Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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A Bunch of Fours

Friday, October 6, 2017


The season is only two days old as of this writing and already there have been four hat tricks, two on each night.

 

Connor McDavid and Wayne Simmonds got things started on Wednesday while Brandon Saad and Alex Ovechkin continued the goal scoring on Thursday.

 

It was a wild first couple of nights as the defending Cup champions got walloped by the Blackhawks. Who would have thought that Sidney Crosby would be a minus-five after only two games. Or Kris Letang a minus-seven.

 

There’s lots more so let’s get to it!

 

Editor's Note: Rotoworld’s Season Pass is now available for the low price of $19.99. You get plenty of extra articles including the minor league report, the junior report and much, much more. Buy it now!

 

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

 

WEEK OF OCTOBER 9-15

 

4 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, New Jersey, New York Islanders, St. Louis,  Washington

 

3 Games –Arizona, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Winnipeg

 

2 Games - Carolina, Edmonton, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, Philadelphia, San Jose

 

St. Louis plays all four games on the road.

 

Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Detroit, New Jersey, the New York Islanders, Ottawa and Washington play three games on the road.

 

Anaheim, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Vancouver and Vegas play three games at home.

 

INJURIES

 

Patric Hornqvist is out with a hand injury. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 

Note: A tired team is one that has played the day or night before and is going against a team that did not play the previous day or night. The reverse is true for a rested team.

 

ANAHEIM

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. New York Islanders @ Columbus, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: vs. Buffalo (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week so look for Ryan Miller to get one start with John Gibson starting the other three. At the present time, Miller is on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury and has not skated since September 25, so if he is unable to go, then Reto Berra could get a start. Patrick Eaves is also starting the season on the IR due to a lower body injury. Ryan Getzlaf (lower body) missed Thursday’s opener but did practice on Wednesday. The Ducks are also missing Ryan Kesler, Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm due to offseason surgeries. Rickard Rakell opened the season centering the top line with Corey Perry and Andrew Cogliano. Josh Manson inked a four-year contract extension on Wednesday.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Vegas, vs. Detroit, vs. Boston

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes play the second half of a back-to-back series against Vegas so expect to see Lawson Crouse or Luke Schenn partake in the dropping of the gloves if the situation arises. Jakob Chychrun was a revelation last season as he made the roster as an 18-year-old despite being drafted 16th overall. He was injured in the offseason and required knee surgery but he will start skating soon and is ahead of schedule. He is worth stashing in keeper leagues. Oliver Ekman-Larsson was injured a couple of weeks ago but he started the season on Thursday, despite wearing a knee brace. Clayton Keller made the roster and should be considered a Calder Trophy candidate this season. Derek Stepan made his Coyotes debut on Thursday but Antti Raanta (lower body) sat out. They were acquired from the Rangers in the offseason. Louie Domingue picked up the start as Raanta backed him up and looked good until the Ducks went wild in the second half of the game.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado, @ Colorado, @ Arizona, @ Vegas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Vegas (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Bruins play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Tuukka Rask to get three starts with Anton Khudobin getting one. The Bruins play a home-and-home series against Colorado this week so expect to see Brad Marchand or David Backes if healthy, to get a head start on their penalty minute totals. Patrice Bergeron (lower body) and Backes (illness) missed Thursday’s opener. Top Bruins defenseman Torey Krug is on the injured reserve list with a broken jaw but he could return soon. Jake DeBrusk, the Bruins first pick and 14th overall in 2015, made the team and will start the season with David Krejci and David Pastrnak on the top line. He can be a big goal scorer and he is not afraid to battle in the dirty areas with his hard work. He is worth keeping an eye on as he had a goal and an assist in his debut.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Anaheim (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Sabres play three games in four nights as part of a four game week and expect to see Robin Lehner getting the call in goal three times with Chad Johnson seeing the crease once. Jack Eichel is not going anywhere as he has signed an eight-year extension worth $80 million. It will be interesting to see next season what Auston Matthews is going to cost the Maple Leafs. Evander Kane is starting the season on the Eichel line and that will give him plenty of fantasy value. Seth Griffith is slated to be the third member of the line to start the season, but don’t count on Griffith holding onto the job for a long time. The Sabres acquired Zach Redmond from Montreal for Nicolas Deslauriers but he was sent to the AHL immediately.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, vs. Ottawa, @ Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Vancouver (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights as part of a four game week and Mike Smith should see the crease three times with former Carolina goalie Eddie Lack playing once. Smith looked sensational in the Flames opener Wednesday against Edmonton with only Connor McDavid being able to get the puck past him. The Flames signed Jaromir Jagr to a one-year deal but he will need time to get into shape. He was practicing with Kris Versteeg and Sam Bennett and that could be a nice third line. Currently, the Flames have Johnny Gaudreau with Sean Monahan and Micheal Ferland while Matthew Tkachuk is on a line with Mikael Backlund and Michael Frolik. Garnet Hathaway was the odd-man out with the signing of Jagr and is in the minors.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Columbus, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes only play twice this week after playing only once last week so if you are concerned that your Carolina players are not scoring, relax, it has only been three games. Martin Necas, the 12th overall pick in the 2017 Draft has made the team but he likely won’t play more than nine games as the Hurricanes will not want to burn a year on his entry level contract. Sebastian Aho will start the season on a line with Elias Lindholm and Jordan Staal. Lee Stempniak is out with a hip/back injury but could return by the end of the week. Look for Cam Ward to be the backup to Scott Darling this season but could still see 30-35 starts.

