With the NHL trade deadline in the rearview mirror, and just over five weeks to go in the regular season, here's a fresh roundup of need-to-know fantasy bits from around the league.
Anaheim Ducks: Gibson nearing return
In sending Reto Berra to San Diego, the Ducks appear ready to bring back John Gibson into their goaltending fold. Gibson had been super -- 4-1-1, .945 save percentage in February -- before sustaining a minor lower-body injury early last week. At minimum, Anaheim's No. 1 can hope to dress as backup to Ryan Miller Friday versus the Blue Jackets. Miller had been excellent in relief of Gibson, before giving up five goals in Sunday's loss to Edmonton.
Arizona Coyotes: Strong finish from Raanta
Rostered in only 32.8 percent of ESPN.com leagues, Antti Raanta has value as a solid fantasy asset down the stretch. After serving up a dud against the Flames last week, the Coyotes No. 1 rebounded well with a 26-save shutout over the Ducks to run his February record to 6-2-1 (.937 save percentage). The addition of a competent Darcy Kuemper adds a helping of healthy competition in the crease, while also ensuring Raanta won't be overworked. Plus, the 28-year-old goalie is looking forward to signing his next contract as an unrestricted free agent this summer (unless he re-signs with the Coyotes first). That little extra incentive rarely hurts.
Boston Bruins: Nash's new gig
Ex-Ranger Rick Nash isn't the only Nash to merit extra attention in Boston these days. Taking the place of an injured Patrice Bergeron between wingers Brad Marchand and David Krejci, center Riley Nash scored a goal and added an assist in Tuesday's 4-3 OT win over the Hurricanes. Suffering a fractured foot, Bergeron is projected to miss at least a couple of weeks, while Riley is available in nearly 97 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Some fantasy managers may want to massage this situation in their favor.
Buffalo Sabres: New No. 1 netminder?
His name is Chad Johnson and he has won two straight against two of the top teams in the East, Boston and Tampa, surrendering a grand total of two goals. The 31-year-old backup wasn't too shabby before then either, also beating the Bruins and Lightning earlier this month. Daily Fantasy players may choose to ride Johnson in Grand Prize Pool play before the wheels fly off, making way for Robin Lehner to reclaim his full-time gig between the Sabres' pipes.
Calgary Flames: Smith's recovery could still be a while
Although spotted skating Wednesday, goalie Mike Smith might still be out some time with a lower-body (groin) injury. As suggested by Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, the veteran netminder won't return until he's completely confident of feeling right. "Years ago -- I can't remember what team he was playing for at the time -- Mike Smith and I had a conversation about injuries. Smith said he tends to be very careful with his body. He will progress and then stop if he feels discomfort or anything that could set him back. When he comes back, he wants it to be permanent. So when the Flames are saying they are unsure of the timeline, it is legitimate. Smith probably isn't 100-percent sure either." In relief, rookie Jon Gillies has been better for the Flames than fellow backup David Rittich. Gillies is rostered in only 5.3 of ESPN.com leagues.
Carolina Hurricanes: Teravainen alone in trending hot
Forward Teuvo Teravainen has three goals and one assist in four games. Worth noting since no other active Carolina skater has contributed much, fantasywise, of late. We'll see if others soon rise to the occasion as the Hurricanes push for a possible playoff berth. They're not out of it yet.
Chicago Blackhawks: Jurco, fantasy hero?
That's probably a stretch, but Tomas Jurco does have a goal and assist to show for two games on a scoring line with Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov. In that role, the 25-year-old forward has some appeal as a Grand Prize Pool fantasy asset. Also, give sophomore Vinnie Hinostroza a DFS look as current linemate to Jonathan Toews. Shifting up and down the lineup, Hinostroza has five assists in six contests. Your dark-horse goalie du jour in Chicago is Jean-Francois Berube, whose last outing was an impressive 42-save win over San Jose, but maybe don't expect a similar outing Thursday against the Sharks in San Jose.
