Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Kessel, Ovie: Fantasy studs

Friday, April 19, 2013


It's the final week of the season and it's time to thank a few people for their help at Rotoworld.

 

As always, thanks to Brett Vandermark for his outstanding leadership at NBC Sports Digital as well as Aaron Solomon and Ed Williams. Thanks as well to Stephen Hildebrand, Steven Howard, Greg Friedman and David Wilburn.

 

Brian Rosenbaum and I would like to thank our staff for the work done during the season (and beforehand as the lockout forced us to look to Europe, the AHL and junior hockey for blurbs), so a big thanks to Ryan, Corey A., Marty, Kevin, James, Corey G., Marc, Jimmy, Matt, Steven and Mitch.

 

A special thanks to Antti Makinen who was a great help during the lockout, updating us with European signings, well before anyone else in North America had them.

 

And of course, we want to thank you, the fantasy fans, who always read our blurbs and columns.

 

If you are looking for a site for playoff hockey, the best site by far that we have come across is fantasypostseason.com. They have added new features this year including a salary cap option. Click here to enter the site.

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF APRIL 22-28

 

4 Games–Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Edmonton, Ottawa, Phoenix 

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal,  Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Buffalo, Columbus

 

** Late Note: The Buffalo/Pittsburgh game originally scheduled for April 20 has been moved to Tuesday April 23. Therefore the Sabres play three games this week while the Penguins play four.**

 

Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, St. Louis and Washington play three games at home this week.

 

Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Montreal and the New York Islanders play three games on the road.

 

Follow me on twitter!

 

INJURIES

 

Alex Chiasson of the Dallas Stars is day-to-day with a shoulder injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes

The Ducks are rested Saturday for their final regular season game against Phoenix as the Coyotes are home to the Avs Saturday. Sami Vatanen scored his first NHL goal Wednesday after a nine goal, 45 point season in 62 games in the AHL. The defenseman will be worth looking at next season in fantasy pools. Viktor Fasth is only 1-2-1 of late and NHL shooters could be finding a couple of holes in the 30-year-old's game. Saku Koivu has gone 16 games without scoring a goal. The Ducks sent Peter Holland, a former first round pick, back to the minors.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Washington, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Bruins play all four games at home this week including three games in four nights so do not be surprised if Anton Khudobin gets into one game in place of Tuukka Rask. The original schedule had the Bruins only playing twice this week but a pair of postponements, including the tragedy at the Boston Marathon, give the Bruins a four game week. The Bruins are the rested team Thursday when hosting the Lightning as Tampa Bay host the Maple Leafs Wednesday.  With only six goals this season, it looks like Milan Lucic is expected to be a healthy scratch on April 19. The Bruins are getting great goaltending for Khudobin as he is 9-3-1 this season with a .925 save percentage and 2.20 GAA. Patrice Bergeron is back from a concussion.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Sabres only play twice this week so I suggest resting all your Buffalo players in weekly transaction pools. The Sabres are rested Friday when hosting the Islanders who are in Philadelphia Thursday. Tyler Ennis scored for the first time in 12 games Sunday. After exploding for 11 goals and 23 points in his first 11 games, Thomas Vanek came down to earth with only six goals and 13 points in his next 23 games. Jhonas Enroth is 4-2-1 this season with a 2.40 GAA and a .924 save percentage and actually played back-to-back games with a healthy Ryan Miller on the bench.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ St. Louis, @ Chicago

 

Notes

Calgary plays three games in four nights so look for Miikka Kiprusoff and Joey MacDonald to share the net. Flames are tired Friday when in Chicago after travelling from St. Louis Thursday.  Fantasy fans are finally seeing how good Sven Baertschi is as he has two goals and four points in his last three games. Roman Cervenka had a tough go of it in his first year in the NHL as he was a healthy scratch on Wednesday. He likely needed the shortened year to acclimate himself to North American life and is worth a pick in deeper pools next season. Reto Berra inked a one-year deal after being acquired at the trade deadline. He could see action in the NHL next season, especially if Miikka Kiprusoff retires, as has been speculated.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

