The Fantasy Hockey 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.
Fantasy Week 22 (March 2-8)
Teams with four games: Boston, Calgary, Dallas, Minnesota, N.Y. Islanders
Teams with three games: Anaheim, Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, Columbus, Detroit, Edmonton, Florida, Los Angeles, Montreal, Nashville, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Toronto, Washington
Teams with two games: New Jersey, N.Y. Rangers, Vancouver
Editors Note: Projections are for March 2-8 games and all stats are through Thursday
This week's news and notes for each team:
Anaheim Ducks: The big news of the week was the acquisition of defenseman Ryan Whitney from Pittsburgh. Anaheim had to dump Chris Kunitz and junior prospect Eric Tangradi to land the 26-year-old defenseman, but he does give the team added insurance in the event they trade Chris Pronger or Scott Niedermayer ... Defenseman Steve Montador skated some shifts Thursday against the Bruins as a winger in the absence of Travis Moen (personal), but he is expected to shift back to defense once Moen returns ... Ryan Getzlaf broke his nose late in the game Tuesday against the Sabres, but was able to play Thursday wearing a shield. It seems the All-Star center will remain in the lineup as long as his body allows it. Keep him active Week 22 ... The Ducks play Chicago, Dallas and Minnesota Week 22. Not only does Chicago and Minnesota both rank in the top five for defense, the Ducks are averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against each opponent. Consider benching your Anaheim skaters.
Atlanta Thrashers: As the trade deadline approaches, the Thrashers will mull the idea of trading Kari Lehtonen and handing the goaltending duties over to youngster Ondrej Pavelec or signing Lehtonen to an extension -- an idea coach John Anderson can get behind ... Todd White has two goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak ... Ilya Kovalchuk has had little problems scoring as of late, netting at least one goal in eight of his last nine games. He has 11 goals and five assists in that span. The Kovalchuk trade rumors have died down as of late and it appears the All-Star will finish the season in Atlanta ... Atlanta has home games against Florida, Montreal and Calgary Week 22. They rank 25th in home GFA, averaging 2.59 goals per game.
Boston Bruins: The two names connected most in trade rumors with the Bruins have been left wingers Erik Cole and Keith Tkachuk. It will be interesting to see if Boston makes a play to add one more scorer before the trade deadline ... Michael Ryder has been insane since returning from missing seven games due to facial surgery. He has three goals and two assists in his two games since coming off IR, extending his point streak to four contests (four goals, three assists) ... Goalie Tim Thomas notched his 100th career victory, 11th career shutout (fourth this season) and second career assist during Thursday's 6-0 win against the Ducks. Thomas hasn't allowed more than two goals in five straight outings ... Forwards Marc Savard and Milan Lucic left Thursday's game with upper-body injuries. They are both day-to-day at this juncture, but if they can't play Saturday against the Capitals, then they remain injury-risk starts Week 22 ... Boston has four games Week 22 with three at home. They rank second in home GFA (4.07), so consider starting your Boston skaters.
Buffalo Sabres: The Sabres received some encouraging news Thursday when injured forward Thomas Vanek (jaw) skated with the team. He is eyeing a Wednesday return to the lineup against the Canadiens. Vanek recently wrote he thought he might be out until mid-March after having early February surgery, but the recovery process has gone well and Vanek appears to be a low-risk start Week 22 ... It wasn't as enlightening news for defenseman Jaroslav Spacek, who left Thursday's game against the Hurricanes with an upper-body injury. He is day-to-day and could be an injury-risk start heading into Week 22 ... Goalie Ryan Miller (ankle) isn't expected back in the coming week, so Patrick Lalime remains a stopgap option in the upcoming scoring period... Buffalo plays Phoenix, Montreal and Ottawa Week 22. They are averaging 2.25 goals or fewer goals against each opponent, so consider benching your Buffalo skaters.
