Michael Finewax

The Week Ahead

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A Bunch of Fours

Friday, October 6, 2017


 

OTTAWA            

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Calgary, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Edmonton (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Senators are in Western Canada all week. Erik Karlsson missed the opener on Thursday but he is hopeful of playing this week. The Senators signed Mark Borowiecki to a two-year deal. Borowiecki led the NHL in penalty minutes last season but does not put up many points. Alex Formenton made the roster despite being a second round pick in 2017. Derick Brassard underwent shoulder surgery in the offseason and it was thought he would have to miss some time at the start of the season but he got the green light to play Thursday and responded with a goal and two assists. He is worth taking late in drafts or right now if he is on the waiver wire. Logan Brown, the Senators first round pick in 2016, 11th overall, was a minus-one in his NHL debut.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: vs. Washington (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flyers finally get their first home game in on Saturday when they face the tired Washington Capitals. Wayne Simmonds picked up the hat trick in the Flyers opener Wednesday but they were shutout Thursday in Los Angeles. Shayne Gostisbehere and Jakub Voracek each had three assists Wednesday. Travis Sanheim made his NHL debut Thursday. The Flyers have the deepest list of prospects in the NHL, especially on the blueline and they will be a force to be reckoned with in a few years. Matt Read was placed on waivers after six seasons with the Flyers and will start the season with their AHL farm team in Lehigh Valley. Oskar Lindblom was slated to be a top-six forward this season but a poor training camp has placed him in the minors.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Penguins are off to a rough start as they lost 5-4 in overtime Wednesday and then got shellacked 10-1 by the Blackhawks the following night. I did not like the pickup of Antti Niemi in the offseason (just listen to the Rotoworld podcast of the Penguins last month) and he certainly didn’t prove otherwise on Thursday, giving up four goals on 13 shots before being pulled less than 10 minutes into the game. Phil Kessel scored and had a 10-minute misconduct Thursday. Nice to see Kris Letang healthy and back in the Penguins lineup. Look for a big season from him if he can remain healthy. Matt Murray has given up 11 goals on only 65 shots in the Penguins first two games. Poolies can’t be happy as he was a high first round pick in many drafts.

  

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ New York Rangers, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ New York Rangers (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Blues play four road games this week including three in four nights. Carter Hutton should get one start with Jake Allen picking up the other three. The Blues sent down Russian Klim Kostin to the minors. The Russian was taken 31st overall in the 2017 Draft and has a lot of talent. Keep an eye on him. Captain Alex Pietrangelo scored twice including the overtime winner in the Blues opening night win over Pittsburgh. Vladimir Sobotka finds himself on the top line with Paul Stastny and Vladimir Tarasenko while Brayden Schenn is centering Jaden Schwartz and Dmitrij Jaskin on the second unit. The Blues are hurting badly with Alexander Steen, Robby Fabbri, Jay Bouwmeester, Zach Sanford and Patrik Berglund all out of action. Fabbri is out for the season with a bad knee injury.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Keep an eye on Tim Heed. The defenseman was a healthy scratch Wednesday and enters the season as the Sharks seventh defenseman, but he is a talented offensive threat who had 56 points in 55 AHL games last season. The 26-year-old played in his native Sweden until coming across the pond last season. The Sharks look to be a bubble team as far as the playoffs are concerned. Logan Couture, who scored Wednesday on the power play, needs to have a big year while Joe Pavelski cannot take a step back from his usual 70 point seasons. Kevin Labanc scored twice in the opener and could surprise this season. Martin Jones has been an average goalie as far as save percentage is concerned and if he falls under 30 wins, he is just a so-so second goalie in fantasy leagues.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested team: vs. Pittsburgh (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Lightning are favored in many corners to win their division, the conference and the Stanley Cup. To do so they will need a healthy Steven Stamkos who played only 17 games last season. He did get 20 points however, so you know how valuable he really is. Brayden Point will start the season at center between Ondrej Palat and Yanni Gourde while Stamkos will play with Nikita Kucherov and Vladislav Namestnikov. The third line is also potent with Alex Killorn, Ryan Callahan and Tyler Johnson making up the trio. Mikhail Sergachev, the 19-year-old ‘wunderkid’ defenseman has made the team for now. Jake Dotchin is expected to be a top-six defenseman.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. New Jersey, @ Montreal   