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

 

Notes

It looks like Jeff Skinner was lucky as it was thought that he suffered a concussion but he could be back as early as this weekend after getting hurt Tuesday. Joni Pitaken's surgery to repair a broken heel looks like it was successful and that's good news for Hurricane fans. Justin Faulk was considered a great sleeper pick heading into the season but has only four goals and 13 points in 32 games. His plus-one and 13 penalty minutes aren't anything to write home about either. That being said, he is worth looking at next season. Carolina was in line for a playoff spot until Cam Ward was injured. Do not forget about Ward in 2013-14.

           

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, vs. Calgary, @ St. Louis

 

Notes
The Blackhawks play four games this week including three games in four nights so look for Corey Crawford and Ray Emery to split the net heading into the playoffs.  Emery could not play on Friday due to a lower body injury and Chicago recalled Carter Hutton. Look for Emery to be back this week. The Blackhawks are the rested team on Friday when they host the Flames as Calgary take on the Blues in St. Louis Thursday. Chicago is tired Saturday when they are in St. Louis. Patrick Sharp's shoulder continues to be worrisome as the Blackhawks head into the playoffs and hopefully will be able to play this week. Chicago inked Hobey Baker winner Drew LeBlanc to a contract.

            

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Phoenix, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Avalanche finish their season on the road and head into the last week of the season looking for the number one pick in the 2013 Draft. Milan Hejduk will return this week from a shoulder injury and he may be playing in his last NHL games as retirement is definitely on the radar. Semyon Varlamov returned to action from a hip injury as the Avs returned Sami Aittokallio to the minors. You have to feel bad for Joey Hishon who apparently suffered a head injury earlier in the week. Hishon missed almost two years of  hockey with a bad concussion suffered in the 2011 Memorial Cup when hit by Brayden Schenn. The 21-year-old first round pick in the 2010 Draft was injured in an AHL game when hit by Joey Tenute. He had a goal and six points in nine games since his return.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Nashville

 

Notes

It's amazing that the Blue Jackets are in the hunt for a playoff spot as most pundits picked them to finish 30th and last overall. They have only two games this week so I suggest benching all your Columbus players in weekly transaction pools with the exception of goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky, who may be the best player in the NHL right now with Sidney Crosby on the shelf. Marian Gaborik has three goals and seven points in nine games since being acquired from the Rangers. Artem Anisimov suffered a concussion but has been skating and could return this week. Defenseman Dalton Proult has been a good fantasy player since his recall on March 1. He scored his first NHL goal Thursday to go with four helpers and is a plus-15 in 25 games.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Columbus, vs. Detroit

 

Notes

At 40 years of age, Ray Whitney is still unbelievable, as he has four goals and 10 points during his six game points scoring streak. The Stars gave up a lot at the trade deadline but are currently only two points out of a playoff spot and have two games in hand on the eighth place Blue Jackets. Loui Eriksson has been a fantasy disappointment this season with 10 goals and 27 points in 43 games. He was reunited on the top line Thursday with Jamie Benn and picked up an assist but his lack of scoring has been a puzzle.  Rookie Alex Chiasson has been a pleasant surprise with six goals and seven points in seven games but is currently out of action with a shoulder injury.  He is worth looking at in deeper pools next season.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Nashville, @ Dallas

 

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights so look for Jonas Gustavsson to possibly get one start in place of Jimmy Howard, especially if the Red Wings are able to clinch a playoff spot earlier in the week. They are rested Wednesday when playing the Kings as Los Angeles play in Minnesota Tuesday. Detroit will be tired Thursday when they host Nashville.  The Red Wings inked Howard to a six-year/$31.8 million extension. Detroit is currently sitting in 10th place and could miss the playoffs for the first time in 21 seasons, currently the longest such streak in North American professional sports. Henrik Zetterberg has only one goal in his last 12 games but does have seven points in that span.


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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 :Mike Finewax



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