Happy Thanksgiving!

Michael Finewax
Rotoworld
Corey Abbott provides some holiday gifts in this week's edition of Waiver Wired

Stastny, Spooner have value

Corey Abbott provides some holiday gifts in this week's edition of Waiver Wired

I want to wish all my American readers A Happy Thanksgiving!

There is only one NHL game on Thanksgiving and while it’s usually played in a Canadian rink, this season’s lone game is in Nashville.

It’s a pretty full slate on Black Friday as 12 games will be played including three afternoon games. The Rangers are in Philadelphia to play the Flyers in the first national game of the season on NBC. Chicago takes on Anaheim at 1 pm local time in California while the Islanders are in Washington at 5.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving long weekend!

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 24-30

4 Games – Detroit, Minnesota, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

3 Games- Anaheim, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, St. Louis,  Vancouver, Washington, Winnipeg

2 Games– Arizona, Boston, Montreal, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Toronto

Ottawa plays all four games away from home.

Calgary, Edmonton, Philadelphia and Winnipeg play three games on the road.

Detroit, Florida, Nashville and the New York Islanders play three games at home.

Don't forget to join a Yahoo Hockey pool. It’s not too late.

INJURIES

Ryan Wilson is gone for the season as he needs shoulder surgery. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

Note: A tired team is one that has played the day or night before and is going against a team that did not play the previous day or night. The reverse is true for a rested team.

ANAHEIM

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Chicago, @ San Jose

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Saturday)

Notes

It’s nice to see Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin back after their episode with the mumps. Kyle Palmieri returned on Sunday after missing the start of the season with a high ankle sprain and scored in his second game back. Sami Vatanen is red-hot and is possibly the hottest blueliner this side of Mark Giordano as he has five goals and 16 points in 20 games. He is only one point behind Ryan Getzlaf for the team lead. A couple of players, William Karlsson and Tim Jackman were battling the flu earlier in the week. Frederik Andersen is 7-2-4 this season but is 0-1-4 in his last six games that he has played in. Andersen has allowed 13 goals in his last four games, stopping only 68 shots. He better sharpen up or John Gibson could retake the net when he returns in a month.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. Colorado. vs. Calgary

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None  

Notes

The Coyotes only play twice this week so I recommend reserving all Arizona players in weekly transaction pools, if you are able to. Martin Hanzal is out yet again with a lower body injury as he missed Tuesday’s game. Hanzal gets hurt too much to have real value in weekly transaction pools but has a lot more when you have daily moves as you can get him in and out of your lineup quickly. Devan Dubnyk has been terrific in net for Arizona this season as he is 4-0-1 with a 2.25 GAA and a .925 save percentage, much better than Mike Smith’s 4-10-1 record with a 3.30 GAA and a .890 save percentage after action on Thursday.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Winnipeg

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Bruins are glad to have David Krejci back in their lineup as they are almost back to health up front with only Brad Marchand out of action.  Matt Fraser has replaced Marchand on the second line alongside Patrice Bergeron and Reilly Smith. Adam McQuaid is out six-eight weeks with a broken thumb as the injury added to the Bruins woes on the blueline. Zdeno Chara is still out and Dougie Hamilton has the flu with David Warsofsky out with a groin injury. Bergeron is still in the minus column at minus-one after leading the NHL with a plus-38 last season. Carl Soderberg leads the Bruins with three power play goals.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Montreal, @ Montreal

Rested Team: vs. Winnipeg (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Sabres are getting hurt by the weather in Buffalo as seven feet of snow has fallen in some areas of Erie County. Friday November 20th’s game against the Rangers has already been cancelled (there has yet to be a decision as to when the game will be played) and I was surprised they played the Tuesday game against the Sharks. It was so snowy that Patrick Kaleta could not make it to the arena for the game. The Sabres play three times in four nights this week including a home-and-home series against Montreal so look for Nathan Lieuwen to get a start in place of Jhonas Enroth as Michal Neuvirth is out with a lower body injury.  As well, expect to see some fireworks against the Canadiens as Tyler Myers, Nicolas Deslauriers and Kaleta should add to their penalty minute totals.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Anaheim, @ San Jose, @ Arizona

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ San Jose (Wednesday)

