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The Week Ahead

Play your Islanders!

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: January 10, 2020, 1:24 pm ET

The New York Islanders play five games this week and you can get a huge advantage if you play weekly transactions, by playing your Islanders over your Edmonton and Florida players who play only twice.

By no means do we suggest benching the likes of Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl, Jonathan Huberdeau or Aleksander Barkov, but benching lesser lights to pick up three extra games, could be the difference of winning and losing.

Just a note as the following week has only nine games to be played before the All-Star break with 17 teams seeing no action and only five teams playing two games.

Editor's Note: Drafting is only half the battle. Dominate all season long with our Season Pass! Use our NEW Lineup Adviser, get our Weekly and Rest-of-Season rankings and projections, track all of your players and more on your way to a championship! Click here for more!  

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

WEEK OF JANUARY 13-19

5 Games – New York Islanders,

4 Games - Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Montreal, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Detroit, Dallas, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games - Edmonton, Florida

Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, the New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia and Toronto play three games at home.

Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Los Angeles, New Jersey and San Jose play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Logan Couture will miss the next six weeks with a fractured ankle. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Nashville, @ Carolina

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Jakob Silfverberg suffered an upper-body injury Tuesday and sat out Thursday’s game. The Ducks cannot afford their top goal-scorer to be out as they already are the third-lowest scoring team in the NHL and that was once again proven Thursday in a 3-0 loss to Dallas. Despite being 34, Ryan Getzlaf continues to lead the Ducks in points with 30 in 42 games. Nick Ritchie (MCL sprain) has been cleared to practice. He has been out since December 6 and could return after the All-Star game. Troy Terry (knee) has been cleared to play but the Ducks have held him out of action the last two games because of his conditioning. Look for a return this week.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Vancouver, @ Edmonton

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes are on top in the extremely close Pacific Division. They are actually tied with Vegas at 54 points, but with a game in hand, while Calgary and Edmonton sit one point in arrears. Barrett Hayton is week-to-week following a Grade 1 AC injury suffered at the World Junior tournament in the Czech Republic. Hayton, who captained Canada to a gold medal, suffered the injury in the semi-finals but played in the final game and scored the tying goal in the contest while finishing second in the tourney with 12 points. The Coyotes have a real good one in Hayton. Antti Raanta has been out since Saturday with a lower-body injury but practiced Wednesday. Arizona lost Darcy Kuemper in December and the goaltending has fallen to Adin Hill with Ivan Prosvetov as the backup.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Columbus, vs. Pittsburgh, @ Pittsburgh

Tired: @ Columbus (Tuesday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights as part of a four-game week and since the NHL is so close to the All-Star break, it would not surprise me if Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak shared the net. Boston also plays a home-and-home series against Pittsburgh (although the Penguins have a game against Detroit in between) and if there are fisticuffs, then look for Brad Marchand or Zdeno Chara to be in the middle of things. David Pastrnak got his first serious challenger for the Rocket Richard Trophy when Auston Matthews scored his 30th Wednesday but the Boston sharpshooter responded Thursday with the hat trick to give him 35. Matt Grzelcyk has only two goals and 14 points in 44 games but has four helpers and a plus-three rating in his last four games.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Vegas, @ Dallas, @ Nashville

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres have scratched Evan Rodrigues in four straight games and rumors have it that he has asked for a trade. Rasmus Ristolainen has been playing in front of the net on the first power play, replacing the injured Victor Olofsson. Olofsson suffered a lower-body injury a week ago and will be out of action another four-five weeks. Rasmus Asplund has taken Olofsson’s spot on the top line with Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. Eichel scored Thursday and has 27 goals and 56 points in 43 games. Reinhart gets little love in most pools but he has 14 goals and 35 points in 44 contests and that is fantasy-worthy. Casey Mittelstadt has three goals and five points in nine games since his demotion to Rochester of the AHL.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Toronto, @ Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames are on the road for all three games as they make their annual trip to Eastern Canada. Derek Ryan scored Thursday and has two goals and four points in his last five games. Ryan has eight goals and 23 points in 46 games and is on pace for career highs in goals and assists. Johnny Gaudreau had the game-winner Thursday, his first of the season. The Flames signed defenseman Rasmus Andersson to a six-year/$27.3 million extension and while he mostly is on the third pairing, look for his role to expand as early as next season. Andersson has three goals and 13 points in 46 games but has some offensive upside to his game. Cam Talbot is seeing more action and has played in back-to-back games this week, giving up two goals on 75 shots in a pair of wins. He could see plenty more action down the stretch.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Columbus, vs. Anaheim, vs. New York Islanders

