The Penultimate Week

Michael Finewax
Rotoworld
Corey Abbott recommends adding Palat, Perreault, Lindholm and more for the final stretch of the regular season in the latest edition of Waiver Wired

Waiver Wired: Down the Stretch

Corey Abbott recommends adding Palat, Perreault, Lindholm and more for the final stretch of the regular season in the latest edition of Waiver Wired

This is the penultimate week of the schedule (right Larry?). There are only a few games left if you are playing roti style and down to the nitty-gritty if you are in the playoffs. As always, good luck everyone.

On another note, my first cousin Paul Wernick has a new movie out: Life. As most of you who have read my column may have remembered, Paul also wrote Deadpool as well as Zombieland. Way to go Paul!!

Listen to the Rotoworld Hockey Podcast with yours truly and Joey Alfieri here.


Editor's Note
: Rotoworld’s Season Pass is now available for the low price of $19.99. You get plenty of extra articles including the minor league report, the junior report and much, much more. Buy it now!

 

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 MARCH 27-APRIL 2

5 Games - Carolina, Nashville, 

4 Games -  Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Florida, Los Angeles, Minnesota, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, St. Louis, San Jose, Tampa Bay, Washington

3 Games –Buffalo, Edmonton, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver, Winnipeg

Anaheim, Dallas, Florida and Washington play all four games on the road.

Calgary, Carolina and Tampa Bay play four games at home.

Boston, Edmonton, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Vancouver play three games at home.

Detroit, Los Angeles, Nashville, Ottawa and San Jose play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Rasmus Ristolainen is out three games with a suspension. (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

@ Vancouver, @ Winnipeg, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Calgary (Sunday)

Notes

The Ducks play four games this week including three games in four nights. Jonathan Bernier has taken over as the number one goalie in Anaheim as John Gibson is still out with a lower body injury. Gibson took part in a 30 minute practice and could return this week. If so, he should play once or twice with Bernier getting the remainder of the starts. Bernier is 8-2-1 in his last 11 starts. Ryan Getzlaf had three assists on Wednesday and has 48 this season. The Ducks are in Western Canada all week. First round pick Sam Steel won the WHL scoring title with 132 points, two ahead of teammate Brooks Adam.

ARIZONA

Games this week

@ St. Louis, vs. St. Louis, vs. Washington, @ Los Angeles

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Coyotes play four games this week. Mike Smith should get the call in three games with Louis Domingue playing once. The Coyotes also play a home-and-home series against St. Louis so look for Luke Schenn to get involved if there is any rough stuff. Oliver Ekman-Larsson has two goals in the last week and it looks like he has recovered from the broken hand he suffered at the end of November. Christian Fischer was recalled Tuesday and it should be interesting to see what he is capable of doing as he has three goals in five NHL games. Shane Doan is still out with a lower body injury and has missed the last four games.

BOSTON

Games this week

vs. Nashville, vs. Dallas, vs. Florida, @ Chicago

Rested Team: vs. Nashville (Tuesday)

Tired Team: @ Chicago (Sunday)

Notes

The Bruins play three games in four nights as part of a four game week. Tuukka Rask should play three games with Anton Khudobin getting the start once.  It could be Rask for all four as the Bruins are fighting for their playoff lives and he did play three in four nights including Thursday. Dominic Moore has been a pleasant surprise with 11 goals this season. Torey Krug got off to a bad start this season but has been strong ever since and has seven goals and 48 points, the best of his career with eight games still on the docket. The Bruins are in fourth place in the Atlantic Division one behind the Maple Leafs.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Columbus, @ New York Islanders

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Columbus (Tuesday)

Notes

Rasmus Ristolainen was suspended for three games on Thursday for his blindside hit on Jake Guentzel of the Penguins. He will be eligible to return for the Islanders game on Sunday. Kyle Okposo should return this week as he has been out with a rib injury that has cost him 10 games thus far. Dmitry Kulikov has been out for almost three weeks with an upper body injury but he practiced on Thursday. He should be back this week. I’ve said in the past this season to take Sam Reinhart. He is up to 17 goals and 44 points in 72 games. I can see a 60 point season in his future next season.   

CALGARY

Games this week

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

Rested Team: vs. Los Angeles (Wednesday), vs. San Jose (Friday), vs. Anaheim (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

For the second time in three weeks the Flames play all four games at home and they have a huge advantage as they are the rested team in three of the four matchups. Look for Chad Johnson to get the start once with the red-hot Brian Elliott seeing the crease the other three times. Dougie Hamilton has nine points in his last nine games as he has taken over from Mark Giordano as the offensive star among Calgary defensemen with 12 goals and 48 points. Giordano has only 34 in one more game. Micheal Ferland returned to the lineup on Thursday after missing a couple of games with a suspected case of the mumps. He drew an assist on the top line with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan.