Colorado Avalanche: Jost has value
Skating on a second scoring line and top power play, forward Tyson Jost has two goals and two assists, including two power-play points, in six games. Despite crouching several tiers below fantasy heavyweights Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen, the 19-year-old rookie still has a place in deeper leagues. Particularly if scoring with the extra skater carries a premium. Jost was drafted 10th overall in 2016.
Columbus Blue Jackets: New-look scoring line
With Thomas Vanek set to make his Blue Jackets debut, Nick Foligno ready to return after a four-game injury absence, and Josh Anderson ruled out for a month with a sprained knee, Columbus has a novel second scoring line in place for Thursday's tilt with the Kings. Perhaps this fresh combo inspires center Alexander Wennberg to finally make something of a disappointing follow-up to last season's 59-point affair. Fantasy managers in deeper leagues should keep watch.
Dallas Stars: Power-play shakeup on the way?
Unhappy with the current state of his club's top power play, Stars coach Ken Hitchcock is threatening to tear it all down: "We're trying to trust the same people out there. We're trying to show them that we trust them and they can get the job done and turn it around. Eventually, when it falls on my plate and we have to make a change, it's going to be dramatic. We're going to make a dramatic change where people who have played all year on it, won't go out. Right now, we're trying to stay with them to see if we can turn this thing around collectively as a group." In other words, if Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov and defenseman John Klingberg don't get their collective act together in a hurry, Hitchcock is bringing out the blender. Combining for 48 points with the man-advantage on the season, the aforementioned forwards have served as the Stars' only standout fantasy performers to date. So this volatile situation is definitely worth monitoring.
Detroit Red Wings: Green's return
Out with a neck injury since mid-February, Mike Green could be back in action for the Red Wings in Minnesota on Sunday. Projected to be moved ahead of the trade deadline, and then not, the offensive-defenseman now faces a maximum of 18 games to showcase himself before signing his next contract. A strong finish to the season with a loose Wings squad, free of expectations, certainly wouldn't do the 32-year-old any harm. Green comfortably leads Detroit's blue line with 29 points in 56 games, including 13 with the extra skater. He's currently available in two-thirds of ESPN.com leagues.
Edmonton Oilers: Strome surging
Centering a variety of wingers in the past couple of weeks -- most recently Jesse Puljujarvi and Nashville deadline export Pontus Aberg -- Ryan Strome has 5 goals and 2 assists in 6 contests, every one of them counting at even-strength. A gig on a top power play with Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl (hopefully) promises an influx in scoring with the man-advantage as well. Rostered in only 5.6 percent of ESPN.com competition, the 24-year-old could be worth a flier in deeper leagues.
Florida Panthers: Insufficient fantasy love for Luongo
Good-to-great since returning from a two-plus month absence (lower-body injury), goalie Roberto Luongo is 4-1 with a .926 save percentage in February. Believing they still have a shot at a playoff spot, the Panthers will roll out their No. 1 as much as possible while it still matters. Especially since No. 2 James Reimer has struggled of late (although Reimer is slated to start versus the Sabres on Friday). Rostered in 43.9 percent of ESPN.com leagues, Luongo could offer many fantasy teams a pleasant boost in the coming weeks.
Los Angeles Kings: Toffoli on the upswing
Since reuniting with linemate Jeff Carter, finally healed from a serious ankle injury, winger Tyler Toffoli has 2 goals, 1 assist, and 16(!) shots in three contests. As discussed in this space last week, this upswing from the 25-year-old winger comes as no surprise. Available in nearly 41 percent of ESPN.com leagues, Toffoli is also seeing valuable minutes on the Kings' power play.
Minnesota Wild: Rare start for Stalock
With back-to-backs scheduled Thursday and Friday, the Wild are offering netminder Alex Stalock a whirl against the Coyotes in Arizona on Thursday. Appearing in only three complete contests since the new year, Minnesota's backup won't enjoy too many similar opportunities, not as long as No. 1 Devan Dubnyk remains healthy and the Wild continue to contend. Food for DFS thought, perhaps, especially in Grand Prize Pool play.
