Loading scores...
Brent Burns
Getty Images
The Week Ahead

Happy New Year!

by Michael Finewax

The week started off light as there was a three day break for Christmas so there was not a lot of news coming out of the NHL camps as teams were not allowed to practice per the CBA.

 

Since there was not a ton of news, I will look at the leaders in hits and blocked shots for all 31 teams.

 

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 power play report and much, much more. Buy it now!

 

Editor's Note: If you love Fantasy Football you have to be playing on DRAFT. It's daily fantasy football snake drafts instead of salary caps. All the fun of season long drafts but with no management and they last for just one week. They take minutes to complete and there's even auction drafts! No more setting lineups or constantly worrying about pros, just draft and win! Right now DRAFT is giving Rotoworld readers an exclusive FREE entry into a real money draft when you make your first deposit! Here's the link

 

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

 

WEEK OF DECEMBER 31-JANUARY 6

 

 

4 Games – Calgary, Carolina, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Vancouver, Washington

 

3 Games – Arizona, Anaheim, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Minnesota, Montreal, New York Islanders, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vegas, Winnipeg

2 Games - Toronto

 

Vancouver plays all four games away from home.

 

Detroit plays all four games at home.

 

Anaheim, Arizona, Colorado, Dallas, Ottawa and St. Louis play three games at home.

 

Calgary, Edmonton, Nashville, New Jersey, the New York Rangers, Tampa Bay and Washington play three games on the road.

 

INJURIES

 

Carey Price is out with a lower-body 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. Tampa Bay, vs. Vegas, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: vs. Edmonton (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks could be in some trouble as John Gibson suffered an upper-body in the first period and was unable to finish the game. Consider him day-to-day. Chad Johnson will be the starter for now. Ryan Miller is still out with a sprained MCL and will still be out another three-four weeks. The Ducks are still having trouble scoring with only four goals in their last four games. Maxime Comtois is the captain of Team Canada and the future Duck had four goals in their opener against Denmark. Josh Mahura has only a goal and two assists in 13 games but the defenseman has a goal and a helper in his last three. Josh Manson leads the Ducks in hits with 95 while Brandon Montour leads in blocked shots with 46.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. New Jersey, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jakob Chychrun has three points in his last four games and is starting to heat up after beginning the season on the injured reserve list with a knee injury. Conor Garland has points in each of his last three games.   Michael Grabner has been out since the first of December with an eye injury but has begun off-ice activities. There is still no timetable for his return. Brad Richardson continues to be the only Coyote with double-digit goals as he has 10. Clayton Keller has only eight with 18 helpers but he is a minus-nine. Lawson Crouse leads the Coyotes with 103 hits while defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson has 75 blocked shots.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Chicago, vs. Calgary, vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: vs. Calgary (Thursday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins seem to be spinning their wheels as they are 20-14-4 and in fourth place in the Atlantic Division. If they remain there, it seems likely their first-round matchup will be against Tampa Bay and that will not be an easy one. Tuukka Rask continues to struggle in goal as he is 8-8-2 with a 2.72 GAA and a .911 save percentage. He has been surpassed in net by former Islander Jaroslav Halak. The Bruins got Zdeno Chara and Kevan Miller back on the blueline after lengthy absences due to injury but lost Charlie McAvoy to a lower-body injury. Patrice Bergeron has three goals and five points in three games since returning on Saturday. Chris Wagner leads in hits with 113 while David Pastrnak has 55 blocked shots.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Florida, @ Boston

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Sabres are an up-and-coming team. They have so much good young talent in Jack Eichel, Rasus Dahlin,  Jeff Skinner, Sam Reinhart and Rasmus Ristolainen and that should carry them for years to come, especially if they are able to sign Skinner to a contract as he is eligible to become a UFA at the end of the season. Reinhart has been red-hot of late with 21 points in his last 16 games. He has  eight goals and 37 points in 38 games this season.  Dahlin has been great this season and would be the favorite for the Calder Trophy if not for Elias Pettersson of Vancouver. Eichel is becoming a superstar and had 49 points in 38 contests. Ristolainen leads the Sabres in both hits and blocked shots with 118 and 53 respectively.

