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It's Early. Don't Panic

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It's Early. Don't Panic
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Michael Finewax tells you not to panic if you own players who are off to slow starts in The Week Ahe …

We are now 10 days into the NHL season and already fantasy players are panicking about players who are off to slow starts. They are also getting too excited about players who are off to great starts.

I was on @PenguinsLive with the excellent host Brian Metzer and he said he had a lot of people asking him if it was worth picking up Chuck Kobasew who at the time had two goals in two games. The answer was no unless you are in a very, very deep pool. The only way Kobasew has value is if there are plenty of injuries and he moves up to a top-two line with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin. If you had Kobasew in your pool, it was time to trade him to someone who was excited by his start.

Do not panic if your player is off to a slow start. I remember last season when fantasy players (some not all) were freaking out with the slow starts of Phil Kessel and Alex Ovechkin. If you took advantage of these players, then you ended up with the top goal scorer in the NHL and two players whose point totals put them in the top-eight of NHL scoring.

Some players off to slow starts this season are (all players have zero points) : Gabriel Landeskog, Jarome Iginla, Ryan Callahan, Loui Eriksson, Dany Heatley, Scott Hartnell, Nail Yakupov, Claude Giroux and Shea Weber.

If you can get these players because the other owner if fed up, take advantage. It's still early.

On the other hand, try to get rid of hot players who are marginal fantasy players like Mike Santorelli (four goals in five games), Marc-Edouard Vlasic (five points in four games) and Jamie McGinn (four points in four games) as they are all overvalued at this time.

It's not too late to join a Yahoo! Hockey pool.

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

Now to The Week Ahead.

WEEK OF OCTOBER 14-20

4 Games - Buffalo, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit,  Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville, Vancouver

3 Games– Anaheim, Boston, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, St. Louis,  San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games – Calgary, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia

Edmonton, Minnesota and Vancouver play all four of their games on the road.

Columbus, Dallas and Detroit play three games on the road.

Anaheim, Buffalo, the New York Islanders, Tampa Bay, Washington and Winnipeg play three games at home.

Editor's Note: Rotoworld's partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $3,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Friday). It's just $2 to join and first prize is $400. Starts at 7pm ET. Here's the link.

INJURIES

Tim Thomas and Niklas Backstrom suffered injuries this week. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Phoenix, vs. Dallas

Notes

The Ducks will be the rested team at home Sunday as their opponents, the Dallas Stars are in Los Angeles Saturday. Emerson Etem (leg) is ready to return to action and the Ducks sent Peter Holland to the minors without giving him a shot at playing this season.  Hampus Lindholm, the Ducks first round pick and sixth overall in the 2012 Draft, made his NHL debut on October 6. He played almost 19 minutes and the rearguard was a plus-one with a couple of blocked shots. He is a strong puck-moving blueliner and is someone to keep an eye on in the future. Mathieu Perreault and Jakob Silfverberg lead the Ducks in points with five.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Detroit, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

Notes

The Bruins finally play three games in a week after starting the season with a pair of two game weeks. Torey Krug has been a big benefit to the Bruins power play in the early going as his production from the point has allowed Boston to use big Zdeno Chara in front of the net. The Bruins have been 30th and last, 22nd and 26th in power play goals over the last three seasons but have scored twice in 10 chances in their first three games. Carl Soderberg (ankle) is close to returning to practice as he has been skating. Loui Eriksson, the best player the Bruins received in the Tyler Seguin trade, is not on the first power play, losing that spot to another newcomer Jarome Iginla.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, @ New York Islanders, vs. Vancouver, vs. Colorado

Notes

The Sabres will be tired on Tuesday when they travel to Long Island to face the Islanders after playing the Wild at home Monday. They play three games in four nights as part of their four game week so look for Jhonas Enroth to play at least once in relief of Ryan Miller. Jamie McBain had a goal and an assist on the power play and he could be of some use in fantasy pools if the Sabres continue to give him ice time with the man-advantage. Cody Hodgson also picked up two power play points in the 3-2 loss as did Thomas Vanek as the Sabres went with the troika along with Christian Ehrhoff on the point and Tyler Ennis up front on their first power play. Henrik Tallinder was put on the injured reserve list with an upper body injury.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ San Jose

Notes

It's the second week in a row playing only two games for the Flames. Sean Monahan has been a pleasant surprise in the early going as the sixth overall pick in the 2013 Draft has three goals and five points in his first four NHL games. It looks like he is here to stay but don't be surprised if he struggles offensively at times this season. Joey MacDonald has been great in net thus far and has played three times to Karri Ramo's once. I think it will be an even split this season between MacDonald and Ramo, with Reto Berra being recalled at some point to show what he can do at the NHL level. Mark Giordano has been a bright spot fantasy-wise on the blueline with a goal and four points in three games.  

