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The Week Ahead

Scheifele On top of the Pack

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

This is the first time I’ve ever written part of an article on a plane as I took the red eye home on Thursday night from the fabulous city of Las Vegas.

 

 

I spoke to a lot of people there and most seem quite excited for the new franchise that will start playing in the T-Mobile Arena next season. It should be exciting.

 

It was interesting to bet some games down there and I was quite disappointed that Carolina lost last night as they cost me a five-team parley. I guess I should have taken Anaheim.

 

Anyway, lots to write about so let’s get to it.

 


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

 

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF NOVEMBER 14-20  

 

4 Games – Calgary, Florida, Los Angeles, Tampa Bay, Washington, Winnipeg

 

3 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Dallas, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Jose, Toronto, Vancouver

 

2 Games – Boston, New York Islanders

 

 

Florida and Tampa Bay play all four games on the road.

 

Chicago, Edmonton, Nashville, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, San Jose and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

 

Anaheim, Carolina, Dallas, Minnesota, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Vancouver and Washington play three games at home.

 

INJURIES

 

Jannik Hansen is out four-six weeks with a broken rib. (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. Edmonton, vs. New Jersey, vs. Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: vs. Los Angeles (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Rickard Rakell is off to a great start with four goals and seven points in his first five games. He missed the start of the season as he was a restricted free agent holdout but inked a deal shortly after the season began. Joseph Cramarossa picked up the first point of his NHL career Wednesday. John Gibson has been a bit of a disappointment to fantasy owners in the early going as he is 5-4-3 but his peripherals are weak with a 2.48 GAA and a .909 save percentage. Hampus Lindholm made his seasonal debut Wednesday after he held out as a restricted free agent until inking a deal on October 27. Corey Perry has 13 points in 14 games. Ryan Kesler has been hot of late with five goals and eight points since the start of November.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Vancouver, vs. San Jose

 

Rested Team: @ Calgary (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ Vancouver (Thursday)

 

Notes

The Coyotes play three games in four nights so look for Louie Domingue to play twice and Justin Peters once. Mike Smith took some shots on Wednesday and could return this week. If so, Peters will be sent down and Smith will likely play twice. The Coyotes called up Nathan DeAngelo and the former first rounder scored in his NHL debut. Dylan Strome continues to be a healthy scratch way too often and it might be a good idea if the Coyotes returned him to junior for his final year. Martin Hanzal could resume skating as early as November 11th as he suffered a lower body injury four games ago.

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Bruins play only twice this week after a rare five game schedule last week. David Pastrnak continues to impress with nine goals in 12 games. Netminder Tuukka Rask who is 8-1 this season with great peripherals of 1.76 GAA and a .938 save percentage continues to play like it’s 2014.  David Krejci potted his first of the season on Monday. Zdeno Chara has only three points in his first 13 games and it could be a telltale sign that his career is nearing an end, especially in fantasy hockey. Matt Beleskey had a goal and an assist Thursday to boost his totals to three points in 14 games.

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Evander Kane returned to the Buffalo lineup Wednesday after breaking four ribs on opening night, but Ryan O'Reilly sat it out with an undisclosed injury. He was pointless in the three previous games. Kane played on the top line with Sam Reinhart and Kyle Okposo. Jack Eichel suffered an ankle injury during training camp and is only now returning to the ice to skate. Tyler Ennis is out several weeks after undergoing groin surgery. Robin Lehner has tended the net in the last six games and that is good news for the Sabres who lost him for most of last season with ankle woes.

  

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Minnesota, vs. Arizona, vs. Chicago, @ Detroit

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs, Arizona (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Flames play four games including three in four nights so look for Chad Johnson to play once with Brian Elliott getting the remaining three games. Johnny Gaudreau has been mired in a slump thus far and had only eight points in his first 14 games before scoring a pair Thursday. Matthew Tkachuk is on the sidelines with a hand injury. Dennis Wideman has not played since November 1 as he has been a healthy scratch. Alex Chiasson scored on Sunday and it was his first goal since opening night. Matt Stajan has yet to find the back of the net in 14 games this season.

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. Montreal vs. Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: vs. Winnipeg (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Hard to believe but Phil Di Guiseppe leads the Hurricanes in penalty minutes with 11 in 10 games. He is the only Hurricane in double figures. Jeff Skinner is off to a great start with six goals and 12 points. Teuvo Teravainen has been a disappointment thus far with only two goals and three points in 12 games with a minus-eight rating. Noah Hanifin is also a minus-eight but the sophomore has seven helpers thus far. Victor Rask halted a six-game goalless drought with his fifth of the season Thursday.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Vancouver (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Blackhawks are in Western Canada this week. The Blackhawks are red hot with seven wins in a row. Artem Anisimov is out with an upper body injury. Marian Hossa has seven goals to lead the Hawks while Patrick Kane has five goals. Tyler Motte is out two-three weeks with a lower body injury. Nick Schmaltz has been playing on the top line with Kane and Jonathan Toews. Corey Crawford was the second star of the week. Duncan Keith has 11 assists but nary a goal. Anisimov and Kane lead the team with 17 points each.

