NHL finally returns to regular season action

Michael Finewax
·27 min read

We’re Back!!!! It’s been 308 days since my last Week Ahead, and finally the NHL regular season will start on Wednesday.

It’s going to be different this season, starting with a new realignment of the NHL divisions since the US-Canadian border is still closed to non-essential business. Therefore, a Canadian Division was needed and Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Calgary and Edmonton will form the North Division. This division will have it the toughest travel-wise as it’s the only division to cross all four time zones.

The East will be the toughest as far as the talent of teams as Buffalo, Boston, the New York Rangers, the New York Islanders, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Washington will comprise the division. Five of the top-11 teams during the regular season, are in the East and that doesn’t even include the much-better Rangers.

The Central will have Tampa Bay, Florida, Carolina, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Chicago and Nashville. There are the two Stanley Cup Finalists in this division in Tampa Bay and Dallas but it is probably the second weakest of the divisions.

The West has some very strong teams in Colorado, Vegas and St. Louis, a couple of playoff contenders in Arizona and Minnesota and three weaker California teams in Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose.

Be careful this season as it is like a baseball schedule where teams stay in town for two or three games at a time. It will be more like playoff series in the sense as you can’t just go in with a plan for one game and then move on to the next team. Coaches will be able to plan better and that could lead to tighter lower-scoring games, as well as tempers flaring by the end of the second contest.

Anyway, hockey is back and let’s enjoy it, even if we still are unable to attend games.

WEEK OF JANUARY 13-17

3 Games –Chicago, Edmonton, Pittsburgh, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington

2 Games – Anaheim, Arizona, Boston, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, Montreal, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Vegas

1 Game – Florida, Winnipeg

0 Games - Dallas

Edmonton plays three games at home.

Chicago, Vancouver and Washington play three games on the road.

INJURIES

Nikita Kucherov is out for the season after undergoing hip surgery. (Click here to see the rest of the injury list.)

ANAHEIM

Games this week

@ Vegas, @ Vegas

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Ducks have to be thrilled with the play of prospect Trevor Zegras at the World Junior Championships this past two weeks. Zegras led all scorers with 18 points and was named the MVP of the tournament…Rickard Rakell is hoping that some small changes in positioning can enable him to regain the scoring touch he had in 2016-17 and the following year when he hit the 30-goal mark in each season…Newcomer Kevin Shattenkirk is slated to partner with Hampus Lindholm on the first defense pairing…The Ducks signed Ryan Miller to a one-year deal to back up John Gibson…Lukas Dostal has been outstanding for Ilves of the Finnish Liiga and should back up Gibson as early as next season.

ARIZONA

Games this week

vs. San Jose, vs. San Jose

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Coyotes play a pair of games with the Sharks who are also using Phoenix as their home base for now with San Jose in a lockdown…Arizona inked Derick Brassard to a one-year deal. He had 10 goals and 32 points in 66 games with the Islanders last season and will help the Coyotes…Ex-Leaf Frederik Gauthier, Jordan Schmaltz and goaltender Zane McIntyre are in camp on PTOs…Schmaltz will be reunited with his brother Nick who led the Coyotes in points last season with 45…The Coyotes will have a strong goaltending duo in Darcy Kuemper and Antti Raanta if both can remain healthy…After a very tough 2019-20 season when he had only 14 goals and 38 points in 70 games, Phil Kessel will look to get closer to 40-45 points in the 56-game schedule this season.

Editor’s Note: Drafting is only half the battle! Get an edge on your competition all season long with rankings, projections, trade evaluator, lineup adviser and much more with our NHL Season Tools. Click here to learn more!

BOSTON

Games this week

@ New Jersey, @ New Jersey

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Bruins named Patrice Bergeron their 20th captain, as he has replaced the departed Zdeno Chara…The Bruins were hurt in the off-season on the blueline with the departures of Torey Krug and Chara but the loss of Krug will give Charlie McAvoy a big fantasy boost as he should be on the top power play…David Pastrnak will miss the start of the season after undergoing off-season hip surgery and was expected to be ready to go by mid-February but he is ahead of schedule and could be back before that. No timetable has been given however, for his return…Brad Marchand is expected to start the season after undergoing sports hernia surgery. He had problems over the last couple of seasons but is now 100 percent and expected to have a big season.

