Jets ready to take flight

Michael Finewax
·23 min read



Well, we are two nights into the 2020-21 schedule and there has been a postponement, although we all knew about that last Friday.

You can really tell there were only 10 days of practice for most teams as well as no pre-season games but by the time the end of Week 2, teams should be a lot better, as well as the pace of the game.

Happy Birthday to my brother Larry!

Let’s get to it!

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WEEK OF JANUARY 18-24

5 Games – Winnipeg

4 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Vegas

3 Games – Boston, Chicago, Florida, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Washington

2 Games - Calgary, Dallas, Tampa Bay

Anaheim, Arizona and St. Louis play four games at home.

Buffalo, Colorado, Montreal, San Jose and Vegas play four games on the road.

Pittsburgh, Toronto and Vancouver play three games at home.

Edmonton and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Seventeen Dallas Stars have COVID-19! (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Minnesota, vs. Colorado, vs. Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Colorado (Friday)

Notes

The Ducks lost their opener 5-2 to Vegas with John Gibson allowing four goals on 28 shots…Max Comtois got off to a good start, scoring both goals for Anaheim…It was a bit of a shocker to see Trevor Zegras sent to San Diego of the AHL, at least to start the season. He was the best player at the World Junior Championships (winning the MVP award), picking up a tournament-leading 18 points in just seven games, leading the USA to gold…Jamie Drysdale also had the same fate as the first-round pick in 2020 and sixth overall, heads down to San Diego…Defenseman Brendan Guhle is out six weeks with a sprained MCL.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. Vegas, vs. Vegas, vs. Vegas, vs. Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play all four games at home against Vegas and they won’t see Vegas again in Glendale unless they play each other in the post-season…The Coyotes got off to a tough start, losing 4-3 in a shootout to San Jose…Conor Garland led the way with a goal and an assist…Lawson Crouse played on Thursday as he was healthy after being on the NHL’s COVID Protocol Related Absence list the day before…While it’s not fantasy-related, Shane Doan was named the Coyotes Chief Hockey Development Officer and help out owner Alex Meruelo and GM Bill Armstrong…Antti Raanta practiced with the Coyotes for the first time this season on Sunday and should get around 25 starts this season with Darcy Kuemper picking up 30.

BOSTON

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. Philadelphia, vs. Philadelphia

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins won their first game of the season Thursday but it took a shootout to do so as they upended the New Jersey Devils…Brad Marchand was questionable heading into Thursday night’s opener but played and had a power play goal as well as an assist…Craig Smith is out with a lower-body injury…Karson Kuhlman is also out of action, but he is in COVID-19 protocol…David Pastrnak is skating with his teammates after undergoing off-season surgery on his hip. He was expected to be out until mid-February but is ahead of schedule…The Bruins and Flyers will play an outdoor game in Lake Tahoe on February 21…Jack Studnicka opened the season on the first line with Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.

BUFFALO

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Philadelphia, @ Washington, @ Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres started Carter Hutton in their opening game against Washington over Linus Ullmark as they were hoping Hutton could get off to the same 6-0 start he did last season before faltering. Well he was off the mark, giving up five goals on 27 shots in a 6-4 loss…Taylor Hall had a power play goal and an assist in his Buffalo debut but it wasn’t as good for newcomer Eric Staal as the veteran center left the game after taking a stick to the head courtesy of Nic DowdTage Thompson continues to see first line time with Jack Eichel and Hall and picked up an assist Thursday…Jack Quinn was assigned to the taxi squad while Dylan Cozens saw third line duty versus the Capitals and picked up an assist.

CALGARY

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Toronto

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames are the only team to play twice this week…Jacob Markstrom gave up four goals on 34 shots in an overtime loss to Winnipeg after being staked to a 3-1 led in the first period… David Rittich missed Thursday’s game due to a family issue as the Flames were forced to recall Louis Domingue from the taxi squad to back up Markstrom…Derek Ryan found himself on waivers Monday but passed through and played 10:43 Thursday…Elias Lindholm had a goal and an assist Thursday…Dominik Simon was on the first line Saturday in practice but found himself in the press box Thursday.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Nashville, vs. Florida, vs. Florida

