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    Week 25 Neutral Zone Wrap

Player News
  • Jonathan Ericsson DET D
    Red Wings' Jonathan Ericsson: At risk of losing top-pairing status
    3h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Jonathan Ericsson needs to improve in order to avoid losing his spot on the top defensive pair, MLive.com reports.

    Ericsson was lackluster in his own zone last season as evidenced by a career-worst 61 giveways. As noted in the report, the hulky defender needs to demonstrate better footwork. The Swede has registered exactly three goals and 12 assists in each of the past two seasons, leaving a lot to be desired from a fantasy perspective, and the possibility that he'll move way down to the third pairing only gives you more reason to avoid him in just about any format. Fans of the Winged Wheel should consider Xavier Ouellett as a sneaky alternative since he's a puck-moving blueliner no longer exempt from waivers and ready to secure a full-time role in the NHL.

    See Full Article
  • Rasmus Ristolainen BUF D
    Sabres' Rasmus Ristolainen: Doubtful regarding new contract
    3h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Rasmus Ristolainen told reporters he does not expect to re-sign with Buffalo prior to the World Cup of Hockey, Sami Hoffren of Finland's Urheilusanomat reports.

    Ristolainen is a restricted free agent and was issued a qualifying offer by the Buffalo Sabres that he has yet to sign. The 21-year-old is a core piece of the youth movement in Buffalo and an anchor on the Sabres blue line. During the 2015-16 season, the defender averaged over 25 minutes per game of ice time, including 3:08 on the power play and 2:38 shorthanded. Fantasy owners will want to seriously consider picking up Ristolainen for the 2016-17 campaign as he has the potential to exceed his career high 41 points from last year.

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  • Matthew Tkachuk CGY LW
    Flames' Matthew Tkachuk: Looking to break camp with Calgary
    4h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Matthew Tkachuk elected not to participate in the U.S. world junior camp this summer, instead focusing on preparing for training camp with the Calgary Flames , the Calgary Sun reports.

    Tkachuk, who was selected sixth overall by the Flames in the 2016 NHL Draft, is determined to make the Opening Night roster rather than having to spend more time in the OHL. The 18-year-old clearly was unfazed by the competition at the junior level, amassing 30 goals, 77 assists and a plus-45 rating in 57 regular-season games with the London Knights last year. Aside from being the son of Keith Tkachuk, one of the best American hockey players in NHL history, the younger Tkachuk packs plenty of promise as a strong playmaker with top-notch ice vision. He raised eyebrows at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland, registering 11 points to share the scoring lead with Auston Matthews, the first overall pick (Toronto) in this year's draft, en route to a bronze medal. With an entry-level contract already in hand, Tkachuk should burst onto the NHL stage as soon as this season, so don't lose sight of him in fantasy drafts.

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  • Sean Couturier PHI C
    Flyers' Sean Couturier: Recovered from AC sprain
    20h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Sean Couturier (shoulder) is recovered and ready to go for the World Cup of Hockey, Tim Panccio of CSN Philadelphia reports.

    Couturier sprained his left AC joint in Game 1 of the Philadelphia Flyers ' playoff series with the Capitals. He's been rehabbing his shoulder all summer, and has now fully recovered.

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  • Frank Vatrano BOS C
    Bruins' Frank Vatrano: Could work on Krejci line
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Frank Vatrano is a candidate to work this season on a line with David Pastrnak, centered by David Krejci, CSN New England reports.

    After the Boston Bruins failed to re-sign veteran winger Loui Eriksson and were spurned by Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey this summer, the team figures to look to in-house options like Vatrano or Danton Heinen to work on Krejci's line. In 39 games with the big club in 2015-16, Vatrano notched eight goals and 11 points, but during his stints at the AHL level, he was a top sniper, recording 36 goals and 55 points in 36 contests for Providence. At 22, Vatrano is still working on his all-around game, but his hard shot and quick release are notable assets that could mesh well with the sort of slick set-ups that Krejci is capable of dishing out.

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  • Torey Krug BOS D
    Bruins' Torey Krug: Aims to play is season opener
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Torey Krug (shoulder), who is skating these days, indicated Monday that his goal is to be ready for the Boston Bruins ' regular season opener, CSN New England reports.

    Krug noted that his offseason shoulder surgery was done to address a torn labrum, which bothered for him much of the 2015-16 season. How realistic a goal his participation in the B's Oct. 13 opener against Columbus is figures to gain some clarity once next month's training camp gets going.