BUFFALO

Games this week

vs. Washington, vs. Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Sabres are home twice to the Capitals this week. They had one of the off-season’s biggest signings in inking former Hart Trophy winner Taylor Hall to a one-year deal. He will play alongside Jack Eichel who was upset in the off-season that the Sabres had yet to make the post-season during his five years with the squad…Victor Olofsson will play on the other side while Sam Reinhart moves down to the second line with veteran Eric Staal in the middle and Jeff Skinner on the other side…Skinner is looking to come back after a horrible 2019-20 season where he had only 14 goals in 59 games after scoring 40 the previous year in 82 games… I love Rasmus Dahlin this season. With all the hype given to Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes, Dahlin gets lost when talking about the best young defenseman in the NHL but don’t be fooled, Dahlin is better and is outstanding.

CALGARY

Games this week

@ Winnipeg, vs. Vancouver

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flames could be using Rasmus Andersson on the top power play this season and he has started out as the quarterback of the first unit with Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm, Sean Monahan and Matthew Tkachuk…Gaudreau will look to return to his former glory after picking up just 58 points last season after a career-best 99 in 2018-19…Josh Leivo was an off-season signing who could be sneaky good in fantasy drafts as he is starting in training camp on the second line with Lindholm and Tkachuk. That’s a nice spot for Leivo who has never really had a shot as a top-six forward…The Flames should be better in net after the off-season signing of Jacob Markstrom.

CAROLINA

Games this week

@ Detroit, @ Detroit

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Hurricanes are reuniting Nino Niederreiter, Teuvo Teravainen and Sebastian Aho…Right now Andrei Svechnikov, Jesper Fast and Vincent Trocheck make up the second line…Dougie Hamilton wants to sign a long-term extension with the Canes after the defenseman had 40 points in 47 games last season…Brett Pesce is back in the lineup after missing the playoffs in the summer with a shoulder injury…The Hurricanes signed their first-round pick (13th overall) Seth Jarvis, to a three-year, entry-level contract…The Canes are hoping that former first round pick for 2016, Jake Bean, cracks the lineup on the blueline.

CHICAGO

Games this week

@ Tampa Bay, @ Tampa Bay, @ Florida

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blackhawks play all three games in Florida this week…Chicago has had terrible luck in the off-season at center as both Kirby Dach and Jonathan Toews are out of action. Dach will miss four-five months after fracturing his wrist in a pre-tournament World Junior Championship game against Russia while Toews is out indefinitely with a medical issue that has left him feeling drained and lethargic…Patrick Kane is starting the season on the first line with Dylan Strome and Alex DeBrincat while Pius Suter is centering Dominik Kubalik and Andrew Shaw…The Blackhawks are going into the season without a veteran goalie as Malcolm Subban, Collin Delia and Kevin Lankinen will battle it out.

COLORADO

Games this week

vs. St. Louis, vs. St. Louis

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Avalanche have to be considered the top contender out West as they are talented everywhere including having one of the top-three players in the NHL in Nathan MacKinnon as well as one of the best young defensemen with Cale MakarGabriel Landeskog is still unfit to play as are Erik Johnson, Brandon Saad, Philipp Grubauer and Keaton Middleton…The Avalanche will soon have Bowen Byrum in camp after he completes quarantining as he played for Canada at the World Juniors. Coach Jared Bednar thinks that Byrum will be a depth defenseman this season but he is worth picking in dynasty pools…The Avs picked up Devon Toews from the Islanders in the off-season and he is expected to play alongside Makar.

COLUMBUS

Games this week

@ Nashville, @ Nashville

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Blue Jackets are in Nashville for a pair of games this week and it is likely that Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins will split the net. Look for this goaltending arrangement all season…Columbus finally inked Pierre-Luc Dubois to a bridge contract but the talented center still wants out of Columbus…The Blue Jackets signed Oliver Bjorkstrand to a five-year extension on Wednesday worth $27 million. The deal kicks in next season…They picked up Max Domi via trade in the off-season and he was centering Nick Foligno and Cam Atkinson on the second line to start camp…Gustav Nyquist underwent off-season surgery on his shoulder but is expected to be out until early April or May. That should render him useless in fantasy pools this season.