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Hurricanes play four games including three games in four nights. Petr Mrazek and James Reimer will likely share the net this week…Mrazek picked up the opening assignment against Detroit and got the shutout, albeit, having to make only 14 saves…The Hurricanes picked up some insurance on the blueline, dealing Clark Bishop to Ottawa for defenseman Maxime Lajoie…They also claimed Anton Forsberg off waivers and then waived their perceived goalie of the future Alex Nedeljkovic…Nino Niederreiter saw first line time with Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen as well as second line power play duty. He opened the scoring for the Canes.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Florida, vs. Detroit, vs. Detroit

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks finish out in Florida before returning to Chicago for their home opener against Detroit…The Blackhawks gave Malcolm Subban the first start of the season but expect to see Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen also receive playing time between the pipes this season…Chicago placed Jonathan Toews (undisclosed), Alexander Nylander (knee) and Kirby Dach (broken wrist) on the long-term injured list…Dylan Strome picked up the only goal in a 5-1 loss to Tampa Bay in the opener…Brent Seabrook has a lower-back injury and is hoping to resume skating soon…Carl Soderberg missed the opener due to quarantine but should be in the lineup this week, if not sooner.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Los Angeles, @ Anaheim, @ Anaheim

Tired: @ Anaheim (Thursday)

Rested: None

Notes

The Avalanche are on the road for all four games this week but at least they remain in the LA area…Colorado plays three games in four nights so expect to see Philipp Grubauer play in two of the three games with Pavel Francouz seeing action in the other one…Gabriel Landeskog was back on the top line in practice Thursday with Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, while Andre Burakovsky was downgraded to the second unit with Nazem Kadri and Brandon Saad, this despite Burakovsky scoring the Avs lone goal Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the Blues…Erik Johnson is out after testing positive for COVID-19…Defenseman Bowen Byram, the Avs first pick and fourth overall in 2019, will join the team Saturday after quarantining seven days following the WJC where he starred for Canada.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Detroit, vs. Tampa Bay, vs. Tampa Bay

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four games this week including three in four nights. Expect Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins will share the net…Cam Atkinson was on the second line to start the opener against Nashville with Nick Foligno and Max Domi but ended the game on the third unit in only 14:02 of action…Mikko Koivu is in COVID-19 protocol and is currently unable to play or practice…Pierre-Luc Dubois continues to request a trade out of Columbus and actually spoke to his teammates this week about leaving. We shall see if GM Jarmo Kekalainen grants his request…Domi is looking to shoot the puck more this season even though he thinks of himself as a ‘pass-first’ player.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay (postponed), vs. Nashville, vs. Nashville

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

It was a tough week for the Stars as all three games were canceled due to an outbreak on the team of the coronavirus. Seventeen players have caught the virus and while the Stars re-opened their facility Tuesday and practiced, the hope is that they will be able to play this week…There has been no word on the re-scheduling of the three games they missed, two in Florida and one in Tampa Bay, but there was word Thursday that the Florida game on the 19th could be postponed as well. Stay tuned… The line of Jamie Benn, Roope Hintz and Denis Gurianov have looked great together in training camp as coach Rick Bowness said the trio have been dominating practice…Of course, we currently do not know who is at practice because so many Stars are ill…Thomas Harley joined the Stars on Wednesday after being their only prospect at the World Junior Championships...Anton Khudobin practiced for the first time on Tuesday as he had COVID-19 in Russia as well as having some immigration troubles before arriving in Dallas.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Columbus, @ Chicago, @ Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings dropped a 3-0 decision to Carolina Thursday but received outstanding netminding from Thomas Greiss who turned aside 40-of-42 shots…The Red Wings should be better in net this season with Greiss replacing Jimmy HowardBobby Ryan was scratched Thursday as he is trying to recover from an undisclosed injury…Darren Helm is on the COVID-19 list…The Red Wings claimed defenseman Christian Djoos off waivers from Anaheim…Dylan Larkin has been named captain of the Detroit Red Wings, their first captain since 2018 when Henrik Zetterberg retired…Evgeny Svechnikov passed through waivers and is on the Red Wings taxi squad.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Toronto, @ Toronto, @ Winnipeg

Tired: None

Rested: @ Winnipeg (Sunday)

Notes

The Oilers split their two game opening series with Vancouver…Connor McDavid was held off the scoresheet in the opener but came back to pick up a hat trick and add an assist Thursday…Leon Draisaitl has five assists in his first two games…Mikko Koskinen started both games after Mike Smith was ruled unfit to play for Thursday’s contest…The Oilers called up Stuart Skinner to back up Koskinen…Tyler Ennis has a foot injury caused by blocking a shot in Wednesday’s game…Devin Shore took his spot on the fourth line Thursday…Evan Bouchard is on the taxi squad…James Neal is in COVID-19 protocol.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ Carolina, @ Carolina,