Notes

The Flames are getting outstanding offensive play from their blueliners and it is an integral reason why Calgary is 12-6-2 going into action Thursday. Kris Russell is hurt with a lower body injury but he had eight assists for the Flames in his first 19 games and is fourth among defensemen. Mark Giordano leads the way with 22 points, with partner T.J. Brodie second with 16 and Dennis Wideman third with 12. The Calgary rearguards have 18 goals thus far, an amazing amount in the first 20 games. Congratulations to Johnny Gaudreau who picked up his first NHL hit in his 19th career game. At that pace his should have four this season. His strength is his offense as the diminutive rookie has three goals and 14 points this season.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Florida, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Pittsburgh

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Hurricanes play three games in four nights so look for Anton Khudobin to play once with Cam Ward getting the other two starts. Alexander Semin was a healthy scratch for the third time this season on Thursday. The Hurricanes play the Penguins in a home-and-home series this week so look for Jay Harrison or Tim Gleason to get involved if there is any rough stuff. Riley Nash continues to lead Carolina in points with Justin Faulk just one point back. If anyone picked that duo at the start of the season to lead the Hurricanes in points approaching the quarter mark of the season then you should be gambling in Las Vegas. 

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Anaheim, @ Los Angeles

Rested Team: @Colorado (Wednesday)

Tired Team: @ Los Angeles (Saturday)

Notes

The Blackhawks continue on the road this week and play three games in four nights so expect to see Antti Raanta in net once with Corey Crawford playing the other two games. Raanta played one game in the AHL to give him some playing time as he had not appeared in an NHL game since October 25. Andrew Shaw is out with an upper body injury. Adam Clendening made his NHL debut on Thursday, as the defenseman replaced Trevor van Riemsdyk in the lineup and scored to give the Blackhawks an early 1-0 lead.

The Blackhawks are in the midst of a six game road trip that ends in Los Angeles.

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Arizona, vs. Chicago, vs. Dallas

Rested Team: vs. Dallas (Saturday)

Tired Team: vs. Chicago (Wednesday)

Notes

With Semyon Varlamov suffering a groin injury, Reto Berra will get a chance to be the number one netminder in the short term. The Avalanche recalled Calvin Pickard to back up Berra but if Berra comes up short then Pickard will get a shot in the net. Ryan Wilson will undergo season ending shoulder surgery. He could be in trouble in the off-season as his three-year deal expires and after playing only 43 games in that span, any team will likely give him a bonus-laden contract. Nick Holden is an NHL worst minus-15 thus far.  Gabriel Landeskog continues to struggle this season with four goals and eight points with an even rating in 20 games.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, vs. Vancouver, @ Nashville

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Nashville (Saturday)

Notes

The saga of Jack Johnson is an unfortunate one as he filed for bankruptcy on October 7 after he had given his parents power over his finances. His folks took out a series of loans against his future contract and went wild with the money. Johnson apparently had more than $10 million in debt with less than $50,000 in assets at the time of bankruptcy. He now has the proper people in place to help him out but it’s a shame that he apparently was taken advantage of by his parents. In other Columbus news, Brandon Dubinsky is getting close to resuming practice as he has missed the entire season after abdominal surgery. Boone Jenner is on the top line with Ryan Johansen and Nick Foligno.

DALLAS

Games this week

vs. Edmonton, vs. Minnesota, @ Colorado

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Colorado (Saturday)

Notes

Hopefully, the effort of goaltender Kari Lehtonen on Thursday is the start of a turnaround as the netminder stopped 26 of 27 shots in a 3-1 win. In the previous three games Lehtonen had given up 12 goals on only 87 shots. Ales Hemsky has yet to score this season and coach Lindy Ruff wants him to shoot more as Hemsky only has 33 shots on goal in 19 games. He did manage his first two-point game on Thursday. One Star to look at is Cody Eakin who has been placed on the top line with Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin. In the two games with the first unit, Eakin has three points including goals in both matches. He is someone to target at this time.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Philadelphia, @ New Jersey, vs. Vancouver

Rested Team:  None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Red Wings play four times this week but have a day off between all games. Nevertheless, look for Petr Mzarek to get at least one start in place of Jimmy Howard. Tomas Tatar is hot with four goals and six points in his last four games. Pavel Datsyuk has been in and out of the Detroit lineup of late as he has missed three of the Red Wings last five games with a groin injury. Stephen Weiss (groin) should return this week after a two-game conditioning stint with Grand Rapids on the weekend. I can’t recommend him at this time in any fantasy format.