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  • Sean Couturier PHI C
    Flyers' Sean Couturier: Recovered from AC sprain
    20h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Sean Couturier (shoulder) is recovered and ready to go for the World Cup of Hockey, Tim Panccio of CSN Philadelphia reports.

    Couturier sprained his left AC joint in Game 1 of the Philadelphia Flyers ' playoff series with the Capitals. He's been rehabbing his shoulder all summer, and has now fully recovered.

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  • Frank Vatrano BOS C
    Bruins' Frank Vatrano: Could work on Krejci line
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Frank Vatrano is a candidate to work this season on a line with David Pastrnak, centered by David Krejci, CSN New England reports.

    After the Boston Bruins failed to re-sign veteran winger Loui Eriksson and were spurned by Hobey Baker Award winner Jimmy Vesey this summer, the team figures to look to in-house options like Vatrano or Danton Heinen to work on Krejci's line. In 39 games with the big club in 2015-16, Vatrano notched eight goals and 11 points, but during his stints at the AHL level, he was a top sniper, recording 36 goals and 55 points in 36 contests for Providence. At 22, Vatrano is still working on his all-around game, but his hard shot and quick release are notable assets that could mesh well with the sort of slick set-ups that Krejci is capable of dishing out.

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  • David Krejci BOS C
    Bruins' David Krejci: Making progress
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    David Krejci , who is still recovering from hip surgery, started skating again last week, CSN New England reports.

    The report further relays that Krejci said he will play for the Czech Republic in the World Cup of Hockey, which begins Sept. 17, if he is "100 percent" recovered from his hip issue, a scenario that is not a lock at this stage. Still, that Krejci is aiming to play in the tournament at all bodes well for his regular season status. The Boston Bruins open up their 2016-17 slate with a road game at Columbus on Oct. 13.

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  • Brandon Pirri NYR C
    Rangers' Brandon Pirri: Pens one-year deal with Rangers
    5d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Brandon Pirri agreed to terms Thursday on a one-year contract with the New York Rangers worth $1.1 million, Sportsnet reports.

    Pirri did not receive a qualifying offer from Anaheim and became an unrestricted free agent. The center saw action in 61 contests between the Ducks and the Panthers last season in which he racked up 128 PIM while adding 14 goals and 15 helpers. With Derek Stepan and Mika Zibanejad on the depth chart ahead of him, Pirri is likely to play on the Rangers' third or fourth line and may not be part of the power play as he has been in the past.

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  • Dave Bolland ARI C
    Coyotes' Dave Bolland: Shipped off to Arizona
    5d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Dave Bolland (lower body) was traded to the Arizona Coyotes from the Panthers along with Lawson Crouse in exchange for a 2017 third round pick and a 2018 second round pick Thursday, Chris Johnston of Sportsnet reports.

    With Bolland's future still up in the air considering he played in just 25 games last campaign, this is essentially a salary dump by the Panthers who will save $5.5 million per year over the next three years. Assuming he is healthy enough to return, fantasy owners may want to avoid the center as he has seen action in less than 55 contests in each of the previous four seasons.

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  • Dylan Larkin DET C
    Red Wings' Dylan Larkin: Likely switching to center
    7d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    The Detroit Red Wings plan to move Dylan Larkin to the center position in the upcoming season, NHL.com reports.

    Larkin's natural position is down the middle, so this should be a relatively seamless adjustment. The burner played center at the 2016 IIHF World Championship and proceeded to register two goals and seven helpers in 10 games for Team USA. While Larkin played on the left wing as a rookie last season with Henrik Zetterberg at center, the offseason departure of Pavel Datsyuk presents a new look for the Wings in the top six. Given his blazing speed, and no matter where he lines up, Larkin should continue to be an absolute nightmare for defenders on the rush. However, he only won 41 percent of his draws last season and that number needs to be improved upon if he gets his wish to move back to the center spot.

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  • Matthew Tkachuk CGY LW
    Flames' Matthew Tkachuk: Looking to break camp with Calgary
    4h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Matthew Tkachuk elected not to participate in the U.S. world junior camp this summer, instead focusing on preparing for training camp with the Calgary Flames , the Calgary Sun reports.