Montreal Canadiens: Productive final stretch for Drouin
Rostered in under two-thirds of ESPN.com leagues, forward Jonathan Drouin could be in for a robust finish to an otherwise disappointing campaign. Forward Max Pacioretty remains in Montreal, post-trade deadline, fixed on Drouin's wing. No one of sound mind expects a playoff berth, so the pressure is off in that regard. Drouin can go about his business of scoring now that it hardly matters, like he did Wednesday (1G, 1A) against the Islanders.
Nashville Predators: Don't sleep on Smith
The NHL trade deadline has come and gone and one of the most underrated fantasy assets of the season remains in his same second-line position. Rostered in 32.6 percent of ESPN.com leagues, veteran Craig Smith has 39 points in 61 games -- including 4 goals and 5 assists in his past 8 -- skating on a scoring unit with center Kyle Turris and Kevin Fiala. There's no reason to believe the 28-year-old winger should lose that role now. Additional note: Netting a goal in his Predators debut has reportedly earned Ryan Hartman a shot on a top line in place of Viktor Arvidsson. That shuffle could be worth exploiting for as long as it lasts.
New Jersey Devils: Schneider comeback from injury
Out more than a month with a groin injury, goalie Cory Schneider is slated to return Thursday versus the Panthers. With Keith Kinkaid recently serving soundly in relief, the Devils enjoyed the luxury of taking their time with Schneider's recovery. Look for consistent play from Jersey's No. 1 once the rust is shrugged off. He's rostered in 63.4 percent of ESPN.com leagues. Additional note: Ex-Oiler Patrick Maroon is expected to make his Devils debut Thursday on the fourth line, while logging quality minutes with the top power play. We'll see if the promising latter role makes up for his limited former role.
New York Islanders: Eberle's injury ain't no biggie
Two noteworthy bits from Thursday's skate: forward Jordan Eberle is expected to play against the Canadiens on Friday after leaving practice early with "soreness," and with Jaroslav Halak struggling and Thomas Greiss hurt, goalie Christopher Gibson stands a "very good chance" of soon playing his first NHL game since 2015-16. That might interest Daily Fantasy competitors with an urge to stride on the wild side. Gibson has one win through four career NHL appearances, earned in 2015-16. The 2011 second-round draft selection has been solid enough in the AHL this season.
New York Rangers: Nice debut for Namestnikov
Not a bad start at all for the newest member of the Rangers. Skating on a forward line with Mats Zuccarello and Jimmy Vesey, ex-Lightning Vladislav Namestnikov netted a goal and an assist in Wednesday's 6-5 OT win over the Canucks. Considering the 25-year-old had been recently demoted to Tampa's bottom-six, the move to New York may well work out in his fantasy managers' favor. Fellow new Ranger Ryan Spooner is making a hot impression of his own, collecting five helpers in his first couple of games. The former Bruin has more value than initially thought following his trade from Boston, settling in a forward line with Kevin Hayes and Jesper Fast.
Ottawa Senators: Chabot's lost chance
Rookie defenseman Thomas Chabot stood one trade sending Erik Karlsson away from wrapping up 2017-18 on the Senators' top pair and No. 1 power play (depending on assets received in exchange). As it stands, Karlsson remains in Ottawa, and Chabot strikes as fantasy irrelevant in all but the deepest re-draft leagues. For now. Drafted 18th overall in 2015, the 21-year-old remains in the conversation in deeper dynasty leagues.
Philadelphia Flyers: Patrick's inflated value
Scoring a goal in four of his past five games, Nolan Patrick is taking advantage of subbing in for Wayne Simmonds on the Flyers' top power play -- two of those aforementioned goals coming with the extra skater. Rostered in only 20.3 percent of ESPN.com leagues, the rookie is also growing into his role as the second-line center aside Jakub Voracek. Just keep in mind Simmonds is due to return from his upper-body injury within the next couple of weeks.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Guentzel gets another go with Sid
After an altogether dreary run through December and January, Jake Guentzel is earning himself another shot on a scoring line with Sidney Crosby. The 23-year-old sophomore can thank his recent outburst for six points in two games for that renewed opportunity. One of Guentzel's two assists Tuesday counted on Crosby's opening goal in a losing effort to the Devils. While Guentzel is largely spoken for across the ESPN.com spectrum, linemate, and fantasy enigma, Bryan Rust is rostered in only 25 percent of leagues. Skating with Sidney, Rust has nine points in his past eight contests.
