The Fantasy Hockey Weekly Planner is the essential guide to setting your lineup for the upcoming week. Every week, we provide you with top matchups, the latest news and give you the scoop on injured players.
Teams with four games: Anaheim, Buffalo, Chicago, N.Y. Rangers, Nashville, Philadelphia, Vancouver
Teams with three games: Atlanta, Buffalo, Calgary, Carolina, Colorado, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Washington
Teams with two games: Boston, Florida, Los Angeles, Ottawa, Tampa Bay
Fantasy Week 2 (Oct. 13-19)
Fantasy owners should be alert that the first game of Fantasy Week 2 begins at 1 p.m. Monday between the St. Louis Blues and Toronto Maple Leafs. Therefore, lineups will need to be set early.
Three times during Week 2 there will be seven games on a given day (Monday, Thursday, Friday) and there will be 13 games taking place on Saturday.
Editor's Note: Projections are for Oct. 13-19 games and all stats are through Thursday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: The Ducks are one of seven teams with four games in Week 2 and three of those are at home. Anaheim didn't fare very well offensively at home in 2007-08, averaging just 2.63 goals per game. But, now they have Scott Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne from the start and the addition of Brendan Morrison should give Anaheim some offensive juice ... The Ducks play on consecutive nights Oct. 14 (at L.A.) and Oct. 15 (vs. EDM), so Jonas Hiller is likely to get one start in place of Jean-Sebastien Giguere ... Newly-acquired left winger Brad Larsen underwent hernia surgery and has been placed on injured reserve ... In a surprising move, the Ducks were forced to send Bobby Ryan down to the minors because of a salary cap issue and not because he couldn't hack it in the NHL. He is still worth holding onto in long-term keeper leagues.
Atlanta Thrashers: It didn't take long for center Erik Christensen to get bumped from the top line. Even before the season began, first-year head coach John Anderson demoted Christensen to the second line in favor of Todd White. A preseason shoulder injury likely had something to do with the decision ... Center Bryan Little has been battling a hip pointer, but he is not expected to miss much time, if any ... The Thrashers have three home games in the upcoming scoring period. They were 19-19-3 last season at Phillips Arena, and with no back-to-back games, Kari Lehtonen has a good chance of starting all three in net since Anderson wants Lehtonen to play 60-plus games in 2008-09.
Boston Bruins: Boston is one of five teams in Week 2 to play just two games, and both are on the road. Claude Julien's boys actually ranked in the top 10 last season in road GFA (2.66), but were also in the bottom 10 for road GAA (2.98) ... Defenseman Zdeno Chara has looked strong coming off shoulder surgery and has reported no setbacks. Chara has been manning the point with center Patrice Bergeron on the power play ... Rookie right winger Blake Wheeler, a 2004 first-round pick, used a strong training camp to nab a roster spot and will provide depth for Boston on their lower lines.
|1.||Fabian Brunnstrom, LW, DAL||30|
|2.||Alex Auld, G, OTT||14|
|3.||Alex Goligoski, D, PIT||13|
|4.||Jiri Hudler, C, DET||12|
|5.||Tyler Kennedy, C, PIT||12|
|6.||Andy McDonald, C, STL||11|
|7.||Steve Bernier, RW, VAN||11|
|8.||Lee Stempniak, RW, STL||11|
|9.||Kris Letang, D, PIT||10|
|10.||Mikkel Boedker, LW, PHO||9|
Buffalo Sabres: Four games are on the docket for Buffalo next week and the first two won't have to travel far to face the Islanders and Rangers. Buffalo averaged 3.25 goals per game against the Islanders in four contests last season, but weren't as fortunate against the Rangers, who allowed just 1.75 in four games. The Sabres then get a nice reprieve later in the week as they travel to Atlanta. Buffalo scored 22 goals in four games against Atlanta last season ... With one back-to-back slate Week 2, don't be surprised to see Patrick Lalime jump in net for one game and give Ryan Miller a night off.
Calgary Flames: Todd Bertuzzi dodged a real bullet after hobbling off the ice late in the preseason schedule with an ankle injury and appears recovered from the minor ailment ... Two of the Flames' three games in Week 2 come against Edmonton in a home-and-home. The two teams played each other eight times in 2007-08 and split the schedule. They also scored and allowed 18 goals a piece ... As expected, Flames' top prospect center Mikael Backlund didn't impress enough during camp and was sent back to his Swedish club.