Calgary Flames: The swelling on Daymond Langkow's injured hand continues to go down and the veteran forward has begun some stickhandling drills. If Langkow is back by Sunday against the Lightning, then he is a low-risk start heading into Week 22 ... Andre Roy is still battling a concussion and looks like a risky option for the upcoming scoring period ... Rene Bourque remains on a week-to-week basis with a sprained ankle and is not a recommended start Week 22 ... Defenseman Mark Giordano is out indefinitely following shoulder surgery ... Michael Cammalleri has reached 30 goals for the second time in his career ... Jarome Iginla has four goals in his last four games and seems to be emerging from his scoring slump. And just in time as the Fantasy playoffs near ... Calgary hits the road for four games Week 22. The Flames are averaging 2.64 goals per game away from home.
Carolina Hurricanes: General manager Jim Rutherford believes it will be a quiet trade deadline for the Hurricanes despite missing Justin Williams (broken hand) on the right side of the ice. Defenseman Frantisek Kaberle is still available, but he has passed through waivers twice with no takers ... Sergei Samsonov is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. He missed his first game of the season Thursday against the Sabres ... Carolina opted to send struggling rookie center Brandon Sutter on a two-week conditioning stint to Albany of the AHL. The 20-year-old center had just one goal and five assists in 50 games this season ... Goalie Cam Ward is a winner of four of his last five games, having allowed two or fewer goals in each of those victories.
|1.||Patrick Lalime, G, BUF||27|
|2.||Chris Campoli, D, OTT||23|
|2.||Martin Brodeur, G, NJ||21|
|4.||Michael Ryder, RW, BOS||19|
|5.||Paul Stastny, C, COL||14|
|6.||Chris Kunitz, LW, PIT||14|
|7.||Jaroslav Halak, G, MON||12|
|8.||Tomas Plekanec, LW, MON||10|
|9.||Chris Mason, G, STL||8|
|10.||Mathieu Schneider, D, MON||7|
Chicago Blackhawks: Jack Skille, a 2005 first-round pick (seventh overall), was recalled Friday. The 21-year-old forward had 16 goals and 38 points in 47 games for Rockford (AHL). Skille is the eighth first-round pick on Chicago's roster, but he has yet to make the offensive impact to earn a permanent promotion to the NHL ... Forward Martin Havlat has three goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak ... Patrick Kane has three goals in his last eight games. He had all of three goals in his previous 20 games during the worst slump of his young career ... Duncan Keith continues to contend for the NHL's best plus/minus rating as he is now plus-31 on the season ... Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin (lower body) doesn't appear ready to play Week 22, so keep him reserved and continue to use Cristobal Huet as a stopgap Fantasy option.
Colorado Avalanche: Much like Brent Sutter, struggling center T.J. Hensick was sent to Lake Erie of the AHL on a conditioning assignment. Hensick played just seven times in February, recording no goals and one assist in seven games ... Defenseman John-Michael Liles appears on the recovery path and is expected to play Saturday against the Rangers. If he takes to the lineup and suffers no setbacks, he then is a low-risk start Week 22 ... The Avalanche welcomed back top-line center Paul Stastny Tuesday against the Thrashers after missing several weeks with a fractured forearm. He has no goals and one assist in his first two games back, but has logged more than 44 minutes of ice time. It appears safe to insert him back into Fantasy lineups ... The Avalanche could be sellers at the trade deadline with Ryan Smyth, Ian Laperriere and Jordan Leopold as prime targets for other teams ... Right winger Marek Svatos was a healthy scratch Thursday against the Devils. He has one goal in the past nine games, and 13 goals in 54 games overall. Svatos had major knee surgery last year and hasn't shown the jump or scoring prowess he did while netting 26 goals in 62 games in 2007-08.
Columbus Blue Jackets: Columbus reconfigured their forward lines for Thursday against the Oilers. Rick Nash and Kristian Huselius, who had played together all season, were put on separate lines. Nash joined center Jason Williams and right winger Jakub Voracek on the top line, while Huselius skated with center Manny Malhotra and right winger R.J. Umberger ... Columbus has been rumored in many trade deals in the last week, but the one that seems most plausible is acquiring Tim Connolly from the Sabres. It will be interesting to see if the Blue Jackets can pull off the deal for the injury-plagued center ... Steve Mason recorded his eighth shutout Thursday. He tied a rookie record set by Montreal's Ken Dryden in 1971-72.