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Panthers had their two-game series with Dallas postponed last week due to the outbreak of COVID-19 on the Stars and do not start their NHL season until Sunday the 17th…Florida sent outstanding rookie Grigori Denisenko to the minors. Denisenko is worth picking up once he is recalled…Markus Nutivaara is on the COVID-19 list…The Panthers signed defenseman Kevin Connauton to a one-year/two-way contract…Sergei Bobrovsky is starting the season as an injured/non-roster player but he could return for the opener on the 17th as he was back on the ice practicing Wednesday…Florida claimed former first round pick Noah Juulsen off waivers from Montreal.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Colorado, vs. Colorado, @ St. Louis, @ St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Kings play four games this week including three games in four nights…Jonathan Quick should get the start in two games with either Cal Petersen (who currently on the sidelines with COVID-19) or Jacob Ingham getting the other start... Quick gave up four goals on 27 shots in an overtime loss to Minnesota Thursday…Dustin Brown scored Thursday and it was his 300th goal of his NHL career…Kurtis MacDermid and Sean Walker are also in COVID-19 protocol…Second overall pick Quinten Byfield has been sent to the minors as has Arthur Kaliyev…Lias Andersson was drafted seventh overall in 2017 by the Rangers and traded to the Kings in the off-season. He will start the season on the taxi squad.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ Anaheim, vs. San Jose, vs. San Jose

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Wild complete their opening road trip to Los Angeles with a pair of games against Anaheim before returning home to face the Sharks…It was a big night for rookie Kirill Kaprizov who had the overtime winner and added a pair of assists in a 4-3 win over Los Angeles. He also led all forwards, playing 21:52…Marcus Foligno signed a three-year contract extension Tuesday…Kevin Fiala was held off the scoresheet Thursday…First-round pick Marco Rossi is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury…Matt Dumba had an assist in the opener and while his name has been bandied about in trade rumors, he wants to remain with the Wild.

MONTREAL

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Vancouver, @ Vancouver, @ Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Canadiens play all four games on the road including three games in four nights in Vancouver…Expect to see Jake Allen at least once in net and possibly twice with Carey Price getting the remainder of the starts…Josh Anderson scored a pair against Toronto in his Montreal debut Wednesday while Jonathan Drouin had three assists…Corey Perry is starting the season on the taxi squad after he cleared waivers…Alexander Romanov was impressive in his NHL debut as the defenseman had an assist in 21:48 of action…Nick Suzuki looked great as well and if for some reason he is on your waiver wire, grab him now.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Carolina, @ Dallas, @ Dallas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Predators used Juuse Saros over Pekka Rinne in the opener and that could be the way it goes this season as this could be Rinne’s last season in the NHL, Saros was outstanding, stopping 29-of-30 Columbus shots in a 3-1 win…This is a big season for Ryan Johansen as he had only 14 goals and 36 points last season…Mikael Granlund is on the NHL’s COVID Protocol Related Absence…Philip Tomasino was sent to the minors following his four goal, six point effort for Canada at the WJC…Eeli Tolvanen is starting the season on the taxi squad…The Predators claimed Luca Sbisa off waivers from Winnipeg…Erik Haula had an assist in his Nashville debut after missing part of training camp due to the birth of his child.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Devils had to be surprised when their big free agent signing of the off-season, Corey Crawford, decided to retire before the start of the regular season…That means that Mackenzie Blackwood will be the undisputed number one goalie in New Jersey with Scott Wedgewood as the backup…Jack Hughes started the 2020-21 campaign off right with a pair of assists in a 3-2 shootout loss to Boston…Hughes is playing alongside Egor Sharangovich and Kyle PalmieriWill Butcher, a fixture the last three seasons on the Devils blueline, was a healthy scratch Thursday…Nico Hischier missed Thursday’s opener with a leg injury…The Devils claimed Eric Comrie off waivers from Winnipeg and he will be the team’s third goaltender.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