Tired: None

Rested: vs. New York Islanders (Sunday)

Notes

The Hurricanes play four games this week including three in four nights. Petr Mrazek likely will see action in three contests with James Reimer playing once. The Hurricanes bolstered their lineup this week by signing Justin Williams. The veteran decided not to play at the start of the season but decided to return at this point of the season. No word yet as to when Williams will return to the lineup but it’s likely after the All-Star break. Lucas Wallmark has five goals and 10 points in his last 10 games. Dougie Hamilton was a minus-three Saturday but still sits second in the category at plus-28, trailing only the Avs Ryan Graves who has a plus-30 rating.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Ottawa, @ Montreal, @ Toronto, vs. Winnipeg

Tired: @ Montreal (Wednesday), vs. Winnipeg (Sunday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks play a pair of back-to-back games so expect to see Robin Lehner and Corey Crawford share the net. Alex DeBrincat has only 11 goals and 31 points after 45 games this season. He had 41 goals and 76 points last year in an amazing season but this year’s numbers pale in comparison. The good news is that DeBrincat has been better of late with three goals and six points in his last seven games. Drake Caggiula played for the first time in two months Thursday as he returned from a concussion suffered on November 10. He saw fourth line action with Zack Smith and Matthew Highmore so his fantasy value is limited at best. Dylan Strome sat out Thursday with an ankle injury suffered Tuesday.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. San Jose, vs. St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Joonas Donskoi has been a pleasant addition to the Avs after coming over from San Jose in the offseason as he has 14 goals and 29 points in 44 games. But he is on the shelf at this time, in concussion protocol, after taking a high hit in the jaw and cheek from the Rangers’ Ryan Lindgren Tuesday.  Nathan MacKinnon is closing in on the NHL scoring lead as he has 65 points in 44 games, good for third in league scoring. Ian Cole is a sneaky good fantasy player who goes under the radar. The defenseman has four goals and 20 points in 39 games with a plus-22 rating and 84 blocked shots. He can contribute in many categories with the exception of the power play. Mikko Rantanen has 31 points in 28 games.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Carolina, vs. New Jersey, @ New York Rangers

Tired: @ New York Rangers (Sunday)

Rested: vs. Boston (Tuesday)

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four games this week including three games in four nights. Elvis Merzlikins should get three starts with Matiss Kivlenieks playing once. Merzlikins has finally shown himself to be a capable NHL goaltender as he is 4-2-0 since December 31, giving up only 13 goals in 201 shots in that span. Cam Atkinson continues to sit on the sidelines. The 41-goal scorer from a season ago has missed the last 10 games with an ankle injury. He had only nine goals in 35 games before getting hurt. Zach Werenski was the third star of the week for scoring five goals in three games. He continued his amazing play this week as he had a pair of goals and an assist in three games after action Thursday. The defenseman has 15 goals and 28 points in only 38 games to date.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Buffalo. @ Minnesota 

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Stars are in second place in the Central as they have passed the Colorado Avalanche after winning their last six in a row. Ben Bishop has been solid as he is 15-9-3 with a 2.24 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Backup Anton Khudobin has been better than most in the NHL with an 11-5-1 mark as well as a 2.13 GAA and a .933 save percentage. That is the type of goalkeeping you need to challenge for the Stanley Cup. Roope Hintz had a goal and an assist Thursday and had 15 goals and 23 points 37 games. His goal count leads the Stars, two better than Alexander Radulov and four on top of Tyler Seguin. Jamie Benn continues to struggle with only 10 goals and 21 points in 44 games. He won the Art Ross Trophy just four seasons ago in 2015-16. 

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.