Coaching change in Buffalo

Mike Finewax
November 15, 2013
Examining Miller-Halak trade
What does this blockbuster deal between the Buffalo Sabres and St. Louis Blues mean for fantasy owners?

The second coaching change in the span of a week took place on Wednesday as the Buffalo Sabres fired Ron Rolston and replaced him with interim coach Ted Nolan, who most hope will be given the full time gig in Buffalo.

The Florida Panthers let go of coach Kevin Dineen a week ago today and replaced him with Peter Horachek.

So two of the worst three teams have fired their coach and Edmonton’s Dallas Eakins, whose Oilers are currently the second worst team in the NHL with 10 points in 20 games is still on the job. Don’t expect Eakins to be canned as the Oilers are quite high on the young coach.

I was on NHL.com’s Google+ Hangout on Thursday with @NHLQubes, @NHLJensen, @scott_pianowski, @Brian_Metzer and @TheGoalieGuild. Check out the chat here.

It’s still not too late to join a Yahoo! pool.

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 18-24

4 Games - Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Detroit, Ottawa, Pittsburgh

3 Games–Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games – Dallas, Edmonton, Phoenix, San Jose

Detroit, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Toronto, Vancouver and Winnipeg play three games at home.

Chicago, Florida, Minnesota, New Jersey, the New York Islanders, Ottawa and Tampa Bay play three games on the road.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $2,500 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Friday). It's just $10 to join and first prize is $500. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.

INJURIES

Steve Stamkos is out indefinitely with a broken leg. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

 ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. New Jersey, vs. Tampa Bay, @ Phoenix

Notes

The Ducks play three games in four nights so look for Viktor Fasth to play at least once in place of Jonas Hiller. The Ducks are the rested team on Friday when they play the Tampa Bay who face San Jose Thursday and then are the tired team on Saturday in Phoenix. The Ducks sent Frederik Andersen back to the minors on Thursday when Fasth returned from the injured reserve list. They also sent Sami Vatanen to the minors at the same time while recalling Peter Holland. Ryan Getzlaf has been out of action the last three games but the Ducks hope he will return this week. The flu bug is going through the Anaheim dressing room as Corey Perry, Jonas Hiller, Daniel Winnik and Kyle Palmieri were forced to miss action.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ Carolina, @ New York Rangers, vs. St. Louis, vs. Carolina

Notes

Boston plays four times this week including three games in four nights so Chad Johnson should play once in place of Tuukka Rask. The Bruins are tired on Tuesday when they are in New York to play the Rangers after playing in Carolina Monday. They play the Carolina Hurricanes twice this week so look for Shawn Thornton and Jarome Iginla to engage in fisticuffs if there is any rough stuff. Torey Krug has two goals and five points in his last five games. Dennis Seidenberg has only five assists in 18 games but his plus-21 rating gives him some fantasy value. After going four games without a point, Patrice Bergeron has three goals in his last three games.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, @ Philadelphia, vs. Detroit

Notes

The Sabres are the rested team on Sunday when they host the Red Wings as Detroit plays Ottawa Saturday afternoon. The big news of the week was the Sabres relieving Darcy Regier and Ron Rolston of their respective jobs as GM and head coach. Ted Nolan is the new coach and it’s good to see him back in the NHL as he was a terrific coach for both Buffalo and the New York Islanders. I’m sure that Rolston’s status was not helped by his benching of Matt Moulson for the last 26:11 minutes of the Nov. 8 game. Moulson is the leading point getter and the Sabres may try to sign him to a long-term deal and if they are unable to, then deal him by the trade deadline.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Columbus, vs. Florida

Notes

The Flames the rested team all three times this week and that makes it five times in the last two weeks. They are in Winnipeg Monday after the Jets are in Minnesota Sunday and then take on the Blue Jackets Wednesday after Columbus is in Edmonton Tuesday. Finally they play the Panthers Friday with Florida also in Edmonton Thursday. Sven Baertschi is on a five game pointless streak. Michael Cammalleri has 11 points in 11 games this season while Jiri Hudler continues to impress with six goals and 19 points in 18 games. Sean Monahan has only one goal and three points in his last 10 games.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Detroit, @ Boston, vs. Ottawa

