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The Week Ahead

The Final Week

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

It’s the final week of the season as well as the last Week Ahead for the 2017-18 season. I hope that it has been informative and we will be back in the fall.

 

There are a couple of playoff battles still in the works with Philadelphia, New Jersey and Florida chasing down the final two spots in the East, while Anaheim, St. Louis and Colorado should fight it out for the final two spots in the West. The Kings are also in danger of missing the post-season.

 

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There is plenty of information and good chatter always on the Rotoworld Hockey Podcast. Listen here.

 

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WEEK OF APRIL 2-8

 

5 Games - Florida

 

4 Games –Boston, Buffalo, Minnesota, Nashville, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Carolina, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Colorado, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington

 

2 Games - Pittsburgh

 

Florida plays four games at home.

 

Buffalo, Dallas, Minnesota, Nashville, the New York Rangers, Ottawa and Vegas play three games on the road.

 

Los Angeles, San Jose and Tampa Bay play three games at home.

 

INJURIES

 

Lots of players have been shut down for the remainder of the season including Matthew Tkachuk. (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. Minnesota, vs. Dallas, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Arizona (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Ducks finish the season with three games in four nights. Look for John Gibson to play at least twice and possibly the third game if Anaheim needs it to finish in the playoffs. If not, then Ryan Miller will get a start. The Ducks currently hold down the second wild card, just one point up on the Avalanche with five to play. It has been another mediocre fantasy season for Corey Perry as the one-time stud has only 17 goals and 46 points. He used to be the best combination of penalty minutes and points but that is not the case anymore as he is a run-of-the-mill fantasy player. The Ducks have a lot of good fantasy defensemen led by Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Brandon Montour and Hampus Lindholm.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Vancouver, vs. Anaheim  

 

Rested Team: vs. Anaheim (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It was not a good season for the Coyotes as they were buried in the basement of the NHL standings for most of the season but there was light at the end of the tunnel as they actually played quite well down the stretch. Arizona was 15-8-2 in their last 25 games and if they played like that all season they would have over 100 points.  Unfortunately they sit at 65, but the future looks bright. They have solved their netminding problems with Antti Raanta and Darcy Kuemper but need to sign Raanta at the end of the season. Clayton Keller slumped in the middle of the season but that is not surprising for a rookie and he has 23 goals and 62 points this season. They have to decide whether or not to sign stud blueliner Oliver Ekman-Larsson or deal him in the off-season for lots of currency.            

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, vs. Ottawa, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: @ Tampa Bay (Tuesday), vs. Ottawa (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins play four games this week including three games in four nights. Look for Tuukka Rask to play three times with Anton Khudobin playing once. The home game against Florida is a make-up game from January when the contest was snowed out. Boston plays the Panthers twice this week so if there are any fisticuffs look for Brad Marchand or Kevan Miller to add to their penalty minutes count. The Bruins are battling the Lightning for first in the East and are up a point with a game in hand. The signing of Ryan Donato has added some much needed scoring to the second line. That bodes well for the playoffs. Rick Nash has started skating again. Zdeno Chara has re-signed for next season.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, vs. Ottawa, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Florida (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Buffalo Sabres are having trouble staying healthy in net and play four games this week including three games in four nights. Robin Lehner was injured on Thursday and that put Chad Johnson back in net in relief while Linus Ullmark was also injured this week. You really should not be relying on Buffalo goaltending anyway in your pool. The Sabres have had an awful season and sit dead-last in the NHL standings. It will be worth it if they win the lottery and are able to draft Rasmus Dahlin, the consensus number one pick in the draft. Jack Eichel has to be concerned with the level of play of the rest of the team. Don’t forget about Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen next season.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona, @ Winnipeg, vs. Vegas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flames shelved Matthew Tkachuk and T.J. Brodie for the rest of the year as they are not making the playoffs this season and there was no point in the two playing any more.  The Flames were looking like playoff contenders until March when they faded badly. Johnny Gaudreau has missed the last two games for personal reasons as he returned home to be with his dad who suffered a cardiac event. Keep an eye on Sam Bennett next season. David Rittich is back in the minors as the Flames recalled Jon Gillies. Mike Smith had a nice season with the Flames but was injured when it counted in February and March. Micheal Ferland has 21 goals and 40 points playing mainly on the top line with Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

               

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Philadelphia, vs. Tampa Bay  

 

Rested Team: vs. Tampa Bay (Saturday)

Tired Team:  None

 

Notes

It looked like the Hurricanes were poised to make a playoff run but that was not to be. They are sitting 10th overall in the East with 79 points. They have a lot of nice young players like Sebastian Aho, Teuvo Teravainen, Elias Lindholm etc. but they cannot seem to put it together as a team. Warren Foegele made his debut this past week and had two goals and three points in his first two games before he was returned to the minors. He looks like he should make the team next season. Noah Hanifin should be a stud defenseman in the next couple of seasons and that will help the Carolina cause. He has 10 goals and 31 points and is only 21. The Hurricanes need help in net and Scott Darling was not the answer this season.