EDMONTON

Games this week

@ Dallas, @ Nashville, @ St. Louis

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Friday)

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights so look for Ben Scrivens to play twice with Viktor Fasth playing once as they are on the road for all three. There are not too many seasonal debuts as nice as the one from Steve Pinizzotto as he had a goal, an assist and seven penalty minutes, garnering the Gordie Howe hat trick while playing fourth line minutes at 7:42 Wednesday. While we cannot recommend him, it was a great start.  Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is tied for the team lead along with Jordan Eberle at 13 points but RNH has done it in only 17 games. I still cannot believe the love affair some poolies have with Justin Schultz. While his two goals and nine points in 19 games are all right, his minus-four rating with only four penalty minutes, make him an unworthy fantasy candidate most nights.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Carolina, vs. Ottawa  

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Roberto Luongo continues to shine in Florida as he is now 6-4-4 for the Panthers with a 2.40 GAA and a .922 save percentage. The Panthers were the second worst team in the NHL last season but are better than five Eastern Conference teams (nine overall) and have played only 17 games this season, the lowest in the NHL. Dmitry Kulikov returned to action on Thursday after missing four games with a knee injury. Nick Bjugstad is white hot with four goals and seven points in his last three games. While that is great for his fantasy owners, he only had two goals and an assist in his first 14 contests.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Minnesota, vs. Chicago

Rested Team: vs. Chicago (Saturday)

Tired Team: @ Minnesota (Wednesday)

Notes

After scoring seven goals in his first eight games, Tanner Pearson found the back of the net on Thursday for the first time in 12 outings. Slava Voynov last played on October 19 and has been suspended ever since by the NHL as he was accused of beating his wife. On Wednesday, he was charged with one felony count of corporal injury to a spouse causing great bodily injury and will appear in court on December 1. Alec Martinez should be back this week after fracturing a finger on November 13. Matt Greene is second in penalty minutes on the Kings with 34, one behind Mike Richards.  

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Florida, vs. Los Angeles, @ Dallas, vs. St. Louis

Rested Team: vs. Minnesota (Wednesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Wild play three games in four nights as part their four game week so expect to see Niklas Backstrom play once in place of Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper is 9-5 with a 2.03 GAA and a .918 save percentage compared to Backstrom’s 2-2 mark with a 2.55 GAA and .890 save percentage so it seems logical that Kuemper will get three starts. Josh Harding was placed on waivers, cleared and then sent to the minors. I’ve been very impressed with the play of Nino Niederreiter and while I predicted a 40-45 point season before the start of the year, he has nine goals and 12 points in only 18 games so I may have been a little light in the prediction. The Islanders definitely gave up too early on him after making Niederreiter the fifth overall pick in 2010.

MONTREAL

Games this week

@ Buffalo, vs. Buffalo

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Canadiens play the Sabres in back-to-back games for their only action of the week so look for Brandon Prust and P.K. Subban to add to their penalty minute totals should the two sides partake in any fighting. The Habs dealt Rene Bourque to Anaheim for Bryan Allen and saved an extra year on free agency as Allen will become a UFA after this season while Bourque, who the Canadiens sent to the minors this past week, still has another year left on his contract. Max Pacioretty has five goals and nine points in his last seven games including two goals on his birthday Thursday. Carey Price was the second star of the week with a 3-0 record, a 1.33 GAA and a .950 save percentage.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Los Angeles, vs. Edmonton, vs. Columbus

Rested Team: vs. Columbus (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

Filip Forsberg continued his outstanding play as he was named the NHL’s third star of the week with two goals and five points in three games. He now has nine goals and 22 points in 19 games with an NHL leading plus-20 rating. Never mind being in the discussion for the Calder Trophy, Forsberg should be in the early conversation for the Hart as the NHL’s top player. Another player to consider for the Hart is netminder Pekke Rinne who has been outstanding after an injury plagued 2013-14 season in which he played in only 24 games. Thus far, Rinne is 12-3-1 with a 1.92 GAA and a .930 save percentage. He has been the NHL’s top netminder in the first quarter of the season.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