CAROLINA

Games this week

vs. Detroit, vs. Detroit, vs. Columbus, vs. Dallas, @ Pittsburgh

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Pittsburgh (Sunday)

Notes

The Hurricanes get five games in seven days for the second time in two weeks but to be fair to the schedule makers, the second game against Detroit is a makeup one as the two teams were unable to play in January due to a problem with the ice making equipment. Look for Cam Ward to play three times with Eddie Lack seeing action twice. There is less of a chance of anyone fighting despite the fact the Canes and Red Wings go head-to- head two days in a row this week as Carolina’s leading penalty minute players are Jordan Staal and Lee Stempniak with 32 apiece. Speaking of Stempniak, he broke a 10 game goalless drought on Thursday with a pair. Elias Lindholm has a 10 game points streak.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Pittsburgh, vs. Columbus, vs. Boston

Rested Team: vs. Columbus (Friday), vs. Boston (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Blackhawks have bolted to the top of the Central Division standings as they have flown past the Minnesota Wild and hold an eight point lead with eight games to go, although the slumping Wild do have a game in hand. Richard Panik picked up his 20th goal of the season on Tuesday, the first time in his career he has hit the milestone. Marian Hossa returned to action Tuesday after missing a couple of games with a lower body injury. He has two goals and an assist in the two games since coming back. Don’t be surprised if the Blackhawks rest some of their stars and older players down the stretch as it appears that they have locked up first place in the West.   

COLORADO

Games this week

@ Columbus, vs. Washington, vs. St. Louis, @ Minnesota

Rested Team: vs. Washington (Wednesday), @ Minnesota (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Avalanche have had few bright spots in their dismal season as they are dead last in the NHL standings but the play of Mikko Rantanen has to make management happy. He scored a pair on Thursday to halt a 15 game goalless drought, and is up to 16 goals this season. If you do not play plus/minus, look at him late in deeper pools next season. The Avs have started Jeremy Smith in two of the last three games but he has given up 11 goals on only 62 shots so look for them to use Calvin Pickard more. The Avs have to be disappointed with the offensive production from Nathan MacKinnon who has only 15 goals and 47 points in 73 games. He was drafted first overall in 2013 and had a great rookie campaign but has lost ground in the last three seasons.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

vs. Buffalo, @ Carolina, @ Chicago, vs. Washington

Rested Team: vs. Buffalo (Tuesday)

Tired Team: @ Chicago (Friday)

Notes

The Blue Jackets play four games this week including three games in four nights. They are in a huge battle for the top three spots in the Metropolitan Division (by far the best in the NHL) so expect to see Sergei Bobrovsky play three times with Joonas Korpisalo playing once. Oliver Bjorkstrand is out after being smashed into the boards by Roman Polak, a discretion that got Polak a two game suspension. Bjorkstrand was replaced in the lineup Thursday by Scott Hartnell who was a healthy scratch the previous night. Hartnell has been in a horrible slump with only four assists in his last 21 games and he has not found the back of the net since January 21. Alexander Wennberg returned to the lineup on Wednesday after missing a game with a neck injury.

DALLAS

Games this week

@ Montreal, @ Boston, @ Carolina, @ Tampa Bay

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Stars play four games this week and including three contests in four nights. Kari Lehtonen and Antti Niemi should split the net, but if you have either Dallas goalie on your starting roster, you are asking for trouble although Lehtonen did get a shutout over San Jose Monday. Jason Spezza has missed the last three games with back spasms. Ales Hemsky scored twice on Thursday and now has three goals and five points in 11 games this season. Jamie Benn missed a game a week ago with an eye injury but had a couple of assists Thursday in his second game back. He has 65 points in 68 games, and is tied for 15th in NHL scoring.

DETROIT

Games this week

 @ Carolina, @ Carolina, @ Tampa Bay, vs. Toronto

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Red Wings play four games this week due to a rescheduling of a game against Carolina and play three games in four nights so look for Jimmy Howard and Petr Mrazek to split the net. They also play on Sunday March 26 so the Red Wings play an extremely rare three days in a row, something that doesn't happen these days. Coach Jeff Blashill made Anthony Mantha a healthy scratch a couple of times this week and that should bode well for the future as Mantha realizes that he has to ‘bring it’ every night. Tomas Tatar was pointless on Tuesday but had six goals and nine points in his previous six games. Keep an eye on him in drafting late in deeper pools next season as he has three straight 20-plus goal seasons. Dylan Larkin had a great rookie season with 23 goals and 45 points to go with a plus-11 rating. His sophomore season has not gone as well with 15 goals and 27 points and a minus-28 rating.

