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The Week Ahead

Where We Stand

by Ryan Dadoun
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

We got a short week ahead of us as the All-Star break will begin on Thursday.  For most squads though, their vacation time will start even earlier as only four games are scheduled for Wednesday.

In fact, as you'll see below, the Oilers and Blues aren't even playing next week.  The morale of the story is that you'll want to pay close attention to the upcoming schedule if you're in a league that sets its roster weekly, otherwise you might end up starting players that won't help you.

Editor's Note: This is your chance to try FanDuel risk free! Sign up today and if you lose your first contest, you’ll be refunded the entry fee up to $10. Play now.

 

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

 

 

Now to The Week Ahead.

 

WEEK OF JANUARY 25-31    

 

2 Games – Arizona, Boston,  Buffalo, Calgary, Colorado, Columbus, Montreal, Nashville,  Philadelphia, Toronto

 

1 Game – Anaheim, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Washington, Vancouver, Winnipeg

 

0 Games - Edmonton, St. Louis

 

 

INJURIES

 

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has undergone surgery on his hand and will miss the next six-to-eight weeks.

 

(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

@ Boston

 

Rested Team: @ Boston (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Ducks' surprising offensive anemia has been a recurring subject this season, but they might finally be coming out of the other side of that.  At the least, they've done better recently with 13 goals in their last four games.  Jakob Silfverberg has played a significant role in Anaheim's recent success with three goals and five points in his last four games after scoring just three goals and eight points in his previous 41 contests.

 

ARIZONA

 

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Winnipeg

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Winnipeg (Tuesday)

 

Notes

All's still quiet on the Mike Smith (core muscle surgery) front, but you have to wonder what Arizona will do when he comes back.  The Coyotes have stuck with him over the last two seasons despite largely subpar play, but now they have a clear alternative in 23-year-old Louis Domingue, who had a 2.19 GAA and .928 save percentage in 13 contests prior to Thursday's game.  Of course, they could always reaffirm their faith in Smith by trading away Domingue like they did Devan Dubnyk...

 

BOSTON

 

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Anaheim

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Anaheim (Tuesday)

 

Notes

The Bruins saw their three-game winning streak come to an end on Thursday, but the obvious silver lining is that David Krejci (upper body) made his return.  Boston only missed the playoffs by two points last season and you have to figure that gap could have been made up if Krejci wasn't limited to 47 contests.  Obviously Krejci has run into injury problems again, if he can stay healthy for the rest of the season then it will significantly enhance the Bruins' chances of making the playoffs this time around.

 

 

BUFFALO

 

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ Ottawa

 

Rested Team: @ New York Rangers (Monday)

Tired Team:  @ Ottawa (Tuesday)

 

Notes

Evander Kane's first season with the Buffalo Sabres hasn't exactly been awe inspiring as he's been limited to 10 goals and 18 points in 37 contests.  He's heated up lately though with two goals and five points in his last six games.  Kane has had some good patches so far this season, but prolonged cold streaks have held him back, so naturally the question is if this time he has staying power.

 

 

CALGARY

 

Games this week

@ Dallas, vs. Nashville

 

Rested Team: vs. Nashville (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ Dallas (Monday)

 

Notes

The Calgary Flames have been leaning heavily on Karri Ramo this season, but Jonas Hiller started in three consecutive games from Jan. 13-19 for the first time this season.  That stretch started with Hiller's 15-save shutout and continued after he battled Edmonton to a 2-1 shootout loss.  A 4-2 loss to New Jersey on Tuesday was enough to convince the Flames to go back to Ramo though, who dutifully guided Calgary to a 4-2 victory over Columbus on Thursday.