 

 CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. St. Louis, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Winnipeg (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks play three games in four nights so look for Anton Forsberg to play twice if healthy as he was injured during warmups Thursday. Collin Delia will get in some action either way. He left Thursday’s game as well as he had cramps and 36-year-old accountant Scott Foster played the last 14 minutes, stopping all seven shots Winnipeg sent his way. Chicago has had an awful season as they have gone from first to worst in the Central Division. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, stalwarts on the blueline during their Stanley Cup years, got old this season. The Blackhawks play a home-and-home series with St. Louis so look for John Hayden, if healthy, to get involved in a fight. Eleven of Artem Anisimov’s 20 goals have come on the power play.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, vs. St. Louis

 

Rested Team: vs. St. Louis (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Monday)

 

Notes

The Avs are currently on the outside looking in at the playoffs but are just one point in arrears of the Anaheim Ducks for the second wild card and Colorado holds the tie-breaking advantage. The two teams meet on April 1. It has been a great season for the Avs as they were by far the worst team in the NHL last season. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen have been as good a one-two punch in the NHL as any this season and could be the best. MacKinnon deserves to be a finalist for the Hart Trophy as he has carried Colorado to the brink of the post-season. He has 38 goals and 92 points in only 69 games this campaign. The Avs are expected to get back their goaltending duo in Semyon Varlamov and Jonathan Bernier on March 30 as both have small injuries.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets recent 10-game winning streak has put them in good stead for the playoffs as they currently stand third in the Metropolitan. The Blue Jackets have to be pleased with the play of Pierre-Luc Dubois who has 18 goals and 44 points this season. He went third overall in 2016 and that was thought to be a bit of a reach but he has proven himself this season, his first in the NHL. Sergei Bobrovsky is having another great season as he is 36-23-5 with a 2.36 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Columbus can do damage in the playoffs if Bobrovsky is on his game.  Seth Jones has been great this season and deserves consideration for the Norris. He has 15 goals and 50 points in 75 games. The Blue Jackets made a great trade in acquiring Artemi Panarin from Chicago in the off-season as he has 73 points in 78 games as well as a plus-22 rating.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Saturday)

 

Notes

It has been another bad season for the Dallas Stars who missed the playoffs last season and will do so again this year. They have a nice core in Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, Alexander Radulov and John Klingberg but the drop off is drastic after that as no one has 35 points. Jason Spezza was a lost cause this season with only seven goals and 25 points in 74 games. He was even a healthy scratch this season for a game and that helped out the next game but did little after that. Martin Hanzal was a horrible off-season signing and contributed only five goals and 10 points in 38 games before undergoing spinal fusion surgery. Ken Hitchcock could be gone after only one season behind the bench as this season was a catastrophe.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Montreal, vs. New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Red Wings had a tough season as they will not make the playoffs. They currently sit 13th in the East and they really need to re-tool their team and get young again. Despite not being near a playoff spot, Detroit is still using seven players who are 30-plus year old in their lineup on a consistent basis. Henrik Zetterberg slumped this season from 68 points to 50. They have a couple of nice youngsters in Anthony Mantha and Dylan Larkin but they have lousy NHL goaltending and an old blueline. Tyler Bertuzzi could be a useful player as he has played well of late and has 21 points in 44 games with a bit of chippiness on the side. Evgeny Svechnikov also has upside but has two goals and an assist in 12 games as he gets his feet wet in the NHL.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Vegas, vs. Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes   

The Oilers were poised to contend for the Stanley Cup at the start of the season but everything has gone south and they are tied for 12th in the West with Chicago. Connor McDavid continues to be the best player in the NHL and is poised to win his second Art Ross Trophy but has little around him. I did not like the Ryan Strome trade from the Islanders as Jordan Eberle was a lot faster than Strome and the NHL is a fast league right now. Milan Lucic is also too slow. They made a good trade in getting Pontus Aberg as he has speed. Look for a big year from Jesse Puljujarvi next season as he should be a top-six forward with either McDavid or Leon Draisaitl. The blueline will look better as well as Oscar Klefbom and Andrej Sekera should be healthy.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs.  Carolina, vs. Nashville, vs. Boston, vs. Buffalo, @ Boston   