EDMONTON

Games this week

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

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes    

The Oilers are led on the power play in goals by Leon Draisaitl who has 10 and most surprisingly by Mark Letestu who also has 10. Connor McDavid has only three power play goals but makes up for it with 20 assists with the man-advantage. Jordan Eberle had a couple of goals and an assist on Thursday but that has only given him 45 points this season. Patrick Maroon has seven points in six games despite being shutout Thursday in a 7-4 win over Colorado. Maroon has been a great waiver wire pickup in most draft as he has 25 goals and 39 points with 91 penalty minutes. Draisaitl has six straight multi-point games including three goals and 13 points.  He is up to 26 goals and 69 points in 74 contests. Cam Talbot has been pulled in each of his last two games.

FLORIDA

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Toronto, @ Montreal, @ Boston

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Toronto (Tuesday)

Notes

The Panthers are on the verge of eliminated and this week is not an easy one as they play all four games on the road including three in four nights. Roberto Luongo is still dealing with a lower body injury so James Reimer has taken over the reins. Should Luongo get healthy, he likely will split the action with Reimer, otherwise Reimer should play three times with Reto Berra getting one start. It has been quite a year for Jonathan Marchessault who hit the 25 goal mark Thursday. Aaron Ekblad is day-to-day with a neck injury. Aleksander Barkov has 48 points in only 58 games with 20 goals.    

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver, vs. Arizona  

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Calgary (Wednesday)

Notes

The Kings are on the verge of elimination as well as they are 10 points out of a playoff spot. They play four games this week including three in four nights so look for Jonathan Quick to play two and maybe three games with Ben Bishop getting the remainder of the starts. Anze Kopitar has six points in his last five games but that only brings him up to 46 points in 67 games and that has to be disappointing to his fantasy owners. Marian Gaborik has been more disappointing with 10 goals and 19 points in 50 games. It looks like he is just a run-of-the-mill forward right now and definitely not fantasy-worthy. Tanner Pearson has 23 goals, second on the team to Jeff Carter’s 31. Tyler Toffoli is next with 14.                

MINNESOTA

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Ottawa, @ Nashville, vs. Colorado

Rested Team: vs. Colorado (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Wild play four times this week including three games in four nights so expect to see Darcy Kuemper play once with Devan Dubnyk playing three games. Zach Parise is on a four game points streak but still has only 17 goals and 36 points this season. The good news is that coach Bruce Boudreau likes the play of Parise since he was switched to the right wing from the left. You have to wonder if the Wild have been using Dubnyk too much in the cage as he is 1-5 in his last six starts and has given up 20 goals on only 165 shots in his last seven contests. That has dropped his save percentage to a still sparkling .927.

MONTREAL

Games this week

vs. Dallas, vs. Florida, @ Tampa Bay

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

Alex Galchenyuk halted a nine game goalless drought on Thursday after coach Claude Julien moved him from center to the left side. Andrew Shaw played center on the line and responded with an assist. Paul Byron hit the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career on Sunday and Tomas Plekanec score for the first time in 20 games in the same match. Plekanec has been another major disappointment as he has eight goals and 25 points after picking up 54 and 60 points in his last two seasons.  Max Pacioretty has to get it going again as he has gone five games without a point. After three straight 40 point seasons, Brendan Gallagher has only eight goals and 23 points in 56 games.   

 NASHVILLE

Games this week

@ New York Islanders, @ Boston, vs. Toronto, vs. Minnesota, @ St. Louis

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Boston (Tuesday), @ St. Louis (Sunday)

Notes

The Predators have a big five games this week and they obviously will split the goaltending so look for Pekka Rinne to play three or four times with Juuse Saros playing the remainder of the games. Mike Fisher is day-to-day with a lower body injury. It's amazing the way the Predators are able to draft defensemen. Shea Weber was taken 49th overall in 2003 and they were able to trade for P.K. Subban in the off-season. Seth Jones was taken fourth overall in 2013 (but should have gone first) and the Preds dealt him last season for the number one center they needed in Ryan Johansen. Add to that Roman Josi (38th overall in 2008) and Ryan Ellis, 11th overall in 2009 and you see that the Predators are more successful than other teams on the blueline.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

vs. Winnipeg, @ New York Islanders, @ Philadelphia

Rested Team: @ New York Islanders (Friday)