Vs. Boston, vs. New Jersey, @ New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Islanders signed Mathew Barzal to a three-year deal and the sound you heard from New York was a huge sign of relief…The Islanders looked great in their debut, shutting out the Rangers 4-0 behind Semyon Varlamov’s 24 saves…Anders Lee led the way with a goal and an assist…Oliver Wahlstrom and Kieffer Bellows were placed on the taxi squad…The Islanders signed Cory Schneider to be their third goaltender…Ilya Sorokin will be the backup with the Islanders this season and he is aware that Islander fans are so excited about him. He should see plenty of action this season as the co-number one with Varlamov…The Islanders had some more official signings once Barzal inked his deal as Matt Martin signed a four-year deal for $6 million and Andy Greene signed on for one season at $700,000…

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ Pittsburgh, @ Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Rangers were surprised in losing 4-0 to the Islanders and coach David Quinn was not happy with the performance as he thought that the team was not prepared to play…Alexis Lafreniere was obviously held pointless in his NHL debut…Mika Zibanejad missed the first week of camp as he tested positive for COVID-19, but was still in the starting lineup Thursday between Chris Kreider and Pavel Buchnevich… Braden Schneider, the Rangers first pick and 19th overall in 2020, signed an AHL only contract with Hartford. Schneider missed the December 31st deadline on late birthdays (after September 15) to sign an entry-level deal and this was the best option.

OTTAWA

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Winnipeg, @ Winnipeg

Tired: None

Rested: vs. Winnipeg (Tuesday)

Notes

The Senators play the Jets all three times this week with two at home and one on the road. I love these divisional setups…The Senators have been using Drake Batherson with Brady Tkachuk and Josh Norris as a top-two line…Logan Brown’s future with the Senators is up in the air after the former first round pick was not even good enough to make the taxi squad and was sent to the minors…Erik Brannstrom was also sent to the minors…Filip Chlapik is on the taxi squad after splitting last season between Ottawa and Belleville…Third overall pick Tim Stuetzle is starting the season on the top line with Derek Stepan and Evgenii Dadonov.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, vs. Buffalo, @ Boston, @ Boston

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights as part of their four-game slate…Carter Hart should see the crease in three games while Brian Elliott will get the call once…It was a great start to the season for Joel Farabee as the sophomore had a goal and three assists in the Flyers 6-3 win over their state rival Pittsburgh…Oskar Lindblom who had Ewing’s sarcoma last season (a rare bone cancer) and beat it, scored in the Flyers win Wednesday…Shayne Gostisbehere missed the contest as he was in COVID protocol…Erik Gustafsson had a pair of assists on the opening two Flyer goals…Samuel Morin is on the taxi squad but the defenseman is being groomed to play forward as the Flyers are very deep on the blueline.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

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

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Penguins play all three games at home this week…Tristan Jarry’s first game as the undisputed number one goalie in Pittsburgh did not go well as he gave up six goals on only 25 shots in a loss to Philadelphia…Casey DeSmith will back him up this season…Kasperi Kapanen is still in quarantine after coming over late from Europe as it seems like everyone who waited, had immigration woes…Mark Jankowski is excited to start the season as the Penguins third line center after a terrible season with Calgary in 2019-20 as he had five goals and seven points in 56 games. He got off to a great start with the Pens as he had a goal and an assist in the opener.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ St. Louis, @ St. Louis, @ Minnesota, @ Minnesota

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sharks continue on their eight-game road trip with a pair of games in each of St. Louis and Minnesota…Tomas Hertl got off to a great start with a pair of goals and an assist in a 4-3 shootout win over Arizona…Martin Jones got the start over Devan Dubnyk and stopped 34 shots…John Leonard had a pair of assists in his NHL debut, playing with Hertl and Evander Kane…It has been a tough week for Kane who filed for bankruptcy as he owes $26.8 million and you have to wonder how this will affect him this season…If the first game is any indication, then it won’t as he had a goal and two assists in 19:28 of action…Radim Simek is day-to-day with a knee injury.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. San Jose, vs. Los Angeles