Notes

The Hurricanes play four games this week with three in four nights as well. Cam Ward is expected to return so he will likely split the net with Justin Peters. The Hurricanes play Boston twice this week so look for Jay Harrison to get involved if there are any altercations. Jeff Skinner (upper body) skated on Thursday for the first time since October 24 and could return on November 15. Eric Staal has only nine points this season but is a good buy low candidate.  His younger brother Jordan Staal has three goals and six points. Manny Malhotra has won 64 percent of his faceoffs in five games thus far. Goaltender Anton Khudobin may be able to start practicing this week as he has been out with a lower body injury.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Winnipeg, @ Vancouver

Notes

The Chicago Blackhawks are rested on Saturday when they are in Vancouver as the Canucks take on the Columbus Blue Jackets Friday. Andrew Shaw signed a two-year/$4 million deal. Patrick Sharp was the NHL’s third star of the week with a goal and seven points in three games. Patrick Kane has 10 goals and 19 points to lead the Blackhawks, two points more than Sharp and Jonathan Toews. Michal Handzus will likely miss at least another week with an upper body injury as he has been out of the lineup since October 24. Mike Kostka is still not skating but had the protective boot taken off this past week as he has been out of action since October 19.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Phoenix, @ Los Angeles

Notes

Nathan McKinnon is now skating on a line with Paul Stastny and Gabriel Landeskog and scored on the power play Thursday, giving him 12 points in 18 games. Erik Johnson has been a pleasant surprise this season and gives a lot of credit to new coach Patrick Roy. Former Avalanche great Milan Hejduk is slated to announce his retirement. Jean-Sebastien Giguere has a .947 save percentage and a GAA of 1.73 and that’s after giving up five goals on Thursday. Jamie McGinn has two assists in his last 10 games after starting the season with five points in his first five contests. Jan Hejda is plus-14 after going minus-17 last season.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights and all are in Western Canada so look for Curtis McElhinny to play once in place of Sergei Bobrovsky. The Blue Jackets will be the tired team Wednesday in Calgary after playing the Edmonton Oilers Tuesday. Last season’s Vezina Trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky has really struggled in the first quarter of the season as he is 5-8-2 with a .908 save percentage and a 2.83 GAA. Marian Gaborik is slumping with just one point in his last eight games. Boone Jenner is back practicing with the Blue Jackets after injuring his leg on October 25. Ryan Johansen is seeing first line time alongside Brandon Dubinsky and R.J. Umberger.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ St. Louis

Notes

The Stars only play twice this week so I suggest benching all your Dallas players in weekly transaction pools with the exception of Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn if you have players going four games. Antoine Roussel is third in the NHL with 59 penalty minutes but has a goal and two assists in his last two games. There are plenty of rumors saying that Vernon Fiddler is headed out of town in a trade but coach Lindy Ruff is not saying anything. Fiddler apparently made the request to team management a couple of weeks ago. Ray Whitney was placed on the injured reserve list with a lower body injury. Alex Chiasson has only two assists in his last 10 games after picking up nine points in his first nine games. Tyler Seguin had four goals and five points Thursday while Jamie Benn had a goal and five helpers.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Carolina, vs. Ottawa, @ Buffalo

Notes

Detroit plays three games in four nights so look for Jonas Gustavsson to play at least once instead of Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings will be the tired team on Sunday when they travel to Buffalo to face the Sabres after playing the Senators at home Saturday. Patrick Eaves was placed on waivers to make room for Jonathan Ericsson who was on the long-term injured list. Jordin Tootoo was sent to the minors after passing through waivers. Daniel Cleary has only a goal and three points in 18 games this season and as a result was a healthy scratch on Tuesday. Henrik Zetterberg has 10 goals and 21 points in 19 games with a plus-12 rating to lead the Red Wings.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Florida

Notes

The lowly Oilers only play two times this week so bench all your Edmonton players if you can in weekly transaction pools. It appears that Ilya Bryzgalov will be activated this week and he is worth taking a shot on in deep pools as he could get traded close to the trade deadline since he is on a one-year deal. The Oilers have now gone 182:04 minutes at home without scoring. Edmonton is having a hard time with Nail Yakupov as the first overall pick in 2012 is complaining about his lack of ice time as he has played less than 11 minutes in each of his last two games. Coach Dallas Eakins says that Yakupov has to earn his ice time. Philip Larsen has a goal and five points in six games but the defenseman is also minus-five.

