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Auston Matthews
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The Week Ahead

RFA's get boost from Matthews

by Michael Finewax
Updated On: February 8, 2019, 12:31 pm ET

The signing of Auston Matthews to a five-year contract likely will change the landscape of future deals for star players.

 

The Maple Leafs gave Matthews the five-year deal worth $58.17 million and bought out one year of free agency. In return, Matthews will make $750,000 in each of the next five seasons starting in 2019-20 but get the rest in bonuses, including $15 million in each of the next two seasons.

 

That makes the deal lockout and strike-proof (assuming the players and owners aren’t stalemated for over a year), something the NHL head office won’t like but the NHLPA will love.

Matthews has set the new standard for players and it should be interesting to see what RFA’s like Mikko Rantanen, Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk, Patrik Laine etc. get.

 

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

 

WEEK OF FEBRUARY 11-17

 

 

4 Games - Detroit, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Vancouver, Washington

 

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Calgary, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vegas, Winnipeg

 

Anaheim, Florida, Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Vegas and Winnipeg play three games at home.

 

Calgary, Dallas, Edmonton, Montreal, New Jersey, the New York Rangers, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington play three games on the road this week.

 

INJURIES

 

(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. Vancouver, vs. Boston, vs. Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

John Gibson was considered a leading candidate for the Vezina Trophy just a couple of weeks ago. No more. Heading into action on Thursday, Gibson had been pulled in three straight games, giving up 16 goals on 80 shots in 114 minutes (less than two full games) and is 17-19-8 with a 2.93 GAA this season and even though he held the Ducks in playoff contention, the amount of rubber he has seen thus far must be getting to him. He was taken out again on Thursday (the fourth straight game) but this time it was due to injury. Ryan Getzlaf scored on Tuesday and it was his first goal in nine games. He has 11 goals and 34 points in 48 games and has a minus-17 rating, the worst of his career. The Ducks have the NHL’s worst goal differential at minus-51.    

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Vegas, vs. St, Louis, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Coyotes are trying to hang around a playoff spot and they have 51 points which puts them in a tie for 11th place in the West, but only three points out of the second wild card. It’s hard to believe that the NHL’s Coyotes have played 54 games and they still don’t have anyone with at least 12 goals. An optimist would say that their scoring has been spread around but the truth is that they need a few goal scorers. Brad Richardson who has missed the last 11 games, is still tied for the team lead with 11 goals, along with Conor Garland, Derek Stepan, Christian Fischer and Clayton Keller. Darcy Kuemper returned to action Thursday after missing a game with an upper-body injury.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Saturday)

 

Notes

The Bruins are headed for the West Coast this week with games against Anaheim and Los Angeles.  Tuukka Rask has been great of late with an 8-0-2 mark in his last 10 games and is 16-8-4 this year with a 2.30 GAA and a .924 save percentage. Torey Krug has five goals and 36 points in 43 games this season including a goal and seven points in his last eight games. After back-to-back 85-point seasons (albeit in only 68 games last season) Brad Marchand is poised to smash that mark this season with 61 points in 53 games thus far. Toss in 82 penalty minutes and 24 power play points and you can see why Marchand is a top-three fantasy player in traditional leagues.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jeff Skinner scored a pair of goals Thursday to give him 33 this season and only four away from equaling his career best. The best time to do so is in a contract year and that is exactly what is happening for Skinner. Sam Reinhart has only 13 goals but does have 49 points in 53 games and is only one point away from tying his career high set last season with 50 points. He still has 29 games left in the season. Jack Eichel leads the team with 57 points including 40 helpers. I’m still so impressed with the season of rookie defenseman Rasmus Dahlin. He has six goals and 29 point with a plus-six rating as an 18-year-old defenseman. He is going to be a star in this league for a long, long time.