 

 

CAROLINA

 

Games this week

vs. Chicago

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Hurricanes certainly didn't have an inspiring start to the season, but they're 13-6-4 dating back to their victory over Montreal on Dec. 5.  That impressive stretch has kept them in contention for a playoff spot in a season where the big story in Carolina at this point could have easily been the possibility of trading Cam Ward, Eric Staal, or both.  Unfortunately, that also leads to some bad news, which is that Ward is out indefinitely due to a concussion.  Backup Eddie Lack has been something of a disappointment this season, but this is a chance for him to put that behind him and he got off on the right foot with a 32-save shutout against Toronto Thursday night.

 

CHICAGO

 

Games this week

@ Carolina

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

This just in: Patrick Kane is good at hockey.  Seriously though, he's having an unreal season.  While his 26-game point streak ended on Dec. 15, that hasn't slowed him down.  In fact, he has five goals and nine points in four games since Jan. 15.  Kane is on pace to record 117 points, which would be the highest total for any player since the 2006-07 (Evgeni Malkin's 113 points in 2008-09 is the figure to beat).

 

COLORADO

 

Games this week

@ San Jose, @ Los Angeles   

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Wednesday)

 

Notes

When the Colorado Avalanche were struggling in October, their goaltending was a significant part of the issue.  Semyon Varlamov remains a mixed bag in 2015-16, but he's held the competition to just two goals over his last two games.  Calvin Pickard could certainly stand to play more though as he's been a great goaltender thus far.

 

COLUMBUS

 

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Montreal  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Columbus has lost six of its last eight games as it sets up shop in the bottom of the league.  It can be hard to find silver linings during times like these, but Seth Jones has certainly provided one.  In seven games with Columbus since being acquired by Nashville, he already has five assists.  Moving forward, the Blue Jackets play the Canadiens in a home-and-home series this week so look for Jared Boll and/or Scott Hartnell to add to their penalty minute totals if there is any rough stuff.  It's true that Hartnell was scratched for a game for taking bad penalties, but John Tortorella isn't likely to take issue with Hartnell spending time in the sin bin if it's due to a defense of his teammates.

   

DALLAS

 

Games this week

 vs. Calgary

 

Rested Team: vs. Calgary (Monday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Dallas earned a 3-2 victory over Edmonton on Thursday to end its four-game losing streak, but that's hardly definitive proof that the Stars' slump is over.  Edmonton is a shaky team at the best of times and its currently missing two of its biggest threats in Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.  The month of January hasn't been kind to Dallas (2-5-2), but at least it's almost over and then the Stars will get just over a week between games to rest and regroup.

  

DETROIT

 

Games this week

@ New York Islanders

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Petr Mrazek is just running away with the starting gig at this point.  Jimmy Howard got the nod on Dec. 29, but was yanked from that contest and since then, Mrazek has started in eight of Detroit's last nine games.  He'll get the nod again on Friday.  Mrazek simply has made too strong of an argument for the top role with his 2.10 GAA and .931 save percentage in 31 games.

 

 

EDMONTON

 

 Games this week

None

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes    

The next paragraph of the sad tale that is the Edmonton Oilers started on Monday when he went down with a hand injury that will take six-to-eight weeks to come back from.  Edmonton is once again in the Western Conference basement.  Could they win another first overall pick?  How many elite players does it take to drag Edmonton out from the NHL's gutter?

 

FLORIDA

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Florida Panthers have been one of the better stories this season, but they're at an important point.  They've lost four straight games (albeit with of those coming in overtime) and now face Chicago and Tampa Bay on Friday and Saturday respectively.  Those are two easy games to lose, but the Panthers need to find a way to at least split those games to avoid losing the momentum they've worked so hard to cultivate.

  

 

LOS ANGELES

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado

 

Rested Team: vs. Colorado (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Dustin Brown said recently that he hasn't produced as much as he would like, but he feels he's been contributing in other areas.  Coming at this from a fantasy perspective though, I have to wonder what Brown's vision is in terms of production.  He's on pace 24 points, which certainly isn't good, but it's sadly not surprising.  After all, he had just 27 points in each of his last two campaigns, so this really is just more of the same.  I'm not doubting his value to Los Angeles, but at the age of 31 he's already long since lost his fantasy relevancy in standard leagues.