DALLAS

Games this week

No games

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

* An outbreak of COVID-19 on Friday to six Dallas Stars players and two staff members has forced the team to wait until January 19 at the earliest to start their schedule. Their first four games of the season, three this week and one next week have been postponed.

The Stars play three games in four nights this week, so look for Anton Khudobin to play twice while Jake Oettinger playing once…Ben Bishop is out of action until late March or early April after undergoing surgery to repair his knee…Tyler Seguin also underwent surgery in the off-season on his hip and he is slated to return around the same time as Bishop. It’s hard to think either will have much in the way of fantasy value this season in re-draft leagues…John Klingberg is expected to quarterback the first power play with Miro Heiskanen qbing the second unit this season…Both were outstanding in the playoffs in the summer…Joe Pavelski partook in practice Tuesday after sitting out Monday.

DETROIT

Games this week

vs. Carolina, vs. Carolina

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Red Wings were the worst team in the NHL last season and while there is a ton of young talent in the system, they should still be a bottom-dweller in 2020-21…Bobby Ryan is seeing time on the first power play in training camp with Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin and Tyler Bertuzzi as the four forwards. He is also playing alongside Robby Fabbri and Filip Zadina on the second line…This is a big year for Evgeny Svechnikov as the winger will be subjected to waivers if he is unable to make the Red Wings and is sent to the minors. He suffered what appears to be an arm injury and has missed practice since Tuesday…Thomas Greiss and Jonathan Bernier should give the Red Wings decent goaltending this season after last year’s fiasco with Jimmy Howard.

EDMONTON

Games this week

vs. Vancouver, vs. Vancouver, vs. Montreal

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Oilers play three games in four nights this week at home and expect to see Mike Smith play twice with Mikko Kostinen playing once…Zack Kassian received a boost to his fantasy value as he has started out training camp on the top line with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-HopkinsLeon Draisaitl will center the second line with Kailer Yamamoto and Tyler Ennis (although Dominik Kahun could be there at some point this season) while Jesse Puljujarvi and Kyle Turris are slated to make up two-thirds of the third unit…The off-season signing of Tyson Barrie should do wonders for the power play as he has been a great quarterback in his career…Oscar Klefbom is out for the season with a shoulder injury.

FLORIDA

Games this week

vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Panthers were scheduled to play three games in four nights but the COVID-19 outbreak on the Dallas Stars has postponed the back-to-back games the two teams were scheduled to play…Sergei Bobrovsky will look to show his form from two seasons ago when he performed so well for Columbus that the Panthers gave him a seven-year/$70 million contract. He played 50 games for Florida last season with a 3.23 GAA and a .900 save percentage…They have two of the best prospects in net in the NHL with Spencer Knight and Devon Levi, the starting goalies for the USA and Canada respectively in the WJC…Aaron Ekblad is seeing first power play time in training camp, with Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Anthony Duclair and Alexander Wennberg. If this holds up, Keith Yandle will lose a lot of fantasy value as he will qb the second power play…Grigori Denisenko could play on the first line this season but opened up training camp as a bottom-six forward alongside Noel Acciari and Vinnie Hinostroza.

LOS ANGELES

Games this week

vs. Minnesota, vs. Minnesota

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Kings play at home to the Wild this week for a pair of games…Newcomer Olli Maatta is expected to see time on the top defensive pairing with Drew Doughty and both seem happy with it…Jeff Carter is healthy and back on the ice after undergoing surgery to repair a lower-body injury. He is starting with Andreas Anathasiou and Blake LizotteAnze Kopitar should be the Kings top player once again and he will center Alex Iafallo and Dustin Brown…The Kings didn’t give up a lot for reclamation project Lias Andersson who was taken seventh overall in 2017 by the Rangers. He is worth keeping an eye on as he has plenty of talent but had lost all his confidence in New York…Jonathan Quick and Cal Petersen will share the net as Petersen looked quite good last season in limited action.

MINNESOTA

Games this week

@ Los Angeles, @ Los Angeles

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Wild signed Cam Talbot to man the net as they traded last season’s number one starter (at least at the beginning of the season) Devan Dubnyk to San Jose. Alex Stalock was supposed to share the net with Talbot but he has an upper-body injury and is out indefinitely. Kaapo Kahkonen is expected to be the back up this season, at least until Stalock returns…Kevin Fiala was one of the hottest players at the end of the season with 26 points in his last 18 games. He is projected to start the season on a line with Nick Bonino and Marcus JohanssonKirill Kaprizov was considered the best player outside the NHL last season and he has looked good in training camp thus far. He had 33 goals and 62 points in 57 KHL games last season and has been on a line with Zach Parise and Nick Bjugstad in camp.

