This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.
Around the Rink
When an NHL player gets traded to a different organization, there is usually an adjustment period, consisting of the traded player adapting to his new and unfamiliar environment both on and off the ice. This hasn't been the case for many of the players who were acquired by teams during the 2014 offseason. Instead, players have been finding immediate success playing alongside new linemates and under different coaching staff.
The Penguins got a off to a scorching start Thursday, scoring six times en route to a 6-4 victory over the Ducks. Newcomer Patrick Hornqvist, who was one of the players the Predators traded to the Penguins in exchange for James Neal, didn't look out of place in his Pittsburgh debut. Skating on a line with 2014 Team Canada Olympic members Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, Hornqvist opened the scoring in the first period before assisting on Crosby's go-ahead power-play goal in the second period. If the 27-year-old Swedish winger can score 20 or more goals four different times with the offensively challenged Predators, it's scary to think what Hornqvist can do with the high-flying Penguins. To add to the hype, Hornqvist has been manning the point on the Penguins' top power-play unit alongside Kris Letang, with superstars Crosby and Evgeni Malkin up front. Oh boy.
While many were raving about Crosby, Hornqvist, and Pascal Dupuis, who finished with a game-high four points in his return to the lineup, a certain player on the Ducks had quite the successful debut himself. While Corey Perry led the charge for the Ducks with a hat-trick in the loss, former-Canuck Ryan Kesler looked very good in his first game with Anaheim. Kesler struck for a power-play goal and added two assists in his debut. His production dipped in Vancouver during the last three seasons after posting consecutive 70-point seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11. The former-Selke trophy winner hit the jackpot in Anaheim playing on the top power-play unit alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Perry. Kesler, Anaheim's current second-line center, was in desperate need of a change of scenery after it was reported Kesler was unhappy in Vancouver. If the first game is any indication, Kesler has found a new home in Anaheim and could be in for a big bounce back year.
Speaking of the Canucks, Radim Vrbata looks lethal on the top line in Vancouver alongside the Sedin twins. The former-Coyote scored three times in the preseason and has carried that success over into the regular season. The 33-year-old sniper is the perfect player to compliment elite playmakers Daniel and Henrik Sedin. He scored in the team's season-opener vs. the Flames and is well on his way to a potential 30-goal season with Vancouver. Possibly the best takeaway from Thursday's season-opening win vs. Calgary was how Vrbata helped bring out the best of the Sedins. They looked like Vintage Daniel and Henrik out there, dancing around the Flames. If Vrbata can score 35 goals with the Coyotes, who knows what he can do playing alongside two Swedish superstars in Vancouver.
On Long Island, Johnny Boychuk was a revelation in his New York debut Friday, scoring a power-play goal and adding two assists for a career-high three-point game. It may seem strange Boychuk has never recorded three points before, but it makes sense when you look at the type of ice time he received in Boston. Over the last three seasons with the Bruins, Boychuk averaged just 20 seconds of power-play time per game. In his New York debut, Boychuk was given a spot on the top power-play unit, where he logged 2:47 of ice time, playing alongside the likes of John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. In addition to his booming shot, the offensive opportunities will be there for Boychuk to surpass the career-high 31 points (five goals) he recorded in 2013-14 with Boston.
With all 30 NHL teams set to play Saturday, here's is all you need to know for a critical night in fantasy hockey.
Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)
Capitals (Braden Holtby) at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00
Ducks (Frederik Andersen*) at Red Wings (Jimmy Howard), 7:00
Senators (Robin Lehner*) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:00
Devils (Cory Schneider*) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:00
Hurricanes (Cam Ward) at Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00
Canadiens (Carey Price*) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 7:00
Rangers (Cam Talbot*) at Jackets (Sergei Bobrovsky), 7:00
Flames (Jonas Hiller) at Blues (Brian Elliott*), 7:00
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 8:00
Sabres (Jhonas Enroth) at Hawks (Corey Crawford*), 8:30
Wild (Darcy Kuemper*) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov*), 9:00
Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Oilers (Viktor Fasth*) at Canucks (Ryan Miller*), 10:00
Jets (Ondrej Pavelec*) at Sharks (Alex Stalock), 10:00
For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.
Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday
Kyle Palmieri, RW (ankle) -- Placed on Injured Non-Roster list Tuesday with no timetable for return.
Dany Heatley, LW (groin) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday with no timetable for return.
Sheldon Souray, D (wrist) -- Placed on Injured Non-Roster list Tuesday and could miss entire season.
David Krejci, C (undisclosed) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday and will miss Saturday's game vs. Capitals.
Gregory Campbell, C (abdomen) -- Placed on Injured Non-Roster list Tuesday and is considered out indefinitely.
Jake McCabe, D (undisclosed) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday and will be out for "about a week or so."
Patrick Kaleta, RW (face) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday and will miss at least three more weeks of action.
Mark Pysyk, D (upper body) -- Placed on Injured Reserved Tuesday and will miss one to two weeks.
Matt Hackett, G (knee) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday and is expected to return midway through the season, possibly in late December or early January.
Sam Bennett, C (shoulder) -- Will undergo surgery on his shoulder next week and miss four-to-six months.
Corey Potter, D (shoulder) -- Placed on Injured Non-Roster list Tuesday with no timetable for return.
Jordan Staal, C (leg) – Placed on Injured Reserve Thursday and is expected to miss three to four months.
Jeff Skinner, C (concussion) -- Listed as day-to-day with no set return date.
Kris Versteeg, LW (lower body) -- Will be sidelined for about three week.
Michael Roszival, D (upper body) -- Will miss Saturday's game vs. Buffalo.
Jesse Winchester, C (concussion) -- Has yet to resume skating and is out indefinitely.
Patrick Bordeleau, LW (back) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Wednesday and will likely be sidelined until mid-December.
John Mitchell, C (head) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Wednesday.
Boone Jenner, LW (hand) -- Placed on injured reserve Sunday and is expected to miss five weeks.
Brandon Dubinsky, C (lower body) -- Underwent abdominal surgery Wednesday and will be out for approximately six weeks.
Nathan Horton, RW (back) -- Placed on injured reserve Sunday with no timetable for return.
Brian Gibbons, C (undisclosed) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Monday with no timetable for return.
Ryan Murray, D (knee) -- Expected to miss first week of season, has been practicing with team.
Rich Peverley, C (chest) -- Placed on Non-Roster Injury list Tuesday with no timetable for return.
Sergei Gonchar, D (ankle) -- Placed on injured reserve Monday and isn't expected to return until early November.
Pavel Datsyuk, C (shoulder) -- Practicing with team, but still no date set for return.
Jake Muzzin, D (undisclosed) -- Expected to miss a few more games.
Trevor Lewis, (upper body) -- Will not play Saturday vs. the Coyotes.
Justin Fontaine, RW (groin) -- Began practicing earlier this week, no set return date.
Josh Harding, G (foot) -- Expected to miss at least two to three months.
Keith Ballard, D (lower body) -- Listed as day-to-day, could play Saturday vs. Avalanche.
Viktor Stalberg, LW (lower body) -- Could make return at some point next week.
Matt Cullen, C (lower body) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday and won't return until at least Oct.14 vs. Flames.
Mike Fisher, C (Achilles) -- Designated a Non-Roster player Tuesday. No timetable for return.
Lubomir Visnovsky, D (back) -- Placed on Injured Reserve with no set timetable for return.
Matt Carkner, D (upper body) -- Placed on Injured Reserve with no set return date.
Calvin de Haan, D (upper body) -- Placed on Injured Reserve with no timetable for return.
Michael Grabner, RW (groin) -- Underwent sports hernia surgery Thursday and will be sidelined for four-to-six weeks.
Dan Boyle, D (hand) -- Will miss 4-to-6 weeks.
Kevin Hayes, RW (shoulder) -- Could dress Saturday vs. Columbus.
Derek Stepan, C (leg) -- Placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve Monday. Will miss at least the first ten games.
Marc Methot, D (back) -- Placed on Injured reserve Monday and will miss next two games at least.
Braydon Coburn, D (lower body) -- Will miss a few days.