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Toronto, @ New York Islanders

Notes

Anton Khodobin has started two of the Hurricanes first four games and that has to be a surprise as Cam Ward was thought to be the undisputed number one netminder in Carolina.  Alexander Semin is scoreless in his first three games. Jiri Tlusty is off to a slow start as well but was removed from the top line on Tuesday and saw time on the third line. He was replaced by Drayson Bowman who played with Eric Staal and Alexander Semin. It may give Bowman some fantasy value if he remains there although he will not see power play time. Keep an eye on Elias Lindholm especially in keeper leagues as he was the fifth overall pick in the 2013 Draft. He could be sent to the minors but will have plenty of value in keeper leagues in a few years. He scored his first NHL goal on Thursday.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Carolina, vs. St. Louis, vs. Toronto

Notes

Patrick Kane has one goal in every game this season heading into action on Friday. Patrick Sharp could miss a game this week as his wife is due with their second child.  The Blackhawks intend to rotate Michal Rozsival, Mike Kostka and Sheldon Brookbank as their sixth defenseman this season, at least at the start of the year. Brandon Saad is off to a good start with two goals and four points in his first three games. Expect 40-45 this season from the sophomore. Corey Crawford is off to a slower start this season with a 1-1-1 record, a 2.92 GAA and a .890 save percentage. Nikolai Khabibulin has the net on Friday and if he plays well, he could get at least one start this week.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Detroit, @ Buffalo

Notes

The Colorado Avalanche are the big surprise in the early going as new head coach Patrick Roy has the team playing well with a 4-0 record. They have scored 13 goals and have allowed only three as Semyon Varlamov has been outstanding in his first three games while Jean-Sebastien Giguere shut out the Bruins Thursday. Cory Sarich has been great with a plus-six rating in his first four games. They could have the best third line in the NHL with first overall pick Nathan MacKinnon centering P. A. Parenteau. The return of Steve Downie who missed all but two games last season has been a big help as the chippy forward has a goal and three points in four games to go with 17 penalty minutes.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Montreal, @ Washington, vs. Vancouver

Notes

The Blue Jackets play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. Look for Curtis McElhinney to play once in place of Sergei Bobrovsky. The will be the rested team Tuesday in Detroit as the Red Wings will be  tired after playing in Boston Monday. Poor Boone Jenner. He was on the top line at the end of training camp with Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky, struggled in the first game, found himself on the fourth line this week and was a healthy scratch on Thursday.  Next move could be the minors.  Cam Atkinson has taken his place on the top line. Fedor Tyutin could be ready to return as early as Oct. 12 from a lower body injury. He's a good 4-5 defenseman in deeper leagues.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Colorado, vs. San Jose, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim

Notes

The Stars play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Dan Ellis play at least once for Kari Lehtonen. The Stars will be tired Sunday when facing the Ducks after playing in Los Angeles the previous night.   Rich Peverley could get a big boost in fantasy value as he could play on the top line with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn after starting the season on the fourth line. Alex Chiasson has played only nine NHL games heading into action on Thursday but has eight goals. Brenden Dillon will get you some points and plenty of penalty minutes. He is worth taking in deeper pools on the blueline if penalty minutes are a category.

DETROIT

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Columbus, @ Colorado, @ Phoenix

Notes

The Red Wings play three games in four nights so look for Jonas Gustavsson to play once in place of Jimmy Howard. Detroit will be the tired team on Tuesday when facing the Blue Jackets as the Red Wings are in Boston Monday. They will be rested on Saturday when they play in Phoenix as the Coyotes are in Anaheim the previous night. Although Jordin Tootoo has been cleared to play, he'll likely remain on the injured reserve list until coach Mike Babcock puts him in a game. Tomas Tatar and Mikael Samuelsson are switching in and out of the lineup. The line of Joakim Andersson, Daniel Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi are struggling early on as they have yet to get a point and are a combined minus-eight heading into action Thursday night. Andersson scored on Thursday.  The Red Wings are 0-10 on the power play.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Washington, @ Pittsburgh, @ New York Islanders, @ Ottawa