MONTREAL

Games this week

@ Toronto, @ Edmonton

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Canadiens begin the season on a six-game road trip with the last five coming out west after opening in Toronto Wednesday…Nick Suzuki is expected to be the top center in Montreal this season and is more comfortable heading into his second year in the NHL…The Habs were quite busy in the off-season, picking up Jake Allen, Josh Anderson, Michael Frolik, Corey Perry and Tyler Toffoli and that should improve the clubs chances this season to make the playoffs in the Canadian division…Anderson is starting the season on the second line with Suzuki and Jonathan Drouin while Phillip Danault will center the top line (even though Suzuki should outscore him) with Brendan Gallagher and Tomas Tatar.

NASHVILLE

Games this week

vs. Columbus, vs. Columbus

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Predators could be in trouble in goal this season as Pekka Rinne and Juuse Saros are expected to start. Rinne had a bad season in 2019-20 as he was 18-14-4 with a 3.17 GAA and a .895 save percentage. Those are terrible peripherals, and at the age of 38, you have to wonder if he can come back…Saros was better at 17-12-4 with a 2.70 GAA and a .914 save percentage but the Predators were worried enough about their future so they took Russian netminder Yaroslav Askarov with the 11th overall pick in the 2020 Draft…Matt Duchene is unfit to practice at this time…Filip Forsberg is looking to rebound from a 21 goal and 48 point performance in 2019-20, as he went the entire month of February with no goals and only six assists in 14 games…The strength of the Predators is on the blueline where they have Norris Trophy winner Roman Josi, as well as Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm.

NEW JERSEY

Games this week

vs. Boston, vs. Boston

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Devils are in tough this season as they are in the hardest division…They could easily finish last and still have a good season…New Jersey has a good goaltending tandem with Corey Crawford who came over from Chicago via free agency, and Mackenzie Blackwood who had a very good rookie season…Sami Vatanen is returning on a one-year deal. He was with the Devils last season before being traded at the deadline to Carolina…Look for Jack Hughes to have a big season this year after struggling as a rookie with only seven goals and 21 points. He has added 14 pounds of muscle to his slender body and should be much stronger and better this season…Watch for Nikita Gusev this season as well. He had 11 points in his final 10 games last season to give him 44 overall, but should be closer to a point-per-game player this season.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS

Games this week

@ New York Rangers, @ New York Rangers

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Islanders could be in trouble with Mathew Barzal still unsigned. The RFA has not been in camp and while both sides are talking, nothing seems to be imminent…The Islanders could need to shed some salary to sign Barzal and players like Leo Komarov are on the trade block…Semyon Varlamov and rookie Ilya Sorokin will likely share the net this season…Cal Clutterbuck is still experiencing problems with his hand as he has numbness in three fingers and it could be permanent…Anthony Beauvillier, Brock Nelson and Josh Bailey should make up the second line once Barzal signs…Matt Martin has agreed to a four-year deal with the Islanders that should keep him on the Island for the remainder of his career.

NEW YORK RANGERS

Games this week

vs. New York Islanders, vs. New York Islanders

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

Mika Zibanejad has yet to skate in training camp with an undisclosed injury but coach David Quinn thinks the star will be ready to go for the start of the season…While Quinn said that he will use both Igor Shesterkin and Alexandar Georgiev a lot, Shesterkin is the better goalie and the one you should select on draft day…Everyone has been impressed with overall number one pick Alexis Lafreniere who will start the season on the third line with Filip Chytil and Julien Gauthier…Both he and Shesterkin should be in the conversation for the Calder Trophy…This could be a good year to take Kaapo Kakko who was selected second overall in 2019…He is projected to start on the second line with Artemi Panarin and Ryan StromeTony DeAngelo is expected to move to the left side and play with Jacob Trouba on the first defensive unit.

