Saturday Daily Puck: California Dreaming?

Saturday Daily Puck: California Dreaming?

This article is part of our The Daily Puck series.

Around the Rink

Things have been boiling over in San Jose. While the Sharks have won four of their last five games, the team is currently out of a playoff position. With talents like Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, Joe Pavelski, Logan Couture, Brent Burns, and Antti Niemi to name a few, this is hard to fathom.

After an article was published Friday in the San Jose Mercury News stating Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he felt the pressure of the captaincy was getting to Joe Thornton, Thornton has since responded.

Quite the strong words from Thornton, who is putting together another great season for the Sharks. He's got 57 points in 64 games, including a whopping 44 assists – fifth most in the NHL. The team has made the playoffs in each of Thornton's 10 seasons with the team, including back-to-back appearances in the Western Conference final in 2009-10 and 2010-11.

If the Sharks happen to miss the postseason this time around, it's possible the team does a minor rebuild, which could include shopping the 35-year-old center.

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

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

Red Wings (Jimmy Howard*) at Flyers (Steve Mason), 1:00
Bruins (Tuukka Rask) at Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury), 1:00
Blackhawks (Corey Crawford) at Sharks (Antti Niemi), 4:00
Leafs (Jonathan Bernier) at Canucks (Eddie Lack), 7:00
Panthers (Dan Ellis*) at Hurricanes (Cam Ward), 7:00
Canadiens (Carey Price*) at Islanders (Jaroslav Halak), 7:00
Jets (Michael Hutchinson) at Lightning (Ben Bishop), 7:00
Rangers (Mackenzie Skapski*) at Sabres (Anders Lindback), 7:00
Wild (Devan Dubnyk) at Blues (Brian Elliott*), 8:00
Devils (Cory Schneider*) at Coyotes (Mike Smith), 9:00
Flames (Karri Ramo) at Avalanche (Semyon Varlamov), 10:00
Predators (Pekka Rinne) at Kings (Jonathan Quick), 10:00

*Confirmed Starters

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

Injury News For Teams Playing Saturday

Lauri Korpikoski, LW (upper body) -- Participated in Wednesday's practice, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.

David Krejci, C (knee) – Was spotted skating prior to Wednesday's practice, Amalie Benjamin of the Boston Globe reports.

Paul Byron, C (lower body) -- Has resumed skating, Pat Steinberg of reports.

Jack Hillen, D -- Is dealing with a concussion and will need to go through the protocol before returning to the ice.

Joey Hishon, C (elbow) -- Will be unavailable for Thursday's game against the Devils.

Red Wings
Darren Helm, C (oblique) -- Was a participant in Wednesday's practice, Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press reports.

Roberto Luongo, G -- Will miss Thursday's game against the Jets, George Richards of the Miami Herald reports.

Matt Cooke, LW -- Coach Mike Yeo said Tuesday that Cooke (sports hernia) isn't close to practicing with the team.
Ryan Carter, C -- Coach Mike Yeo acknowledged Tuesday that Carter (shoulder) shouldn't be expected to return in the next week or two.
Marco Scandella, D (undisclosed) -- Will likely miss the next three games, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.
Jason Zucker, LW (shoulder) -- May have a shot to return for the playoffs, Chad Graff of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

Alexei Emelin, D (shoulder) -- Will not play Thursday, but should be activated at some point during Montreal's three-game road trip beginning Saturday against the Islanders, the Montreal Gazette reports.

Nick Leddy, D (upper body) -- Is expected to be out for the next two weeks, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple.

Kevin Klein, D -- The Rangers announced Thursday that Klein would miss the next 3-to-4 weeks with an upper-body injury, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.
Henrik Lundqvist, G (neck) -- Skated again Monday, but will not travel with the team for their next three contests, Andrew Gross of The Record reports

Michael Del Zotto, D -- General manager Ron Hextall said that Del Zotto (upper body) is "very doubtful" to play Saturday against the Red Wings, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.
Nicklas Grossmann, D (head) -- Is slated to return to action Tuesday against the Stars, Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Christian Ehrhoff, D (concussion) -- Will return to the lineup Saturday if he completes practice Friday without incident, Shelly Anderson of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Matt Irwin, D (upper body) -- Has been ruled out for Thursday's game against the Predators, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Mike Brown, RW -- Coach Todd McLellan said Wednesday that it's looking "bleaker and bleaker" that Brown (leg) will return this season, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.