Tired Team: @ Philadelphia (Saturday)

Notes

The Devils were slated to play only twice this week but a snow storm a couple of weeks ago forced cancellation of their home game against the Jets and it was rescheduled for Tuesday. Nice to see John Moore scoring both goals for the Devils in Toronto on Thursday. The defenseman has nine goals and 19 points this season. Pavel Zacha has only eight goals and 22 points in 61 games but has one assist in each of his last six games. Adam Henrique is pointless in his last two games after going four games in a row with a point. Kyle Palmieri has 25 goals and 50 points, one point more than Taylor Hall.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

vs. Nashville, @ Philadelphia, vs. New Jersey, @ Buffalo  

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. New Jersey (Friday)

Notes

The Islanders play three games in four nights as part of their four game week, so look for the recently recalled Jaroslav Halak to play once with Thomas Greiss starting three times. The Islanders lost Ryan Strome for the remainder of the regular season with a broken wrist. The Islanders will have to go deep into the playoffs for Strome to return. Andrew Ladd picked up his 20th goal of the season Wednesday but it has been a disappointing season for the veteran winger who has only 28 points in 68 games this season, his lowest total since 2006-07 when he had 21 points in 65 games with Chicago. Johnny Boychuk has started to skate but he still has missed the last nine games with a lower body injury.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

@ San Jose, vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Philadelphia

Rested Team: vs. Philadelphia (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

 Notes

The Rangers received good news as Henrik Lundqvist is expected to return the weekend of March 25 and play two of three games on New York's California trip. In anticipation of Lundqvist's return, the Rangers sent Magnus Hellberg back to Hartford of the AHL. Rick Nash potted his 20th of the season Wednesday but he is not the Nash of his younger years and you should expect 20-25 goals per season at best. I like the offensive potential of Pavel Buchnevich who has only 20 points in 35 games. Look for more next season. J.T. Miller and Mats Zuccarello are tied for the team lead in points with 52. Michael Grabner leads with 27 goals, one better than Chris Kreider.

OTTAWA     

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Minnesota, @ Winnipeg

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Senators are getting very good goaltending this season and Mike Condon has been 'sen'sational as the backup to Craig Anderson and the starter when Anderson was unable to play. Condon continued his outstanding performance on Thursday in a 2-1 shootout win over Pittsburgh to move the Senators within one point of Montreal for first place in the Atlantic Division. Mike Stone has missed the last seven games with a lower body injury but is hoping to return on March 25. After an injury-filled 2015-16 season in which he had only 13 goals and 30 points in 57 games, Kyle Turris has 25 goals and 49 points in 70 games. It's shy of the 64 and 58 points of the 2014-15 and 2013-14 seasons but it is a nice year.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

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

Rested Team: vs. New Jersey (Saturday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Flyers play four games this week including three games in four nights so look for Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth to share the net. The Flyers have four players with a minus-21 rating or worse (Brayden Schenn, Wayne Simmonds, Jakub Voracek and Shayne Gostisbehere) and another three in double digits so that they are not in the playoffs at this time is no surprise. Matt Read has been practicing with Claude Giroux and Voracek scored on Thursday. He has a couple of 20-plus goal seasons and two with 11. Thursday's goal was his 10th and it sure looks like another 11 goal season for the veteran winger.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

vs. Chicago, @ New York Rangers, vs. Carolina

Rested Team: vs. Carolina (Sunday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The highlight of the week was the goal by Sidney Crosby as he split the Sabres forwards and defensemen like he was Moses going through the Red Sea and then with one hand on his stick, backhanded and flicked the puck over Robin Lehner. You can see the goal here. The Penguins are in a fierce three way battle for first place in the Metropolitan Division with Washington and Columbus. Bryan Rust is nearing a return to the lineup as he has been out since February 9 with an upper body injury. Jake Guentzel is out with a concussion, courtesy of Rasmus Ristolainen.  The Penguins recalled Oskar Sundqvist from the minors.  