 

Rested Team:  vs. Buffalo (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Panthers play five games this week and the weird thing is that they are not the tired team even once but are the rested team against Buffalo. They play Boston twice this week and with last week’s contest on Saturday, it makes three games in the last eight days. It’s a good week to put Micheal Haley in your lineup if you need penalty minutes. Look for Roberto Luongo to play three times with James Reimer getting the net twice. They currently trail the Devils by three points with one game in hand so it should be a battle until Sunday. The Panthers have a solid core in Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck and Evgenii Dadonov as well as a solid blueline led by Keith Yandle, Aaron Ekblad and Mike Matheson. The future is bright in Florida.

 

LOS ANGELES

vs. Colorado, vs. Minnesota, vs. Dallas

 

Games this week

 

Rested Team:  vs. Colorado (Monday), vs. Minnesota (Thursday), vs. Dallas (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Kings are the rested team all three games this week. They are currently two points up on the Ducks with Anaheim holding a game in hand. Anze Kopitar has rebounded from his worst season in the NHL (12 goals and 52 points) to his greatest season to date as he has 35 goals and 89 points. They missed Jeff Carter for most of the season due to an ankle injury but the center has given them a solid second line of late. Dustin Brown has had a great comeback season as well as he has 23 goals and 55 points with a plus-29 rating. Drew Doughty has a good shot at the Norris this season as he is an outstanding defender and has nine goals and 57 points to boot. The Kings have a good blueline that was made better with the acquisition of Dion Phaneuf from Ottawa.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Wild play four games this week including three in four nights in California. Look for Devan Dubnyk to play in three games or possibly twice if the Wild want to give him some rest. The remaining starts will go to Alex Stalock.  The Wild are in third place in the Central and are not moving up but could be caught by the Blues who are five back with a game in hand. Eric Staal has had a great season for the Wild with 40 goals, the third time he has hit that mark and the first time since the 2008-09 season. They signed Jordan Greenway this week and that will help eventually as he is a six foot, six inch, 230 pound forward who can entrench himself in front of the net on the power play.  He will be a good one.

 

MONTREAL

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Detroit, @ Toronto

 

Rested Team: vs. Winnipeg (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Another team that has gone from first to almost worst are the Montreal Canadiens who are 14th in the East and should be in last in the Atlantic save for the worse seasons of Ottawa and Buffalo. Carey Price is playing like a backup goalie on a bad team and not someone whose $84 million contract kicks in next season. After four 30-goal seasons in a row, Max Pacioretty had only 17 goals in 64 games before being shut down for the season. Shea Weber’s fractured foot injury in the first game of the year, ruined his season. They made what looks to be a bad deal for Jonathan Drouin as they gave up a potential stud blueliner in Mikhail Sergachev.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Washington, vs. Columbus

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Predators play four games this week including three in four nights and with Nashville home and cooled out, look for Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros to share the net. The Predators have been great this season as they are firmly entrenched in first place in the West while just making the playoffs last season as the second wild card. They are so strong on the blueline with Roman Josi, P.K. Subban, Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm that they have to be one of the favorites for the Stanley Cup. They could get a big boost for the playoffs as they just signed Eeli Tolvanen, the 30th overall pick in 2017 who has really come on this season in the KHL. Viktor Arvidsson leads the Preds with 60 points, two ahead of Filip Forsberg who has played in 12 less games.

  

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Toronto, @ Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Devils are holding onto the second wild card and are three points up on the Panthers while playing one more game. New Jersey was a longshot to make the playoffs this season but have been led by Taylor Hall who should get plenty of Hart consideration as well as rookies Nico Hischier and Will Butcher. Cory Schneider is not having a good season but former backup Keith Kinkaid has been great of late and has propelled the Devils into a playoff spot. Pavel Zacha has been a disappointment this season but the trade for Sami Vatanen has done wonders for the blueline. Kyle Palmieri has 24 goals and 41 points in 58 games this season.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. New York Rangers, @ Detroit

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It was another disappointing season for the Islanders who failed to make the playoffs after making it last season. That could be bad as their top player John Tavares is slated to be a UFA at the end of the season and he could bolt. One bright spot for the Islanders has been the play of Mathew Barzal who is a lock for the Calder Trophy. The Islanders once again got shoddy goaltending this season from Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss and it could be time to hand over the reins to Christopher Gibson or find themselves a new netminder. Anders Lee is one goal away from 40 and Josh Bailey has had his best season of his career with 69 points. New York has to decide what to do with Joshua Ho-Sang who has plenty of talent but is not great as far as his attitude is concerned.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New York Islanders, @ Philadelphia    

