Saturday Daily Puck: Winless Leafs

Saturday Daily Puck: Winless Leafs

This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.

Around the Rink

The Maple Leafs suffered another loss Friday, pushing their record to 3-18-1 in their last 22 games. The team has fallen apart, incurring a minus-38 goal differential in that span. The team set a franchise record with their 11th consecutive loss Friday.

Taking a look at some this mess from a fantasy perspective, it's easy to get frustrated. Phil Kessel is still leading the team with 46 points in 53 games, but he's scored just once in his last 11 games. JVR is having a great season, but has been held off the scoresheet in eight of his last 11 outings. The 25-year-old's 21 goals are 12th most in the NHL, though, so it's hard to complain.

While Tyler Bozak and Cody Franson have met or exceeded expectations, Nazem Kadri has been a fantasy disappointment. While he's been one of the better Leafs' players overall, his 14 goals and 28 points are still underwhelming for those expecting a big breakout season from him at age 24.

Here's what you need to know for Saturday's NHL action.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Rangers (Cameron Talbot*) at Predators (Pekka Rinne), 3:00
Kings (Jonathan Quick) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 5:00
Blue Jackets (Curtis McElhinney) at Senators (Robin Lehner*), 7:00
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Canadiens (Carey Price*), 7:00
Oilers (Ben Scrivens) at Leafs (Jonathan Bernier), 7:00
Stars (Kari Lehtonen) at Sabres (Jhonas Enroth), 7:00
Islanders (Jaroslav Halak at Bruins (Tuukka Rask), 7:00
Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov*) at Wild (Devan Dubnyk), 7:00
Red Wings (Petr Mrazek) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 8:00
Penguins (Thomas Greiss) at Canucks (Ryan Miller), 10:00
Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin) at Sharks (Antti Niemi), 10:30

*Confirmed Starters

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check out our Projected Goalies Grid.

Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday

Joe Vitale, C (upper body) -- Expected to miss at least another week.
Mikael Boedker, LW -- Coach Dave Tippett said Thursday that Boedker lost approximately 20 pounds due to the ruptured spleen, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Martin Hanzal, C -- Coach Dave Tippett said Thursday that he expects Hanzal (upper body) to remain out for at least another week, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Repbulic reports.

Marcus Foligno, LW (finger) -- Could return to action as soon as this weekend.

Curtis Glencross, LW (lower body) -- Will not play Friday against the Penguins, Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun reports.
David Wolf, LW (leg) -- Was placed on the IR on Tuesday.

Ryan Murphy, D -- Will not return to Thursday's game against the Coyotes due to a lower-body injury.
Cam Ward, G -- Is considered day-to-day with a lower-body injury, and will start in net Thursday if he is determined to be healthy, Michael Smith of the team's official site reports.

Tyson Barrie, D -- Will miss Thursday's game against the Red Wings due to a hip flexor, Mike Chambers of the Denver Post reports.

Blue Jackets
Matt Calvert, LW (illness) -- Returned to the ice for practice Wednesday.
Brian Gibbons, C (knee) -- Recently skated on consecutive days for the first time in weeks, Shawn Mitchell of the Columbus Dispatch reports.

Travis Moen, LW -- The Stars placed Moen on injured reserve Thursday with a lower body injury.
Patrik Nemeth, D (arm) -- Skated with the team Tuesday morning while wearing a no-contact jersey.

Red Wings
Jimmy Howard, G (groin) -- Said Tuesday that he hopes to return for next Wednesday's game against the Penguins,'s Ansar Khan reports.
Jonas Gustavsson, G (shoulder) -- Will not start Thursday's game in Colorado,'s Ansar Khan reports.

Nikita Nikitin, D (shoulder) -- Was placed on placed on injured reserve Wednesday.
Taylor Hall, LW (foot) -- Wasn't on the ice for the Oilers' morning skate and looks set to miss Wednesday's game against the Penguins, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.
Benoit Pouliot, LW (foot) -- Wasn't on the ice for morning skate and appears to be out of the lineup for Wednesday's game against the Penguins, Jack Michaels of the Oilers Radio Network reports.

Justin Fontaine, LW (groin) -- Plans to practice Friday, Rachel Blount of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Matt Cooke, LW (lower body) -- Was moved to injured reserve Wednesday.

P.A. Parenteau, RW (concussion) -- Said he will resume skating this week, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Ryan Ellis, D (lower body) -- Skated on his own before Tuesday's morning session,'s Thomas Willis reports.

Stephen Gionta, LW (broken hand) -- Resumed skating earlier this week, Rich Chere of the Newark Star-Ledger reports.
Damon Severson, D -- General manager Lou Lamoriello said Severson (ankle) would miss at least another week, Sherry Ross of WFAN-AM 101.9 reports.

