Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Goaltending Dilemmas

Friday, October 04, 2013


It's only three days into the NHL season and already there are goaltending controversies on many NHL teams.

 

In Washington, Braden Holtby looked to be the definitive number one netminder heading into the season but after giving up eight goals on 45 shots in less than four periods, Michal Neuvirth was put in net and responded by giving up only one goal on 28 shots.

 

Jonathan Bernier was outstanding in leading Toronto to a 3-1 over Philadelphia after James Reimer defeated the Canadiens in Montreal 4-3 the night before. While I think that Bernier will play in 50-plus games, I'm sure Reimer will have a lot to say about that.

 

The Devils dealt the ninth overall pick in the 2013 Draft to Vancouver for their goalie of the future Cory Schneider but in what is likely to be his last season, Martin Brodeur will see plenty of action. Look for a split in duties this season.

 

I'm not a big fan of Devan Dubnyk in Edmonton. He gave up three goals in the third period as the Oilers blew a 4-2 lead to the Jets Tuesday. I don't think that Jason LaBarbera is the answer but the Oilers could go after UFA Ilya Bryzgalov if Dubnyk has a rough time at the start of the season.

 

The Panthers have said that Jacob Markstrom is their goalie of the future but after spending the last three seasons shuffling between the NHL and AHL, they obviously thought he wasn't ready to take on the full time role and signed Tim Thomas. Thomas was the opening night starter and played very well after taking a year off.

 

The Blues have Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott fighting it out, with Jake Allen who could be the best of the bunch, waiting patiently in the minors. Look for the Blues to trade one of their netminders and have the other two battle it out.

 

The most intriguing battle is in Anaheim where it was thought that Jonas Hiller would be the number one but Viktor Fasth got the start on opening night. He gave up six goals but Hiller owners have to be concerned that he didn't get the start.

 

The last one I'll look at is in Tampa Bay where Anders Lindback and Ben Bishop will battle back and forth all season. Lindback got the first start but look for them to split the net until one or the other runs with it or blows it.

 

There will be other battles during the season but that is an awful lot this early in the season.

 

 

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Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 7-13

 

4 Games - Carolina, Florida, Los Angeles, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Phoenix

 

3 Games–Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver,  Winnipeg

 

2 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, St. Louis, Washington

 

New Jersey, New York Rangers and Phoenix play all four of their games on the road.

 

Colorado, Montreal and Ottawa play three games on the road.

 

Nashville and Vancouver play three games at home.

 

Editors Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Friday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.

 

INJURIES

 

(Click here to see the the current injury list.)

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Ottawa

 

Notes

The Ducks will be the rested team at home Sunday as their opponents, the Ottawa Senators are in San Jose Saturday. It was a surprise to see Viktor Fasth in goal for the Ducks in the opener as it was assumed that Jonas Hiller would get the start. Giving up six goals did not help his cause. Dustin Penner had the inside track to play on the top line with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf but a poor training camp had him being a healthy scratch in the opener against the Avalanche. Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks first pick and sixth overall in the 2012 Draft, made the 23 man roster but was a healthy scratch in the first game. The return of Jakob Silfverberg to the opening lineup was not good news for Matt Beleskey owners as he is now a bottom-six forward.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Columbus

 

Notes

The Bruins play only two games for the second week in a row as they gently ease into the NHL season. Expect to see Tuukka Rask in net for both games. Boston will open the season with David Krejci between Jarome Iginla and Milan Lucic on the top line. Lucic is in top shape and could get 30 goals and 60-plus points to go with a very good plus/minus and 125 penalty minutes, which will make him one of the top fantasy players. Carl Soderberg is out with an ankle injury which will allow Jordan Caron to get into the lineup.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Columbus, @ Chicago

 

Notes

The Sabres will be rested on Saturday when they travel to Chicago while the Blackhawks host the New York Islanders Friday. Rasmus Ristolainen, the eighth overall pick in the 2013 Draft was a bit of surprise as he made the team out of training camp, a tough thing for a defenseman to do. Do not be surprised if he eventually gets sent to the minors. Putting Ristolainen in the lineup made Jamie McBain a healthy scratch Wednesday. Ville Leino has been a major disappointment since signing a long-term deal with Buffalo and is now out again with a cracked rib. Marcus Foligno should return Tuesday after missing the first two games of the season with a shoulder injury.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. New Jersey

