Late draft? My Fantasy Guide is updated as of Friday, with the 48-game season as the basis of all projections.

Note Regarding Frozen Pool: Jason Arbuthnot was on vacation last week. The timing sucked, I know. But his flight left the Sunday and the NHL schedule was released later on Sunday. So…he couldn't set up Frozen Pool's...well, anything. But this is up and running now.

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First, some thoughts on the Saturday games, over and above what Nichols wrote..

It's unfortunate that Jonas Gustavsson hurt his groin, because he outplayed Jimmy Howard. Detroit was terrible as a team, but Howard was just as bad. Questions about the loss of Lidstrom and Stuart are starting up already. If Gustavsson can stay healthy, which I doubt, then there is an opportunity to steal this job before March. But like I said - I doubt it. Gustavsson is always hurt, and that's why he hasn't made a splash in the NHL.

Interesting to see Damien Brunner still get 19 minutes of ice time. No question Mike Babcock is committed to making him a first-line star. But everyone has a limit, and if no points are on the board by the fifth game, the ice time gets cut.

Cam Atkinson was shut out on Saturday, but he did play 18 minutes and was probably the most exciting forward on the Jackets that game.

Wojtek Wolski took advantage of his opportunity. Those two points on Saturday bought him more time. Where he may have been given seven or eight games to make his mark, now he'll get 10 or 12 games. Producing results gives you a longer leash.

I loved Randy Carlyle's treatment of Mike Kostka. I can't believe it, but I love it. The 27-year-old played his first NHL game - against every instinct of team 'politics' that screams at me. He's undrafted, he's an older player, he's pigeonholed as a minor-leaguer… great that he gets a chance. He's been a point-per-game in the AHL this season and Saturday he showed us why. He showed lots of poise and made some smart plays. He partnered up with Dion Phaneuf, and he effectively stole the injured Korbinian Holzer's roster spot. Keep it up and when Jake Gardiner returns, Carlyle will have some decisions to make. For now, Kostka is a nice short-term fantasy own.

Nazem Kadri was fantastic. My jaw dropped after the game when I saw that he only played 10 minutes. I would have said 16. I guess that means every shift he made things happen. Meanwhile, I would have said Mikhail Grabovski played 13 minutes. Nope - he played over 18. Invisible. Anyway, great news for Kadri owners. Carlyle later said that Kadri deserved more ice time and the he would get it.

Roman Josi led all NHLers in ice time Saturday, playing nearly 28 minutes. Ironically, Ryan Suter was third, with just over 27 minutes.

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I disagree with this move: Joffrey Lupul signs for five years. The Leafs could have waited. What was the rush? Besides his rather horrible play Saturday, he's a Band-Aid Boy. Give it until March, and if he's still healthy sign him then. If he's injured, then you have leverage on a shorter term and perhaps a lower salary. Whatever.

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Thomas Vanek earned five points Sunday. He played with Pominville and Hodgson, so obviously the line is clicking. Interesting to see Tyler Ennis get the bulk of the PP time, while Hodgson got some PP but also a lot of PK time. Hints at future roles. I suspect that Ennis will be relied on for one thing only - offense.

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A lot of good goaltenders have been pulled already, including Quick and Lundqvist. Blame sloppy defense, which will probably be around for another two weeks.

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Sven Bärtschi saw just 12:47 of ice time and took a couple of penalties.

Joe Pavelski is in midseason form. He was hot to end his KHL tenure and he kicks it off in the NHL with a couple of assists. In a 48-game season I see big things from him.

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Just when you think you have the situation nailed… this happens. So Cory Schneider gets blown out of the frozen water on Saturday and Luongo comes in - too late - and settles things down. Then Luongo has a good game Sunday, but the Canucks are 0-2. So does this pressure them to trade Luongo for some help up front or does it pressure them to keep Luongo now? I say it tells them to 'keep'.

Nail Yakupov played 16:20 in his NHL debut, but was a minus-2. He played with Hemsky and Gagner.

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Awesome - Josh Harding with the shutout. His first start since his MS diagnosis.

At the other hand, Nilstorp stopped 27 of 28 in his NHL debut for Dallas. With all the back to backs, we'll see him again soon enough.

Pierre-Marc Bouchard - two games and two points. So far, a pretty good steal in the 24th round of the Experts League. He's looking real good out there. And he's playing with Brodziak and Clutterbuck.

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Mike Smith is off to another rocky start - just like last year. He's given up 10 goals in two games, both losses. The Coyotes need to tighten up on D, but he still wasn't great regardless. He'll turn it around because defense is the only style this team knows. So it will come.

By the way, the Hawks are scoring like gangbusters. Whoever is leading your league probably has three or four Hawks. Just a hunch. Hossa with four goals already…

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Ville Leino missed the game with what is suspected to be a leg injury.

