Mike Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Varlamov in hot water

Friday, November 01, 2013


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. New Jersey, vs. Edmonton

 

Notes

The Flyers traded Maxime Talbot on Thursday to the Colorado Avalanche and picked up agitator Steve Downie in return. Downie was originally Philadelphia property as the Flyers drafted him in the first round in 2005. He will get plenty of penalty minutes and has a chance at 50 points if he is on the top line alongside Claude Giroux. Giroux has yet to score a goal this season but after going pointless in his first six games, he has six assists in his last six games. The Flyers are 3-8-0 this season and have been terrible in the third period as they have been outscored 14-5. Steve Mason has been a very pleasant surprise as he is only 3-6-0 but has a 2.25 GAA and a .928 save percentage.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, @ Anaheim, vs. Washington

 

Notes

The Coyotes will be the tired team on Wednesday in Anaheim after hosting the Canucks Tuesday. Brandon Gormley is set to make his NHL debut after being drafted 13th overall in the 2010 Draft. The defenseman had five assists in seven AHL games. I like him but rookie defensemen usually struggle at first so leave him on the waiver wire in deeper leagues.  Shane Doan has four goals and eight points in 13 games. Radim Vrbata leads the Coyotes in points with 12 but Martin Hanzal has been their best fantasy player up front with 11 points and 19 penalty minutes. Although his 2.97 GAA leaves a lot to be desired, Mike Smith is 7-2-2 with a .912 save percentage.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ St. Louis

 

Notes

The Penguins play only twice this week but do not reserve Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin or Kris Letang in weekly transaction leagues. Beau Bennett has been skating on his own and his return from a lower body injury cannot be too far off. Matt D'Agostini is getting second line time alongside Malkin but that will change once James Neal returns to the lineup. Neal has been out since the first game of the season but is starting to work out and could be back in the Pittsburgh lineup in three weeks barring a setback. Robert Scuderi has been a huge part of the defense with his play in his own end but is gone indefinitely with a broken ankle. Chuck Kobasew, who started the season off with two goals in his first two games, is out three-four weeks with a lower body injury.

  

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Calgary, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Notes

Alexander Steen leads the NHL in goals with 11. Magnus Paajarvi has been a disappointment thus far as the Blues gave up David Perron to acquire him. Paajarvi has been a healthy scratch frequently in the early going and now is on the injured reserve list as he has an upper body injury. He has no points in four games. Jordan Leopold is without a point in his first 10 games this season. He had 13 goals and 35 points in 2010-11 so I'm sure he was selected in deeper pools. Maxim Lapierre finished his five game suspension on Tuesday and will be in the lineup this week. Brenden Morrow is out of action with a rib injury and will be re-evaluated on Monday.  

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Vancouver, @ Winnipeg

 

Notes

Marc-Edouard Vlasic has been a gem fantasy-wise early on with three goals and 10 points in 13 games. The defenseman had only three goals and seven points last season in 48 games. Martin Havlat is back after missing the start of the season as he had off-season pelvic surgery. He currently is not a top-six forward and after an 18 point season in 2013, I recommend waiting on taking him in your fantasy pool. Dan Boyle could return this week as he has started practicing with the team after suffering an upper body injury when hit by Maxim Lapierre. Brent Burns is still out of action but is skating. He has four goals and eight points in eight games with a plus-nine rating and if he is defenseman-eligible in your fantasy pool, he is a huge asset.    

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Detroit

 

Notes

The Lightning play only twice this week so consider benching everyone with the exception of Steve Stamkos and Martin St. Louis in weekly transaction pools. Stamkos was the player of the week with three goals and seven points in three games. Sami Salo is considering one more season as the 39-year-old has been relatively healthy in the last two seasons. The Lightning recalled former first round pick Brett Connolly. He was selected sixth overall in 2010 so he should be worth looking at in deep pools. Radko Gudas had a game misconduct rescinded by the NHL on Sunday. He is second in penalty minutes with 55 and has a goal and four points as well. Ben Bishop is 7-2-0 this season with a 2.41 GAA and a .914 save percentage and is miles ahead of his backup Anders Lindback who is 1-2-0 with a 3.48 GAA and a .864 save percentage.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ Boston

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play twice this week and are the rested team on Friday when they host New Jersey who take on the Flyers in Philadelphia the previous night. The tables are turned on Saturday as the tired Leafs take on a rested Bruins team in Boston. Phil Kessel had five goals and an assist in three games to earn the second star of the week. The Maple Leafs are a surprising 10-4 when you take into account that they have been outshot in 12 of the 14 games they have played. Tremendous goaltending by Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer have been the big reason why they are so good. James van Riemsdyk is on a five game scoring streak and has two goals and seven points in that time. If Kessel finishes in the top-ten in scoring this season he will be the first Maple Leaf to do so for three straight years since Darryl Sittler in the late 70's. If he can finish in the top seven, he will be the first Toronto player to do so for three years in a row since Frank Mahovlich in the early 1960's.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

 @ Phoenix, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Notes

The Canucks play all four on the road including three games in four nights so Eddie Lack should get the net once in place of Roberto Luongo. The Canucks will be the tired team on Sunday in Anaheim after playing the Kings in Los Angeles Saturday. John Tortorella is playing the heck out of his top line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler as the trio saw more ice time in their last game than top defenseman in minutes, Alexander Edler. David Booth is out of action for a week or two with a lower body injury while Dale Weise is out three-four weeks with the same dreaded lower body injury.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Minnesota, @ Phoenix, @ Colorado

 

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights so look for Michal Neuvirth to get one start in place of Braden Holtby. Washington will be the tired team on Sunday in Colorado after taking on the Coyotes in Phoenix Saturday. Alex Ovechkin is currently out of action with an upper body injury. Eric Fehr will take over his spot on the first power play while Ovechkin heals. Coach Adam Oates has split up his top blueline pairing of Mike Green and John Carlson and will have Karl Alzner partner with Carlson. Mikhail Grabovski is on a four game point streak. He is the only Washington forward with a plus rating as he is plus-two. Steve Oleksy is the only other regular Capital on the plus side of the ledger at plus-one. Michael Latta was recalled by the Capitals and he may be of fantasy use if you need help in the penalty minute category.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Chicago, vs. Nashville, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

Rookie Jacob Trouba has not started skating since injuring his neck two weeks ago. There is no timetable for his return. Tobias Enstrom shocked many by stating that he does not want to play for Sweden in the Olympics, stating that he wants to devote his time to helping the Jets make the playoffs by resting his body during the 17 day break in February. Dustin Byfuglien has yet to score a goal this season in 14 games but does have nine assists and 20 penalty minutes. Paul Postma was placed on the injured reserve list with blood clots and is unlikely to play for at least a few months. Rookie Mark Scheifele has only a goal and three points in 14 games with a minus-two rating and no penalty minutes. His ice time has gone down considerably from a high of over 22 minutes at the start of the season, to just 10:31 Tuesday and 7:39 Saturday. Blake Wheeler scored on the power play Tuesday and it was the Jets first goal in their last 27 chances with the man-advantage.



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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