Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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A look at blueliners

Friday, November 29, 2013


A look at the leading scorers among defensemen shows that Erik Karlsson is the only rearguard averaging a point a game as he has 26 in 26 games.

 

Duncan Keith is second with 22 points with only one finding the back of the net while P.K. Subban and Dustin Byfuglien are tied for third, one point behind Keith.

 

A couple of surprises dot the top thirty with Victor Hedman finally coming into his own with 15 points including six goals, and the return of Jay Bouwmeester to fantasy relevance as he has 19 points.

 

Rookie Torey Krug leads all first year defensemen with 15 points while Ryan Suter has the same 15 points but still has yet to score.

 

It’s still not too late to join a Yahoo! pool.

 

Don’t forget, for everything NHL, check out Rotoworld's Player News, and follow @Rotoworld_ HK and @mfinewaxhockey on Twitter.

 

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 2-8

 

4 Games - Chicago, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Toronto

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Buffalo, Columbus

 

San Jose plays all four games on the road.

   

Chicago, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, the New York Rangers and Toronto play three games at home.

 

Colorado, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a $1,500 Fantasy Hockey league for Saturday's NHL games. It's just $10 to join and first prize is $400. Starts Saturday at 7pm ET. Here's the FanDuel link.

 

INJURIES

 

Rookie Sean Monahan is week-to-week with a hairline fracture of his foot. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Chicago, @ St. Louis

 

Notes

The Ducks play three times this week and are the rested team twice and the tired team once. They are rested on Tuesday against the Kings as Los Angeles is home to St. Louis Monday. The Ducks are rested once again on Friday in Chicago as the Blackhawks face the Wild in Minnesota but are tired Saturday in St. Louis. Cam Fowler has finally grown into a respectable blueliner in his own end and that bodes well for the future as he was always able to play with offensive flair. He has 13 points in 27 games. Saku Koivu has been allowed to participate in contact drills for the first time since his head injury on October 27. Emerson Etem was sent to the minors on Wednesday despite scoring his six goal of the season on Tuesday. He is still worth owning in keeper pools.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Toronto

 

Notes

Boston plays three games in four nights so Chad Johnson should play once in place of Tuukka Rask. The Bruins are the rested team on Thursday when in Montreal with the Canadiens taking on New Jersey Wednesday. Dennis Seidenberg returned to action on Friday after missing four games with a lower body injury. Kevan Miller was returned to the minors. Reilly Smith continues to be a pleasant surprise this season as he has 17 points this season with three goals and six points in his last six games. He is third in points on the Bruins, one point behind David Krejci and Milan Lucic. While it looks like Jarome Iginla is having a mediocre fantasy season with five goals and 14 points in 25 games, he is plus-10 and has 25 penalty minutes.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ Montreal

 

Notes

The Sabres only play twice this week so bench your Buffalo players in pools that use the weekly transaction format. The Sabres picked up Matt D'Agostini off waivers from the Penguins on Wednesday and he is slated to center the second line with Steve Ott and Ville Leino. Look for Mikhail Grigorenko to be a healthy scratch. Matt Moulson has 10 points in 13 games since being dealt from the Islanders. Drew Stafford has only two goals and nine points this season and has not found the back of the net in his last nine games. Tyler Myers has two goals and six points with 39 penalty minutes but his fantasy value takes a big hit when you factor in his minus-11 rating.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Colorado, @ Edmonton

 

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights so expect to see Karri Ramo in goal once in place of the current number one Reto Berra. The Flames are rested on Wednesday when they face the Coyotes as Phoenix is in Edmonton Tuesday. The Avalanche will be tired on Friday when they play in Calgary after playing the Oilers Thursday but the Flames will be the tired team on Saturday in Edmonton. Sean Monahan was placed on the injured reserve list with a hairline fracture in his foot. Mikael Backlund could pick up extra minutes moving up the depth chart for Monahan who is week-to-week at this time. Good news for Mark Giordano fantasy owners as he could return later this week as he has missed the last 16 games with a broken ankle. He had eight points in nine games before the injury.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Nashville, vs. San Jose

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights so expect to see Justin Peters once instead of Cam Ward. Tuomo Ruutu has been playing well of late as he has three goals in his last five games. Eric Staal has also been picking up the pace lately as he is on a seven game points streak. Andrej Sekera will miss Friday’s game with an upper body injury and that’s a shame as he had five points in his previous four games while leading the Hurricanes power play. Justin Faulk was considered the Hurricanes top fantasy defenseman heading into the season by many but he finally potted his first of the season on Wednesday. Cam Ward is 2-0-1 in his last three games, allowing only seven goals on 96 shots.