 

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Detroit, @ Boston, @ Philadelphia

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Boston (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Flames play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week so expect to see Mike Smith and David Rittich split the net.  Rittich has been the much better of the two goalies as he is 12-4-2 with a 2.22 GAA and a .926 save percentage while the veteran Smith is 11-8-1 with a 3.00 GAA and a .888 save percentage. Johnny Gaudreau is having a fabulous season with 19 goals and 51 points after a hat-trick on Thursday. Fellow forwards Sean Monahan, Matthew Tkachuk and Elias Lindholm are on pace to smash their seasonal best point totals. Garnet Hathaway has 87 hits this season while Mark Giordano, who is having an outstanding season on the blueline, leads the Flames with 68 blocked shots.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, @ Philadelphia, vs. Columbus, @ Ottawa

 

Rested Team: @ Ottawa (Sunday)

Tired Team: vs. Columbus (Friday)

 

Notes

The Hurricanes play four games this week including three games in four nights. Look for Petr Mrazek and Curtis McElhinney to split the net. Carolina has a home-and-home series against Philadelphia so expect to see Justin Faulk (if anyone) add to his penalty minute count if there are any fisticuffs. Martin Necas, the Hurricanes first pick and 12th overall in 2017, was named the captain of the Czech Republic’s World Junior team. Jordan Staal is out of action with a concussion after he was injured on Saturday. He is day-to-day but likely out longer than that.  Micheal Ferland leads the Flames with 96 hits while Dougie Hamilton has 90 blocked shots.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ New York Islanders, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blackhawks are the worst team in the NHL in goal differential at minus-31 but the future is looking brighter as Chicago has seven prospects in the World Junior tournament. They have been improving and getting solid goaltending from Collin Delia who is 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and a .964 save percentage after he gave up only two goals on 48 shots Thursday. Corey Crawford is still out with a concussion. Dylan Strome has six goals and 11 points in 16 games with Chicago but has five points in his last two games. Jonathan Toews has 16 goals in 40 games and is on pace for his best goal-scoring season since his sophomore season in 2008-09 when he had a career-high 34. Andreas Martinsen has 80 hits while Patrick Kane surprisingly leads Chicago in blocked shots with 63.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. San Jose, vs. New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Semyon Varlamov should find himself back in net on the weekend after suffering an illness before Christmas. He has been mediocre of late, allowing 21 goals in his last five games. Philipp Grubauer has given up nine goals in his last 3 ½ games. Ian Cole leads the team in penalty minutes with 56.  Mikko Rantanen is second in the NHL with 60 points including 16 goals. He has seven goals and 20 points with the man-advantage. Tyson Barrie has only four goals and 24 points but is a plus-four this season after being a minus-65 over the last three seasons. Nikita Zadorov leads in hits with 96 while Cole heads the pack on the Avs as well as the entire NHL in blocked shots with 105.

 

COLUMBUS       

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Carolina, @ Florida

 

Rested Team: @ Carolina (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Florida (Saturday)

 

Notes

Sergei Bobrovsky was the first star of the week as he was a perfect 4-0 last week with a 1.00 GAA and a .970 save percentage. He, however, did not get the start on Thursday as Joonas Korpisalo got the win in a 4-3 victory over the Rangers.  Cam Atkinson extended his points streak to four and has 23 goals and 49 points in 36 games this season. He is one behind Artemi Panarin for the Columbus points lead. Zach Werenski was moved off the defense pairing with Seth Jones and found himself playing alongside Markus Nutivaara while Ryan Murray moved up to pair with Jones. Josh Anderson has 91 hits this season while Jones leads with 40 blocked shots.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. New Jersey, vs. Washington, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: vs. Washington (Friday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Stars play four games this week so look for Ben Bishop to get three starts with Anton Khudobin getting the call once. Khudobin was outstanding Thursday as he turned aside all 49 shots in shutting out the Nashville Predators. Surprise, surprise, Martin Hanzal is injured again. Valeri Nichushkin has yet to score in 30 games and has only five assists. The Stars likely regret re-signing him in the off season after he spent the last two seasons in the KHL. Tyler Seguin has only 32 points in 38 games but that still leads the Stars in points. The Dallas power play has had only 98 chances, the only team in the NHL under 100. Blake Comeau leads the Stars with 100 hits while Roman Polak has 68 blocked shots.

 

Michael Finewax

Michael Finewax is entering his 16th season as the Senior Hockey Writer and Editor for Rotoworld. You can follow him on Twitter @mfinewaxhockey.