 

 

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, @ Dallas, @ Minnesota

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The lack of scoring is really hurting the Colorado Avalanche. Joe Colborne had the hat trick on opening night and has not scored in the 11 games since and still is tied for second with Gabriel Landeskog, behind only Matt Duchene. Semyon Varlamov is struggling and is 2- 6 with a 3.67 GAA and a .881 save percentage. Calvin Pickard was a perfect 3-0 until Tuesday when he gave up four goals on 25 shots in a loss. Matt Duchene leads the team with 11 points in 12 games.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

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

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blue Jackets play two games against the Capitals this week so look for Josh Anderson to add to his penalty minute totals, especially if he faces Tom Wilson. Alexander Wennberg has 14 points in 12 games. Boone Jenner scored his first in 11 games after scoring 30 last season. Sergei Bobrovsky had given up six goals in his previous four games before giving up four on only nine shots against Boston Thursday. Seth Jones is out two-three weeks with a hairline fracture of his foot. Jack Johnson has two assists in 12 games.

 

DALLAS

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, vs, Colorado, vs. Edmonton

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Stars return home from a road trip to Western Canada last week. Patrick Sharp could return as early as Sunday from a concussion. He has only one assist in four games thus far. Jason Spezza has missed the last three with a lower body injury. The Stars continue to get mediocre goaltending as Kari Lehtonen has a 1-4-2 with a 3.28 GAA and a .878 save percentage while Antti Niemi is 3-2-1 with a 3.65 GAA and a .892 save percentage. Jiri Hudler is on the injured reserve with an illness. He has played only four games this season without a point.

 

DETROIT

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, @ Washington, vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Jimmy Howard has been spectacular (not Teri Hatcher spectacular but still quite amazing). He is 4-2 with an eye-popping 1.22 GAA and a .961 save percentage and Petr Mrazek could be in trouble of losing his starting gig. Dylan Larkin has five goals in nine games after going his first six with finding the back of the net. Thomas Vanek (lower body injury) was on the ice Thursday. He was hurt on October 25. Nicklas Kronwall has no points in four games after returning to action from chronic knee problems. Frans Nielsen is on the second power play. He was the Red Wings big off-season acquisition.

 

EDMONTON

 

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ Dallas

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes   

Patrick Maroon is playing on the top line with Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle and the sudden jump in fantasy value is apparent with five points in four games. McDavid continues to be great as the 19-year-old has 17 points in 14 games. He could be better than Sidney Crosby and may be the best ever since Mario Lemieux. At least I’m not putting any pressure on him. Zack Kassian has missed the last two games with a lower body injury Jonas Gustavsson finally picked up a rare start in goal and stopped 22 of 23 shots in a 2-1 win over Detroit Sunday.

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Toronto, @ Ottawa, @ New York Rangers

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Panthers are on the road for all four games and they also manage to play three games in four nights. James Reimer should get at least one start with Roberto Luongo playing the remainder.  Jason Demers had the best offensive night of his career with a couple of goals Thursday. Jaromir Jagr should be good to go on an ongoing basis after not playing in full games his two previous starts prior to Thursday. The Panthers acquired Dylan McIlrath from the New York Rangers in exchange for Steven Kapfer and a seventh round selection. Aleksander Barkov had an assist Monday, his first point in nine games. Jonathan Marchessault leads the Panthers with 13 points, five better than Colton Sceviour and Vincent Trocheck.

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. Dallas, vs. New Jersey, @ Anaheim   

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Kings return home after a five-game road trip. They play four games this week as well as three in four nights so Peter Budaj should get three starts with Jeff Zatkoff getting one. Zatkoff has returned to the lineup sending Jack Campbell back to the minors but it remains to be seen if he can take the net back from Buda. Of course this will become moot once and if Jonathan Quick returns to action, hopefully in January. Budaj gave up three goals on 22 shots Thursday after getting back-to-back shutouts against Toronto and Calgary. Dustin Brown has eight points in 14 games after 28, 27 and 27 point seasons in his previous three campaigns. I still can’t recommend him.

