Fantasy 30: Latest buzz on Quick, Hanzal, Luongo and more

It won't be long until Jonathan Quick is back between the pipes for the Kings. What does that mean for Peter Budaj? John Hefti-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: The Ducks hope to have Sami Vatanen (lower-body injury) back in the mix for Friday's tilt with the Panthers. Loosely pegged to return Tuesday, the defenseman was ultimately ruled out ahead of puck drop. Vatanen's return likely spells the end for young Brandon Montour's current run with the NHL club. Also of note, Antoine Vermette is facing a mandated ten-game suspension for abusing an official, barring an appeal. Recently bumped to left wing on the Ducks' No. 1 line, Vermette's replacement alongside Ryan Getzlaf appears to be top-six regular Rickard Rakell.

Arizona Coyotes: Supporting the premise that he will be dealt to a contender ahead of the Mar. 1 trade deadline, Martin Hanzal is on track to end his current tenure in Arizona with a bang. Skating on a top-scoring line with wingers Max Domi and Radim Vrbata, Hanzal has four goals in his past three games -- every one of them assisted by Domi, Vrbata, and/or star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson. As I pointed out earlier this week, if you're willing to roll the dice on his historically fragile constitution, the talented centerman might be worth adding in fantasy leagues of varying size.

Boston Bruins: Look for young Peter Cehlarik to reclaim his top-six spot alongside center David Krejci once the Bruins get back to post-break business. On Sunday, in his second NHL game, the 21-year-old notched two assists during Boston's 4-0 victory over the Canadiens.

Buffalo Sabres: Until an official update is provided by the club, consider Evander Kane (flu) a 'probable maybe' for Thursday's contest against the visiting Avalanche. If Kane isn't able, look for Matt Moulson to again fill in on a scoring line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Daily Fantasy competitors should note the veteran winger scored from that position in Tuesday's 3-2 win over the Senators.

Calgary Flames: Unsurprisingly, the recent fourth-line demotion didn't last long for Johnny Gaudreau. The Flames' top winger registered three shots during more than 21 minutes of ice time in Wednesday's precious 3-1 win over the visiting Flyers. Mind you, with just one goal in his past 18 games, and only 11 on the year (minus-18), Gaudreau clearly isn't enjoying the same time and space that he has in the past. In other words, the diminutive winger is no longer the nightly must-start he was in his sophomore year.

Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes' mid-winter break is as good a time as any to acknowledge the unheralded efforts from Carolina's 'new' top line. The trio consisting of Jordan Staal, rookie Sebastian Aho, and Elias Lindholm has evolved into the squad's most productive unit. While Staal and Aho are spoken for in nearly one-third of ESPN fantasy leagues, Lindholm is widely available.

Chicago Blackhawks: As reported by Elliotte Friedman, Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman continues to insist he isn't committed to making a significant move before Mar. 1, stating "we traded for Andrew Ladd last year because we needed a bigger piece. I don't think we need to do that this year." If you're buying what Bowman's selling -- we're admittedly a little skeptical -- consider rookie Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik as contemporary top-six sleeper assets for the home stretch. Flanking center Jonathan Toews, Schmaltz has three points (plus-4) while Panik has sizzled with three goals and two assists (plus-4 in Chicago's most-recent three games.

Colorado Avalanche: Rookie Mikko Rantanen has been one bright spot for the Avalanche during this otherwise miserable season in Colorado. Skating on a top unit with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, the 20-year-old ranks third in club scoring, and sits second only to MacKinnon in power-play points. However, it'll be interesting to see how Rantanen fares if and when GM Joe Sakic moves some key players ahead of the trade deadline, with an eye to Landeskog in particular. Outside of keeper leagues, fantasy owners may choose to jettison the former tenth-overall draft pick (2015) if his production drops off starting in March.

Columbus Blue Jackets: Joonas Korpisalo is lobbying hard to stick as Sergei Bobrovsky's backup in the march to and through the postseason. If he continues to perform like he did against the high-flying Maple Leafs on Wednesday -- stopping 31-of-33 shots in a 5-2 win -- the 22-year-old deserves Daily Fantasy consideration when occasionally pegged to give Bobrovsky a break.

Dallas Stars: Earlier this week, GM Jim Nill suggested the ensuing 7-10 days would determine the Stars' strategy ahead of the trade deadline. Since then, Dallas dropped a key 5-2 decision to their divisional (and wildcard spot) rivals, the Jets. Only the Coyotes and Avalanche have fewer points in the West. Another loss Thursday, to thje Wild, likely frees up Nill to receive serious offers for pending UFAs Patrick Sharp and Patrick Eaves. While Sharp projects to see an uptick in his fantasy stock upon joining a playoff contender, the same can't be said for the other rentable Patrick. Eaves has enjoyed a solid season in Dallas -- as indicated by his 21 goals, 11 assists, and 16 power-play points -- largely skating on the club's top line. A depth role with a postseason-bound squad elsewhere is likely to rein in that scoring pace.