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blues defeated Colorado 4-1 in their opener Wednesday…Sammy Blais picked up a two-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head of the Avs Devon ToewsJordan Binnington got off to a great start, stopping 26 Colorado shots. He had a horrible post-season in 2020, going 0-5 with a 4.72 GAA and a .851 save percentage so Blues fans can relax…Mike Hoffman missed the opener as he did not get his work visa in time…The Blues placed Vladimir Tarasenko (shoulder) on the long-term injured reserve list…Jay Bouwmeester officially announced his retirement after he suffered a cardiac episode 11 months ago and never played again…Zach Sanford started the season on the third line after seeing first line duty in the latter half of the 2019-20 season and scored his first of the season.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Dallas (postponed), @ Columbus, @ Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Lightning may have their game with Dallas postponed again as the Stars are still dealing with a huge outbreak of COVID-19 on their squad...Tampa Bay easily handled Chicago in their home opener with Andrei Vasilevskiy stopping 22 shots…Steven Stamkos scored once and added a pair of assists while linemate Brayden Point had a goal and one helper…Tyler Johnson was put on waivers and then added to the taxi squad for salary cap purposes, so he was forced to sit out the opener, but he is expected back in the lineup immediately…Cal Foote made his NHL debut Wednesday and the defenseman was a plus-two.

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Edmonton, vs. Edmonton, @ Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Maple Leafs opened with a sloppy 5-4 overtime win over Montreal…William Nylander was a stud with a couple of goals and Morgan Rielly scored the winner in extra time…It was Rielly’s first goal in regular season action since October 25, 2019…Jimmy Vesey started the season on the second line with Nylander and John Tavares while Joe Thornton was on the left side with Auston Matthews at center and Mitch Marner on the right side…Mikko Lehtonen was thought to be a sure bet to start the season with the Leafs, especially since he started the season in the KHL, but Travis Dermott started on the third defense pairing in his stead…Alexander Kerfoot started the season centering the third line after missing almost a week of training camp with an undisclosed injury.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

@ Calgary, @ Calgary, vs. Montreal, vs. Montreal, vs. Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights as part of their four-game week... Braden Holtby and Thatcher Demko are likely to share the net…Demko made 41 saves in a 5-2 loss to Edmonton Thursday while Holtby made 28 saves in a 5-3 win Wednesday over the Oilers…Quinn Hughes leads the Canucks with three assists after two games while Brock Boeser has two goals…If you use penalty minutes as a category, Antoine Roussel already has 10 penalty minutes in addition to an assist…Loui Eriksson was first placed on waivers and then on the Canucks taxi squad and deservedly so…Nils Hoglander is a highly regarded prospect and is playing with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson. He potted his first of his career Wednesday.

VEGAS

Games this week

@ Arizona, @ Arizona, @ Arizona, @ Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Golden Knights are in Arizona for all four games this week (it looks like a baseball schedule)…Robin Lehner picked up the first start of the season and stopped 20 shots in a 5-2 win over Anaheim…Mark Stone, who was named the first captain of the Golden Knights this week, had a goal and an assist in the victory…Rookie Peyton Krebs was assigned to the Golden Knights AHL team, the Silver Knights. It seems like most of the NHL teams are assigning players who played in the WJC especially for Canada and the United States, the two teams who played for the Gold Medal, to the minors to start the season…The Golden Knights will play Colorado in the February 20 outdoor game in Lake Tahoe but it will be a road game for Vegas…Alex Tuch is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Capitals beat Buffalo 6-4 in their opening game Thursday…Ilya Samsonov made 22 saves for the win…Vitek Vanecek will back up Samsonov this season and he could be a nice play if Samsonov falters, while Craig Anderson starts the season as their third goalie…T.J. Oshie led the way with a goal and two assists and is playing on the top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom...First round pick Hendrix Lapierre was returned to Chicoutimi of the Quebec League...Zdeno Chara leads the newcomers on the blueline for Washington, including Justin Schultz and Trevor van Riemsdyk. The trio should fit in well with John Carlson, Dmitri Orlov and Brendan Dillion already on the roster.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Ottawa, vs. Ottawa, vs. Ottawa, vs. Edmonton

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Jets play five times this week and it is the only five-game week on the NHL scheduled this season although that could change with postponements and re-scheduling due to the coronavirus…Look for Connor Hellebuyck to play at least three games and possibly four with Laurent Brossoit playing the remainder of the contests…Hellebuyck got off to a rough start Thursday, giving up three first period goals on 13 shots but then stopped all 13 shots the rest of the way to pick up the win...Patrik Laine scored a couple of goals in the 4-3 win including the overtime winner...Despite some rumor that he wouldn’t be in the lineup, Nikolaj Ehlers played in the opener on the top line with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler...Trevor Lewis inked a one-year deal with the Jets.