Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Kessel, Ovie: Fantasy studs

Friday, April 19, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Chicago, @ Minnesota, vs. Vancouver

 

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights as part of their four game week so Nikolai Khabibulin will likely see action in his last game in an Edmonton uniform as his four year contract expires at the end of the season. The Oilers will be the tired team on Saturday at home to the Canucks as they play in Minnesota Friday. The big news in Edmonton was the firing of GM Steve Tambellini and the hiring of Craig MacTavish to the role. The Oilers have a sublime amount of young offensive talent but have not figured out who to mix in with this talent and as a result, they will fail to make the playoffs yet again in 2013. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had a terrible year finding the back of the net with only three markers. Expect a comeback season in 2013-14 as he is a lot better than that.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Toronto, @ Tampa Bay

 

Notes

Jacob Markstrom has had a tough rookie season as the restricted free agent to be is 6-11-1 with a 3.17 GAA and a .903 save percentage. He is still highly regarded and only 23 years-old. Jonathan Huberdeau has been very good in his rookie season and is a definite Calder Trophy candidate with 14 goals and 28 points in 43 games although his minus-15 rating does not help. Dmitry Kulikov could be ready for a breakout season in 2013-14 as the defenseman has been in the NHL for four seasons and is only 22.  The Panthers have a good shot at the first overall pick in the 2013 Draft and as good as defenseman Seth Jones is, the Panthers need help up front and could be better off drafting a forward or moving down if they get the first overall pick.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Detroit, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Kings are the tired team Wednesday when in Detroit after playing the Wild in Minnesota Tuesday. Jonathan Quick may be getting his mojo back after giving up only three goals in his last two games. Quick has not been a fantasy gem considering he was likely taken in the first or second round of most pools this season as he is 16-12-4 with a 2.43 GAA and a .901 save percentage, ordinary numbers at best. Jeff Carter has 24 goals including seven game winners, but only five assists. Matt Greene returned to action on Thursday after being out with a back injury since opening day. His return is good news for the Kings as they head into the playoffs.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Edmonton, vs. Colorado

 

Notes

The Wild finish the season with all three games at home. They are currently sitting in seventh place in the Western Conference. Ryan Suter has been outstanding and should be a finalist in the Norris Trophy race, if not the favorite. Pierre-Marc Bouchard has 11 points in his last 10 games, showing everyone that he is still quite a hockey player when not injured. Jason Pominville has nine points including four goals in eight games since he was dealt from the Sabres. Josh Harding (multiple sclerosis) should play this weekend with the Houston Aeros of the AHL on a conditioning stint and be recalled by the Wild at the start of the week. Mathew Dumba, the Wild's first Draft pick in 2013, finished his junior season with Red Deer and was assigned to the Aeros.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ Winnipeg, @ Toronto

 

Notes

After an absolutely terrible week of hockey in which he gave up 12 goals on only 53 shots, Carey Price gave up only two goals on 34 shots in a 3-2 win over Tampa Bay Thursday. Habs fans have to be breathing a sigh of relief after this effort as there were huge worries over what was wrong with Price. Michael Ryder has been outstanding with the Canadiens as he has 10 goals and 21 points in 23 games since his trade from Dallas. Nathan Beaulieu was send back down to Hamilton of the AHL after picking up two assists in six games. The defenseman is worth grabbing late in deep pools next season as he has a lot of offensive talent. Alex Galchenyuk is getting better as the season nears its end as he has six goals in his last eight games to go with two assists. He was drafted third overall in the 2012 Draft after missing all but two games in his final junior season and should be a star for many years in Montreal.

           

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, @ Detroit, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Predators will be the rested team Thursday against the Red Wings as Detroit take on the Kings Wednesday.  The Predators likely traded for a jewel of a hockey player in Filip Forsberg as coach Barry Trotz loves him after seeing him play in only two NHL games. "My first impressions are that I love him," Trotz said. "I've been around a lot of young guys and the ones that turn out to be really good players — top players — have a certain swagger to them. They carry themselves a certain way and I see that in him." Looks like a great trade by the Preds as they only had to give up Martin Erat and minor leaguer Michael Latta. Patric Hornqvist has played in only 24 games in an injury filled season and the Predators need him to score a lot more than his four goals next season if they hope to compete for a playoff spot.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. Pittsburgh, @ New York Rangers

 

Notes

The New Jersey Devils have really missed their superstar Ilya Kovalchuk as they finally won their first game since he left the lineup 11 games ago, on Thursday. The Devils are now 1-6-4 without Kovalchuk and are a long shot at best to make the post-season. Johan Hedberg has been bothered by a sore groin but looks to be healthy now. The Devils must give up a first round pick in one of the next two drafts for their efforts in trying to circumvent the rules in the original Kovalchuk deal. It seems strange that they did not give up their 2012 pick as they chose 29th overall, especially with New Jersey most likely being a lottery team this season and very possibly next as well. Defenseman Bryce Salvador (wrist) may miss the last week of the season.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ Philadelphia, @ Buffalo

 

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights so Kevin Poulin could see action in one game for Evgeni Nabokov, if the Islanders have clinched a playoff spot. New York will be tired on Friday in Buffalo after playing in Philadelphia Thursday.  John Tavares has been outstanding this season with 26 goals and 45 points in 44 games as he is trying to lead the Islanders into the playoffs. Evgeni Nabokov has been great in April as he is 6-0-2 giving up only 12 goals on 183 shots. The Islanders are currently in seventh place, three points clear of the ninth place Winnipeg Jets with both teams having four games left to play although the Islanders do have to play their remaining games on the road.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Carolina, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

The Rangers are still in a huge battle for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as they are tied with the Jets for the spot but get the edge right now as they have a game in hand. The Rangers will lose the tie-breaker should both teams be tied so they need to keep winning with five games remaining. Rick Nash had a goal and two assists Thursday after going pointless in his previous three games. Good news in that Marc Staal partook in his first practice Wednesday since injuring his eye on March 5, but was not allowed to participate in contact or battle drills. Hopefully he is close to returning to action. Derek Dorsett is also practicing but is not allowed to participate in contact drills. He has yet to play with the Rangers since he was acquired at the trade deadline from the Blue Jackets as part of the Marian Gaborik trade.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ Washington, vs. Philadelphia, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights so look for Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to split the net. Kyle Turris broke out of a 13 game goalless drought Thursday with a couple of goals. It is amazing, but Erik Karlsson could actually practice this week with his teammates, only two months after his Achilles tendon surgery. He will not participate in a full practice but his return could be a lot quicker than most people thought at the time of the injury. Jared Cowen returned this past week after undergoing hip surgery in November, and made his return to action a memorable one with a couple of fights, four hits and two blocked shots. The Sens first round pick, ninth overall, in the 2009 Draft, will give Ottawa a great presence on the blueline in the playoffs.


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Michael Finewax has been covering hockey since 2005 and is the Hockey Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter.
Email :Mike Finewax



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