Detroit Red Wings: The six-game suspension handed down to Gustav Nyquist necessitates a top-line adjustment from coach Jeff Blashill. While Tomas Tatar was offered first crack at playing alongside Henrik Zetterberg and Anthony Mantha, Wednesday's 2-0 shutout loss to the Blues might instigate another shuffling. DFS competitors hungry for a dark horse should monitor who slides in on the left side of Zetterberg ahead of Saturday's matinee against Washington, and beyond.

Edmonton Oilers: There's talk that an offensive, power-play-anchoring defenseman may no longer be on the Oilers' list of trade targets. As such, Oscar Klefbom remains the top candidate to quarterback a No. 1 unit that also includes Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. Owned in just 23.9 percent of ESPN leagues, Klefbom presents as a worthy blue-line plug-in with a lot of upside to wrap up 2016-17. The 23-year-old has nine goals and 14 assists on 144 shots this season, including three points against the Coyotes earlier this week.

Florida Panthers: Goalie Roberto Luongo appears no worse for wear after leaving Wednesday's eventual 6-5 overtime win in San Jose . It was just a bout of cramps, according to coach Tom Rowe. However, more worrisome has been Luongo's overall performance in recent play. After having allowed 17 goals in his past four games -- including one partial appearance -- Florida's designated No. 1 may lose out on the greater share of starts to James Reimer. Reimer is owned in less than six percent of ESPN leagues, and has been substantially more consistent of late. With his team battling for a playoff position, Rowe may have little choice but to make the swap.

Los Angeles Kings: The clock is ticking on Peter Budaj. While Jonathan Quick continues to practice without hiccup, Budaj faces another seven-to-nine games as the club's undisputed top banana. Out all season with a groin injury, Quick remains on track to return in early March.

Montreal Canadiens: While we'll get a better sense of what changes are in store under new-again head coach Claude Julien in the coming days, for now, inserting Boston's most recent bench boss for Michel Therrien bodes positively for forward Alex Galchenyuk. According to TSN's Darren Dreger and a host of other league insiders, the relationship between Galchenyuk and Therrien was one of discomfort and mutual frustration. A change here can't hurt. Even if the Canadiens deal for another prominent center -- like perhaps, Arizona's Martin Hanzai -- Galchenyuk's return to the top line between Max Pacioretty and Alexander Radulov could still be in the cards. Even if not, Julien's approach to the 23-year-old's game alone could ameliorate the center's numbers.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild don't anticipate having Matt Dumba (lower-body injury/illness) back until after their mid-winter break (Feb. 22-26). As such, rookie defenseman Gustav Olofsson is slated to see at least three more games, beginning with Thursday's contest versus the visiting Stars. Anchoring the secondary power play, the 22-year-old notched two assists two games ago against the Red Wings, including one with the extra skater. For now, he presents as an ultra-inexpensive DFS option for those with an eye on the grandest prizes.

Nashville Predators: Two fantasy figures worth paying greater mind to during the Predators' drawn-out breather are skaters Viktor Arvidsson, and the less-obvious Calle Jarnkrok. The reigning third star of the week, Arvidsson has erupted for 14 points, including eight goals, through a dozen contests. Yet the top-line forward remains owned in 'only' 52 percent of ESPN leagues. Meanwhile, Jarnkrok has quietly amassed five goals and five assists in a string of nine games. Playing on a line with James Neal, the 25-year-old is widely available.

New Jersey Devils: Keen on an outside-the-box DFS asset this Thursday? Consider Stefan Noesen against the Senators. Slated to stick on his regular (of late) line with Pavel Zacha and Jacob Josefson -- a unit coach John Hynes referred to as "fantastic" following Tuesday's 3-2 win over Colorado -- the 24-year-old will undoubtedly draw extra motivation from facing the team that drafted him in 2011. Need we remind you that the 21st-overall selection was traded to Anaheim before he could play a single game for the Ottawa organization.

New York Islanders: After having a hand in the Islanders' worst loss of the season -- a 7-1 undressing by the Maple Leafs -- goalie Thomas Greiss is earning the chance to redeem himself immediately. While we usually appreciate the fantasy potential in play with a decent netminder jazzed to make good, the opposing Rangers have won six straight. Greiss has been fairly permeable since the end of January (.866 save percentage), so only the gutsiest of DFS players should give the Isles' No. 1 any more than a passing glance.