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Vancouver, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

Notes

Florida plays three games in four nights in Western Canada so look for Scott Clemmensen to play once in place of Tim Thomas. The Panthers are the tired team on Friday against the Flames in Calgary as they play in Edmonton Thursday. Florida dealt veteran Kris Versteeg to Chicago Thursday evening along with minor leaguer Philippe Lefebvre and picked up youngsters Dylan Olsen and Jimmy Hayes in return. Brad Boyes has six goals and eight points in 18 games. The Panthers sent Jacob Markstrom to the minors as the first year of his two-year contract was a two-way deal. Tomas Fleischmann leads the Panthers in points with 12.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New Jersey, vs. Colorado

Notes

The Kings are the rested team on Thursday when facing the Devils as New Jersey takes on the Ducks in Anaheim Wednesday. It looks like Jonathan Quick will miss about a month of action as the netminder has a Grade Two groin strain. Ben Scrivens is now the starter with Martin Jones as his backup. Jeff Carter is still out of the lineup with a broken foot as he has missed the last two weeks with the injury. Doctors have yet to determine if the injury is a recurrence of an old one or brand new injury. Tanner Pearson was recalled by the Kings and scored a goal on Thursday. Mike Richards has 17 points in 19 games.  

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Ottawa, @ Winnipeg

Notes

Niklas Backstrom got a rare start on Wednesday and was injured when the Maple Leafs Nazem Kadri ran into him, a decision that cost Kadri a three game suspension. Josh Harding took over and got his 10th win of the season as he continues to sparkle with a spectacular 1.21 GAA and a just as sparkling .947 save percentage. Ryan Suter still has yet to find the back of the net this season although he does have 11 assists in 19 games. Jason Pominville has 11 goals this season and is a plus-eight. Mikael Granlund did not practice on Thursday after receiving a high hit courtesy of the aforementioned Kadri but could be ready to play as early as November 15.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ Washington, vs. Pittsburgh

Notes

David Desharnais was a healthy scratch earlier in the week for the second time this season as he has only one assist in 17 games. Montreal mayor-elect Denis Coderre tweeted that the Habs should send Desharnais to the minors prompting coach Michel Therrien to say that the comment was ‘inappropriate for our mayor’. Brandon Prust should be in the lineup this week so put him back in your lineup if you need penalty minutes as he had 12 minutes in eight games to go with three points. Daniel Briere returned this past week and Alexei Emelin is projected to return as early as November 15th for the first time this season after off-season knee surgery.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Toronto, vs. New York Rangers  

Notes

The slumping Predators have lost three in a row and have given up 13 goals in the three games while scoring only once. Roman Josi was reunited with Shea Weber on the blueline with Seth Jones being placed alongside Kevin Klein. Filip Forsberg was recalled by the Predators after picking up six points in four AHL games as Nashville could use some scoring punch. Forsberg has five points in 11 NHL games this season with four coming on the power play. Carter Hutton has struggled since replacing the injured Pekka Rinne in net as he is 4-3-1 this season with a mediocre 3.53 GAA and a .887 save percentage. Marek Mazanec stopped 30 of 33 shots in his first NHL start this week and could see more action in the foreseeable future in place of Hutton. David Legwand continues to lead the Predators in points with 15.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles, @ San Jose