 

Notes

Rookie Sean Monahan made the team out of training camp and should have been taken in keeper leagues as he has a bright future. The Flames dealt for Calgary native Joe Colborne and the 23-year-old is thrilled to be coming home. He'll line up as the Flames third line center but will have little fantasy value. The Flames sent Roman Horak to the minors but he should return shortly. Jiri Hudler was healthy enough to return for the opener on Thursday after missing most of the preseason with a groin injury. He was on the top line alongside T.J. Galiardi and Mikael Backlund.  Karri Ramo got the start for the Flames Thursday and picked up the shootout loss despite being staked to a 3-0 lead in the first period.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, @ Washington, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Phoenix

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights as part of their four game week so look for Anton Khudobin to play once with Cam Ward getting the start in the other three games. Carolina will be the tired team Friday when they play the Kings after the Hurricanes are in Washington Thursday. Ryan Murphy was recalled on Wednesday after spending the day in the minors for salary cap reasons. Alexander Semin (upper body) and Elias Lindholm (hand) should be healthy enough to play in the opener. A good news story may be in the making as the Hurricanes inked Manny Malhotra (eye) to a 25 game professional tryout with Carolina's farm team in Charlotte.

           

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. New York Islanders, vs. Buffalo

 

Notes

The Blackhawks are the tired team Saturday when they face the rested Sabres after playing at home to the Islanders Friday. Brandon Saad got off to a great start on the third line with a goal and two assists. He is playing alongside Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes. Congratulations goes out to Brandon Bollig who scored his first NHL goal in his 44th career game on Tuesday. He wanted to contribute more offensively this season and has completed his goal. Michal Handzus should pick up additional fantasy value playing on the second line with Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa. The Blackhawks gave up three power play goals in their first game.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Boston, @ Washington

 

Notes

Coach Patrick Roy made his presence felt in Colorado's opening game as he was fined $10,000 for pushing over the glass that separated the two benches in a win over Anaheim. He was upset that Ben Lovejoy stuck his knee out at rookie Nathan MacKinnon with a minute to go in a blowout. MacKinnon had two assists in his first game, becoming the youngest player since Hall of Famer Teeder Kennedy did it at age 18 years 27 days as MacKinnon was 18 years, 31 days Tuesday. Gabriel Landeskog may be out with a leg injury. Semyon Varlamov missed a shutout in the season opener by only seven seconds.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Boston

 

Notes

Marian Gaborik returned earlier in the week after attending the funeral for a grandparent. R.J. Umberger was not on either power play in practice early in the week. Fedor Tyutin suffered a lower body injury in practice Wednesday and is questionable for Friday's opener. Boone Jenner will start the season on the top line with Brandon Dubinsky and Marian Gaborik. If Sergei Bobrovsky even comes close to his Vezina Trophy season, the Blue Jackets will be in the thick of things come playoff time.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Minnesota

 

Notes

The Stars play only twice for the second week in a row and they will be the rested team Friday in Winnipeg after the Jets are in Minnesota Thursday. They are the tired team the next night in Minnesota. Valeri Nichushkin is a viable Calder Trophy candidate as he has sublime offensive skills. He'll end up on the top power play unit but it may not be right away. Scott Glennie, the Stars first round pick, eighth overall in the 2009 Draft, is out indefinitely with a knee injury. Trevor Daley played on Thursday after suffering an upper body injury during training camp.         

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Red Wings will be rested on Saturday when they play the Flyers who are hosting the Coyotes on Friday. Daniel Alfredsson suffered a groin injury Wednesday and missed practice Thursday. It's considered a minor injury so he may not miss any time. Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is out with a groin injury and he could be gone for most if not all of October. Look for Jimmy Howard to play most games but he may not play in back-to-back games to give him some rest. It was a surprise but the Red Wings sent Gustav Nyquist to the minors as he did not have to clear waivers in order to go to Grand Rapids. Expect to see him in the NHL at some point this season.


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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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