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Rangers finally blew up their squad and made a significant move to youth as they rid themselves Rick Nash, Ryan McDonagh and J.T. Miller (he is not old) and picked up some nice players as well as draft choices. Henrik Lundqvist will not win 30 games for New York for the first time in his career not counting the lockout season and at the age of 36, the Rangers may need to look elsewhere for their future. Alexandar Georgiev has played well as a rookie.               Kevin Shattenkirk will not return this season but should be 100 percent for training camp. They made a couple of nice selections in Lias Andersson and Filip Chytil in the first round of the 2017 Draft and they could be set for a return to the playoffs with another good draft this season.

 

OTTAWA

 

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ Buffalo, @ Pittsburgh, @ Boston

 

Rested Team: @ Pittsburgh (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Boston (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Senators play three games in four nights as part of the four game week. Craig Anderson should get three games between the pipes while Mike Condon will get the call once. The Senators went from being a goal away from the Stanley Cup Final in 2016-17 to second-last in the East this season as nothing went right for Ottawa. Craig Anderson fell apart this season and the trade for Matt Duchene backfired as the Senators must give up a first round pick to Colorado either this season or next. If they get Rasmus Dahlin in the draft, they have their stud defenseman for the future and will likely trade Erik Karlsson if they are unable to sign him to a long-term contract. Mark Stone leads the Senators with 62 points.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Carolina, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flyers are currently the first wild card but are not home and cooled out as they are six points up on the Panthers with Florida holding two games in hand. Claude Giroux had a poor 2016-17 season with only 58 points but has rebounded tremendously with 93 points thus far with four games to go. Sean Couturier had never hit the 40-point mark before this season but has 31 goals and 71 points as he has seen first line duty this season. The Flyers moved Travis Konecny to the first line midway through the season and the results were great as he has excelled offensively. When looking to select him next season don’t look at his 45 points in 77 games but rather his 18 goals and 34 points in 42 games since Christmas.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Ottawa

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Ottawa (Friday)

 

Notes

The Penguins play only twice this week and are the only team not to play Saturday as their regular season ends Friday against Ottawa. The Penguins are a point up on the Blue Jackets for second in the Metropolitan and the two teams could face each other in the first round for the second straight season. Matt Murray has not had a good season between the pipes in Pittsburgh as he has a 2.91 GAA and a 2.41 last season. His 25 wins are good but with a .907 save percentage, Murray is only a middling goalie in fantasy. The Penguins offense is led by Evgeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby and Phil Kessel and if the trio are on fire in the playoffs, Pittsburgh could three-peat. Kris Letang has 48 points but the good news is that he has been healthy this season and has missed only three games.

  

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Chicago, @ Chicago, @ Colorado

 

Rested Team: vs. Washington (Monday)

Tired Team: @ Colorado (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Blues play four games this week including three in four nights. Look for Jake Allen to play at least twice and possibly three times with Carter Hutton getting the remainder of the starts. The Blues also play a home-and-home series with hated Chicago so expect to see Chris Thorburn see some action if St. Louis thinks that some of their studs could get roughed up. For the second season in a row the Blues were sellers at the trade deadline but have made a push for the playoffs and are currently in the first wild card with a game in hand. It’s close as they are only a point up on Colorado who are ninth but that says a lot for a team that gave up Paul Stastny at the deadline. Vladimir Tarasenko has taken a bit of a step back as he has 31 goals and 62 points after three seasons of 73, 74 and 75 points. Look for a return to close to 40 goals and 75-80 points next season. Alex Pietrangelo has a career best 52 points this season.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Colorado, vs. Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

I did not think the Sharks had a chance at the playoffs this season as I thought they were an old team but lo and behold, San Jose is second in the Pacific and will likely face either Anaheim or Los Angeles in the first round with home ice advantage. Joe Pavelski did not have a good start to the season as he had an undisclosed injury but he played through it and has 20 goals and 61 points this season thus far. Brent Burns also got off to an extremely slow start but with 11 goals and 63 points is still one of the best offensive defensemen in the NHL. Look at Timo Meier next season as he could break out. Evander Kane has been great since the Sharks acquired him from Buffalo and if they are able to re-sign him after the season, the franchise looks strong.

.              