 

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, @ Minnesota, vs. Anaheim, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Chicago Blackhawks play four times including three in four nights so look for Antti Raanta to place once in place of Corey Crawford. Chicago will be tired on Friday when they take on the Ducks after playing in Minnesota on Thursday but will be the rested team on Sunday when hosting the Panthers as Florida take on the Red Wings in Detroit Saturday. Raanta got his first start in his NHL career on Wednesday and picked up the win, turning aside 20 of 22 shots in a 3-2 win over Calgary. Patrick Kane has a 12 game scoring streak and has 28 points including 15 goals in 26 games. Niklas Hjalmarsson continues to be a good option offensively in deep leagues as he has 12 points in 26 games with a plus-eight rating. He has three assists in his last three games.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver

 

Notes

The Avalanche play three games in four nights this week so look for Jean-Sebastien Giguere to play once in place of Semyon Varlamov. They play all three games in Western Canada and will be the tired team on Friday in Calgary after playing in Edmonton Thursday. Coach Patrick Roy is not happy with the play of Jamie McGinn and dropped him to the fourth line as he has only four goals and eight points this season in 20 games. Cody McLeod could see time on the first line as he played there in practice alongside Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly. Paul Stastny sat out Wednesday’s game with back spasms. Roy has been impressed with the play of Tyson Barrie since his recall from the minors. He has two assists and eight shots on goal in addition to a plus-three rating in his last three contests.

  

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Minnesota

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets only play twice this week so bench all your Columbus players if weekly transaction pools. The Blue Jackets will be rested on Friday when hosting Minnesota as the Wild are home to Chicago Thursday. Brandon Dubinsky could return from a foot injury for the Columbus game as he has been out of the lineup since November 20. Columbus sent Tim Erixon back to the minors as he only played in one game since his recall two weeks previous. They claimed Corey Tropp from Buffalo this week as GM Jarmo Kekalainen has liked him since his draft year in 2007. James Wisniewski leads the Blue Jackets in points with 18 in 25 games but keep an eye on Ryan Johansen who tied him for the lead with a goal and an assist Friday. Johansen was drafted fourth overall in the 2010 Draft and at age 21 is coming into his own.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, @ Toronto, vs. Philadelphia

 

Notes

The Stars fourth line consisting of Antoine Roussel, Ryan Garbutt and Vernon Fiddler were great last game with Roussel scoring twice, Garbutt picking up a goal and two assists and Fiddler chipping in with two helpers. Garbutt led the Stars on November 21 with seven shots on goal and I’ve stated before how much I like the fantasy value of Roussel who now has four goals and eight points in 23 games with 63 penalty minutes which is seventh best in the NHL. He has three goals and five points in his last six games. Ray Whitney returned to action on Tuesday after missing 17 days with a groin injury. Kari Lehtonen is 10-5-2 this season with a 2.28 GAA and a .924 save percentage.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ New Jersey, vs. Florida

 

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights and right now it looks like Jonas Gustavsson has the net with Jimmy Howard as the backup so do not be surprised if Howard gets only one game in net. The Red Wings are the tired team on Saturday when they are home to Florida after playing in New Jersey Saturday. Todd Bertuzzi has missed the last three games and will miss November 29 with a shoulder injury. He could be back this week. Pavel Datsyuk is out of action with a head injury. Gustav Nyquist is taking advantage of the injury problems in Detroit and has three goals and four points in four games as he is now playing on a line with Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen.  The Red Wings inked defenseman Jonathan Ericsson to a six-year/$25.5 million extension.


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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 :Michael Finewax



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