News: Taylor Hall has tallied just one point in the Oilers' last seven games. Analysis: Taylor Hall hasn't seen his shot attempts take a dramatic dip during the scoring drought, but if he's not finding the back of the net with regularity, the Oilers are in a serious trouble. It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that with Hall slumping, the Oilers haven't mustered more than two goals in any match during that seven-game stretch. The burden of carrying the Oilers for the past five seasons clearly seems to be weighing down Hall, whose name has been starting to show up in trade rumors more frequently of late.
News: Reilly Smith netted a goal in Tuesday's shootout loss to the Predators. Analysis: After a meager start to the season, Reilly Smith has really clicked since joining Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron on the top trio, tallying four goals and two assists over the last five games. Smith's recent surge in production could make it tough on coach Claude Julien to break up the trio once David Krejci (groin) returns, which could happen as soon as Wednesday's game against the Wild.
News: Chris Thorburn scored his second goal of the season in Tuesday's victory over the Sabres. Analysis: As his two points in 31 games would suggest, Chris Thorburn isn't someone the Jets are looking to for offense most nights. Instead, he'll carry most of his value as a grinder on the checking line and a leader in the locker room.
News: Carl Hagelin tallied his seventh goal of the season in Tuesday's 5-2 victory over the Oilers. Analysis: Carl Hagelin has notched goals in back-to-back contests, giving him 13 points in 29 contests this season. However, he's currently skating on the third line with Kevin Hayes and Lee Stempniak, a role that won't afford him much more than 15 minutes per night. He's a solid depth scorer for the Rangers, but fantasy owners can likely do better.
News: Josh Harding has yet to return to practice with Iowa teammates since being hospitalized for dehydration after playing two periods for AHL Iowa on Dec. 6, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports. The dehydration episode was related to his multiple sclerosis. Analysis: There's no timetable for his return and it sounds like this could be a significant setback to his multiple sclerosis issues.
News: Kari Lehtonen was the first goalie off the ice at the Stars' gameday skate and is slated to start Wednesday against the Canucks, Mike Heika of the Dallas Morning News reports. Analysis: Kari Lehtonen has alternated wins in losses in his previous four December starts, continuing a trend of rather inconsistent play this season. He'll catch a bit of a break in matching up against Canucks backup goalie Eddie Lack on Tuesday, but it's still difficult to trust him at this point. The last time Lehtonen played Vancouver, he came away with a 6-3 victory during which he faced 46 shots. It wouldn't be shocking if another barnburner broke out again Wednesday.
News: Bryce Salvador (lower body) has yet to resume skating since landing on injured reserve Nov. 17, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports. Analysis: Bryce Salvador suggested that he's making progress, but he has yet to show anything tangible that would indicate as much. The 38-year-old is in the final year of his contract with the Devils and could be headed for retirement once the season concludes.
News: Robert Bortuzzo (upper body) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. Analysis: Robert Bortuzzo is dealing with the combination of an upper-body injury and an illness that could be related to the mumps, which would have put his status in peril for Thursday's tilt with the Avalanche. As a result, the Penguins elected to move him to injured reserve in order to open up an extra roster spot. Look for the team to recall an extra player prior to Thursday's game.
News: Semyon Varlamov (groin) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Analysis: The Avs likely made the move just to open up an extra roster spot, as Semyon Varlamov wasn't set to travel with the team for their next three games. Varlamov was able to get in an on-ice workout Wednesday, but won't be able to practice with the rest of the Avs until they return from their road trip, which concludes Sunday.
News: Kyle Palmieri (shoulder) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. Analysis: It was suggested that Kyle Palmieri would be out indefinitely after suffering a shoulder injury in Tuesday's loss to the Maple Leafs, so the Ducks' decision to shuttle him to IR isn't an unforeseen development. Emerson Etem was recalled earlier in the day, ostensibly to take over Palmieri's spot on the Ducks' second line.