Notes

New Jersey will spend the week in California where they play three games in four nights so look for Martin Brodeur to play at least once in place of Cory Schneider. They will be tired on Thursday when in Los Angeles to take on the Kings after playing in Anaheim Wednesday. Patrik Elias is due back on November 15 after missing six games with a back injury. Eric Gelinas seems to be getting nicked up every game as he took a puck to his ear Tuesday but should be ready to go on Friday. Damien Brunner has seven points in 17 games but is pointless in his last seven. Veteran Jaromir Jagr continues to amaze as he leads the Devils in points with 14, three ahead of defenseman Marek Zidlicky, the only other Devil in double digits.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Pittsburgh, @ Philadelphia

Notes

The Islanders are the tired team on Saturday when they are in Philadelphia after playing in Pittsburgh Friday. Kevin Poulin has played the last three games in net for the Islanders as Evgeni Nabokov remains glued to the bench. Thomas Vanek has missed the last three games with an upper body injury but could return on November 16. Cal Clutterbuck returned to the lineup on Tuesday after missing three games with an upper body injury and is worth putting in your lineup if you need hits. John Tavares has a goal and six points in his last four games and leads the team with 23 points, two ahead of Frans Nielsen.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. Boston, @ Dallas, @ Nashville

Notes

The Rangers are the rested team on Tuesday against the Bruins as Boston is in Carolina Monday. There is good news in New York as Rick Nash practiced for the first time since suffering a concussion on October 8. There is still no timetable for his return. Chris Kreider has been scoring of late and now has 10 points in 11 games. Ryan McDonagh has been coming on as well as he has two goals and five points in a four game scoring streak. The defenseman has 11 points in 18 games this season as he has taken over the first power play from Michael Del Zotto who has only a goal and four points in 16 games this season. 

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, vs. Minnesota, @ Detroit, @ Carolina

Notes

The Senators play four times this week with two back-to-back games so look for Craig Anderson and Robin Lehner to split the net. Last season’s rookie sensation at the beginning of the season Cory Conacher has only two goals and three points this season in 18 games. Milan Michalek has only three goals this season and has not scored in six straight games. Lehner was the NHL’s first star of the week with a 3-0-0 record, a 1.33 GAA and a .957 save percentage. Anderson returned to action this past week and gave up five goals to the Flyers. Bobby Ryan leads the Senators with 19 points, one ahead of Erik Karlsson and Kyle Turris.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Buffalo, vs. New York Islanders

Notes

The Flyers are home for all three games this week and are the rested team Saturday against the Islanders as New York take on the Penguins in Pittsburgh Friday. The Flyers are headed in the right direction as they are on a three game winning streak boosting their record to 7-10-1. Claude Giroux has a goal and seven points in his last nine games. Jakub Voracek has two goals and four points in his last three games along with his first two power play points of the season. Steve Downie has two assists in two games after returning from a concussion which forced him to miss four contests. Brayden Schenn has five points in his last three games.

PHOENIX

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Anaheim

Notes

The Coyotes are the rested time on Saturday when they are home to the Ducks who play Tampa Bay at home Friday. They play only twice this week so bench your Coyote players with the exception of Oliver Ekman-Larsson and possibly Shane Doan in weekly transaction pools. If you play defense goals as a separate category, you may be surprised to learn that Michael Stone has five this season for Phoenix. Doan is red-hot with five goals and seven points in his last five games and now has 12 in his last 10 after starting the season with only three points in his first nine games. Radim Vrbata had an assist in his first game back after missing two with a lower body injury.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

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

Notes

The Penguins play three games in four nights so it is likely that Jeff Zatkoff will play once in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. Paul Martin has missed the last two games with a lower body injury but is back at practice. Jussi Jokinen remained on the second line with Evgeni Malkin even with the return of Beau Bennett to the lineup but expect to see Bennett replace Jokinen in the near future. James Neal returned to the Penguins lineup on Sunday and has one assist in two games this past week. Look for Neal to start heating up soon and that will help Malkin as well. Kris Letang has only four points and a minus-four rating in nine games but he does have three goals.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Boston, vs. Dallas