Notes

The Oilers play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Jason LaBarbera to play at least once for Devan Dubnyk. They are the tired team Tuesday in Pittsburgh after playing in Washington Monday. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins returned on Monday, three weeks ahead of schedule. I like him to have a big offensive season the rest of the way if he can stay healthy. Corey Potter (back) is skating. Ryan Smyth was a healthy scratch with the return of RNH to the lineup. The veteran could find himself bouncing in and out of the lineup a lot this season. Coach Dallas Eakins is pleased with the performance of Ales Hemsky thus far.

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Nashville, vs. Boston, vs. Minnesota

Notes

Sean Bergenheim could return to the lineup this week for the first time since the 2011-12 season as he has been battling core injuries. Tim Thomas suffered a groin injury on Tuesday and the Panthers recalled Scott Clemmensen to back up Jacob Markstrom. The Panthers want Drew Shore to play more so they sent him to the minors. Rookie Aleksander Barkov has two points in his first three games. Florida had the worst power play in the NHL with nary a goal in 16 chances before action on Thursday when they went one-for-five.  Marcel Goc is centering the top line with Kris Versteeg and Tomas Fleischmann the wings.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Nashville, vs. Dallas

Notes

Jacob Muzzin has been struggling and was a healthy scratch on Wednesday. Jeff Carter picked up a rare assist Wednesday but also had a couple of goals in a 4-3 win. Dustin Brown had a couple of goals as well on Wednesday after missing most of training camp with a hamstring injury. Jonathan Quick is off to a slow start with a .890 save percentage after four games with a 3.13 GAA. Fantasy owners should not be alarmed at the slow start.  Ben Scrivens, his backup, got into the Jets game on Friday as Quick was pulled but has yet to start in four outings. 

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Toronto, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. Niklas Backstrom was injured as he strained his knee Tuesday so Josh Harding could get more playing time.  Darcy Kuemper was recalled Thursday so it appears that Backstrom will miss some time. Consider him day-to-day for now. The Wild will be tired on Tuesday when they take on the Maple Leafs in Toronto after playing in Buffalo Monday. The Wild are shuffling their top two lines with Nino Niederreiter starting on the top line with Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu while Jason Pominville moves down to the second line alongside  Dany Heatley and Mikael Granlund. Jason Zucker has been sent to the minors.

MONTREAL

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Columbus, vs. Nashville

Notes

Lars Eller, who was the NHL's second star of the week in the first week of the season, has continued his outstanding play in the early going alongside Alex Galchenyuk and Brendan Gallagher as he has six points including four goals in his first three games. Galchenyuk scored his first of the season Thursday and now has seven points. Encouraging news for George Parros as his concussion symptoms are subsiding and are almost gone.  Brandon Prust has a goal and 12 penalty minutes in four games. P.K. Subban has six points in four games to lead all NHL defensemen.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Florida, vs. Los Angeles, @ Montreal, @ Winnipeg

Notes

The Predators will play four games this week including three games in four nights so do not be surprised to see Carter Hutton get one start for Pekka Rinne. The Predators will be tired Sunday and playing a rested Jets team as they are in Montreal Saturday. Roman Josi has yet to workout after suffering a concussion on October 4. He could be out a while. Seth Jones has taken over his spot alongside Shea Weber and seems to be thriving. Viktor Stalberg is skating but has yet to be cleared for contact after suffering a shoulder injury in training camp. Filip Forsberg, who has a bright NHL future and should be taken in all keeper leagues, scored his first goal of his NHL career on Tuesday.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Ottawa, vs. New York Rangers

Notes

The Devils end a five game road trip to Canada and we suggest benching all your New Jersey players in weekly transaction leagues as they only play twice. Adam Henrique was centering Ryane Clowe and Michael Ryder in practice Thursday.  Clowe was okay after taking a shot off his right foot Tuesday. Jaromir Jagr and Patrik Elias have been seeing ice time together along with Dainius Zubrus. Rostislav Olesz saw his first action of the 2013-14 season on Tuesday as he replaced Ryan Carter in the lineup. Cory Schneider played well in his return to Vancouver but the Devils dropped a 3-2 overtime decision.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Edmonton, vs. Carolina

