Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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Lots of Wheeling & Dealing

Friday, March 07, 2014


 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flyers play the Penguins in a home-and-home series so expect to see Zac Rinaldo, Steve Downie, Scott Hartnell or Wayne Simmonds get involved in a fight if there is any trouble on the ice. The Flyers made a nice pickup on Tuesday in getting defenseman Andrew MacDonald from the Islanders for a third round pick in 2014 and a second rounder in 2015. The Flyers sent Michael Raffl to the minors  and recalled him as they want him eligible for the AHL playoffs if Philadelphia does not advance during the NHL playoffs. Jacob Voracek has five points in his last two games.

 

PHOENIX

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Boston, vs. Calgary

 

Rested team: @ Boston (Thursday) vs. Calgary (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Florida

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights on the road before returning home for a matchup with the Flames. Look for Mike Smith to play three games with Thomas Greiss playing once. The Coyotes picked up Martin Erat from the Capitals on Wednesday as well as John Mitchell as they sent Chris Brown, Rostislav Klesla and a fourth round pick the other way. They traded David Rundblad (who they picked up in a trade for Kyle Turris a couple of seasons ago) and Mathieu Brisebois to Chicago for a second rounder. It's not a very good return for Turris overall. Radim Vrbata has five goals in his last nine games and is now paired with fellow Czech Erat.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Washington, vs. Washington, @ Philadelphia, vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Penguins play two home-and-home series this week against the Capitals and the Flyers so expect tempers to flare. As a result, look for Robert Bortuzzo, Deryk Engelland and Brooks Orpik to become involved if there are any fisticuffs in either home-and-home series. The Penguins picked up some offensive depth by acquiring Lee Stempniak and Marcel Goc for draft picks. Olli Maatta continues to impress and the defenseman's two goal performance on Thursday gives him nine this season. The rookie has 27 points and will definitely garner consideration in Calder voting. Kris Letang has been placed on the injured list and is likely out for the season after suffering a stroke.

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

 vs. Dallas, vs. Edmonton, @ Nashville

 

Rested team: vs. Dallas (Tuesday) @ Nashville (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blues made their blockbuster trade a week ago when then acquired Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from Buffalo for Jaroslav Halak, Chris Stewart, William Carrier, a first in 2015 and a conditional third in 2016. It makes the Blues one of the favorites to win the Cup as Miller is one of the top goalies in the world. Vladimir Sobotka is out with a knee injury but could start skating on Monday. He is expect to be out another 10-14 days. Patrik Berglund has only 11 goals and 27 points in 59 games this season but has three goals in his last three games.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto, @ Columbus, @ New York Islanders, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested team: vs. Toronto (Tuesday)

Tired Team: @ New York Islanders (Friday)

 

Notes

The Sharks play three games in four nights this week and you should expect to see Alex Stalock play at least once in place of the struggling Antti Niemi. The Sharks did nothing at the deadline. Brent Burns scored for the first time since January 5 on Tuesday but is now seeing third line minutes as he was replaced on the top line by Matthew Nieto. Martin Havlat is now seeing fourth line minutes as he has only 11 points in 32 games. Tommy Wingels is seeing second line minutes with Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture and that is good news for his fantasy owners.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Phoenix, vs. Floriday, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested team: vs. New Jersey (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The big news out of Tampa Bay was that Martin St. Louis requested a trade and only to the New York Rangers. GM Steve Yzerman, with his hands tied, got Ryan Callahan in return for the diminutive forward, along with a first round pick in 2015 and a second rounder in 2014. The great news in Tampa Bay was that Steve Stamkos returned to action on Thursday. It was his first game since November 11 as he broke his leg on that day. Callahan played with Valtteri Filppula and Nikita Kucherov in his debut while Stamkos skated with Teddy Purcell and Alex Killorn. The Lightning dealt Dana Tyrell and Matt Taormina to Columbus for Dalton Smith and Jonathan Marchessault.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Washington

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs play all four on the road including three in four nights in California so expect to see James Reimer in goal at least once. Jonathan Bernier will play the other two or three games but he should be in goal on Thursday when he returns to Los Angeles for the first time since he was dealt in the off-season to play the Kings. The Maple Leafs were very quite at the deadline as they stood pat. The Leafs made a bunch of up and down moves with Frazer McLaren and Trevor Smith going to the minors while Peter Holland and Carter Ashton were recalled. The top line of Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk have been one of the top lines this season in the NHL.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, @ Winnipeg, @ Washington, @ Florida

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It should be interesting on Sunday when the Canucks are in Florida for the first time since Roberto Luongo was dealt there in exchange for Shawn Matthias and Jacob Markstrom. It was one of the big surprises of the trade deadline, but the final straw for Luongo had to be not playing in the Heritage Classic as John Tortorella thought that Eddie Lack gave the Canucks the best chance to win. Lack with now share the net with Markstrom. The two were teammates in 2009-10 with Brynas Gavle of the Swedish Elite League with Markstrom the starter and Lack the backup. The roles are reversed for now. Ryan Kesler was thought to be headed out of town but GM Mike Gillis rejected all the offers. Do not be surprised if Kesler is gone in the off-season. Raphael Diaz was sent to the Rangers.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Vancouver, vs. Toronto

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Capitals play a home-and-home series with the Pittsburgh Penguins so look for Tom Wilson and Troy Brouwer to become involved if there is any rough stuff. The Capitals picked up Jaroslav Halak from the Sabres on Wednesday and sent Michal Neuvirth the other way. They are hoping that Halak can solve their goaltending woes that they have suffered through most of this season. The Caps picked up Dustin Penner from Anaheim in exchange for a fourth round pick. Jack Hillen was recalled after a conditioning stint in the AHL. Dmitry Orlov will return to the lineup on March 8 after being suspended two games for boarding the Flyers Brayden Schenn.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Vancouver, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Dallas

 

Rested team: vs. New York Rangers (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Jets play four times this week so expect to see Al Montoya play at least once for Ondrej Pavelec. The Jets received bad news when their top rookie Mark Scheifele injured his MCL and is expected to miss six-eight weeks. Michael Frolik will replace Scheifele as he will center Devin Setoguchi and Matt Halischuk after Frolik had been centering the top line with Bryan Little and Andrew Ladd. The Jets did nothing at the trade deadline but did sign Mark Stuart to a two-year extension.  The Jets had only 18 shots on goal against the Kings Thursday with Evander Kane leading the way with seven.



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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