OTTAWA

Games this week

vs. Toronto, vs. Toronto

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Senators have a plethora of young talent and while they will likely finish last in the Canadian Division, they are an up-and-coming team…Logan Brown is now skating between Brady Tkachuk and Evgenii Dadonov after Josh Norris received the first crack at it earlier in the week…Derek Stepan and Tim Stuetzle are expected to be top-six forwards and the two could definitely throw a wrench into the plans of Brown…Stuetzle (who was named the best forward at the 2021 WJC by the IIHF directorate) will practice with the Senators for the first time on Sunday and Sens fans will be thrilled to finally see the young German who went third overall in the 2020 Draft, play for Ottawa…Erik Brannstrom is also expected to see the ice Sunday for the first time as he has been in quarantine…The Senators were quite busy in the trade market of late, picking up Stepan, Cedric Paquette and Brayden Coburn to give them a veteran presence.

PHILADELPHIA

Games this week

vs. Pittsburgh, vs. Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Flyers play their state rival Pittsburgh in a pair of home games this week…Nolan Patrick has been a full participant in training camp thus far, a huge difference from last season which he missed in its entirety as he has been suffering from migraines…The Flyers have big plans for Samuel Morin and are moving him from the blueline to left wing this season. Philadelphia has a ton of blueliners which would have made it hard for Morin to make the team but moving to forward will allow the 11th overall pick from 2013 to break with the team…German Rubtsov will likely remain in the KHL until their season is over as he is getting a chance to play and with the AHL season still a month away, it’s better for Rubtsov to get in playing time…Look for Carter Hart to make another leap and become a top-five goalie in the NHL.

PITTSBURGH

Games this week

@ Philadelphia, @ Philadelphia, vs. Washington

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Penguins will have Sidney Crosby on the top line with Jake Guentzel and likely Kasperi Kapanen while Evgeni Malkin will center the second unit with Jason Zucker and Bryan Rust on his wings. All six are worth taking in your fantasy pools…The Penguins signed defenseman John Marino to a six-year extension last week and the sophomore is expected to be a top-four blueliner this season…Zach Aston-Reese is expected to return in mid-February after undergoing shoulder surgery five months ago…With the trade of Matt Murray to Ottawa, Tristan Jarry is the undisputed number one goalie heading into the season with Casey DeSmith backing him up…Mark Jankowski is expected to be the third line center as the Penguins hope he returns to the form he showed in 2018-19 where he had 14 goals and 32 points, rather than the five goals and two assists from last season.

SAN JOSE

Games this week

@ Arizona, @Arizona

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

It will be 10 months since the Sharks last played when the NHL season resumes with the Sharks in Arizona for a pair of games…The Sharks start the season on an eight-game road as they are not allowed to play or even practice in San Jose. They are in Phoenix for training camp and if things do not change by the time of their first home game on February 1, they will use the Phoenix area as a home base to play their home games…Martin Jones will battle Devan Dubnyk for the starting goaltender’s job and the 10 months off may help him as he has been mediocre the last three seasons and he has had time for a reset…The Sharks do not have Joe Thornton for the first time in 15 years and Logan Couture is expected to take over as the leader of the Sharks…Look for Brent Burns to bounce back after a tough 2019-20 campaign.

ST. LOUIS

Games this week

@ Colorado, @ Colorado

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

David Perron is skating on the top line with Ryan O'Reilly and Brayden Schenn after undergoing sports hernia surgery in the off-season. He appears to be back to full health and should have a 40-45 point season…Schenn has been named an alternate captain with Colton Parayko as O'Reilly has been named captain to replace the departed Alex Pietrangelo…The Blues replaced Pietrangelo on the blueline with Torey Krug and then made a great pickup by giving Mike Hoffman a professional tryout. He will definitely make the roster and give the Blues some much needed extra scoring on a line with Robert Thomas and Jaden Schwartz…The Blues will miss Vladimir Tarasenko who will be on the long-term reserve list as he underwent off-season shoulder surgery. He will be re-evaluated again in February.