 

 CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Montreal, vs. Minnesota, vs. Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Montreal (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play four games this week including three in four nights. Corey Crawford should get three starts with Anton Forsberg getting one. The Blackhawks were all over the Penguins on Thursday as they scored five in the first period en route to a 10-1 routing of the Penguins. Ryan Hartman and Nick Schmaltz get a fantasy boost as they are playing alongside Patrick Kane. They both had big games Thursday as Hatman had a goal and four assists while Schmaltz chipped in with a pair of goal and a helper. They were a combined plus-nine with Hartman going plus-five. Jordin Tootoo was put on long-term injured reserve after suffering a lower body injury in training camp. Alex DeBrincat made the roster. The 19-year-old led the OHL in points last season during the playoffs and shone enough during training camp to make the squad despite his diminutive size. The Blackhawks signed Cody Franson to a one-year contract.

 

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Boston, vs. Anaheim, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Dallas (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Avalanche play four times this week including three games in four nights so look for Semyon Varlamov to play two or three times with Jonathan Bernier getting the remainder of the starts. They also play a home-and-home series with the Bruins so look for Gabriel Landeskog and/or Nikita Zadorov to get into a fight if the situation requires it. Matt Duchene was not traded and started the season with the Avalanche. It will be interesting to see where he is finally moved to, but in the meantime, chances are his plus/minus will hurt you. The Avs claimed defenseman Patrik Nemeth from the Dallas Stars. A few Avs need comeback seasons, especially Landeskog, Carl Soderberg and Duchene. I would expect Landeskog to have the best opportunity to do so but I am not high on Soderberg’s chances. Joe Colborne had a hat trick on opening night last season but did not get the opportunity this season as the Avs waived him and then sent him to the minors.

 

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. New York Rangers, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Minnesota (Saturday)

 

Notes

The good news is that Josh Anderson agreed to a three-year/$5.5 million contract with Columbus this week. Anderson was then sent to the minors on Thursday on a conditioning assignment. Pierre-Luc Dubois was selected third overall in 2016 and the Blue Jackets rationalized the move saying he was the top center they needed. Well, he made the Blue Jackets this season as a 19-year-old but he will start the season on the left wing.  Interesting. Nick Foligno on the other hand will start the season at center. Keep an eye on Oliver Bjorkstrand. He could easily get 25 goals and 50 points. Of course, he could find himself in the minors early on if he doesn’t produce.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Nashville, vs. Colorado

 

Rested Team: vs. Colorado (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Julius Honka made the 23 man roster as the eighth defenseman but will start the season in the press box as coach Ken Hitchcock wants defense coach Rick Wilson to work with him. Ben Bishop is being touted in more than a few places as a possible Vezina Trophy candidate. The Stars could use that as their netminding last season was less than desirable. Esa Lindell has the envious job of partnering with John Klingberg on the top defense pairing. Antoine Roussel should be among the league leaders in penalty minutes and will chip in with 12-15 goals.


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Michael Finewax is entering his 13th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.
Email :Michael Finewax



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