@ Vancouver, vs. Detroit, @ New York Islanders

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Cory Schneider could break the Devils’ franchise record on November 21 if he makes his 20th straight start to begin the season. He is not off to a great start this season with an 8-8-2 record to go with a 2.72 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Look for Keith Kinkaid to get a start soon, likely before the end of this week although Schneider will likely get the start in his old stomping grounds, Vancouver. Ryane Clowe (concussion) did not accompany the Devils on their current Western Canada swing and has missed the last six games. After a tremendous start to the season, Damon Severson has been held pointless in his last eight games but does have 19 shots in those games so he is still not afraid to shoot.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Philadelphia, vs. Washington, @ Washington, vs. New Jersey

Rested Team: vs. Tampa Bay (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Islanders play a home-and-home series with Washington this week so look for Matt Martin and Travis Hamonic to increase their penalty minute totals if there are any fisticuffs. They also play three games in four nights as part of a four game week and Chad Johnson should get into one game in place of Jaroslav Halak. John Tavares has only a goal and two assists in his last five games so look for him to break out very soon. Kyle Okposo, Tavares’ linemate all season, played a bit on Tuesday with Mikhail Grabovski and Frans Nielsen but don’t expect that to last. Michael Grabner could return as early as November 21 from sports hernia surgery as he has missed all season. Grabner scored 34 goals in the 2010-11 season but has never put up as many as 33 points ever since.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Philadelphia, vs. Philadelphia

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Rangers play three games in four nights so look for Cameron Talbot to play once as instead of Henrik Lundqvist. They play the Flyers in a home-and-home series this week and face them for the third time in 10 days. Tempers should flare and as a result Chris Kreider and possibly Tanner Glass should add to their penalty minute totals if there are any fights. Martin St. Louis is on a three game points streak and is just four points away from the magical 1,000 mark for his career. Not too bad for an undrafted player. Ryan McDonagh has started skating again and should return from his separated shoulder in early December. Anthony Duclair has only one assist in seven November games.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ St. Louis, @ Florida, @ Tampa Bay

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ St. Louis (Tuesday), @ Tampa Bay (Saturday)

Notes

David Legwand is off to a slow start with only two goals and six points in 18 games. He centered Mika Zibanejad and Bobby Ryan on Thursday and while he was held pointless for the fourth straight game, he should be able to snap out of it soon. While his numbers look great (2.23 GAA and a .935 save percentage), Craig Anderson has given up 11 goals on 99 shots in his last three games. Bobby Ryan has only 11 points in 17 games but has points in five of his last six contests including a goal in each of his last two games. Patrick Wiercioch is a good offensive defenseman but he has been a healthy scratch in each of his last four games.  

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

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

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Flyers play three games in four nights so expect to see Ray Emery split the net with Steve Mason as Philadelphia also play a total of four games. They play a home-and-home series with the Rangers and tempers should definitely flare. Expect to see Zac Rinaldo get into a fight if he plays. It’s surprising to see that only four Flyers have at least 10 penalty minutes, 18 games into the season. Brayden Schenn is showing the offensive prowess that made him the fifth overall pick in 2009 as the 23-year-old has six goals and 14 points in 18 games. His brother Luke, returned to action on Thursday after missing three games with a shoulder injury.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

@ Boston, vs. Toronto, vs. Carolina, @ Carolina

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Penguins play the Hurricanes in a home-and-home series this week so if you have Steve Downie or Simon Despres, you should get a boost in penalty minutes. They also play four games including three in four nights and Thomas Greiss should see action at least once in place of Marc-Andre Fleury. A very tough break for Pascal Dupuis who will be out of action for at least six months as a blood clot was found on his lung. We at Rotoworld wish him a speedy recovery. Blake Comeau took his spot on the Sidney Crosby line and is worth looking at as I wrote a couple of weeks ago.  Downie has nine points and 60 penalty minutes in 17 games this season.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Ottawa, vs. Edmonton, @ Minnesota

Rested Team: vs. Ottawa (Tuesday), vs. Edmonton (Friday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