    Tkachuk, who was selected sixth overall by the Flames in the 2016 NHL Draft, is determined to make the Opening Night roster rather than having to spend more time in the OHL. The 18-year-old clearly was unfazed by the competition at the junior level, amassing 30 goals, 77 assists and a plus-45 rating in 57 regular-season games with the London Knights last year. Aside from being the son of Keith Tkachuk, one of the best American hockey players in NHL history, the younger Tkachuk packs plenty of promise as a strong playmaker with top-notch ice vision. He raised eyebrows at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship in Finland, registering 11 points to share the scoring lead with Auston Matthews, the first overall pick (Toronto) in this year's draft, en route to a bronze medal. With an entry-level contract already in hand, Tkachuk should burst onto the NHL stage as soon as this season, so don't lose sight of him in fantasy drafts.

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  • Phil Kessel PIT RW
    Penguins' Phil Kessel: Questionable for start of season
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Phil Kessel (hand) was originally expected to be ready for the start of the 2016-17 campaign after offseason hand surgery, however that now appears to be in doubt, Josh Yohe of DK on Pittsburgh Sports reports. "At this point, based on where he's tracking, yes (he'll be able to start the season on time)," GM Jim Rutherford said. "But with surgery like that, you can't say 100 percent for sure. But even if it's not for the start of the season, it wouldn't be that much time."

    An extended absence from Kessel would be prove to be a set back for the Pittsburgh Penguins , but as they demonstrated last year, in an 82-game grind there is plenty of time to get back on track from a slow start. Fantasy owners don't need to panic, the winger, if he misses time, is on track to repeat his 2015-16 production in which he tabulated 26 goals and 33 assists and could even improve on those numbers with a full season under coach Mike Sullivan.

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  • Zach Parise MIN LW
    Wild's Zach Parise: Given green light for World Cup
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Zach Parise (back) officially has been cleared to play in the World Cup of Hockey, the Star Tribune reports.

    Parise, who missed the postseason with a herniated disc in his back, said in late May that there's "no question" he'll be ready for the international tournament, and it's even more encouraging that the stud winger hasn't had any setbacks while skating or working out this deep in the offseason. Parise opted for an extended rehab rather than undergoing surgery to correct his ailment, with new Minnesota Wild coach Bruce Boudreau suggesting that Minnesota will give the 32-year-old the occasional day off from practice during the busier times of the upcoming NHL season.

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  • Ty Rattie STL RW
    Blues' Ty Rattie: Lobbying for full-time role
    3d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Rattie appears destined to make the Opening Night roster as a top-nine winger for the St. Louis Blues , NHL.com reports.

    A top prospect for the Blues, Rattie has a chance to bloom into a full-time player after totaling only 26 NHL games over the past three seasons. Last season with AHL Chicago, the winger tallied 17 goals and 29 assists in 62 games, albeit with a minus-12 rating. At only 23 years old, Rattie still has time to improve his defensive acumen but the offensive skills are evident. With the offseason departures of David Backes and Troy Brouwer, the Blues are looking deeper into their system. "With a younger, different lineup, it's going to give Ty Rattie an opportunity to come in and gain a spot," said GM Doug Armstrong. He could be a popular sleeper heading into the 2016-17 season.

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  • Alexander Steen STL LW
    Blues' Alexander Steen: Surgery recovery moving along nicely
    4d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Alexander Steen (shoulder) continues to progress from a shoulder injury suffered in late February, Lou Korac of NHL.com reports.

    The original timetable for return was 4-to-6 months, but at this point, it seems much more likely to be four months, which should have the 32-year-old winger ready for the start of the season. If his recovery slows in the next month, then he would likely only miss the first few games. Health permitting, Steen should continue to put up steady goal and assist totals as he embarks on his 12th NHL campaign.

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  • Teemu Pulkkinen DET LW
    Red Wings' Teemu Pulkkinen: Future with Detroit in doubt
    4d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Teemu Pulkkinen (shoulder) is not guaranteed a spot on the Opening Night roster with the Detroit Red Wings , MLive.com reports.

    Late October is the soonest Pulkkinen may come back following offseason shoulder surgery. The Finn has tremendous offensive upside but given he's only appeared in 70 games since he was drafted in 2010, fantasy owners will need to be patient with the winger. He has the disadvantage of missing training camp and has to compete with healthy prospects in Detroit's system including the likes of Andreas Athanasiou and Anthony Mantha.