Carolina Hurricanes: Carolina just can't seem to avoid the injury bug. They already lost Justin Williams during the preseason and will now be without right winger Scott Walker until at least mid-October following hand surgery ... Forward Tuomo Ruutu continues to take it slow with a leg injury, and although he is skating, he remains a day-to-day candidate as far as games are concerned ... Carolina has three games in Week 2 and they are all against Western Conference foes -- Detroit (home), Los Angeles (road) and Anaheim (road) -- and two of them are top Stanley Cup contenders. They only faced the Red Wings last season and lost 5-2.
Chicago Blackhawks: Checking-line forward Ben Eager took a hack at NHL agitator Sean Avery during the preseason and was hit with a three-game suspension. He can return Oct. 15 vs. Phoenix ... Chicago was unsuccessful unloading goalie Nikolai Khabibulin so he will begin the season in a Blackhawks' uniform. He still could be dealt, but general manager Dave Tallon said as long as he is on their roster, he and Cristobal Huet will have to fight for playing time...The Blackhawks also decided to shake up their top two scoring lines and drop reigning Calder Trophy winner Patrick Kane to the second line with Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien. The top line now consists of Jonathan Toews centering Martin Havlat and Andrew Ladd ... Chicago is another team with four games Week 2 and three are at home. The Blackhawks had the seventh best home scoring offense (3.07 GFA) in '07-08.
Colorado Avalanche: Scott Parker begins the season on injured reserve as he recovers from a concussion. There is no timetable for his return. Cody McLeod and Cody McCormick will pick up the slack as checking-line forwards in Parker's absence ... Colorado has three games next week and none back-to-back. Peter Budaj has a good chance of starting all three games.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Promising prospect Nikita Filatov was optioned to Syracuse (AHL) in the final roster cut downs. It's not like this move wasn't forthcoming after a leg injury slowed Filatov early in camp. He could make his debut at some point in 2008-09, but remains a long-term keeper and stashee in larger Fantasy leagues ... Manny Malhotra (lower body) joined Raffi Torres (shoulder) on injured reserve to begin the season, but Malhorta has a better chance of coming back before November ... Columbus has a back-to-back, home-and-home with Nashville Week 2, so there is a chance Fredrik Norrena gets a night in net to spell Pascal Leclaire, who has already dealt with a minor ankle injury. Nashville owned Columbus in eight games last season, going 7-1 and outscoring the Blue Jackets 24-11.
Dallas Stars: The inevitable came as Dallas put defenseman Sergei Zubov on the long-term injured reserve with a hip injury. It means the former All-Star can't return until November.
|1.||Chicago||NSH, PHO, @STL, VAN|
|2.||Pittsburgh||PHI, WAS, TOR|
|3.||Buffalo||@NYI, @NYR, VAN, @ATL|
|4.||Anaheim||@LA, EDM, SJ, CAR|
|5.||Dallas||NSH, @STL, COL|
Detroit Red Wings: Chris Chelios (leg) and Darren McCarty (groin) opened the season in injured reserve. McCarty has a chance of returning in October, but we aren't expecting to see Chelios debut until November ... Detroit has three crucial games upcoming in Week 2, including a pair at home against the Canucks and Rangers. Chris Osgood should get the nod in both games since Detroit will be facing elite teams. Ty Conklin might get the start Monday against the Hurricanes since he beat Carolina in his only start against them last season with Pittsburgh and held them to one goal.
Edmonton Oilers: The Oilers will have played just one game before heading into Week 2, and they will have to have their "A" game going against Anaheim on the road and then a back-to-back affair with Calgary. It could be an ugly week for the Oilers. The only good news is that they are fairly healthy.
Florida Panthers: The Panthers were lucky enough to take David Booth (back) and Stephen Weiss (groin) off injured reserve, but that also meant sending top prospects Shawn Matthias and Michael Frolik to the minors. Both players should be back at some point in '08-09 ... Defenseman Karlis Skrastins (neck) and Radek Dvorak (ribs) remain on injured reserve and no timetable has been set for their return ... Florida has just two games in Week 2, and they will play the Wild and Islanders at the Bank Atlantic Center, where they were 18-15-8 last season. Tomas Vokoun should start both games in net.