Zbynek Michalek, D -- Coach Ken Hitchcock said Thursday that Michalek (concussion) will make his Blues debut as soon as the defenseman says he's ready to go,'s Lou Korac reports.
Olli Jokinen, C (upper body) -- Will remain out of the lineup until the weekend,'s Lou Korac reports.
Jay Bouwmeester, D (illness) -- Took part in Wednesday's optional skate, Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Kevin Shattenkirk, D (abdominal surgery) -- Took to the ice with his teammates during Tuesday's morning session,'s Lou Korac reports.

Braydon Coburn, D -- Is in line to miss 4-6 weeks with a lower body injury, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Has been placed on Injured Reserve.
Cedric Paquette, C (upper body) -- Is slated to miss 10-14 days worth of action, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Ondrej Palat, LW (lower body) -- Is slated to be out 2-3 weeks, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Matt Carle, D (hip) -- Could make his return to the lineup Saturday against the Jets, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
J.T. Brown, RW (upper body) -- Will not play Tuesday against the Canadiens, Joe Smith of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Stephane Robidas, D (shoulder) -- Underwent season-ending surgery Thursday.
Nazem Kadri, C -- General manager Brendan Shanahan said Kadri would sit out the Leafs' next two games for disciplinary reasons, Jonas Siegel of TSN Radio 1050 reports.
Roman Polak, D -- Will undergo season-ending hernia surgery, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports.

Yannick Weber, D (undisclosed) -- Is likely to sit out Thursday's game against the Kings, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Ryan Miller, G -- Coach Willie Desjardins said Miller remains 2-to-3 weeks away from returning to games, Irfaan Gaffar of Sportsnet reports.
Brad Richardson, C (ankle) -- Logged a full practice Wednesday, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Kevin Bieksa, D (hand) -- Was able to get in a full practice with the team Wednesday, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.
Chris Higgins, LW (lower body) -- Took part in a full practice Wednesday, Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun reports.

Tyler Myers, D -- Suffered an upper-body injury in Thursday's game against the Panthers and will not return.
Bryan Little, RW (upper body) -- Is expected to remain out of the lineup Thursday against the Panthers, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Matt Halischuk, RW -- Coach Paul Maurice said Halischuk (foot) is progressing closer to a return, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.


Jonathan Huberdeau, LW, FLA – Huberdeau is riding a five-game point streak, compiling two goals and eight points in that span. While he's been inconsistent this season, he's really picked up his play since the start of 2015. He's producing right now on a deadly second line also featuring Aleksander Barkov and Jaromir Jagr, so if he's available, he could be worth looking at down the stretch. At only 21 years of age, Huberdeau still has tons of untapped fantasy potential.

Brian Elliott, G, STL – Elliott, who has been superb of late, will be in net for Saturday's game against the Wild. He's recorded five wins in his last six starts and has surrendered one or fewer goals in four of those games. The 29-year-old has won three straight games and is sporting a rock-solid .922 save percentage and 2.14 GAA on the season.


Patrick Maroon, LW, ANA – After appearing on the scoresheet in just two of his last 19 games, Maroon was a healthy scratch Friday against the Wild. Maroon, who has 28 points on the season and once scored in three straight games, had managed just six shots on goal in his last six games. Instead of contributing on offense, Maroon racked up a whopping 14 PIM in his last four games before being designated a healthy scratch. Now that Matt Beleskey (shoulder) has returned, Maroon could find himself in the press box more often.

Derek Stepan, C, NYR – Stepan has been held pointless in eight straight games. The second-line center may be going through a slump, but he's still got 43 points in 52 games on the season. He's sporting a plus-16 rating and is still firing a healthy amount of pucks on net. With a whopping 32 assists this season, Stepan is at his best when his linemates are also at their best. Considering Martin St. Louis has just one goal in his last eight games, it's no wonder the Rangers' entire second line is in a slump. Just like all the best players, Stepan will bounce back. He's too good for this to go on for much longer.

Recommended Pickup

Ryan Spooner, C, BOS – The Bruins' new second-line center has been producing steadily of late, currently riding a seven-game point streak. He's got three goals in that span and has only been held off the scoresheet once in his last nine games. Skating on a line with Milan Lucic and David Pastrnak and seeing top-unit power-play time with Patrice Bergeron, the 23-year-old Spooner is a talented playmaker who is worth looking at right now.

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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