Friday, January 26, 2018
Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Jan 26)
The New Jersey Devils are holding Taylor Hall back from the All-Star festivities this weekend and in his place, they are sending non-pool forward Brian Boyle, who is likely to be picked up this coming week in the Waiver Draft, but will be ineligible for the mini-game.
The Devils are in a good spot in the playoff race and they want to make sure Hall is ready to go for the stretch out of this last break, giving his hand/thumb a little more time to heal. He missed all three games this week, so if he gets the green light next week, he'll be able to go right away.
Boyle, on the other hand, is one of the feel good stories this season, with his preseason battle with cancer, only to come back and be fairly productive for the Devils. In 38 games played, he has 11 goals and 17 points, ranking 25th among available players in the Waiver Draft, which starts right away.
Anaheim Ducks number one goalie John Gibson left Thursday night's game in the 3rd period with a lower-body injury, not to return. After the game, the Ducks coaching staff had no update for the keeper, but you can safely assume they will make the best use of the break to assess the injury and give us all an update on the other side of All-Star festivities.
Of course, without any concrete news on the injury, there's only so much to go on for Tony, as we move into the second Waiver Draft. I'm sure Tony wants nothing to do with dropping Gibson, so the hope will be for something minor and he can climb back into the net to help Tony's team make its way into the money.
The Arizona Coyotes had a rough night on Thursday, starting out with defenseman Alex Goligoski being held out of the last game before the break with an illness, currently listed as day-to-day, while defenseman Jason Demers suffered an upper-body injury in the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. They also lost non-pool forward Brad Richardson to injury as well, so the break can't come at a better time for their hurting bodies. It isn't like this will make a difference to their playoff contention, but they'll still want to finish the season well to keep some level of pride.
Benson's defenseman, Goligoski, will likely take the break to get over his bug and he should be probable for their return, which isn't until next Thursday, at home to Dallas. Demers, on the other hand, is a different story, but like Gibson above, we probably won't hear more about him until the break is over. Brenda & Seward will certainly have a decision to make on Demers, but with an injury, they can wait until the bonus round, if they so chose.
The Chicago Blackhawks are still looking for consistency and still rotating players in and out of their lineup. On Thursday night, Patrick Sharp was made into a healthy scratch again, sitting for the game against the Red Wings, a game they won, 5-1. You would have to believe that the Blackhawks will be trying to make moves before the trade deadline, which is now a month away, to improve their chances at a playoff spot and Sharp could be one of the guys that fall victim to those moves.
I have Benson dropping Sharp at some point in this coming Waiver Draft, so he shouldn't have to worry about it for too much longer. His team could use a little bit more of a boost from this spot, if possible, seeing as though he's chasing down 1st place money, going into the All-Star break.
The Philadelphia Flyers gave the full night off to Brian Elliott on Thursday night, giving Michal Neuvirth the start against the Tampa Bay Lightning and recalling Alex Lyon to take on the backup duties for the evening. Elliott is said to be nursing a lower-body injury these days, so an extra day or two of recovery could probably go a long ways to help save him from further injury. I would have to believe that Elliott should be good to go when the schedule resumes next week.
I'm sure Stacey C. would have preferred to see his goalie healthy for the last night before the break, but the Lightning were too strong for the Flyers on that night anyways, winning 5-1, so he wouldn't have picked up those points, in theory, anyways. Stacey could have really used those points too... more on that in Monday's Newsletter.
Finally, the Washington Capitals may be holding their breath a little bit, as they await word on the severity of the injury suffered by forward Evgeny Kuznetsov on Thursday night against the Florida Panthers. The injury appeared to be a groin injury of some sort, but the team would only go so far to give it the ol' lower-body injury tag. He will be among those reevaluated over the break, but it doesn't look too positive right off the hop.
Jeremy's team needs a big recovery in the third segment of the season and that would require a healthy Kuznetsov, because replacing him in the Waiver Draft isn't going to give him nearly the production that a healthy Kuznetsov would get him. Jeremy's team finished the week in 13th, 5 points out of the top 10.