 

 

MINNESOTA

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona  

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Wild were able to stop their five-game skid on Thursday with a 3-0 victory over Los Angeles.  They were limited to just four goals during their slump though and unfortunately that's not an entirely isolated problem.  Minnesota has averaged a mediocre 2.49 goals per game, which has kept the squad out of the first tier of the Central Division that currently comprises Chicago, Dallas, and St. Louis.

 

MONTREAL

           

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Columbus

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Canadiens play a home-and-home series with the Blue Jackets so expect to see P.K. Subban add to his penalty minute totals if there are any fisticuffs.  That will be especially true if Montreal ends up dropping the first game as frustrations might boil over.  The Canadiens have gone 4-16-1 over their last 21 games and have at least temporarily surrendered their playoff spot as a result.  Montreal needs something to stop the bleeding as they can't just hope that Carey Price will save them when he eventually returns.

 

 NASHVILLE

 

Games this week

 @ Vancouver, @ Calgary

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Calgary (Wednesday)

 

Notes

While Seth Jones has excelled in Columbus, the other player in that trade - Ryan Johansen - has also been meshing well in his new home.  Johansen has three goals and nine points in seven games with Nashville.  It's still very early, but this might be one of those trades that truly benefits both sides.

 

NEW JERSEY

 

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Travis Zajac had a big night on Thursday, scoring the game-winning goal and chipping in three assists in a 6-3 victory over Ottawa.  He was a disappointment in 2014-15 with 11 goals and 25 points in 74 contests, but he's bounced back with seven goals and 23 points in 40 games this season.

 

 

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

 

Games this week

vs. Detroit

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Islanders last played on Sunday and since then they've gotten some good and bad news on the injury front.  While we still don't know the exact nature of defenseman Adam Pelech's upper-body injury, it does look like he's done for the season.  Meanwhile fellow blueliner Johnny Boychuk won't be back before the All-Star break.  At least Travis Hamonic (lower body) should return on Friday.

 

NEW YORK RANGERS

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Buffalo (Monday)    

 

Notes

There was considerable concern about the Rangers in general and goalie Henrik Lundqvist in particular back in December when they had a 4-7-2 record while Lundqvist posted a 3.27 GAA and .892 save percentage.  As great as Lundqvist is though, he is prone to those kinds of prolonged cold streaks and sure enough he's bounced back in January with a 2.24 GAA and .918 save percentage.  Unfortunately it hasn't been enough to completely turn around the Rangers as they are still 4-3-1 this month.

 

OTTAWA     

 

Games this week

vs. Buffalo

 

Rested Team: vs. Buffalo (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Craig Anderson has struggled lately, allowing at least three goals in each of his last four starts.  On Thursday he only lasted 13:56 minutes and saved three of seven shots against New Jersey.  The 34-year-old has had a rough season overall with a 2.88 GAA and .913 save percentage in 37 contests.  Andrew Hammond hasn't been much better, but if he's able to get hot now, he could end up making a lengthy run due to Anderson's shaky play.

 

 

PHILADELPHIA

 

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Washington

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team:  None

 

Notes

With Sean Couturier (lower body) hurt, the Flyers recalled Sam Gagner and inserted him into Thursday's game.  Gagner went on to log a solid 15:24 minutes in what was his first contest with the team since November.  You have to wonder if he did enough to stick with the squad though, especially seeing as it didn't sound like Couturier's injury was long-term.

 

 

PITTSBURGH

 

Games this week

vs. New Jersey

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Whether its Phil Kessel starting to settle in, the presence of new head coach Mike Sullivan or a combination of the two, things seem to be working out now for the 28-year-old forward.  He has three goals and nine points in his last 10 games compared to a modest 20 points in 37 contests prior to that.  I'm getting more and more optimistic about Kessel's chances of having a strong second half.