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Boston, vs. Colorado

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Eric Staal had a goal and an assist Thursday and now has five goals and 11 points in 12 games as the state of Minnesota seems to be agreeing with his game after a couple of off-seasons in Carolina. Devan Dubnyk is 6-3-1 this season with a 1.51 GAA and a .951 save percentage. Marco Scandella has been moved to the long-term injured reserve list with a high ankle sprain. Jason Pominville has been skating alongside Mikko Koivu and Mikael Granlund and scored his third of the campaign Thursday. Zach Parise has been out of action since October 27 with a lower body injury but is getting close to returning.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Carolina, vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Toronto (Saturday)

 

Notes

Carey Price is a perfect 9-0 this season with a 1.56 GAA and a .953 save percentage. The Habs have lost only once this season but that was a 10-0 shellacking at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets. Al Montoya was in net for all 10 as coach Michel Therrien refused to allow Price to enter the game. Alex Galchenyuk continues to show why the Canadiens were correct in taking him third overall in 2012 despite being injured for most of his draft year. He has 14 points including six goals, in 14 games. Paul Bryon has been seeing action alongside Galchenyuk and Alexander Radulov so is fantasy value has shot up, especially with four points in his last three contests.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Ottawa, @ St. Louis

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Filip Forsberg has yet to score this season but has nine assists in 13 games. The Predators sent Marek Mazanec to the minors and recalled Juuse Saros to challenge Pekka Rinne for the top job. Rinne took it to heart and has played very well in the two games since Saros was recalled. Rinne has won two in a row, stopping 56 of 58 shots directed his way. Calle Jarnkrok scored twice on Thursday but has little fantasy value as he now has three in 13 games. Kevin Fiala was sent to the minors. Matt Irwin may be worth looking at as the blueliner has three goals and five points in his last five contests.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Michael Cammalleri finally broke out of his goalless streak as he had the hat trick November 6. The problem is that he has not scored before or after that contest. Taylor Hall, Damon Severson and Travis Zajac lead the Devils in points with nine. Devante Smith-Pelly was quite a revelation last season after his trade to New Jersey as he had 13 points in 18 games. But this season the story is different as he has only three helpers in 10 games and was a healthy scratch in each of his last two contests. Pavel Zacha has a goal and three assists in 12 games as the Devils have burned through one year of his entry-level deal.

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders only play twice this week so, with the exception of John Tavares (and possibly Brock Nelson), bench the rest in weekly transaction pools. Travis Hamonic is out four-to-six weeks with an upper body injury. New York recalled Adam Pelech to take his place on the blueline. The Islanders sent Mathew Barzal back to junior hockey after he got into only two games in the first four weeks of the season. The move to junior is the best for his career and do not forget about him in the next couple of seasons. Andrew Ladd has goals in each of his last two games after going the first 12 of the season without tickling the twine.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Columbus, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: vs. Florida (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The NHL’s concussion protocol came into action on Tuesday as the independent spotter asked for Antti Raanta to leave the game. Henrik Lundqvist took over and gave up two goals on six shots which didn’t help his fantasy owners. Pavel Buchnevich had a hand in all three Rangers goals Tuesday with a goal and two assists as he now has seven points in nine games. He is worth grabbing in pools if available. As mentioned earlier, the Rangers dealt Dylan McIlrath to Florida for Steven Kampfer who was placed and passed through waivers before the deal, and a conditional seventh round pick. J.T. Miller is having a fine season with five goals and 13 points in 14 games. He is tied with Kevin Hayes for the team lead in points, three ahead of six others including Rick Nash and Jimmy Vesey.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Nashville, vs. Florida

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Mike Condon has been great as he has given up only one goal on 66 shots this season. It’s no surprise that Erik Karlsson is leading the Senators in points with 10 but it is a surprise that Ryan Dzingel is second with nine. Chris Neil is out with an upper body injury. Derick Brassard halted a five game pointless streak Wednesday with a helper. He has a solitary goal and six points while Mika Zibanejad, for whom he was traded, has 10 in a Rangers uniform. Mark Stone is pointless in seven games and after back-to-back 60-plus point seasons, he has only five in 12 games including one goal. Look for him to break loose soon.

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Winnipeg, vs. Tampa Bay

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Flyers are home for all three this week. Jakub Voracek is showing that last season’s poor season was an anomaly and he is closer to the player who picked up 81 points, good for fourth best in the NHL in 2014-15. He has six goals and 15 points and is tied with Claude Giroux for the team lead in points. Brandon Manning, Nick Cousins, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Nick Schultz are the only plus Flyers with Manning leading the way at plus-two. Scott Laughton was sent to the minors after being taken off the injured reserve list. Matt Read skated on the top line with Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmons this past week.