Dallas Stars: With both Brad Richards (wrist) and Toby Petersen (lower body) out with long-term injuries, the Stars made a minor trade Thursday by picking up center Steve Begin from Montreal. Dallas likes his penalty-killing ability and his ability to chew up minutes, but he is not expected to contribute a lot offensively ... Mike Ribeiro has managed 40-plus assists for four of the last five seasons ... Goalie Marty Turco has lost three straight starts, but he still hasn't allowed more than three goals in 18 straight appearances ... Dallas has a four-game slate Week 22 with three away from home. The Stars are averaging just 2.55 goals (19th) on the road.
Detroit Red Wings: Chris Osgood returned to net Friday against the Kings after being benched in favor of Ty Conklin. The Red Wings just wanted Osgood to work on his technique and play up to the level they know he can. Osgood could return to being a No. 2 Fantasy goalie in Week 22 ... Ville Leino has five goals, three assists and a plus-6 rating in 11 games since his recall from Grand Rapids (AHL). The rookie forward is making a strong case to stick around the rest of the season ... Marian Hossa is dealing with a minor neck injury and is being treated as day-to-day. Coach Mike Babcock doesn't sound too concerned with the ailment and Hossa might play Saturday against the Predators. If not, he still seems to be a low-risk start Week 22 ... Defenseman Brad Stuart has returned to the lineup after missing some time with a compression fracture of the spine and a rib injury. He has been paired with Niklas Kronwall, who was doing quite well in a pairing with Nicklas Lidstrom ... Detroit plays Colorado, St. Louis and Columbus Week 22. They are averaging 3.00 or more goals against each opponent, so consider starting your Red Wings skaters.
Edmonton Oilers: Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov, who was expected to miss several more weeks with a high-ankle sprain, has made a quick recovery and is expected to be back in the lineup Saturday against the Wild. This is great news for Edmonton since they are already missing defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky (shoulder) for the season ... There hasn't been much talk of Edmonton being buyers at the trade deadline, but it still appears struggling forward Erik Cole is on the trading block and could be dealt to a top contender ... Edmonton travels to face Nashville, Ottawa and Toronto Week 22. They rank 11th in home GFA, averaging 2.77 goals per game. But they are averaging 2.33 or fewer goals against each opponent, so weigh the pros and cons before starting your Edmonton skaters.
|1.||Capitals||CAR, TOR, PIT|
|2.||Red Wings||@STL, @COL, CLB|
|3.||Bruins||PHI, PHO, CHI, @NYR|
|4.||Senators||CGY, EDM, BUF|
|5.||Lightning||PIT, STL, CAR|
Florida Panthers: General manager Jacques Martin has spent a lot of time scouting the Philadelphia Flyers, whom are believed to be the frontrunners in the Jay Bouwmeester sweepstakes. Martin isn't sure yet if he will trade the veteran defenseman, who becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1, since Florida is still thick in the playoff hunt ... Goalie Tomas Vokoun is having a tough time shaking an ear infection and isn't expected to be in net Saturday against the Devils. This injury isn't likely to impair him for weeks, so he could be a low-risk start heading into the upcoming scoring period. Craig Anderson continues to start in his absence ... Cory Stillman is battling a bruised foot after being struck by a puck in Thursday's practice. He could be a risky start heading into Week 22 ... Defenseman Nick Boynton is not with the team because of disciplinary reasons and should be kept reserved in Fantasy until further notice.
Los Angeles Kings: Coach Terry Murray has broken up one of his most successful lines as of late, moving Dustin Brown off a unit with Kyle Calder and Jarrett Stoll. Brown is now with Alexander Frolov and Anze Kopitar, while recent call-up Teddy Purcell is with Calder and Stoll. Patrick O'Sullivan has been dropped to the third line ... Brown is ready to roll after missing a few games to be with his wife as she gave birth to the couple's second child ... Rookie defenseman Drew Doughty and sophomore Jack Johnson continue to pair together on defense as Los Angeles gets a long look at what could be their top defensive unit for years to come ... The Kings play Columbus, Dallas and Minnesota Week 22. They could very well face goalies Steve Mason, Marty Turco and Niklas Backstrom -- a daunting task for any team. Consider benching your Los Angeles skaters Week 22.