Los Angeles Kings: Los Angeles is wasting no time getting 2008 first-round pick (second overall) Drew Doughty acclimated to the NHL. Not only did he make the roster out of training camp, but he is also skating in the second defensive pairing with new acquisition Sean O'Donnell ... The top defensive pairing consists of Matt Greene and Jack Johnson ... One prospect that wasn't as fortunate as Doughty was 2007 first-rounder (fourth overall) Thomas Hickey. The defenseman was sent back to his junior team and likely won't debut in 2008-09 ... Los Angeles has just a pair of games in Week 2, but both are at home against Anaheim and Carolina. The Kings were surprisingly a very strong offensive team at the Staples Center last season, averaging 3.07 goals per game.
Minnesota Wild: Defenseman Marek Zidlicky will not play in Saturday's opener against the Bruins and his Wild debut remains on hold with an ankle injury. The Wild haven't said much about the injury and Zidlicky remains a bit of an injury-risk start Week 2 ... Minnesota goes on the road for three games next week and face three of the weaker Eastern Conference teams -- Atlanta, Florida and Tampa Bay. With no back-to-back games scheduled, goalie Nicklas Backstrom could end up starting all three contests.
Montreal Canadiens: Montreal has a few players on their injury list -- Francis Bouillon (leg), Mathieu Carle (head), Jaroslav Halak (face), Georges Laraque (groin) and Ryan O'Byrne (face) -- but most of them are either marginal Fantasy players or have no value.
Nashville Predators: Nashville had no problem scoring on the road last season with 109 goals in 41 games. They will need to tap into that production in Week 2 as three of their four games are away from the Sommet Center. It doesn't appear as an easy slate with games against Chicago, Dallas and Columbus (twice), but they scored 55 goals in 20 games against those opponents last season (2.75) ... Rookie Patric Hornqvist could end up being the guy that replaces Alexander Radulov on the team's top scoring line with J.P. Dumont and Jason Arnott.
New Jersey Devils: Fedor Fedorov had a short shelf life with the Devils. Signed in July to help boost the offense, Sergei's younger brother never impressed coach Brent Sutter in camp and was cut before the start of the season. He is likely headed back to Russia ... The Devils have three road games on the docket in Week 2 against the Rangers, Thrashers and Capitals. Martin Brodeur should be in net for all three contests. He was 3-0-0 with a 2.40 GAA against Atlanta, 1-4-1 with a 1.96 GAA against New York and 2-1-0 with a 2.28 GAA against Washington last season.
New York Islanders: The Islanders signed 2008 first-round pick Josh Bailey right before the season to give him a quick tryout before deciding to send him back to junior hockey or keep him on the NHL roster. Well, those plans are now on hold while Bailey recovers from an undisclosed injury. His Fantasy value still lies in long-term keeper leagues ... Rick DiPietro overcame the injury bug to be ready for the season opener against New Jersey and should be able to start all three games in Week 2 against Buffalo, Florida and Tampa Bay since there are no back-to-backs.
New York Rangers: After opening the season with four games in Week 1, including a two-game sweep of Tampa Bay in Prague, Czech Republic, the Rangers play four games once again in Week 2. Three of them are at home -- New Jersey, Buffalo and Toronto -- and the Rangers were 25-13-3 at Madison Square Garden last season ... Because Brandon Dubinsky is not a third-line center, Chris Drury has opened the season on the right wing and playing on the top line with Scott Gomez and Markus Naslund ... Free-agent acquisition Wade Redden scored a power-play goal in the opening series with Tampa Bay and is already paying dividends on the man advantage for New York.
Ottawa Senators: Don't look now but we already have our first goalie controversy of the season. Martin Gerber and Alex Auld each started a game against Pittsburgh in Stockholm, Sweden, with Gerber looking awful in a loss and Auld shining bright in a win. Gerber is technically the starter for Ottawa, but he is on a short leash. With just two games in Week 2 and them being back-to-back, the duo are likely to split starts ... Center Mike Fisher is slow to recover from a groin injury, but is still listed as day to day ... First-year head coach Craig Hartsburg wanted to break up the scoring line of Dany Heatley, Jason Spezza and Daniel Alfredsson, but has opted to stick with the trio for now.