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

@ Washington, @ New York Islanders, @ Buffalo

 

Rested Team: @ Washington (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ Buffalo (Saturday)

 

Notes

It appears that Matt Murray is getting every opportunity to become the Penguins number one goalie as he has played in three of the last five contests. Sidney Crosby continues to amaze as he has nine goals in eight games after returning from concussion woes. He has 11 points in eight games thus far. Evgeni Malkin leads the Penguins in points with 14, one ahead of Phil Kessel. That being said, it’s just a matter of time before Malkin is lost through injury. Conor Sheary has played only seven games but has three goals and seven points to go with a plus-seven rating. He is worth taking at this time.   

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. San Jose, vs. Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

After just 12 games, the real Nail Yakupov has shown up and has been a healthy scratch for the last three games before returning to the lineup on Thursday where he was a minus-one. It wasn’t like he didn’t have every opportunity as he was placed on the wing with Paul Stastny and Alexander Steen. Ty Rattie was sent to the minors on a conditioning stint. Kevin Shattenkirk has three goals and 10 points in 15 games with 21 PIMs. Joel Edmundson is on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury. He has only one assist but 17 penalty minutes in 13 games. Carter Hutton had been seeing the crease in approximately one-third of the games and could play 20-25 games in place of Jake Allen.

 

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ St. Louis, @ Arizona

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Brent Burns picked up the winner Thursday and it was his third in the last four games to give him six this season.  Martin Jones has played in 10 straight games as Aaron Dell has seen action in only two games this season. Jones in 7-6-2 this season with a 2.30 GAA and a .909 save percentage which could certainly use some work. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is one of the best defensemen around (just not in fantasy hockey) and he has two goals and five points in 14 games with 20 penalty minutes. Joe Pavelski continues to lead the Sharks in points with 14. Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson are each plus-two to lead the Sharks.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Detroit, @ Buffalo, @ Philadelphia

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Detroit (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Ben Bishop play three times with Andrei Vasilevskiy playing once.  Bishop seems to be getting twice as much action as Vasilevskiy and while Bishop is 5-4-0, Vasilevskiy is 3-1-1 with a 1.99 GAA and a .932 save percentage, far superior to Bishop’s 2.91/.907. Steven Stamkos had a three point night Thursday and now has 17 points, one better than Nikita Kucherov. Jonathan Drouin is out with an upper body injury but expect it to be only day-to-day. Victor Hedman is the Lightning’s al-time assists leader among defensemen as he has 188.  

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Florida, @ Montreal

 

Rested team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Morgan Rielly apparently is not disappointed that he is not getting a lot of power play time as coach Mike Babcock wants him fresh against the opponent’s top line. Nikita Soshnikov is day-to-day with groin tightness. Matt Hunwick has missed the last seven games with a lower body injury but has been taken off injured reserve and could play as early as the 11th. William Nylander is first, Auston Matthews second and Mitch Marner tied for third in scoring for Toronto as the future looks bright with these three outstanding rookies. By the way, James van Riemsdyk is tied with Marner for third with 10 points, one behind Matthews and a deuce in arrears of Nylander.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Arizona, vs. Chicago

 

Rested Team: vs. Arizona (Thursday), vs. Chicago (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

There is certainly a disparity in starting goaltending for the Canucks as Jacob Markstrom is 4-2-1 with a 2.23 GAA and a .915 save percentage while Ryan Miller is 1-7 with a 2.80 GAA and a .907 save percentage. You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see who has been better in the early going. Henrik Sedin leads the Canucks in points with nine. The Canucks were dealt a blow when Jannik Hansen suffered a fractured rib and will be lost to the Canucks for four-to-six weeks. He has been a very good two-way player and his loss will be felt. Bo Horvat had three points in two games heading into action Thursday before being shut out.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Detroit, vs. Columbus

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: vs. Pittsburgh, (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Capitals play four games this week including three in four nights. Braden Holtby should get three starts with Philipp Grubauer playing once. They also play the Blue Jackets twice so look for Tom Wilson to get some penalty minutes if there are any fisticuffs. Evgeny Kuznetsov exploded out of the gate last season but has only six points in 12 games thus far. T.J. Oshie has six goals in 12 games but only one assist. He is tied with Marcus Johansson in goals, one behind Alex Ovechkin who also is tied for the points lead with Johansson at 11. Nicklas Backstrom has a goal and five assists in his last six games.  

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Philadelphia, @ Boston, @ Carolina

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Carolina (Sunday)

 

Notes

The Jets play four games this week including three in four nights so look for Connor Hellebuyck and Michael Hutchinson to share the net. Jacob Trouba decided to wait no longer as the Jets were not going to late him so they inked to a two-year contract. He is not in hockey shape and it could be a bit of a wait before he is in the Winnipeg lineup. Mark Scheifele is leading the NHL in points with 19 including 11 since the beginning of November. His teammate Patrik Laine is second and leads the NHL in goals with 11. Dustin Byfuglien has eight assists this season but has yet to score. Blake Wheeler is flying with 11 points in the early going.      

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.