San Jose Sharks: Don't disregard Meier
In his demotion from the Sharks' top-six following the trade for Evander Kane, forward Timo Meier responded well by scoring a goal on nine shots in Tuesday's 5-2 win over the Oilers. More of the same could help Meier work his way back up the lineup, replacing either winger Tomas Hertl, Mikkel Boedker or Joonas Donskoi. At least for a period. The 21-year-old sophomore has scored 10 of his 16 goals in the past two months.
St. Louis Blues: Blues' new-look top-six
So much for Patrik Berglund taking over Paul Stastny's role on the Blues' second scoring line. Coach Mike Yeo instead opted to boot Berglund to the press box Wednesday, shuffling Ivan Barbashev between Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen, and skating top center Brayden Schenn with Jaden Schwartz and Dmitrij Jaskin. And hey, the Blues won for the first time in nearly three weeks.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Kucherov likely out
The Lightning may have to do without both Nikita Kucherov (again) and Alex Killorn on Thursday, leaving not one, but two top-six holes to fill against the Stars. Prospect Anthony Cirelli has been recalled from the AHL and is in position to make his NHL debut. The 20-year-old has 37 points in 51 games with the Syracuse Crunch this season. Fortunately, Kucherov's upper-body injury isn't thought to be all that serious.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Plekanec's limited fantasy value
Following the latest shuffling in Toronto, veteran Tomas Plekanec finds himself centering a line with William Nylander, shifted back to the wing, and Zach Hyman, in place of star forward Auston Matthews. As such, the ex-Canadien inherits some fantasy value, particularly in Daily Fantasy play. But only until Matthews returns from a shoulder injury, at which point Plekanec should reclaim his assigned role on the Maple Leafs' fourth line.
Vancouver Canucks: Leipsic deserves a look
Newbie Brendan Leipsic made a favorable impression in his Canucks debut, earning two assists while skating with Bo Horvat and Brock Boeser. Irrelevant as a fantasy asset ahead of his trade from Vegas, the 23-year-old rookie could enjoy a productive finish if he sticks on that scoring line. Leipsic collected 51 points in 49 games with the AHL Marlies this past season.
Vegas Golden Knights: Tatar's bottom-six role
Following his trade from the Red Wings, forward Tomas Tatar spent most of his first game in a Knights sweater on a third line with center Cody Eakin, and that was with top-six winger James Neal (hand) out hurt. It's hard to imagine the newest Vegas skater ever cracking a top-six that has remained consistently intact nearly all season. Outside of serving on his new club's secondary power play, Tatar doesn't initially bring too much more to the fantasy table than he did in Detroit.
Washington Capitals: Timeshare in net
The discrepancy in play between Washington's two netminders has been a real head-scratcher of late. While Vezina winner Braden Holtby is visibly struggling (.850 save-percentage, zero wins in six starts), No. 2 Philipp Grubauer has been at his stingy best (.945 save-percentage, 4 wins in 4 starts). Who would you rather have between the pipes, right now, with a playoff berth on the line? While Holtby will still get regular chances to work his way out of his current rut -- the Capitals need their No. 1 in decent form if they're to have any real shot at playoff success -- Grubauer won't be left to rot on the bench either. Not as long as Washington's backup continues to win.
Winnipeg Jets: Rookies secure in top-six gigs
In lieu of acquiring a scoring winger ahead of the deadline, the Jets instead chose to wrangle experienced center Paul Stastny from the Blues. This means rookies Kyle Connor and Jack Roslovic are in position to ride out 2017-18 within the club's top-six. Rostered in 40.4 percent of ESPN.com leagues and playing on a top line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, Connor has 22 goals and 19 assists in 57 games. Meanwhile, Roslovic, a potential DFS dark-horse darling, has quietly collected five assists in seven contests alongside center Bryan Little.