Philadelphia Flyers: Philadelphia is hurting along the blue line as Derian Hatcher is out indefinitely with a knee injury; Ryan Parent is on injured reserve with a shoulder problem; and Randy Jones is slated to have hip surgery that will sideline him 6-8 weeks. The Flyers have four games Week 2 and all against offensive potent teams -- Montreal, Pittsburgh, Colorado and San Jose. It could be a long week for Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki, who is on the verge of returning from hip surgery ... Right winger Steve Downie is also hoping to return from a sprained knee in the coming week.
|2.||Atlanta||MIN, NJ, BUF|
|3.||Phoenix||@CHI, @OTT, @MON|
|4.||Columbus||@SJ, NSH, @NSH|
|5.||Carolina||DET, @LA, @ANA|
Phoenix Coyotes: Head coach Wayne Gretzky opted to split up his two rookie forwards -- Kyle Turris and Mikkel Boedker. Turris, Phoenix's 2007 first-round pick, will center the second line with Shane Doan and Daniel Carcillo, while Boedker, Phoenix's 2008 first-round pick, has jumped to the top line with Olli Jokinen and Peter Mueller ... Joel Perrault has been slow to recover from a concussion sustained prior to training camp and has been told to rest three weeks before resuming hockey activities ... Phoenix hit the road to play Chicago, Ottawa and Montreal in Week 2. Surprisingly, the Coyotes were over .500 on the road last season (21-17-3) despite averaging just 2.46 goals per game away from home.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Tyler Kennedy scored two goals in the season opening win against Ottawa and caught the attention of Fantasy owners everywhere. He seemed to fit well playing on a line with Evgeni Malkin, but it's only temporary. Petr Sykora missed the first two games with a groin injury, and as soon as he is healthy, Kennedy should get bumped to the lower lines ... Pittsburgh has three home games in Week 2 and the Pens thrived at the Mellon Arena last season. Pittsburgh was 26-10-5 at home and averaged 3.27 goals per game.
San Jose Sharks: With plenty of able bodies on the blue line, the Sharks opted to waive defenseman Kyle McLaren, who was not picked up by another team. He could play in the minors for Sharks or asked to be released.
St. Louis Blues: A rash of blue line injuries forced St. Louis to put rookie defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the fourth overall pick in 2008, on the opening day roster. If he impresses enough in his first nine games, similar to what 2007 first-round pick forward David Perron did last season, the Blues will likely keep him around all season.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Tampa Bay knew they were in a bit of trouble along the blue line when Andrej Meszaros was their most experienced defenseman and he is only 23 years old. After losing their first two games to the Rangers in Prague, Czech Republic, the Lightning were forced to trade for defenseman Lukas Krajicek ... Injured defenseman Paul Ranger (shoulder) has begun practicing in full and is preparing for game action ... The Lightning have just two games Week 2 and they are not back-to-back. Goalie Mike Smith could get the nod over Olaf Kolzig in both contests.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Defenseman Pavel Kubina was slowed by a sore knee late in training camp and his status for opening night was in jeopardy. However, he suited up against Detroit and scored the team's first goal on a power play. His presence will be needed more than ever this season with Bryan McCabe now playing in Florida ... Ryan Hollweg is serving a two-game suspension for picking up his third boarding or checking from behind major in a 41-game span during the preseason. He is eligible to return Monday against the Blues.
Vancouver Canucks: Vancouver has their work cut out in Week 2 as they head on the road for four games. They will play the Capitals, Red Wings, Sabres and Blackhawks. Vancouver was a .500 team on the road last season (18-18-5) and scored a measly 2.34 goals per game ... Defenseman Lawrence Nycholat has begun the season on injured reserve because of a back injury sustained in the final preseason game.
Washington Capitals: The Capitals, as well as Fantasy owners, can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Alex Ovechkin is OK. The reigning MVP left practice Tuesday with an upper leg/groin injury, but isn't expected to miss any time as he looks for his second straight Hart Trophy ... Viktor Kozlov is battling his own groin injury, but his status remains day to day.
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