TAMPA BAY

Games this week

vs. Chicago, vs. Chicago

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Lightning suffered a huge blow recently when Nikita Kucherov underwent hip surgery that will cost him at least the complete regular season…At least Steven Stamkos is back and healthy and he is expected to take over Kucherov’s spot on the top line with Brayden Point and Ondrej PalatTyler Johnson is expected to join the top power play alongside Point, Stamkos and Victor Hedman…Coach Jon Cooper is expecting Johnson to be ‘pretty motivated’ this season after he was put on waivers with no takers in the off-season. He had 14 goals and 31 points last season and expect more this year…The Lightning needed help as far as the salary cap was concerned and dealt Cedric Paquette and Brayden Coborn along with a second round draft pick from 2022 to Ottawa for Anders Nilsson and Marian Gaborik, both who will go on long-term IR. The Lightning's scheduled game Sunday against Dallas was postponed due to COVID-19.

TORONTO

Games this week

vs. Montreal, @ Ottawa, @ Ottawa

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Maple Leafs play three games in four nights. Frederik Andersen should get a pair of starts including the home opener against Montreal, while Jack Campbell will get one start in Ottawa…Zach Hyman’s fantasy value is taking a hit as he is projected to start on the third line with Alexander Kerfoot and Ilya Mikheyev, rather than his usual spot alongside Auston MatthewsJoe Thornton will start the season on the left wing with Matthews and Mitch Marner and that will help the veteran’s fantasy value as the 41-year-old is chasing his first Stanley Cup…John Tavares is slated to start at center with William Nylander and Jimmy Vesey…Vesey could be a nice late round sleeper in pools if he can remain on the second unit…Topi Niemela, a third-round pick in the 2020 Draft, was named the top defenseman by the IIHF directorate at the recently concluded World Junior Championships.

VANCOUVER

Games this week

@ Edmonton, @ Edmonton, @ Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Canucks play three games in four nights. They signed Braden Holtby in the off-season to replace Jacob Markstrom and Holtby should get two starts while Thatcher Demko is likely to see action once…Look for Demko to be the starting goalie by mid-season…Brock Boeser started training camp on the first line with Elias Pettersson and J.T. Miller…Vancouver is hoping Vasili Podkolzin, their first-round pick and 10th overall in 2019, will sign a contract when the KHL season ends in March or April…The Canucks signed Travis Hamonic to a PTO and with Nate Schmidt who they stole from Vegas for a third-round pick, have upgraded their blueline with the moves.

VEGAS

Games this week

vs. Anaheim, vs. Anaheim

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Golden Knights were very busy in the off-season, signing top-five defenseman Alex Pietrangelo to a seven-year deal worth $61.6 million…That forced them to trade Nate Schmidt, a solid blueliner, to Vancouver for a measly third-round pick…Pietrangelo is expected to play alongside Brayden McNabb while Alec Martinez and Shea Theodore will make up the second pairing…Keep your eye on Cody Glass who is the Golden Knights top prospect. He saw some time last season with Mark Stone and Max Pacioretty but has been centering Alex Tuch and Nicolas Roy in training camp…Marc-Andre Fleury has apparently lost his starting gig in net to Robin Lehner. Lehner took over as the starter in the playoffs and the Golden Knights rewarded him with a five-year/$25 million contract in the off-season.

WASHINGTON

Games this week

@ Buffalo, @ Buffalo, @ Pittsburgh

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Capitals play three games in four nights. Ilya Samsonov will get a pair of starts as he is slated to be the number-one goaltender in Washington, while either Vitek Vanecek or Craig Anderson will get the second game against Buffalo…The Capitals signed behemoth Zdeno Chara to a one-year deal and that will certainly help out their blueline and fantasy goaltending stats as he is tough to play against especially opponents in front of the Washington net…The big news this season is whether or not the Caps can get Alex Ovechkin’s name on a contract extension. They haven’t had to deal with an Ovechkin contract in 13 years so this negotiation should be interesting…Conor Sheary is expected to be a middle-six forward according to GM Brian MacLellan.

WINNIPEG

Games this week

vs. Calgary

Tired: None

Rested: None

Notes

The Jets only play once this week…Paul Stastny was re-acquired in the off-season by the Jets and is slated to start on a line with Kyle Connor and Patrik Laine…The Laine situation is still prevalent as he wants out but the Jets were unable to trade him in the off-season or didn’t get what they were looking for…The top line will be Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers, at least to start the season…Andrew Copp was hoping to center the second line but the trade of Stastny to the Jets put a damper on that…Jack Roslovic is an RFA and he has requested a trade out of the Manitoba capital…Mark Letestu has retired after 11 seasons in the NHL.