Johnny Boychuk, D -- Had to be helped off the ice after blocking a shot in the second period of Thursday's game against the Flyers.
Kyle Okposo, RW -- The upper body injury that Okposo suffered was a detached retina, according to
Casey Cizikas, C -- Was not on one of the offensive lines during Monday's practice.

Henrik Lundqvist, G (neck) -- May not accompany the Rangers for the team's next game Saturday against the Predators, Andrew Gross of The Record reports.

Alex Chiasson, RW (undisclosed) -- Won't be cleared to play Thursday against the Capitals, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports.
Craig Anderson, G -- Won't be available for Thursday's game against the Capitals, but the Senators are considering him day-to-day, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun reports.

Christian Ehrhoff, D (head) -- Resumed working out Thursday.
Blake Comeau, LW -- Penguins coach Mike Johnston said Thursday that Comeau (wrist) could return next week, Dave Molinari of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Tye McGinn, LW (undisclosed) -- Was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Jason Garrison, D -- Suffered a lower-body injury in the second period of Thursday's game against the Sars, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Michael Blunden, RW -- Is expected to require season-ending knee surgery, Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune reports.

Dion Phaneuf, D (hand) -- Will not return to action Friday against the Devils, James Mirtle of the Globe and Mail reports.

Frank Corrado, D (illness) -- Will remain out of the lineup Thursday against the Sharks, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Chris Tanev, D (undisclosed) -- Will not play Thursday against the Sharks, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Brad Richardson, C (ankle) -- Is not ready to return to action and will likely be out Tuesday against the Jets, Jim Jamieson of The Province reports.


Kris Letang, D, PIT – Letang picked up another assist Friday, giving him 13 assists in his last nine games. He sits second among all defenseman with 41 points in 46 games, while his 32 assists are next to only Mark Giordano (33). At 27 years of age, Letang is in his prime and is playing some of the best hockey of his career. Always eager to jump into the rush, Letang's 134 shots on goal rank him among the league's top-60 leaders. He is so deadly on the power play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin that he might just be the top defenseman in fantasy hockey right now.

Cory Schneider, G, NJD – The workhorse continues to impress in New Jersey and is currently playing out of his mind. Schneider is 7-1-1 in his last nine games, allowing more than two goals in just one of those outings. He's started a whopping 45 games this season and boasts an impressive .924 save percentage, making him a must-start every game. With just two regulation losses in his last 11 appearances, Schneider is one of the most reliable goaltenders around. The former Canucks has helped the Devils pick up a point in six straight games, propelling them to 51 points on the season – 11th most in the Eastern Conference, 10 points back of the eighth place Boston Bruins.


Matt Cullen, LW, NSH – After posting 10 goals and 39 points last season, Cullen is struggling offensively this time around. Reduced to a third-line role, the 38-year-old is pointless in his last 14 games and only has nine points in 36 games on the season. Cullen has been known to put up 40-50 points consistently, so it's frustrating for fantasy owners in deeper leagues who drafted him this year hoping history would repeat itself. It hard to see Cullen's numbers improving, as the arrivals of Mike Ribeiro and James Neal, in addition to the emergence of Flip Forsberg, have forced Cullen into the bottom-six role and off the power play.

Jason Pominville, RW, MIN – Pominville is pointless in his last four games and hasn't scored a goal in 11 straight outings. He's still putting lots of pucks on net and has 38 points in 50 games, but his nine goals are shockingly low for a player who potted 30 last season. He plays on the top line and first power-play unit, so he'll come around eventually. He's known for being a tad inconsistent, so it's not unrealistic to assume he could break out suddenly and go on a terror. With a whopping 157 shots on goal and 29 assists, Pominville is a solid fantasy player who can be trusted in most leagues.

Recommended Pickup

Mike Fisher, C, NSH – Known for being inconsistent, Fisher has been producing steadily of late, compiling seven points in his last five games. Centering the second line and the top power-play unit, Fisher is playing with very talented linemates, making it easier than past years for him to put up points. He's got 13 goals, 25 points and a plus-8 rating in 30 games, showcasing his consistency. Given the fact the Predators are leading the Central Division and Fisher is playing with James Neal and Colin Wilson, you can't go wrong grabbing Carrie Underwood's hubby off the waiver wire.

The author(s) of this article may play in daily fantasy contests including – but not limited to – games that they have provided recommendations or advice on in this article. In the course of playing in these games using their personal accounts, it's possible that they will use players in their lineups or other strategies that differ from the recommendations they have provided above. The recommendations in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of RotoWire.
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Brady Trettenero
Brady is a passionate hockey fan and sports writer with over five years experience specializing in digital media, plus a degree in Broadcast Journalism. He's been writing for RotoWire since 2013.
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