Beau Bennett, RW (leg) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Thursday. Expected to make season debut in November.
Raffi Torres, LW (knee) --Placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve Tuesday. Expected to miss entirety of the first half.
James Sheppard, LW (knee) -- Placed on injured reserve Tuesday with no set return date.
Tyler Kennedy, C (upper body) -- Placed on Injured Reserve Tuesday with no set return date.
Carl Gunnarsson, D (hip) -- Could be cleared for contact by Monday. May play on road trip later in the week.
Jonathan Drouin, C (thumb) -- Possibility for Saturday's game vs. Senators.
David Booth, LW (lower body) -- Expected to miss the next three weeks.
Cody Franson, D (knee) -- Doubtful for Saturday, could play Sunday vs. Rangers.
Chris Tanev, D (undisclosed) -- Hopeful for Saturday's game vs. Oilers.
Tom Wilson, RW (leg) -- Will not return to action for at least two more games.
Mike Green, D (upper body) -- Questionable to play Saturday against the Bruins.
Aaron Volpatti, LW (neck) -- Placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve Tuesday. Won't return until November at least.
Dmitry Orlov, D, (wrist) -- Placed on Long-Term Injured Reserve. Won't return until November at least.
Jay Beagle, C (upper body) -- Could be activated some point next week.
Evander Kane, LW (knee) -- Ruled out for both of the weekend's games. Could miss extended period of time.
Victor Hedman, D, TB -- Hedman kicked off his 2014-15 season in style, scoring the game-winning goal in overtime on a power play in Thursday's season-opening win over Florida. The 23-year-old blueliner, who recorded a career-high 55 points in 2013-14, also setup Ryan Callahan for a power-play goal on Thursday. Hedman is everything you could ask for in fantasy, as he provides great value in almost all categories. He is destined for another great season, especially considering the fact he is manning the point on a deadly top power-play unit that also features Steve Stamkos, Callahan, and Valtteri Flippula. Judging by the 7:08 of power play time he recived Thursday, Hedman will plenty of opportunities to produce offense in 2014-15 behind one of the most talented forward groups in the league.
Alex Galchenyuk, LW, MTL -- While Tomas Plekanec would be the obvious choice in this section, given the fact he is tied for second in NHL scoring with three points through two games, Galchenyuk is the one you need to know about. The 20-year-old center has picked up an assist in each of the Canadiens' two games so far, finding instant chemistry alongside Plekanec on the second line. Through two games, these two have looked terrific together. While Galchenyuk isn't on the team's top power-play unit, he does lineup on the second unit alongside Plekanec and P.A Parenteau, who is off to a solid start with his new team. If Galchenyuk can put up 31 points in 65 games as a 19-year-old (2013-14), there is no reason he can't reach 50-60 points this season, The Habs are hot out of the gate, and the Habs' second line is a big reason why.
Cam Atkinson, RW, CBJ -- It's only been one game, but Atkinson is already starting to show why many penciled him in as a sleeper this season. The 25-year-old netted the game-winning goal on a power play in Thursday's season-opener vs. Buffalo. With Boone Jenner, Brandon Dubinsky and Nathan Horton all on the Injured Reserve for lengthy periods of time, it's Atkinson's time to shine in Columbus. He is playing on the top line and top power-play unit alongside rising star Ryan Johansen, meaning all the opportunities will be there for Atkinson to succeed. The potential is there for Atkinson to improve on the 40 points (21 goals) he recorded in 2013-14.
Sami Vatanen, D, ANA -- It's rather puzzling Vatanen is only owned in 7.8 percent of ESPN fantasy hockey leagues. The 23-year-old defenseman on the rise has terrific offensive instincts and is always looking to jump into the rush. Vatanen struck for two power-play assists in Thursday's season opening loss to the Penguins, setting up both Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry for man advantage markers. Nobody on the Ducks played more on the power play Thursday than Vatanen, who logged a game-high 5:13 of man advantage time. Playing on the power play alongside Ryan Getzlaf, Perry, and Kesler, Vatanen has one of the sweetest gigs in the league. He is destined to improve on the 21 points he recorded in only 48 games last season.