Minnesota Wild: As the March 4 trade deadline approaches, it will be interesting to see if Minnesota is willing to part with disgruntled forward Marian Gaborik, who is out with a hip injury. Gaborik is still scheduled to have a crucial check up the day before the deadline, and depending on the report, Minnesota could be tempted to deal the Czech forward ... Speaking of injury-prone, forward Owen Nolan hasn't been a model of health in 2008-09 and is back on the injured list with a broken toe. He is a risky start heading into Week 22 ... Andrew Brunette is back in the lineup after missing two games with a right knee injury ... Defenseman Kurtis Foster has been deemed healthy and available since breaking his leg March 9 at San Jose, but he remains a healthy scratch ... Mikko Koivu has set a new career-high with 55 points ... Minnesota takes the road for four games Week 22. They are dead last in road GFA, averaging 2.08 goals per game. They are also set to face three top 12 defenses in San Jose, Los Angeles and Vancouver, so it might be wise to sit your Minnesota skaters.
Montreal Canadiens: Coach Guy Carbonneau has officially created a goalie controversy in Montreal. With Carey Price struggling to regain his form following an ankle injury, Carbonneau has turned to Jaroslav Halak and said he will ride the hot hand until Montreal secures its playoff berth. While Price is still the future goalie in Montreal, Carbonneau can't afford to miss the playoffs and is doing what's best for the team. Price has to be removed from his must-start Fantasy status while he is spending time on the bench ... Forward Tomas Plekanec has six goals and four assists during a six-game point streak ... Alex Tanguay, who has been out since Dec. 30 with a separated shoulder, couldn't get medical clearance to play Fantasy Week 21 (Feb. 23-March 1) and won't be re-evaluated until Week 22 (March 2-8). Keep him reserved until further notice ... Montreal hits the road for three games Week 22. They are averaging 2.63 goals per game on the road (17th).
Nashville Predators: Jason Arnott has 12 points (seven goals) in his last 13 games. Surprisingly, 15 of his 23 goals this season have been scored in the second period ... Joel Ward has been doing well on the second line with David Legwand and Martin Erat. He has scored in two straight games and has three points in that span ... Legwand has scored a team-high 12 of his 16 goals this season at home ... Goalie Pekka Rinne has won three straight starts and has allowed more than three goals just once in his last 14 outings.
New Jersey Devils: Goalie Martin Brodeur made his claim as one of the all-time greats Thursday as he made his first start since having early November elbow surgery. Brodeur blanked the Avalanche 4-0 for his 99th career shutout and 545th win. Only one of the all-time greats can sit out for several months and look like an All-Star in his first game back. With Scott Clemmensen in the minors because his contract allows it, Brodeur immediately returns to being a No. 1 Fantasy goalie ... Paul Martin also returned to the lineup Thursday after missing four games with an upper-body injury. He had two assists and has five assists in his last three games ... The Devils play just twice Week 22, but against two of the worst defensive teams in the NHL -- the Islanders and Maple Leafs.
N.Y. Islanders: Defenseman Brendan Witt has been suspended five games for elbowing Toronto forward Niklas Hagman. Witt is not expected to return until March 10 at Toronto, so keep him reserved Week 22 ... Even though he is suspended, the Islanders will still make Witt available as the trade deadline looms. While they have already dealt Mike Comrie and Chris Campoli, the Islanders are still in selling mode. Outside of Witt, Bill Guerin, Doug Weight, Andy Hilbert, Dean McAmmond and Radek Martinek are all believed to be available ... After giving up just one goal on 68 shots in his previous two starts, Danis has posted a sterling 2.01 goals-against average and a .941 save percentage since Jan. 13. With Joey MacDonald struggling in net, Danis might see a majority of starts down the stretch as long as he stays hot ... New York is home for four games Week 22. It's not necessarily a blessing in disguise since the Islanders are averaging just 2.63 goals at home (23rd).