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  • Jonathan Ericsson DET D
    Red Wings' Jonathan Ericsson: At risk of losing top-pairing status
    3h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Jonathan Ericsson needs to improve in order to avoid losing his spot on the top defensive pair, MLive.com reports.

    Ericsson was lackluster in his own zone last season as evidenced by a career-worst 61 giveways. As noted in the report, the hulky defender needs to demonstrate better footwork. The Swede has registered exactly three goals and 12 assists in each of the past two seasons, leaving a lot to be desired from a fantasy perspective, and the possibility that he'll move way down to the third pairing only gives you more reason to avoid him in just about any format. Fans of the Winged Wheel should consider Xavier Ouellett as a sneaky alternative since he's a puck-moving blueliner no longer exempt from waivers and ready to secure a full-time role in the NHL.

    See Full Article
  • Rasmus Ristolainen BUF D
    Sabres' Rasmus Ristolainen: Doubtful regarding new contract
    3h ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Rasmus Ristolainen told reporters he does not expect to re-sign with Buffalo prior to the World Cup of Hockey, Sami Hoffren of Finland's Urheilusanomat reports.

    Ristolainen is a restricted free agent and was issued a qualifying offer by the Buffalo Sabres that he has yet to sign. The 21-year-old is a core piece of the youth movement in Buffalo and an anchor on the Sabres blue line. During the 2015-16 season, the defender averaged over 25 minutes per game of ice time, including 3:08 on the power play and 2:38 shorthanded. Fantasy owners will want to seriously consider picking up Ristolainen for the 2016-17 campaign as he has the potential to exceed his career high 41 points from last year.

    See Full Article
  • Torey Krug BOS D
    Bruins' Torey Krug: Aims to play is season opener
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Torey Krug (shoulder), who is skating these days, indicated Monday that his goal is to be ready for the Boston Bruins ' regular season opener, CSN New England reports.

    Krug noted that his offseason shoulder surgery was done to address a torn labrum, which bothered for him much of the 2015-16 season. How realistic a goal his participation in the B's Oct. 13 opener against Columbus is figures to gain some clarity once next month's training camp gets going.

    See Full Article
  • Trevor Daley PIT D
    Penguins' Trevor Daley: On track for training camp
    1d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    The Pittsburgh Penguins won't know for sure whether Trevor Daley (ankle) will be ready for Opening Night until he reports to training camp. "All the injured guys are tracking in the right direction," GM Jim Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "Until they all get here, we won't know 100 percent where they're at, but it sounds like all the guys should be ready for camp."

    Rutherford made a blanket statement about his team's injured players, but it doesn't appear Daley has suffered any setbacks in his recovery from a broken ankle. The defender scored six goals and 22 points in 53 games for Pittsburgh in 2015-16, including seven points (1G, 6A) on the power play.

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  • Petteri Lindbohm STL D
    Blues' Petteri Lindbohm: Vying for more NHL ice time
    3d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Petteri Lindbohm has a shot at an increased role with the St. Louis Blues in 2016-17, NHL.com reports.

    Lindbohm made quite the impression on the parent club in 2014-15, when he was called upon to fill in for injured players and in the same season went on to produce 18 points in 53 games for AHL Chicago. A physical defender, Lindbohm still has room to improve his skating. Entering the final year of his entry-level contact, he will be out to prove he's worthy of a full-time role with St. Louis. Fantasy owners should take note.

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  • John Carlson WAS D
    Capitals' John Carlson: Ankle back at full strength
    4d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    John Carlson said his surgically repaired ankle is back at full strength, Tarik El-Bashir of CSN Mid-Atlantic reports.

    Despite missing 25 regular-season games in 2015-16, Carlson returned and played throughout the playoffs, so the ankle was already healing quite well by the end of Washington's campaign. After a summer of rehab, the 26-year-old should be ready for the first game against the Stanley Cup champion Penguins on Oct. 13.

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  • Sergei Bobrovsky CLB G
    Blue Jackets' Sergei Bobrovsky: Looking to keep groin issues in past
    3d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Sergei Bobrovsky has been working with a strength and conditioning coach to avoid recurring groin issues that originally surfaced last season, Aaron Portzine of The Columbus Dispatch reports.

