Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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The Final Three Weeks

Friday, April 05, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, vs. Phoenix, vs. Calgary

 

Notes

The Oilers are the rested team twice this week, first against the Ducks Monday who play the Kings on Sunday and then again on Saturday as they host the Flames who entertain the Coyotes Friday. The Oilers made a couple of minor deals, picking up Garrett Stafford and Jerred Smithson. Before getting stopped on Thursday, Taylor Hall had seven goals and 15 points in his previous six games. He is turning into one of the NHL's elite offensive players as he has 13 goals and 41 points this season. Hall was drafted first overall in 2010 is now seventh in NHL scoring. Coach Ralph Krueger is impressed with the progress of first pick Nail Yakupov, especially on the defensive end.

 

 FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

The Panthers were fairly quiet on Wednesday, dealing Jerred Smithson to the Oilers for a draft pick but they did sign former first round pick Nick Bjugstad to a contract and the former college star is expect to be in the Florida lineup on April 6. Jonathan Huberdeau leads all rookies with 25 points. Once again, I will give kudos to goaltender Jacob Markstrom who gives the Panthers their goalie of the future for the next 10 years.    That of course is assuming that they can keep him under contract. It's nice to see that Tomas Fleischmann has not had any injury concerns since signing with Florida after the 2010-11 season. He has been everything the Panthers had hoped for and has 23 points thus far this season.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Colorado, vs. Anaheim

 

Notes

The Kings added a solid defensive defenseman in Robyn Regehr and sent Davis Drewiske to Montreal for a draft pick. Jeff Carter has 21 goals this season, good for third overall in the NHL. The Kings are worried that the career of Willie Mitchell is over as he will not play this season and could be out for all of next year as well. Justin Williams is red hot of late as he is on a five game goal scoring streak in which he has scored six times. He is also plus-six in the five games. Jacob Muzzin was the NHL's rookie for the month of March in which he had four goals and 11 points in 17 games. Not too shabby for a defenseman.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. St. Louis, vs. Columbus

 

Notes

The Wild are rested on Saturday when they face the Blue Jackets who play a home game against the Blues Friday. The Wild went all in for this season as they picked up Jason Pominville from the Sabres, giving up prospect Johan Larsson and goaltender Matthew Hackett plus a first and second round pick. They recalled Mikael Granlund from the minors. Pominville will line up on the top line with Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise. Bad news for Dany Heatley who was injured Wednesday and could be out a lengthy period of time. Matt Cullen is also out of action but could return this week from a lower body injury.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Washington, @ Buffalo, @ Toronto

 

Notes

Montreal just tweaked at the trade deadline, picking up some blueline depth in Davis Drewiske from the Kings for a 2013 fifth round pick. They did acquire Michael Ryder earlier in the season and he potted a couple of goals in a 4-1 win Thursday. Tomas Plekanec is day-to-day with a groin injury. The Canadiens signed Danny Kristo, their second round pick in the 2008 Draft and he will report to the AHL Hamilton Bulldogs.  P.K. Subban has 30 points including 10 goals this season and has to be in the hunt for the Norris Trophy. He was the NHL's second star for the month of March. Ryan White returned to action on Thursday after missing six games with a lower body injury.

           

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. Dallas, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

The Predators did great on Wednesday, giving up veteran Martin Erat and minor leaguer Michael Latta and getting possible future superstar Filip Forsberg from the Capitals. Forsberg has been described as a player similar to Corey Perry without Perry's feistiness, not a bad player to be compared to. Mike Fisher returned to action on Thursday after missing three games with a hand injury on the same night his wife Carrie Underwood sang on American Idol. Wonder if he sang backup for her while he recovered. The Predators recalled Ryan Ellis from the minors and he could be up for good. David Legwand leads the Preds in points with 22, one ahead of Shea Weber.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Devils only play twice this week so I suggest putting all your New Jersey players on reserve in weekly transaction pools if you can. The Devils made one move on Wednesday when they acquired Steve Sullivan from the Coyotes for a seventh round pick. Ilya Kovalchuk is out with a shoulder injury and while he should make it back before the end of the season, it still might not be until the last week of the season. Dainius Zubrus returned to action on Monday after missing almost two months. He had surgery to repair his wrist. It looked bad for Tom Kostopoulos on Monday when he was knocked out in a fight with the Islanders Matt Martin but the good news is that he's okay.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Boston, vs. New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Islanders are rested on Thursday when they are in Boston who play in New Jersey Wednesday. Although the rumor mill was working overtime, the Islanders stood pat at the trade deadline, actually signing Lubomir Visnovsky to a two-year extension. Jesse Joensuu was activated from injured reserve and the suspended list as he has now recovered from a sports hernia injury suffered during the lockout. Matt Moulson stopped a 13 game goalless streak on Tuesday. John Tavares has 22 goals and trails only Steve Stamkos in the Rocket Richard Trophy race.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Toronto, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The Rangers play the Maple Leafs in a home-and-home series. Derek Dorsett is injured so they will have to rely on the Stu Bickel and the recently acquired Ryane Clowe to handle the rough stuff. The Rangers were the busiest team in the NHL as they picked up the aforementioned Clowe from the Sharks for a couple of second round picks although one is conditional and then made the biggest trade of the day when they dealt Marian Gaborik, who was not fitting in with the John Tortorella style of hockey, for Derick Brassard, Derek Dorsett and puck moving defenseman John Moore. Marc Staal had an off-ice workout this past week as he attempts to return from a puck to the eye area.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@  Tampa Bay, @ Philadelphia, @ New Jersey

 

Notes

The Senators are in the midst of a seven game road trip and play three games in four nights. Craig Anderson is expected to be back and he should split the net in some fashion with Robin Lehner. With Anderson returning, the Senators felt it was time to deal Ben Bishop, and they did to Tampa Bay, picking up rookie Cory Conacher and a fourth rounder. Bishop cost the Senators a second round pick last season so they did quite well in the flip. Conacher will be a top-six forward and has a chance to become the Calder Trophy winner as he has 24 points in 35 games. Matt Kassian showed his toughness in the game against the Maple Leafs with a couple of fights and 20 penalty minutes, giving Chris Neil an extra two hands in the fisticuff department.


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Michael Finewax is entering his 10th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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