N.Y. Rangers: The big news of the week for the Rangers was the firing of coach Tom Renney. He was replaced by former Lightning coach John Tortorella, who is expected to bring some much needed discipline to the locker room ... Goalie Henrik Lundqvist has started both games under Tortorella and has started a season-high 10 straight games. Too bad he has won just two times in that span ... Tortorella doesn't seem to be a big fan of Blair Betts or Aaron Voros, barely playing the two forwards in his first two games ... Paul Mara made an early return from a shoulder injury, missing just five games with what was thought to be an injury that could have kept him out the rest of the season ... The Rangers play just the Islanders and Bruins Week 22. One team is solid on defense -- Boston -- while the other isn't -- New York.
Ottawa Senators: It is expected that Ottawa will move Filip Kuba and Chris Neil as the Wednesday trade deadline looms. No one is really off limits in Ottawa and the Senators could entertain the idea of trading Jason Spezza, if someone wants to take his 7-year, $49 million contract ... Alex Auld has started two straight games and has made six appearances since Feb. 14 as rookie goalie Brian Elliott is trying to break through a rookie wall ... Ottawa has home games against Calgary, Edmonton and Buffalo Week 22. They rank 25th in home GFA (2.59). However, they are averaging 3.00 goals per game against each opponent, so it might be worth starting your Ottawa skaters.
Philadelphia Flyers: Philadelphia was forced to put defenseman Ossi Vaananen and center Glen Metropolit on waivers Thursday to clear cap space for the return of Daniel Briere (groin) and neither player made it back to Philly. Vaananen was claimed by Vancouver and the Canadiens picked up Metropolit ... As for Briere, who has played just nine games this season, he did not make his expected return Friday, but could play Sunday against the Devils. Defenseman Kimmo Timonen could also be back Sunday after missing three games with the flu ... The Flyers are considered to be the frontrunners in the Jay Bouwmeester sweepstakes in the event Florida is willing to trade the disgruntled defenseman.
|1.||Ducks||@CHI, DAL, MIN|
|2.||Wild||@VAN, @SJ, @LA, @ANA|
|4.||Kings||@CLB, DAL, MIN|
|5.||Sabres||MON, PHO, @OTT|
Phoenix Coyotes: It appears Olli Jokinen's time in Phoenix is running out. Reports are that general manager Don Maloney and the veteran forward have agreed that it's best for the two sides to part ways. Whether it happens by Wednesday's trade deadline or draft day 2009, Jokinen just hasn't been a good fit since coming to Phoenix in a draft day 2008 trade from Florida ... Phoenix is on an East Coast road trip Week 22 to face the Bruins, Sabres and Islanders. The Coyotes rank 24th in road GFA, averaging 2.35 goals.
Pittsburgh Penguins: Sidney Crosby has missed two games with a nagging groin injury. He has tried numerous times this week to give it a go, but every time he takes the ice, he says the injury doesn't feel right. If Crosby can't play Sunday against the Stars, he will be a serious injury-risk start Week 22 ... His injury comes at a bad time since Pittsburgh finally picked up a reliable left winger in Chris Kunitz. They had to give up defenseman Ryan Whitney to land Kunitz, but Pittsburgh had a glaring need for scoring on the left side of the ice and they hope the former Duck is the answer. He did score in his first game Friday against the Blackhawks sans Crosby ... Sergei Gonchar has a five-game point streak (two goals, three assists) and has shown no ill-effects coming off a serious should injury ... Evgeni Malkin has three goals and five assists during a six-game point streak. He leads the NHL with 88 points ... Pittsburgh takes its show on the road for three games Week 22. They rank sixth in road GFA (2.97); however, they aren't averaging more than 2.67 goals against any of their opponents -- Florida, Tampa Bay and Washington. Weigh the pros and cons before starting your Pittsburgh skaters.