    Chronic groin ailments limited Bobrovsky to 37 games played in 2015-16 and the Columbus Blue Jackets need him to be healthy and shoulder a heavier workload as the No. 1 backstop in Columbus. Last season, the Russian netminder posted his worst GAA (2.75) and save percentage (.908) since 2011-12, when he was a backup in Philadelphia. Remember, here's a guy who manufactured a 2.00 GAA, .932 save mark, and four shutouts in his first season with the Jackets four years ago. If Bobrovsky can fully put the groin issues behind him then he could be looking at a bounce-back campaign in 2016-17.

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  • Robin Lehner BUF G
    Sabres' Robin Lehner: Ruled out for World Cup with injury
    4d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Robin Lehner is dealing with an undisclosed injury which will prevent him from playing in the World Cup of Hockey, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.

    It's not clear if this is a new injury or one related to the high-ankle sprain that cost him significant time in 2015-16. At any rate, Jhonas Enroth reportedly will replace him on Sweden's World Cup roster. Buffalo had the intention of making Lehner the undisputed No. 1 backstop from the start of last season, but the big Swede was injured Opening Night, causing backups Chad Johnson and Linus Ullmark to be featured more prominently than they otherwise would've been. Johnson is now in Calgary, but Buffalo still has plenty of talented young goalies waiting for a shot in the NHL, including Jason Kasdorf and Cal Petersen. Although the severity of Lehner's injury has yet to be disclosed, this latest development illustrates the risk involved in drafting him as a fantasy starter.

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  • Jhonas Enroth TOR G
    Maple Leafs' Jhonas Enroth: Will represent Sweden at World Cup
    4d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Jhonas Enroth has been added to Sweden's World Cup of Hockey roster in place of Robin Lehner, who is dealing with an undisclosed injury, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.

    It's been quite the week for Enroth, as he signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Monday and now gets to represent his country on an international stage. However, from a fantasy perspective, it's tough to be overjoyed by a career backup who hasn't recorded more than 35 starts in any of his seven NHL seasons. Enroth turned in a 7-5-1 record, 2.17 GAA and .922 save percentage with the Kings last season, proving that he does have value as a secondary goalie option, though moving to a rebuilding Leafs team promises to keep him on his toes.

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  • Robin Lehner BUF G
    Sabres' Robin Lehner: Replaced for World Cup
    4d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Robin Lehner (ankle) is still not believed to be 100 percent, The Buffalo News reports.

    According to the report, Team Sweden head coach Rikard Gronborg will be replacing Lehner with former Sabre Jhonas Enroth, with Henrik Lundqvist remaining as the starter. Lehner has participated in on-ice activities over the summer and is expected to be ready for the start of the season. He injured his ankle twice during the 2015-16 season and appeared in just 21 games for the Buffalo Sabres .

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  • Braden Holtby WAS G
    Capitals' Braden Holtby: Suffered knee injury during 2015-16 playoffs
    6d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Braden Holtby apparently suffered a knee injury during Round One of the 2015-16 playoffs, Isabelle Khurshudyan of The Washington Post reports.

    The announcement comes as a bit of a surprise given that there was no mention of it after Washington's exit from the playoffs at the hands of the Pittsburgh Penguins in early-May. Holtby said he fought through the injury and that it did not require any offseason procedure. The Vezina Trophy winner is expected to earn strong consideration to be Canada's starting netminder for the upcoming World Cup in September and should be the first goalie off the board in all formats for the 2016-17 season.

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  • Roberto Luongo FLA G
    Panthers' Roberto Luongo: Aiming to be healthy for season opener
    6d ago • By RotoWire Staff

    Roberto Luongo (hip) plans to be in goal for the start of the 2016-17 season, the Miami Herald reports.

    Reports dating back to early July suggested that Nov. 1 was the soonest Luongo would be able to return to game ice following hip surgery performed in May, but the celebrated veteran reportedly has been rehabbing on the rink since August 5. Better yet, this doesn't appear to be an example of a player feigning optimism in order to try to come back before he's ready. Goalie coach Rob Tallas said, "We're going into our fourth week and he's doing really well. He is very optimistic about starting the season and has put a lot of time in not only at the rink but off the ice. He has really committed himself this summer to being 100 percent again. We're at the point where there aren't a lot of restrictions on what he's doing on the ice. That's a great sign." Luongo may be 37 years old, but he's turned back the clock by posting a 2.35 GAA and 63 wins over the last two seasons. While he's evidently ahead of schedule in his rehab, it would be wise to track his progress through training camp before counting on another season of 60-plus appearances between the pipes.

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