Notes

Alexander Steen scored two more goals on Thursday and now has 16 in 17 games this season. David Backes is back to his pre-2013 form as he has seven goals and 19 points in 17 games with four power play goals, 32 penalty minutes and a plus-nine rating.  Patrik Berglund has been a disappointment thus far this season with only a goal and six points. Jordan Leopold is out with a hand injury so Ian Cole will take his spot on the blueline. T.J. Oshie has only two goals but he has 16 points with a plus-11 rating as he had four assists Thursday.   Alex Pietrangelo leads all St. Louis defensemen with 15 points but he has yet to pick up a penalty minute.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Tampa Bay, vs. New Jersey

Notes

The Sharks only play twice but it’s hard to reserve any of their top six forwards this week as they are scoring in abundance.   Antti Niemi continues to impress with a 10-2-5 record with a 2.13 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Brent Burns has yet to return to the lineup after being injured on October 19. Tomas Hertl has been heating up again as he has three goals and six points in his last five games. Mike Brown leads the Sharks in penalty minutes with 33, two ahead of Andrew Desjardins. Martin Havlat has only a goal and an assist in seven games.  Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton lead the team with 20 points, one ahead of Logan Couture.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ San Jose, @ Anaheim

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights as part of a four game week so expect to see Anders Lindback play once in place of Ben Bishop. They will be the tired team on Friday in Anaheim after playing in San Jose Thursday. The loss of Steve Stamkos to a broken leg will really hurt the Lightning in the long run. Brett Connolly made the move to first line center in Stamkos’ absence. Martin St. Louis had only two assists prior to Thursday’s game when he busted out with a goal and three points. Sami Salo is out with a lower body injury but should return shortly. Valtteri Filppula has 15 points in 19 games after picking up only 17 in 41 games last season with Detroit.

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. Nashville, vs. Washington

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be rested when the Washington Capitals come to town on Saturday as the Caps are hosting Montreal Friday. The Maple Leafs are hurting badly at center as Nazem Kadri is on a three game suspension for his hit to the head on Wild goaltender Niklas Backstrom. The Leafs already had Tyler Bozak and Dave Bolland out with injuries and have been forced to move James van Riemsdyk to the middle. Kadri will return for the Nashville game and Jay McClement will center the second line in the interim. Toronto has been getting great goaltending from both Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer as Bernier is 7-4-1 with a 2.05 GAA and a .939 save percentage while Reimer is 4-2-0 with a 2.30 GAA and a .942 save percentage.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. Columbus, vs. Chicago

Notes

The Canucks are tired Saturday when hosting the Blackhawks as they are hosting Columbus Friday. Henrik Sedin picked up an assist for his first point in four games Thursday. David Booth is on a conditioning stint in the AHL and is enjoying playing a lot. He has one point in three games playing for Utica. Coach John Tortorella switched his lines around (surprise, surprise) and Mike Santorelli found himself playing with the Sedin twins with Ryan Kesler moving to the second unit with Alex Burrows and Christopher Higgins. Zack Kassian has four goals and 26 penalty minutes in 16 games this season.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Montreal, @ Toronto

Notes

Washington plays three games in four nights so look for Michal Neuvirth to play once in place of Braden Holtby. The Capitals will be the tired team on Saturday when they are in Toronto as they host Montreal Friday. The Capitals recalled Tyson Strachan from the minors in case Mike Green (lower body) is unable to play.   Joel Ward continues to score as he has goals in three straight games and nine in 19 games this season. Alex Ovechkin’s fantasy value is higher if you do not play the plus/minus category as he is minus-10 this season in 17 games. Brooks Laich continues to disappoint as he has only two goals and four points in 19 games and is tied with Ovechkin at a team worse minus-10.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago, vs. Minnesota

Notes

Winnipeg will be the tired team on Monday when they are home to the Flames as they play the Wild in Minnesota Sunday. Evander Kane is slumping with no goals in his last six games. Bryan Little on the other hand has 11 goals this season to lead the Jets. Andrew Ladd is a perfect five for five in the shootout. Ondrej Pavelec has won his last three games in a row to move to 7-7-2 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.85 save percentage. Dustin Byfuglien and Zach Bogosian finally each scored their first goals of the season this past week. Blake Wheeler has three assists in his past three games.