San Jose Sharks: Patrick Marleau has tied his career-high with 34 goals. He first set the mark in 2005-06 ... Backup goalie Brian Boucher won his 10th game Thursday against the Senators and hasn't allowed more than two goals in seven outings dating back to Nov. 17. Too bad he still can't steal much playing time from Evgeni Nabokov ... You don't usually bench your San Jose skaters, but the Sharks play the Stars, Wild and Canucks Week 22. They could potentially face Marty Turco, Niklas Backstrom and Roberto Luongo in the same week.
St. Louis Blues: The Blues have come out and said they aren't necessarily sellers at the trade deadline since they are just a few points out of the playoff picture, but that doesn't mean they won't listen to the right deal. It is believed that Keith Tkachuk is available for the right price ... Defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo had to be helped off the ice Thursday against the Stars after taking a puck to the ankle. He is day-to-day ... Coach Terry Murray has put youngsters Patrik Berglund, T.J. Oshie and David Perron together on a line. The trio responded with two goals during a 3-1 win Thursday.
Tampa Bay Lightning: Rumors have surfaced that the Red Wings are interested in trading for forward Gary Roberts. The Lightning would likely have no problems dealing the veteran forward, but even if he lands with Detroit, his Fantasy value will hardly go up ... It seems the Vincent Lecavalier to Montreal rumors are all but dead, so it's likely he will remain with the team for the rest of the season ... It also seems unlikely that Tampa Bay is willing to part with All-Star Martin St. Louis ... Defenseman Cory Murphy snapped a 13-game goal scoring drought with a power play goal in the second period Tuesday against Edmonton. Murphy, who was picked up on re-entry waivers from Florida in January, had four points in his first three games with Tampa Bay, but has just three points in his past 13 games. Murphy later added a second goal for his first career multi-goal game ... Mike Smith still isn't ready to return from a concussion, so it appears Karri Ramo remains a viable stopgap Fantasy option heading into Week 22 ... Tampa Bay hosts Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Carolina Week 22. They rank 24th in home GFA (2.61). All three of their opponents have GAAs of 2.83 or higher. Consider starting your Lightning skaters.
Toronto Maple Leafs: It all but seems a forgone conclusion that Nik Antropov will be traded by Wednesday since general manager Brian Burke isn't a big fan of the veteran forward ... Toronto is in selling mode, which also means players like Dominic Moore, Pavel Kubina and Tomas Kaberle are available if the right deal comes along ... As for Kaberle, he is expected to appear in his first game Saturday against the Senators since breaking his hand Jan. 29. Another sign of his availability as the trade deadline looms. Although, Burke has demanded a first-round pick, a starting player and a prospect in return for Kaberle, which is a very steep price for any club ... Niklas Hagman is out with an upper-body injury after taking an elbow from Brendan Witt Thursday. It is believed Hagman might have a concussion, but he is just day-to-day ... Defenseman Luke Schenn saw some time Thursday as the point man on the power play with all the injuries Toronto has suffered on defense.
Vancouver Canucks: Jannik Hansen will miss 3-4 weeks because of a broken finger. His checking-line presence will be missed more in Vancouver than in Fantasy ... Goalie Roberto Luongo is 8-1-0 with a 2.63 GAA in nine February starts ... Mats Sundin hasn't scored in seven games after opening February with a three-game goals streak ... The Canucks have home games against Minnesota and San Jose Week 22. They could potentially face Niklas Backstrom and Evgeni Nabokov, so consider benching your Vancouver skaters. They are already averaging 2.50 or fewer goals against each opponent this season.
Washington Capitals: Nicklas Backstrom has totaled 50 assists in each of his first two NHL seasons ... Mike Green has 16 power-play scores in 2008-09, tying Scott Stevens for a season record for power-play goals by a Capitals defenseman ... Washington welcomes in Carolina, Toronto and Pittsburgh Week 22. The Capitals average 3.44 goals per game at home (7th) and is averaging 3.00 or more goals against each opponent. Consider starting your Washington skaters Week 22.
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