Mikhail Grigorenko played just 11:13 in his NHL debut. He was a minus-1.

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Oklahoma City, Edmonton's farm team, has signed Jonathan Cheechoo to a tryout contract.

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Wade Redden has passed his physical, but he won't be in the lineup Monday. He needs to get in some practice time first.

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Chris Kreider needs to be in the AHL. I said it in the Guide and I still say it. He took a hard hit yesterday after his head was down on the play, and he was down on the ice for a bit. I think he'll be fine, but with the Rangers losing two games they'll probably shake things up. That will mean he gets sent down I'm sure.

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With Darren Helm and Todd Bertuzzi already sidelined, now Jan Mursak is out two to three weeks. Eventually, enough injuries will happen where we'll get to see Gustav Nyquist. Sorry to keep harping on it, but I'd love to see him in the NHL full time. 

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CBC - Another Beauty:


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Comments (8)add comment

Anthony L said:

messierforlife
Lupul Brain fart. Meant back. But you get the gist of my point I sure hope!

They both missed over a year due to 1 particular serious injury---not chronic or newly encountered injuries sustained on the regular by true band aid boys, for whom you just wait for their scoring exploits to be halted by an extended IR stint.

Point is in the pudding..73 games averaged over his career for Lupul--aside from the severe (back not neck) injury injury plagued 09/10 & 10/11 season stretch. So band-aid boy label, again, I'll say is a stretch.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

Dakkster said:

Dakkster
... Lupul? Neck injury? His longest absence was because of a blood infection after back surgery, not a neck injury. Gary Roberts' situation was completely different.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

Anthony Lancione said:

messierforlife
Lupul Band-Aid Boy label might be a bit of a stretch. Aside from the serious neck injury which plagued him for a full year (digging into the 2009-10 & 2010-11 seasons), he has averaged 73 games per year(when you exclude said 2 seasons). I wouldn't associate him with the Forsberg's, Lindros', Connolly's, Havlat's of the world just yet.

-----His 1 year absence was much more similar to the Gary Roberts neck injury long term departure from the game, with only a couple other much smaller injury stints to speak of after that.

Also, if they know they want to retain his services beyond this season, it wouldn't serve them well to wait til the deadline or thereabouts to get it done, once he's proven he can be healthy. Nonis won't want the "will he or won't he" distracting rumours to surface when ideally the Leafs will be in the midst of an intense playoff push.

Also, his value will shoot up quite assuredly if he stays healthy and continues to perform at the rate of last season(or better)
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

duducks said:

duducks
have no choice but to trade Lu Would Schneider have played any differently if he wasnt facing all this drama? I think so. You can't have him worrying about this Luongo thing during the season, and imo it was a mistake for him to not have been dealt before the first game. Give your starter everything he needs to be the best starter he can be.

This Vancouver team is currently not a Cup Contendor, and anything less is failure. Having the top backup goalie in the league isn't going to win it. If Vancouver gets knocked out 1st round with Luongo on the bench, Gillis' job is toast.

In other Luongo news, Bozak and Kadri both scored. The difference in play between the Pitts/NYR game and the Leafs/Habs game was incredible. Its clear which teams are playoff calibre and not. So why would a non-playoff team give up young assets to get Lu and worsen their draft pick? They wouldn't.

duducks prediction: Luongo doesnt get traded this season, and Gillis loses his job.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +1

hawkdog said:

hawkdog
Lou Lou played well. The Hemsky goal was suspect for sure, but the Eberle goal was a beauty - Edler was at fault for that one

Your comment just backs up what Gillis has been saying all along, they have no problem keeping Lou for the season.
He's is not going to drop the price after 2 games.
There's no need to panic if your Schneider owner, but there's no panic to trade Lou either. Lots of back to back games.

Kassian had a great game.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

Dobber said:

Dobber
... Sorry, I only saw the first half. He started well and that's actually when I wrote the blurb (my bad)
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

blackaces said:

blackaces
... Luongo
Have to disagree with you Dobber about Luongo playing well Sunday. He played okay, but the two goals scored on him were both suspect. He was even quoted as saying he should have had Hemsky's tying goal.
Plus he was scheduled to start last night. I wouldn't panic at all if I owned Schnieder. They cycled players through the top line all night included Dale Weise. They need help up front more than in net. I say Luongo goes.
January 21, 2013
Votes: +0

Jeremy Campbell said:

onthebeach96
Whoa Vanek! I enjoyed Vanek's performance yesterday, what a pleasure it is owning him right now! I hope he can do what he did last season and lead the league in scoring for awhile. Love the afternoon games today with MLK day in the US!
January 21, 2013 | url
Votes: +0
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