 

 

ST. LOUIS

 

Games this week

None

 

Rested Team:  None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

The Blues dropped five straight games from Dec. 30 to Jan. 8, but they got a consolation point in three of those contests and have turned things around substantially since then.  They have won five of their last six contests to improve to 28-15-7 this season.  They have the third best record in the Western Conference, but unfortunately for them, the two squads above them both play in the Central Division too (Chicago and Dallas).

 

    

SAN JOSE

 

Games this week

vs. Colorado

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

It's amazing what a good hot streak can do for a team in the largely subpar Pacific Division.  If you go back to Jan. 8, San Jose was 18-18-2 and had the second worst record in the Western Conference.  And yet the Sharks were only three points behind in the race for the third Pacific Division seed, which looks even better for San Jose when you consider that the squad in that third spot - Vancouver - had played in three more games than the Sharks to that point.  Since then San Jose has gone 6-0-1 to climb to the second seed in the Pacific Division.  They are technically tied with the Canucks at 51 points, but Vancouver still has played in three more games than San Jose and is behind in terms of ROW, so the edge is clearly with the Sharks.

 

TAMPA BAY

 

Games this week

vs. Toronto

 

Rested team: vs. Toronto (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Tampa Bay is enjoying a seven-game winning streak, but that story has had to compete with Jonathan Drouin's trade demand, which got a lot louder on Wednesday when it came out that he would refuse to play for AHL Syracuse any longer.  Tampa Bay suspended him indefinitely in response, but the expectation is still that the Lightning will trade him.  I wrote a lengthy assessment of that situation with a focus on what to expect from Drouin post-trade in yesterday's Fantasy Nuggets, so be sure to check that out if you're interested.

 

TORONTO

 

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Tampa Bay   

 

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Tampa Bay (Wednesday)

 

Notes

The Maple Leafs have been equal servings of hope and despair this season and lately they've been dishing out the latter.  Toronto was shutout on Thursday for the second time in their last six games, which is made worse by the fact that Toronto scored just seven goals in the four contests between those nights of silence.  At least James Reimer is finally healthy though and has largely picked up where he left off with a 2.02 GAA and .939 save percentage in five January contests.

 

VANCOUVER

 

Games this week

vs. Nashville

 

Rested Team: None

Tired Team None

 

Notes

It's getting to the point in Vancouver where it's a little hard to refer to Ryan Miller as the clear cut number one starter.  He's been serviceable this season with a 2.69 GAA and .915 save percentage, but Jacob Markstrom has been great lately and is the owner of a superior 2.38 GAA and .923 save percentage in 19 contests.  It wouldn't be surprising to see them split the remaining starts relatively evenly, assuming both of them stay healthy.

 

WASHINGTON

 

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia

 

Rested team: None  

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Talking about how good the Washington Capitals have been this season feels like retreading old news, but the weather of all things might unfortunately slow them down.  A severe snowstorm is expected to hit Friday and the Capitals have responded by moving their game on Friday against Anaheim from a 7:00 p.m. ET start time to 5:00 p.m.  In addition, the status of Sunday's matinee against Pittsburgh is still to be determined.  Keep a close eye on that situation as it's very much an evolving story.

 

WINNIPEG

 

Games this week

vs. Arizona

 

Rested team: vs. Arizona (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

 

Notes

Chicago's Artemi Panarin might run away with the Calder Trophy, but then again, perhaps 22-year-old goalie Connor Hellebuyck will renew the debate.  Hellebuyck certainly has been great so far with a 2.05 GAA and .930 save percentage in 20 contests.  It's that sample size that's holding Hellebuyck back, but Winnipeg has been leaning heavily on him lately and if that continues, his number of games played won't be an issue by the time the campaign ends.

Ryan Dadoun
Ryan Dadoun is an Associate Editor for Hockey on Rotoworld. Feel free to follow him on Twitter or check out his blog.