Notes

The Islanders will be the rested team on Tuesday when they host the Sabres as Buffalo is home to Minnesota Monday. Matt Donovan has impressed head coach Jack Capuano with his offensive flair as the defenseman has a goal and an assist in three games. Cal Clutterbuck was activated from the injured reserve as he had been out since training camp with a leg injury. The Islanders returned Griffin Reinhart, their first pick and fourth overall in the 2012 Draft to the WHL. Michael Grabner has four assists in his first three games after picking up only five all of last season in 45 games. Evgeni Nabokov is 2-0-1 this season with a .935 save percentage and a 1.89 GAA. Grab him if he is available in your pool for some reason.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ Washington, @ New Jersey

Notes

At least the Rangers can go home when playing the Devils in New Jersey as they complete their nine game road trip to open the season as renovations continue at Madison Square Garden. Rick Nash may not be able to play this week because of a head injury as San Jose's Brad Stuart received a three game suspension for his hit to the head of Nash. Ryan Callahan is slated to start on the first line with Brad Richards and  Benoit Pouliot due to the injury to Nash while Derek Stepan will center the second line with Taylor Pyatt and Jesper Fast on his wings. Lundqvist has a 4.31 GAA and a .879 save percentage to go with a 1-3 record. Trade for him if you can from a disgruntled owner.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Phoenix, vs. New Jersey, vs. Edmonton

Notes

Stephane Da Costa took over from the injured Jason Spezza on Wednesday as he centered the top line with Milan Michalek and Bobby Ryan. Spezza certainly looks to be injury-prone as he has a groin injury after missing most of last season with a back injury. The second line remained intact with Cory Conacher along with Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur. MacArthur has two assists and is plus-four after three games. Craig Anderson is 1-0-2 after three games with a 2.59 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Bobby Ryan has a goal and two assists in three games.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Pittsburgh

Notes

The Flyers fired their coach Peter Laviolette after only three games and replaced him with Craig Berube who the players apparently love. The Flyers broke through on Tuesday with their first victory of the season.  Scott Hartnell and Wayne Simmonds are projected to play on the first line with Claude Giroux pushing Jakub Voracek down the depth chart. Voracek stated that he is still feeling the effects of a lower back injury suffered during training camp. Kimmo Timonen told the Finnish press that the Flyers were playing too much as individuals under Laviolette and that he will decide in the summer if he will play another NHL season. He said that if he does, it will be for the Flyers. Steve Mason and Ray Emery are splitting the net in the early going.

PHOENIX

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, @ Anaheim, vs. Detroit

Notes

The Coyotes will be the tired team on Saturday at home to Detroit as Phoenix is in Anaheim Friday. Rostislav Klesla made his seasonal debut on Thursday as he started the season on the injured reserve list with a concussion and whiplash suffered during training camp. Paul Bissonnette is now eligible to play after a three game suspension. Mike Ribeiro picked up his first point of the season Thursday in his fourth game of the season. The Coyotes placed Chris Summers on waivers and recalled Brandon Yip and Tim Kennedy from the minors.  I still think that Oliver Ekman-Larsson is one of the best young defensemen in hockey and Sweden is awfully lucky to have him and Erik Karlsson to patrol their blueline during the Olympics and for many years after that.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, @ Philadelphia, vs. Vancouver

Notes

The Penguins the rested team on Tuesday against the Oilers who take on the Capitals in Washington Monday. Good news for the Penguins in that Kris Letang (knee) is skating and could return as early as October 11 to the lineup. They sure could use him on their power play as it has been suspect without him and James Neal. They are still winning as Jussi Jokinen has been stellar substituting for Neal  as he had a hat trick in his third game. Defenseman Olli Maatta has been great and may stick around after Letang returns. Don't expect Matt Niskanen's scoring to continue when Letang returns but enjoy it while you can. The same goes for Chuck Kobasew up front as he had two goals in his first two games. He is a bottom six forward but the only way he will continue to have fantasy value is if he plays with either Sidney Crosby or Evgeni Malkin and he'll need plenty of injuries up front for that to happen.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. San Jose, @ Chicago, @ Winnipeg

