Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Goaltending Dilemmas

Friday, October 04, 2013


 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Montreal, @ Toronto

 

Notes

The Oilers are rested Thursday when hosting the Canadiens who are in Calgary the night before. This is one of only four times that the Oilers are rested and playing the back-half of teams travelling to Alberta with Calgary getting the advantage of being the rested team 13 times this season. Devan Dubnyk's 2013-14 got off to a weak start as he gave up five goals on 28 shots in a 5-4 loss to the Jets. The Oilers could be looking for a netminder if Dubnyk cannot hang onto the job. Is Ilya Bryzgalov a possibility for the Oilers? Anton Belov made the Oilers after spending his career in the KHL. The 27-year-old defenseman could be a pleasant surprise as he had 26 points with Omsk Avangard last season.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Los Angeles

 

Notes

The Panthers play four times this week including three games in four nights so it seems that Tim Thomas and Jacob Markstrom will split the net.  The Panthers signed Brad Boyes to a contract and he will start the season with Jonathan Huberdeau and Aleksander Barkov while Marcel Goc will center Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann. Florida also inked Ryan Whitney just before the start of the season and he will help out on the power play, likely quarterbacking the second unit with Brian Campbell doing the same on the first power play. Dmitry Kulikov is healthy after a tough season in 2013 due to a shoulder injury. He's worth looking at in deeper leagues.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Ottawa,  @ Carolina, @ Florida

 

Notes

The Kings play four times this week but the games are spread out and they do not play three in four nights. Nevertheless, Ben Scrivens will likely get his first start of the season this week. Los Angeles will be the rested team on Friday when they are in Carolina as the Hurricanes take on the Capitals in Washington Thursday. It could take Dustin Brown a bit of time to shake the cobwebs as he missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury. Good news in that Willie Mitchell will start the season in the Kings lineup after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Tanner Pearson and Tyler Toffoli were both sent to the minors.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Dallas

 

Notes

The Wild will be rested on Saturday when they take on the Stars who are in Winnipeg Friday. Nice move by the Wild as they signed Jason Pominville to a five-year/$28 million contract. He'll play on the top line with Zach Parise who is expecting a lot more from himself this season after scoring 18 goals and 38 points in 48 games last season. I'll be surprised if Mathew Dumba stays with the Wild this season. The defenseman needs ice time and the Wild made him a healthy scratch in the first game. Nino Niederreiter will start the season on the second line with Dany Heatley and Charlie Coyle while Mikael Granlund will see third line duty along with Matt Cooke and Kyle Brodziak.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Edmonton, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Canadiens are in Western Canada all week and play three games in four nights so expect to see Peter Budaj in goal once in place of Carey Price. The Habs will be tired on Thursday in Edmonton after playing in Calgary Wednesday. Lars Eller had a big opening night with two goals and an assist. George Parros suffered a concussion and could be out for a while. It's a big blow for Montreal who picked up Parros in the offseason to help Brandon Prust deal with other team's enforcer. It looks like Prust is on his own again. Doug Murray is out four-six weeks with an upper body injury.

 

NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Toronto. vs. New York Islanders

 

Notes

The Predators are rested when they take on the Islanders Saturday after New York takes on the Blackhawks in Chicago Friday. Look for Seth Jones to remain with the Predators all season and not be sent back to Portland of the WHL. Filip Forsberg could return for the Minnesota game as he has been out with a lower body injury. Pekka Rinne gave up three goals on only six shots before getting pulled on Thursday in a 4-2 loss to St. Louis. Viktor Stalberg could be out of action for four weeks with a shoulder injury. He has been placed on the injured reserve list.  

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

The Devils travel to the Canadian West this week and play all four games against the Western Canada teams. They will be tired on Tuesday when they travel to Vancouver as the Devils are in Edmonton Monday. Look for Cory Schneider and Martin Brodeur to share the net with Schneider playing in Vancouver as he returns for the first time since his offseason trade from the Canucks. It looks like Damien Brunner is not afraid to shoot the puck as he led the Devils with eight shots on goal in their opening loss to Pittsburgh. New Jersey put defenseman Alexander Urbom on waivers where he was picked up by the Capitals as they had to activate Patrik Elias.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, @ Chicago, @ Nashville

 

Notes

The Islanders will be the tired team on Saturday when they are in Nashville as they take on the Blackhawks in Chicago Saturday. Kyle Okposo gets a fantasy boost as he will begin the season on the first line with John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Travis Hamonic could be good to go after he suffered an undisclosed injury on Sunday although there is speculation that it is a concussion. Is this the year that John Tavares takes another leap forward and becomes a no-brainer top-five fantasy skater?

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, @ Anaheim, @ St. Louis

 

Notes

The Rangers play all four on the road as they open the season on a nine game road trip. New York will play three games in four nights so look for Martin Biron to see his first action of the season. The Rangers will be the tired team on Tuesday when in San Jose after playing the Kings Monday. Ryan Callahan could return as early as Monday when the Rangers are in Los Angeles. He had offseason shoulder surgery. The news on Carl Hagelin is not as good as he is on long-term injured reserve and will have to sit out at least ten games. Don't be surprised to see Brad Richards on the wing with Derek Stepan and Rick Nash.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, @Anaheim

 

Notes

The Senators are in sunny California for all three games this week in the midst of a six game road trip. They will be tired on Sunday in Anaheim after playing the Sharks in San Jose Saturday. It was a surprise to many that the Senators sent down Mika Zibanejad but GM Bryan Murray said that Stephane Da Costa and Jean-Gabriel Pageau stepped up during training camp and Zibanejad didn't. Perhaps it will motivate Zibanejad to get back into the NHL quickly. Jason Spezza has been battling a groin injury but is expected to be fine and not miss any action. Cory Conacher will likely start the season on the second power play with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. Spezza, Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan should give Ottawa a first line that will be able to compete with every other team in the Atlantic Division.


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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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