Paul Stastny is in a horrible slump with only one assist in his last nine games and he is a minus-eight in his last seven. He got off to a hot start with four points in his first two games but has only two goals and five points in 11 games with a minus-seven rating. I wrote in The Sports Forecaster Hockey Yearbook to avoid Stastny this season as I’m not a big fan of players in the first year of a new contract with a new team. Jori Lehtera was the NHL’s first star of the week with four goals and two assists in three games. He has been outstanding this season. Coach Ken Hitchcock is pleased with the play of Patrik Berglund despite his lack of offensive prowess as he has only two goals and four points in 18 games. Poolies however, are not pleased with his play.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. Calgary, vs. Anaheim

Rested Team: vs. Calgary (Wednesday) vs. Anaheim (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Sharks play only twice and have been in turmoil of late as the fate of both coach Todd McLellan and GM Doug Wilson could be determined in the next while if the Sharks don’t start improving. They are currently ninth in the West but have played more games than any other team in the NHL. The Sharks moved Tomas Hertl back to the first line on Thursday, alongside Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau and he added an assist after going minus-three in Buffalo on Tuesday. Troy Grosenick started his NHL career with a 45 save shutout but then gave up  three goals on 13 shots in the loss to Buffalo.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, vs. Ottawa

Rested team: vs. Ottawa (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Lightning play twice this week and I suggest benching all your Tampa Bay players with the exception of Steve Stamkos, Ryan Callahan and Valtteri Filppula in weekly transaction pools. Alex Killorn has scored in each of his last three games. Victor Hedman is back skating and shooting in practice as he has been out of action since October 18 due to a broken finger. He figures he will return in the next week or two. Get ready to activate him once he comes back and Anton Stralman will lose some of his fantasy value, especially on the power play. Ondrej Palat is a plus/minus machine. He is tied for tenth this season with a plus-11 after being tied for seventh overall last season at plus-32.

TORONTO

Games this week

@ Pittsburgh, vs. Washington

Rested team: vs. Washington (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Maple Leafs played two horrible games, losing to Buffalo on Saturday 6-2 and then on Tuesday as they dropped a 9-2 decision to Nashville. Toronto came out flying on Thursday and beat the Lightning 5-2, but ended the game with some controversy as they refused to go to center ice and acknowledge the fans. Nothing is ever easy in the capital of the hockey universe. Joffrey Lupul was back at practice Wednesday for the first time since breaking his hand at a practice on October 31. He was expected to miss three weeks and the three weeks are up so the hand is taking a bit longer to heal than first thought. David Booth is back skating after suffering a broken foot in training camp. The team sent him to the AHL for a conditioning stint so he could be back as early as this week.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

vs. New Jersey, @ Columbus, @ Detroit

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Congratulations to Bo Horvat who scored his first goal in his NHL career on Thursday. Alex Burrows was a late scratch Thursday due to an upper body injury. Radim Vrbata is proving to be a great addition to the Canucks and especially to the Sedin twins as he has nine goals and 16 points in 18 games. Ryan Miller has an outstanding 12-3-0 record but his peripherals are mediocre as he has a 2.74 GAA and a .900 save percentage. His win total is tied for the league lead but his GAA is 28th best while his save percentage in 35th. Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin continue to lead the Canucks in points with 20 apiece as they have recovered from last season’s terrible year under John Tortorella.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, vs. New York Islanders, @ Toronto

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Toronto

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights including a home-and-home series against the Islanders, so expect to see Justin Peters once and Braden Holtby a couple of times. The Capitals play the Islanders in a home-and-home series. Tom Wilson should add to his penalty minute count and do not rule out Liam O’Brien and Brooks Orpik. Dmitry Orlov finally practiced this week as he has been out of action all season after undergoing off-season wrist surgery. Brooks Laich could be back this week. He has played just six games this season with shoulder woes.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ Columbus, @ Buffalo, @ Boston

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Buffalo

Notes

The Jets play three games in four nights so look for Michael Hutchinson to play once in place of Ondrej Pavelec. Dustin Byfuglien scored on Thursday for the first time in 14 games. He is playing the wing alongside Mathieu Perreault and Evander Kane while Bryan Little is centering Blake Wheeler and Andrew Ladd. Michael Hutchinson continues to impress and allowed only one goal Tuesday on 22 shots to bring his stats to 3-1-1/1.38/.948. Mark Scheifele suffered a knee injury on Sunday but did not miss a game He has three goals and nine points in 21 games this season.

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