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

vs. Arizona, @ Arizona, @ Colorado, vs. Nashville

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: vs. Nashville (Sunday)

Notes

The Blues play a home-and-home series with Arizona so if there are any fisticuffs, look for Ryan Reaves to take matters into his own hand (or fists). Vladimir Tarasenko has 34 goals and 65 points including six goals and nine points in his last nine games. Magnus Paajarvi surprised everyone who weren’t paying attention on Thursday with a two goal game. He has eight goals and 11 points in 23 games but has six points in his last seven contests. Patrik Berglund reached the 20 goal mark Tuesday for the first time since the 2010-11 season. Jaden Schwartz has only one goal in his last 16 games and only 15 this season after a 28 goal campaign last year.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

vs. New York Rangers, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary, @ Vancouver

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: @ Calgary (Friday)

Notes

After playing four road games last week, the Sharks return home to play once and then go back on the road for another three, all in Western Canada. They play three games in four nights as part of the four game week so look for Martin Jones to see the cage three times with Aaron Dell playing once. Brent Burns is pointless in his last seven contests. Jannik Hansen has missed the last two games with an upper body injury. He was clipped in the head on Saturday and while he is on the current road trip, he has yet to participate. It’s too bad as he was playing with Joe Pavelski and Joe Thornton.    

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Detroit, vs. Montreal, vs. Dallas

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Lightning play three games in four nights as part of a four game week, so Andrei Vasilevskiy should get the crease twice or three times this week with Peter Budaj playing the remainder. Jason Garrison was injured on Thursday and his lower body injury forced the Lightning to recall Slater Koekkoek from the minors. Nikita Kucherov had the hat trick Thursday and now has 37 goals and 74 points, his best season in the NHL. Victor Hedman still is a non-entity in the race for the Norris Trophy but he does have 15 goals and 62 points and that is Norris relevant, no matter how good Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson have been. Tyler Johnson is still out of action and has missed the last seven games with a lower body injury.   

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Florida, @ Nashville, @ Detroit

Rested team:  vs. Florida (Tuesday)

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Maple Leafs have been red-hot as they returned home earlier in the month from a California trip where they picked up only one point in three games but are 7-1-1 since then and are three points up on the Bruins for third in the Atlantic Division with a game in hand. Nazem Kadri scored his 30th of the season this past week, the first time in his NHL career that he has hit the magical mark. The Leafs still are being led by their rookies as their top three scorers, Auston Matthews (60 points), Mitch Marner (57) and William Nylander (56) are all eligible for the Calder Trophy. Veterans Kadri and James van Riemsdyk each have 55 points as the Leafs are spreading out their scoring. Nylander is on a 10 game points streak that broke the Leafs rookie record of nine first set 73 years ago by Gus Bodnar.   

VANCOUVER

Games this week

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

Rested Team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Canucks play all three games at home and face all the California teams. Markus Granlund has been shut down to undergo wrist surgery. He had been playing all season with ‘broken’ ligaments so his 19 goals are quite an accomplishment. I had never heard of broken ligaments before but that’s what the article said and I can’t argue with that. Nikolay Goldobin is back in the Vancouver lineup after an illness and is seeing action with Brandon Sutter and Jack Skille. Richard Bachman is still on the team as usual backup goalie Jacob Markstrom had food poisoning. The Vancouver season stats sheet is riddled with minus players, making Luca Sbisa’s plus-one in 73 games quite remarkable. Of course his two goals and 12 points isn’t anything to write home about in fantasy hockey.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Minnesota, @ Colorado, @ Arizona, @ Columbus

Rested team: None

Tired Team: @ Columbus (Sunday)

Notes

The Capitals play four games on the road this week including three in four nights so look for Braden Holtby to play three games with Philipp Grubauer playing once. As mentioned earlier, the Capitals are in a battle for first in the Metropolitan with Pittsburgh and Columbus and lead the way at this time. They finished the season with six of eight games on the road and that could hurt their chances to win the division. Alex Ovechkin is only one goal away from 30 with nine games to go. Nicklas Backstrom has 78 points this season including 30 on the power play. It’s nice to see the big pluses on the Capitals blueline including Brooks Orpik’s 32 and Dmitry Orlov’s 29.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

@ New Jersey, vs. Anaheim, vs. Ottawa

Rested team: None

Tired Team: None

Notes

The Jets play an extra game this week from the original schedule as they make up the New Jersey game from a couple of weeks ago. Mark Scheifele broke out last season with a 12 point increase as he had 61 points and he has improved by more than that thus far this season with 29 goals and 75 points with eight games left to play. Patrik Laine scored a power play goal on Thursday for the first time since January 26. Dustin Byfuglien is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury suffered on Thursday. Jacob Trouba is still out of action with an upper body injury and he has missed the last six games. He has only six goals and 27 points this season but I really like him for next season in pools.

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