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Boston vs, Buffalo, @ Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Boston (Tuesday), @ Carolina (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Lightning play a pair of back-to-back games so look for Andrei Vasilevskiy and Louis Domingue to split the net. Tampa Bay lost its grip on first place in the East on Thursday to the Bruins so Tuesday’s home game should loom large. It has been a different year for Steven Stamkos who has always been a very good goal scorer. He has only 27 goals this season but has 59 assists 13 more than his previous best. Nikita Kucherov led the NHL in scoring for most of the season but was caught and surpassed by Connor McDavid. Still, he is having a great season with 38 goals and 97 points. The trade for J.T. Miller and defenseman Ryan McDonagh will help in the playoffs. Mikhail Sergachev will be a stud defenseman and should be drafted as a 50 point player next season.

 

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ New Jersey, vs. Montreal  

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs are firmly entrenched in third place in the Atlantic and will face either Tampa Bay or Boston in the first round. They can relax the last week while the top two teams go all-out for first in the East. Auston Matthews has missed 20 games this season through injury but that can be a good thing come playoff time as he will be well-rested. Mitch Marner was in coach Mike Babcock’s doghouse at the start of the season but has taken his game to new levels and leads the Leafs with 67 points, 12 better than William Nylander. James van Riemsdyk is slated to be a UFA at the end of the season and his team-leading 35 goals will help him get a big contract although likely not with Toronto. The Leafs have three 30-goal scorers as Matthews and Nazem Kadri have hit the mark as well. Morgan Rielly has taken a big step offensively this season and is one point shy of 50.

 

VANCOUVER

 

vs. Vegas, vs. Arizona, @ Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

While the Canucks continue to sink towards the bottom of the Western Conference standings, ensuring them a better chance at grabbing the first overall pick, there is a lot to like about Vancouver’s future. Brock Boeser was a revelation this season before he was injured as his 29 goals in 62 games made him the Canucks most dangerous forward. Bo Horvat looks good up front as well and the signing of Hobey Baker finalist Adam Gaudette will help next season. Vancouver also has 2017 first round pick Elias Pettersson ready as he had 24 goals and 56 points in 44 games with Vaxjo of the Swedish Hockey League. Chris Tanev has been shut down for the season.

 

VEGAS

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Golden Knights play all three games in Western Canada this week and most if not all thought that their season would be ending in Calgary. The surprise team of all sports, the expansion Golden Knights are in first place in the Pacific Division and will get to open the playoffs at home. William Karlsson has been one of the best fantasy players in the NHL as he has 40 goals and 70 points with a plus-42 rating, the best in the league. Add in Jonathan Marchessault with 25 goals, 73 points and a plus-35 as well as Rielly Smith who has 22 goals, 60 points and a plus-32 and the Golden Knights have been one of the best teams as far as fantasy players are concerned. Nobody thought that during their draft. Marc-Andre Fleury has been great with a 28-12-4 record to go with a 2.15 GAA and a .931 save percentage.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. Nashville, vs. New Jersey

 

Rested team: @ St. Louis (Monday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Capitals once again are in first place in the Metropolitan but it was a battle this season. Alex Ovechkin is in line for the Rocket Richard Trophy as he has 45 goals, two ahead of sophomore Patrik Laine of Winnipeg. The Capitals have had a disappointing season from Nicklas Backstrom who has 65 points in 76 games after an 86 point season in 2016-17. The good news is that he has eight assists in his last three games and that is important heading into the playoffs. T.J. Oshie has also had a bad year as he went 33 games, finding the back of the net only once. Jakub Vrana got off to a good start this season but the 21-year-old slumped badly afterwards and has been a healthy scratch a couple of times in the last month. Braden Holtby has been the biggest disappointment as he has a 3.01 GAA and a .907 save percentage after being among the league leaders in the previous two seasons.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Montreal, vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago

 

Rested team: vs, Chicago (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Montreal (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Jets are finally back in the post-season as they will finish second in the Central Division after missing the playoffs in each of the last two seasons. They have yet to win a playoff game and hope they do a lot better than that this season. Connor Hellebuyck was outstanding this season and gave the Jets the goaltending they have been missing for a long time. Steve Mason was supposed to do that but got off to a horrible start, was replaced after two games and never was the number one goalie again. The Jets have plenty of young firepower up front including Patrik Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Mark Scheifele and Kyle Connor and add in Blake Wheeler and you can see the Jets are going to be a force in the years to come. Bryan Little has three goals and six points in his last seven games and is worth a late pick in playoff pools, especially if you think the Jets are going places.     

 

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 15th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.