Notes

The Blues play three games in four nights so look for Brian Elliott to get one start while Jaroslav Halak gets two. The Blues are the tired team Friday in Winnipeg after playing the Blackhawks in Chicago Thursday. I've been pleasantly surprised by the play of Halak who came into the season in fantastic shape as he dropped from 14 percent body fat to eight percent in the off-season. He could be the man in St. Louis for the entire season. I find Magnus Paajarvi to be an enigma. He was drafted 10th overall by the Oilers in the 2009 Draft and was traded in the off-season to the Blues for David Perron. He has been a healthy scratch this season. I know power forwards sometimes take longer to make their way into the NHL so there is still hope for the 22-year-old. Keep your eye on Jaden Schwartz as well.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ Dallas, vs. Calgary

Notes

The story of the week is definitely the four goal game of Tomas Hertl, especially his fourth goal, which was shown across North America (and we assume the Czech Republic) as he beat Martin Biron with a trick shot between his legs. Hertl was drafted 17th overall in the 2012 Draft and while he is off to a great start with six goals and seven points in four games, he is unlikely to be a top-20 scorer. Pencil him in for 55-60 points this season if he remains healthy, which is a great rookie season. Brad Stuart was suspended for three games for his elbow to the head of Rick Nash. The Sharks are off to a hot start as they have won their first four games and have outscored their opponents 21-5, but remember last season as they won their first seven in a row before losing 12 of the next 15.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Minnesota, vs. Boston

Notes

Steve Stamkos ended all talk of a slump by potting a hat trick on Thursday as the Lightning beat their cross-state rivals the Florida Panthers 7-2. Matt Carle is off to a nice start with three assists and a plus-three rating in four games. It looks like Ben Bishop is the first string netminder in Tampa Bay as he has played the last three after sitting on the bench in favor of Anders Lindback in the opener. Bishop is 3-0-0 with a sparkling 1.93 GAA and a .927 save percentage. Tom Pyatt is out indefinitely with a broken collarbone. Teddy Purcell was playing on the third line with Tyler Johnson and Ondrej Palat although he does get first unit power play time.

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Carolina, @ Chicago

Notes

The Maple Leafs will be the rested team on Tuesday when hosting the Wild as Minnesota is in Buffalo on Monday. The Maple Leafs don't seem to be missing the suspended David Clarkson as they are 4-1 to start the season. Cody Franson was injured when he was knocked into the curved glass against Nashville and required stitches to close a cut on his nose. David Broll almost scored in his first NHL game Thursday but did get into a fight. Jonathan Bernier has been sensational in the early going and it looks like the Maple Leafs have a goaltender who is able to control rebounds and handle the puck behind the net. He is worth grabbing in all pools if he is available for some reason. Bernier is 3-1 with a 0.85 GAA  and a fabulous .974 save percentage.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Buffalo, @ Pittsburgh, @ Columbus

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights so Eddie Lack should get the net in one game as Roberto Luongo is likely to start the other two. Who would have thought Mike Santorelli would be leading the Canucks in goals with four after just five games. In a big surprise (but not to those who know the coach) John Tortorella split up the Sedin twins last Sunday in the third and the results were terrific as Daniel Sedin set up a goal to cut the margin to 3-2 and Henrik Sedin set up Santorelli to tie the game. Don't be surprised if this happens more often during the season as Tortorella looks to provide a spark to the Canucks.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. New York Rangers, vs. Columbus

Notes

Braden Holtby gave up three goals on 36 shots Thursday and actually improved his peripheral stats as his GAA is now 4.04 with a .873 save percentage. He is 0-3. Michael Latta was recalled earlier in the week and is centering Martin Erat and Tom Wilson on the fourth line. Jack Hillen is out four-six months after blowing out his knee last weekend. Alex Ovechkin was the first star of week one and now has five goals in just four games. Mikhail Grabovski has only one assist in his last three games after opening the season with a hat trick and a helper.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Montreal, vs. St. Louis, vs. Nashville

Notes

The Jets are the rested team twice this week. The first time is Friday against the Blues as St. Louis take on Chicago Thursday. Winnipeg is also the home and rested team on Sunday against Nashville as the Predators are in Montreal Saturday. The Jets were horrible on the draw Thursday as they won only 16 of 61 in a 2-1 loss to the Wild. Grant Clitsome was activated off the injured reserve list on Sunday after recovering from a lower body injury. The Jets have a lot of talent on the blueline with Dustin Byfuglien, Tobias Enstrom, Zach Bogosian and Jacob Trouba. It will be good for a long time.

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