New York Rangers: Beyond his undeniable value in keeper leagues, rookie Jimmy Vesey is sashaying his way back to fantasy relevance all around. Initially demoted to the fourth line to start Monday's tilt with the Blue Jackets, Vesey ended up scoring the game-winner following his reunion with top-sixers Rick Nash and Derek Stepan. Look for Vesey to start Thursday's contest in that promising position, against an Islanders team he scored on in their last meeting on Dec. 6.

Ottawa Senators: Mike Condon gets the start in place of Craig Anderson Thursday in New Jersey. Fodder for DFS thought, since the Devils don't comparatively score much (29th in the league) and Condon was impressive his previous outing, stopping 31 of 33 shots in last week's victory over the Stars.

Philadelphia Flyers: Coach Dave Hakstol's contemporary goalie of choice has become screamingly obvious. Despite stopping two of 24 shots the previous evening in Calgary, Michal Neuvirth is again pegged to start Thursday in Edmonton. Numbers-wise, Neuvirth has been far superior to Steve Mason of late, allowing only eight goals in his past six (complete) games.

Pittsburgh Penguins: Sportsnet's Nick Kypreos suggests Jim Rutherford has an interest in adding Matt Duchene as "scoring for Sidney Crosby," while Avalanche GM Joe Sakic is "pushing really hard" to move the speedy forward before the deadline. Needless to say, such a transaction would boost Duchene's fantasy value significantly, particularly in the plus/minus department.

San Jose Sharks: ESPN's Pierre LeBrun suggests the Sharks might stand pat ahead of the trade deadline this season: "San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is always sneaky at this time of year, but I'm not hearing San Jose mentioned in talks as much as I'm used to. It might be because the Sharks feel they did a lot of their work last summer, when they added the likes of Mikkel Boedker and David Schlemko and because they're 30-deep with their NHL/AHL options. Still, it's Wilson we're talking about, and he always has his ear to the ground at this time of year." No moves means rookie Kevin Labanc could remain in place on a top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Since returning from his brief visit to the AHL, the 21-year-old has four assists (plus-four) in three games.

St. Louis Blues: Following the Feb. 1 firing of Ken Hitchcock as head coach of the Blues, goalie Jake Allen is 4-1 with a .953 save percentage, while backup Carter Hutton has two straight shutouts. Elliotte Friedman looks into how the improvement in play between the pipes may be more than reflexive response to a fresh voice behind the bench: "... On-ice, St. Louis made changes. The Blues average 14 blocked shots per game, but it's up to 19 since Mike Yeo took over. Does Jake Allen like this tactic? Some goalies hate it. 'Players are expected to do it,' he answered. 'And you can never get angry at a teammate sacrificing his body.' Defensively, they have moved from man-to-man coverage to zone, and Yeo has asked that a defenceman be in front of the net '95 per cent of the time' ..." Allen is tapped to start against the Vancouver Canucks Thursday.

Tampa Bay Lightning: For those counting down the days until Steven Stamkos makes his comeback from mid-November knee surgery, the latest report has the star forward on track for a return sometime in March. However, as Joe Smith mulls over, the Lightning may hold off activating their captain this season altogether, if a playoff berth remains reasonably out of reach. Why push his recovery with so little on the line? It's a useful discussion, considering Stamkos sports an ESPN ownership percentage of more than 75 percent. They can't all be keeper leagues.

Toronto Maple Leafs: Don't rule out seeing popular trade asset Kevin Shattenkirk shipped from the Blues to the Blue and White within the next couple of weeks. Not only do the Maple Leafs have the cap space available ($13.55 million -- more than plenty) to accommodate Shattenkirk's salary, but -- according to Nick Kypreos -- the 28-year-old defenseman is open to joining the Toronto organization long-term. That last bit runs counter to the previously held belief that Shattenkirk was willing to sign only with a U.S. team. As for potential fantasy fallout, the experienced puck-moving blueliner would conceivably bump Jake Gardiner from the Leafs' top power play unit in short order.

Vancouver Canucks: Straight from the centerman's mouth, Bo Horvat is a game-time decision Thursday in St. Louis. Horvat missed Vancouver's last game in Pittsburgh after blocking a shot Sunday, versus the Sabres. The Canucks' scoring leader was on a mini-tear ahead of suffering the bone bruise, collecting two goals and two assists in his previous couple of matches.

Washington Capitals: Sent back to Hershey for the Capitals' extended break, Zach Sanford is expected to rejoin the club once action resumes Saturday. Playing alongside Brett Connolly and Lars Eller -- who merit a shout-out for their combined six goals and six assists in six games this February -- the 22-year-old rookie scored his first NHL goal against the Ducks Saturday. He's worth a look in seasonal deeper leagues and daily grand prize pools.

Winnipeg Jets: Craving a little extra incentive to play Penguins starting netminder Marc-Andre Fleury against the visiting Jets Thursday? Here you go: "#NHLJets are 0-6 in this arena since 2011. Outscored 35-18 ..."