Lee Stempniak landed a two-year deal with the Hurricanes prior to the 2016-17 season after recording a resurgent 51-point effort the year before, splitting time between the Devils and Bruins. In his first year in Raleigh, he suffered a bit of a setback but still managed to record a very respectable 40 points in 82 games, which was just the second time he's cracked the 40-point plateau in the past seven seasons. Looking ahead, Stempniak will aim to reprise his top-six role with the Hurricanes this season. However, there is a chance he could get bumped down to a checking line as the team signed free-agent winger Justin Williams in July. With the addition of Williams, as well as the continued development of younger forwards like Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, it wouldn't be surprising if Stempniak opens the season in a bottom-six capacity. If that's the case, his fantasy value would certainly be negatively impacted, giving him value in deeper formats only.
Stempniak underwent an MRI on Thursday after experiencing soreness in his back and hip, Chip Alexander of The Raleigh News & Observer reports. He's day-to-day for now, but that could change in a hurry depending on the actual MRI results which are currently pending. The journeyman was terrific with the Hurricanes last year, as he dialed in 16 goals, 24 assists and six power-play points over a full season -- doing so despite averaging a mere 15:51 of ice time. From a fantasy perspective, try not to react too much to this news until more is known.
Stempniak (undisclosed) is "dinged" and will not play in Wednesday's preseason contest against Tampa Bay. While Stempniak's next chance to return would be Saturday against Washington for another preseason game, the report indicates that the team won't rush him back into action -- potentially waiting until Opening Night on Oct. 7.
Stempniak scored his 200th career goal while adding an assist and a plus-1 rating in Tuesday's 5-3 loss against the Wild. Stempniak is finishing up strong, posting four goals with 11 points over the past 14 games. He might not be worth scooping up in seasonal fantasy formats at this point, but he makes a nice low-cost sleeper in DFS for the remainder of the regular season.
Stempniak scored a pair of goals -- including the game-winner -- in Thursday's 4-1 upending of the Canadiens. He's been on a roll of late, racking up seven points in as many games, although all the others were assists -- Stempniak hadn't scored a goal since March 3. The veteran skated 16:48 in this one, his second-highest usage in the last 15 games, which is nice. Still, we know who Stempniak is at this point in his career: a quality third-line scorer whose shortcomings tend to be exposed when he receives more premier assignments.
Stempniak set up the game-tying goal Tuesday in an eventual 4-3 road win over the Panthers. One of the NHL's most popular nomads, Stempniak has been on 10 different teams over -- what's soon to be -- 12 years of service time in the league. He's picked up an assist in four of the past five games, and while the shifty winger may technically reside in the bottom six, Stempniak consistently gets deployed on the second man-advantage unit, which adds to his fantasy appeal. View him as ol' reliable with the fantasy playoffs underway.
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