Let's head into the weekend with five fantasy-relevant headlines from around the NHL.
Oh No Lo(gan)
After losing forward Mark Stone indefinitely, the Golden Knights need this like an old-timey spear to the gut. After grabbing his left leg during a non-contact play against the Wild, Logan Thompson wasn't able to leave the ice on his own. It didn't look good. While we await a more definitive diagnosis via MRI, the Knights - fortunately - don't play until Sunday, and then not again until Thursday. Maybe, just maybe, it isn't as bad as all that, and a week off or so is all Vegas's No. 1 goalie needs. If not - and again, Thompson had to be helped off the ice - Adin Hill is about to become a lot busier.
Happily, the club's No. 2 has been solid more often than not this season, boasting a 11-5-1 record with a .911 SV% and 2.58 GAA. There's also an excellent chance the Knights will shop around for other goaltending support if Thompson is expected out a while. To start though, fantasy managers in need of net help may give Hill (11.4%) a thought, especially in deeper leagues.
Devils without Hughes
Formerly on pace for his first full NHL regular season, Hughes is now listed week-to-week with an upper-body injury. Just leave the sugary coating in the pantry cupboard, this is plain-baked lousy news for Hughes, New Jersey fans, and invested fantasy managers alike. No one has more goals (17) or total points (28) than the Devils' center since Dec. 30 (15 games), including Connor McDavid. Contributing more than regularly before that torrid run, he checks all the usual fantasy boxes outside the rough and tough stuff. Hopefully the 21-year-old isn't out too long, which could be the case, if you ask a cautiously optimistic Lindy Ruff:
"He's a young guy and that's going to help him with this. I think it's going to be on the shorter end of [the projected timeline]. ... It's going to need a little time."
As currently configured, the Devils' top line of Ondrej Palat, Nico Hischier, and Jesper Bratt holds the greatest fantasy potential up front. While Hischier and Bratt are largely secured, Palat remains available in 52% of ESPN.com leagues. After losing a substantial chunk of the season to injury, the former Lightning forward has three goals and six assists in his past 10 contests. Toss in his other fantasy charms, and that works out to 2.5 points/game in ESPN standard leagues.
As for Hughes' possible return, the Devils play eight games in the next two weeks before enjoying three days off to wrap up February. Perhaps Mar. 1 then? Until whenever, stash him on your IR, or even bench, if necessary. There are few more valuable assets in conventional leagues this season.
Forward Vladimir Tarasenko has yet to even play a game with his new squad and invested fantasy managers are already excited about what the goal-scoring forward will accomplish on a top line with Artemi Panarin and Mika Zibanejad. Can you blame them? Hooking up with an elite playmaker like Panarin -- who also happens to be a good buddy of his -- Tarasenko is about to pile up the goals in a hurry. Fifteen-plus or so in the Rangers' final 31 contests, should he remain healthy. A good number of assists too, as Panarin and Zibanejad (especially) are plenty capable of scoring goals themselves.
The former Blues forward is about to jump a level, fantasy-wise, from 1.7 points/game to 2.0-plus, with ease. The only fantasy-flavored loser here is forward Jimmy Vesey - who tumbles off a scoring line - but you don't have him rostered anyway. Fresh power-play formations remain in flux, as Tarasenko appears set to join a secondary unit with Vincent Trocheck, Jacob Trouba, and two-thirds of the 'Kid Line' - Alexis Lafreniere and Kaapo Kakko. But that configuration is about as permanent as dry-erase white-board marker.
Back in St. Louis, the club is anticipating the welcome return of Ryan O'Reilly, perhaps as early as Saturday versus the Coyotes. Rostered in 43.3% of ESPN.com fantasy leagues, O'Reilly recently practiced on a scoring line with Brandon Saad and Pavel Buchnevich (also out since the last week of January) and a top power play with Jordan Kyrou and Brayden Schenn. Should he stay or should he go, the Blues' captain presents as an intriguing asset in deeper leagues down the stretch.
Concerns about Kane
In discussing the Tarasenko-to-New York trade, ESPN's Emily Kaplan revealed an interesting, and somewhat troublesome, tidbit about Patrick Kane's hip.
It doesn't sound like the Rangers got to asking price point of discussions with Blackhawks - because ball is still in Patrick Kane's court coming to Chicago with what he wants to do.— Emily Kaplan (@emilymkaplan) February 9, 2023
But the NYR didn't want to wait on him, and also had concerns about his hip.
Well now I'm a little more worried about Kane's hip issue. Understanding it's somewhat of a pesky irritant -- one that cost the veteran winger three precautionary games in earlier January -- and knowing it's actually turning off potential trade suitors are two different bags of bananas. If the pending UFA isn't moved before March 3 -- and we're hardly there yet -- there's an excellent chance he isn't finishing out the season. Because why? If he is indeed moved, how is that hip going to hold up through the final stretch? Food for fantasy thought for any manager who may have been looking forward to Kane possibly re-flourishing if/when joining a contender.
First and foremost, thank goodness he's okay. That Rasmus Andersson is "in good spirits" and "doing well" after he was hit by a vehicle while riding his scooter Wednesday is the best possible outcome. Hopefully the Flames' defenseman is back to feeling fully fit -- physically, mentally, emotionally -- in short order.
But it could be a while. GM Brad Treliving has, sensibly, pledged to "take this real slow" with a view to bringing Rasmussen back to competitive action. For now, Noah Hanifin is tasked with anchoring Calgary's top power play. Rostered in 69% of ESPN.com leagues, and harboring a greater knack for contributing at even-strength, Hanifin has a point in each of his three games. The additional quality time on special teams should provide an additional boost.