 

Rested team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs got off to a big start with a 7-2 road win in Winnipeg. They may have the best top-nine in the NHL and all three lines contributed in a big way to the win. Frederik Andersen was stellar in net, stopping 35 shots. It looks like Martin Marincin’s with the Maple Leafs may be over as he was placed on waivers Thursday. There are plenty of blueliners with their AHL team who have surpassed Marincin (Travis Dermott, Calle Rosen, Timothy Liljegren) and the possible return of Roman Polak does not help Marincin’s cause in Toronto. Patrick Marleau scored twice in his Leafs debut. Dominic Moore was a healthy scratch as Eric Fehr got the call as the fourth line center in Winnipeg. The Leafs sent Liljegren to the Marlies rather than back to Sweden to keep a close eye on him.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: vs. Calgary (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canucks continue their homestand with three games this week. They have yet to play on the road but that will happen the following week. The Canucks improved their blueline when they acquired Derrick Pouliot from Pittsburgh in exchange for Andrey Pedan and a fourth round pick. Pouliot has a lot of offensive weapons and could flourish in Vancouver. Bo Horvat is expected to play on Saturday despite an injured shoulder. Jake Virtanen has been a big disappointment since the Canucks took him with the sixth pick in the 2014 Draft but he had four goals and six points in six preseason games and seems to have found a place in the lineup with new head coach Travis Green. Olli Juolevi could be playing back in Finland this season rather than with the London Knights of the OHL.

 

VEGAS

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, vs. Detroit, vs. Boston

 

Rested Team: vs. Detroit (Friday), vs. Boston (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Golden Knights play their first home game this week as they face the Coyotes on Tuesday. The Arizona game is also the back-half of a home-and-home series so look for Deryk Engelland to pick up some penalty minutes. The Golden Knights claimed goalie Malcolm Subban off waivers from Boston and then placed Calvin Pickard on waivers. James Neal was place on the injured non-roster list but could return for the opener Saturday. He was practicing with Cody Eakin and David Perron on Wednesday. The Golden Knights first ever signing, Reid Duke, is out four-six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. Clayton Stoner starts the season on the injured reserve list.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, vs. Pittsburgh, @ New Jersey, @ Philadelphia

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Philadelphia (Saturday)

 

Notes

 The Capitals play three games in four nights as part of their four game week. Philipp Grubauer should see his first action in the cage with Braden Holtby playing in net for the other three contests. It was nice to see Alex Ovechkin off to a hot start with a hat trick on Thursday but the player to watch on that line is Jakub Vrana who likely is on the waiver wire in your league. He had two assists and was a plus-three. Tom Wilson was suspended for the first four games of the schedule for boarding Sammy Blais of the Blues. He will be eligible to return for the game against New Jersey. Madison Bowey was sent to the minors and fellow blueliner Christian Djoos was a healthy scratch Thursday. Alex Chiasson inked a one-year deal after attending the Capitals training camp on a PTO.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, vs. Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Jets came out flying against the Maple Leafs but could not score on the power play and that was their Achilles heel as they dropped a 7-2 decision on opening night. The Jets failed to capitalize on eight power play chances and gave up two power play goals on four Leaf attempts. Steve Mason did not look good as he gave up five goals on only 20 shots before he was replaced very early in the third by Connor Hellebuyck. The line of Bryan Little, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers will be a good one and a very good second unit to Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Mathieu Perreault. . Ehlers inked a seven-year contract on Wednesday worth $42 million. Kyle Connor was sent to the minors on Tuesday. A lot of people thought he had a chance at the Calder. 



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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