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Florida, @ Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It was not the best of nights Thursday for David Rittich as he was pulled after giving up two goals on six shots in 14 minutes of action. T.J. Brodie has been hot of late with nine points in his last six games. Travis Hamonic returned to action Thursday after recovering from a lower-body injury. Mark Giordano is also hot of late with 15 points in his last 11 contests and has 54 points in 52 games, only two points away from tying his career high set three seasons ago. There is still a third of the season remaining. He also has three shorthanded goals, a gaudy total for a defenseman. Derek Ryan is on a three-game points streak. Ryan, Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindholm all scored once in their return to Carolina for the first time since their trade/leaving via free agency.  

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

@ Ottawa, vs. Edmonton, vs. Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Dallas (Saturday)

 

Notes

Teuvo Teravainen is quietly having a very good season for the Hurricanes as he has 14 goals and 48 points in 54 contests, including four goals and 10 points in his last seven games. He had a career high 64 points last season and is poised to break that mark this season. Micheal Ferland is likely a candidate to be traded by the deadline as he can become a UFA at the end of the season. Lots of playoff bound teams should be interested in the winger’s services as he can score on a top-two line and is feisty. Jaccob Slavin continues to lead all Carolina defensemen in points with 25, four better than Dougie Hamilton. Seven Hurricane forwards have at least a dozen goals, led by Sebastian Aho who has 24.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. New Jersey, vs. Columbus

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Dylan Strome is starting to show why he was good enough to be selected third overall in the terrific 2015 draft as he has three goals and 13 points in his last eight games. The talented center was picked up along with Brendan Perlini from Arizona for Nick Schmaltz earlier in the season and is thriving in Chicago with 23 points in 29 contests. Erik Gustafsson continues to head up the Chicago blueline offensively as he has 11 goals and 34 points in 52 games. Gustafsson has three goals in his last three games with two coming on the power play. Collin Delia has been giving a clinic in the Chicago cage as he is 6-2-3 with a 2.98 GAA and a .923 save percentage. Alex DeBrincat has a seven-game points streak in which he has 12 points. He has 28 goals and 50 points in 55 games thus far.

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Avalanche continue to slump as they are now out of a playoff spot after going 2-7-1 in their last ten games. After splitting up their big three, the Avs reunited Gabriel Landeskog with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen this week.    Semyon Varlamov is 13-13-6 with a 2.92 GAA and a .905 save percentage and that is better than backup’s Philipp Grubauer’s 9-7-3 with a 3.47 GAA and a .890 save percentage. The Avs have given up 12 empty net goals this season. The Avalanche are led offensively by the big line with Landeskog leading with 29, while MacKinnon has 28 and Rantanen 24. Carl Soderberg is next with 17 and Colin Wilson and J.T. Compher have 10 each.

 

COLUMBUS       

 

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. New York Islanders, @ Chicago

 

Rested Team: vs. Washington (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The big talk as always out of Columbus is the status of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, both UFAs to be at the end of the season. With the NHL trade deadline just 17 days away, look for the Blue Jackets to deal both and get some assets back, rather than just lose them at the end of the season. Panarin saw his five-game points streak end on Thursday but he still has 60 points including 20 goals in 51 games. Bobrovsky is not having a good season with a 21-16-1 record to go with a 2.98 GAA and a .902 save percentage. Seth Jones leads the Blue Jacket blueliners with 33 points. Zach Werenski has nine goals and 28 points but has not been as good as he was in his rookie campaign two seasons ago when he had 47 points.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay, @ Carolina

 

Rested Team: @ Carolina (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Ben Bishop is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. He missed Thursday’s game and the hope is that he is able to return Saturday. Tyler Seguin leads the team in shots on goal with 214 and then there are three players in the 120’s as Jamie Benn has 129, Alexander Radulov has 125 and rookie defenseman Miro Heiskanen has 123. No other Star is in triple digits. Valeri Nichushkin has yet to score in 39 games. I guess that would be okay if he was a goalie but Nichushkin was drafted 10th overall in 2013 and the winger scored 23 goals in 166 games as an 18, 19 and 20-year-old in the NHL before he bolted to the KHL the last two seasons. Brett Ritchie did not face any supplemental discipline for boarding Alex Goligoski Monday, a misdeed that cost him a five major and a game misconduct.  

 

Michael Finewax

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