News: Brandon McMillan is not playing Monday due to a lower body injury, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports. Analysis: The lower body issue is reportedly not serious, so Brandon McMillan should be able to return to action at some point this week, and is expected to be fully healthy for the regular season.
News: Capitals head coach Barry Trotz indicated Evgeny Kuznetsov and Marcus Johansson are going "head to head" for the second-line center position during a press conference prior to Monday night's preseason game against the Flyers. Analysis: The declaration at least puts to bed some concern that Brooks Laich was also involved in the competition, but Trotz's words and Laich's appearance on the left wing during Sunday's preseason action against Buffalo seem to corroborate the idea that the second-line center job will go to either Evgeny Kuznetsov or Marcus Johansson. A popular pick to win the Calder Trophy this season, Kuznetsov's value will certainly rise if he can win the job. Keep an eye on the situation, as the talented Russian is oozing sleeper potential at the moment.
News: Capitals head coach Barry Trotz indicated Marcus Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov are going "head to head" for the second-line center position during a press conference prior to Monday night's preseason game against the Flyers. Analysis: Marcus Johansson spent most of last season alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on the team's top line, but the new regime seems to think Johansson could contend for the second-line center job. It's worth noting that Johansson has been handed that role before and failed to generate the kind of production needed to keep the job. Keep an eye on this battle through training camp, as Johansson needs to be on a scoring line to have much fantasy impact.
News: Jonathan Drouin (upper body) as shown little improvement in his injury over the last week and has been sent for further testing, reports Eric Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune. Analysis: Expect him to miss the rest of the week as a result. We're a little worried about the lack of progress -- fingers crossed there's no surgery in his future. Jonathan Drouin is expected to play an integral role with the Bolts this season.
News: Jon Merrill (head) will resume workouts either Monday or Tuesday, Tom Gulitti of the Bergen Record reports. Analysis: Jon Merrill collided with Ruslan Fedotenko Sunday, but head coach Peter DeBoer said the defenseman is already feeling better, and should continue working out again soon. He'll continue to progress, and should be ready to go for the start of the regular season.
News: The Lightning are counting on Brett Connolly to not only make the team this season, but to also battle for top-nine minutes, reports the Tampa Bay Times. "Obviously it's a big year," Connolly said. "I'm excited. I put the work in this summer. I'm still confident in my game, and I'm really excited to prove to a lot of people that I do belong here." Analysis: Brett Connolly needs to earn a job, but the reality is that he must pass waivers in order to be sent down. So the Bolts will do whatever it takes to keep him. He has been working out with Steven Stamkos and former NHLer Gary Roberts in Toronto all summer. And he's improved his defensive game to the point where he's no longer just a one-dimensional sniper. There's fantasy value in him if he earns a top-nine gig. Watch camp carefully.
News: Paul Byron is day-to-day with a lower body injury, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 reports. Analysis: Unless more information comes out about the nature of Paul Byron's injury, it's safe to assume that he'll be ready in time for the start of the regular season. the center posted seven goals and 14 assists in 47 games with the Flames last season.
News: Ryan Johansen has decreased his contract demands and has gone back to the Blue Jackets with an offer of a two-year deal worth $9.4 million, reports TSN.ca. The offer is down more than $2 million a season from the original offer from his camp, but is still $1.7 million from the team's last position. Analysis: The Jackets are unlikely to bite given their insistence on pursuing a bridge style contract with their most talented player.
News: Devin Setoguchi is day-to-day with a lower body injury, Pat Steinberg of Sportsnet 960 reports. Analysis: There's no word on the nature of Devin Setoguchi's injury, but the fact that the team is calling him day-to-day is a good sign that he'll be ready to suit up for the start of the regular season.
News: Valeri Nichushkin (groin) skated Monday, Mark Stepneski of the team's official site reports. Analysis: The 19-year-old winger has been battling through a groin injury lately, but is almost ready to return to game action, and should be ready to go in time for the regular season.