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Right on Schedule: Revolving trainer's room door

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

After soaking up this week's developments, the biggest trend I found to be complicating your upcoming weekly schedule will be the coming and going of injured players. So far, the NHLPA's health benefits department has been the busiest organization. So without any ado, let us count the groin pains of the NHL.

HSA (Health Savings Plan)

Preparing to host this year's All-Star game is proving to be more taxing than the Carolina Hurricanes (9-9-1) expected. Since the beginning of this campaign, the Hurricanes have been a perpetual win one/lose one team. Though he has a tendency to lose focus, Cam Ward (9-7) is certainly looking more stable this year, having letting up three goals or less in 12 of 16 starts. Eric Staal, nine goals (23 points), and Jussi Jokinen (13 points) are keeping things stable while the value talent comes around. Though first-year RW Jeff Skinner has been on just about every blogger page the past few weeks, he's pointless (-5) in his last four games. Jim Rutherford (GM) seems to have gotten the better end of the stick, picking up D Ian White and LW Brett Sutter from Calgary. This may be the shakeup Raleigh needs, just in the nick of time. As you can see below, their upcoming schedule requires a bit of a wake-up call.

This week: vs. WAS, @BOS, WAS

HMO

How about some quick word association? When I say Columbus Blue Jackets (11-6-0), you say ... Yeah, Rick Nash is quite the face of a franchise, but what happens when he falls (groin) prey to an injury? After missing the 5-1 loss to Colorado, and a four day rest, Nash netted three goals in the Jackets next two wins against Los Angeles and Anaheim. Despite Columbus' record, it's been a slow start for Nash (nine goals, -2) and some guys are necessary to a franchise's survival.

Regardless of what I say, Rick Nash is not the be-all of the Blue Jackets. While Steve Mason (6-5) has gotten nearly 70 percent of the crease time, Mathieu Garon seems more in control of himself, posting a 4-1 record and .950 save percentage. Derick Brassard who leads the team with 13 points, has been an underused center (started by less than 50 percent CBS of owners) this year. Another Jackets C, Antoine Vermette, who is a +4 (3 points) in his last three games, seems to have broken out of his five game pointless streak. Columbus will look to lean on D Mike Commodore, who recently returned to game action from a sprained thumb. Keep an eye on yet another C, Andrew Murray, who should also break the lineup soon.

This week: vs. NSH, @NYI, vs. DET, @DET

PPO

All season I've been avoiding summarizing the Washington Capitals (14-5-1) schedule. How much could I possibly clue you in on? Trade for the Alexander's (Alexander Semin, Alexander Ovechkin), hold on tight to any goalie favored by head coach Bruce Boudreau and enjoy the ride. After what Caps fans may consider a mediocre (6-3) start, DC's only prolific professional sports team has been a commanding 10-2-1 since October 23rd. Though their road record (4-4-1) leaves room for concern, there's nothing misleading about an overall 10-1 record at home.

Michal Neuvirth, who was supposed to have played second fiddle to Semyon Varlamov this season, has been nothing short of phenomenal. Posting a 12-3 record (2.56 GAA), Neuvirth is the fiddler, and Varlamov (1-0 with Hershey) is still rehabbing his groin. For now, Braden Holtby (2-1) has been solid backing up Neuvirth, but should be shipped back to Hershey once Varlamov gets his groove. Speaking of the Hershey Bears team, RW, Andrew Gordon has 10 goals (22 points) and 68 shots on goals this year.

This week: @ NJ, CAR vs. TB, CAR

Deservingly, most of Montreal's (12-5-1) press this year has been on goalie Carey Price. With a 2.11 GAA, 3 shutouts and an 11-6 record, no one can downplay his importance to the Habs. The best goaltending in the world can only get you so far, hence the five team losses. Aside from Tomas Plekanec (20 points) and LW Andrei Kostitsyn's surprising quick start (14 points, 42 hits), it's who's not producing that may leave the Canadiens searching for a new provider (trade). Namely but not suprising, Scott Gomez, who in 19 games has a mere two goals and four assists. Although Michael Cammalleri has managed 13 points (five goals), yours truly is one of those fantasy owners who has already shipped off the talented 40-goal scorer Cammalleri for a dependable goalie. Looking strong for now, first place Montreal will play four games in six nights before taking three days off.

This week: @PHI vs. LA, @ATL, vs. BUF

Coaches of the following teams will also divvy up a minimum of 240 minutes this week: Boston, Calgary, Dallas, Florida, Nashville, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Ottawa, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Tampa.

Urgent Care

Semyon Varlamov's groin is old news in a rash of goalie injuries. Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin is the latest NHL netminder to hit the IR with a groin issue. While Martin Gerber (career record) gets the call from Oklahoma City, expect to see Devan Debnyk get the majority of starts till he proves unworthy.

Early reports are stating, Jean-Sebastien Giguere (1-2 weeks) will join Khabibulin as he was pulled this past Thursday due to a groin strain as well. Jonas Gustavsson will become the primary goalie, so hands off the itchy blue-chip trigger. Jussi Rynnas will stay put in the AHL as James Reimer moves to backup on the depth charts in Toronto.

Avs goalie Craig Anderson stepped between the pipes for the first times in 15 games as Colorado hosted the New York Rangers. After a solid (25 of 26 shorts) performance, looks like it's back to the pine for Peter Budaj.

There's nothing to gain on Long Island, as the Islanders (4-11-3) and new head coach Jack Capuano use a two game schedule to get back to the basics.

Consider the price of your co-pay on those playing two games in Vancouver, Phoenix and Anaheim.

FSA (Flex Spending Account) - The following players are owned by less than 50% of CBS owners and may be on the rise or prove to be a good FA pickup.

Rostislav Klesla (d, CLM): +15 with nearly 20 TOI

Jonas Gustavsson (g, TOR): 2-3-1, 2.55 GAA, temporary starter

Logan Couture (C, SJ): eight goals, 66 shots on goal

David Jones (RW, COL): averaging 17 minutes of TOI, 12 points, +9

Chad LaRose (LW, CAR): six goals, 6 assists

R.I.P. to a respected coach of my youth, Pat Burns lost his fight with cancer 1952 – 2010

The Full Schedule Grid

Team Away Home Total
Boston 3 1 4
Calgary 4 0 4
Columbus 2 2 4
Dallas 3 1 4
Florida 1 3 4
Montreal 2 2 4
New Jersey 1 3 4
Nashville 2 2 4
N.Y. Rangers 3 1 4
Ottawa 1 3 4
Philadelphia 2 2 4
Pittsburgh 2 2 4
Tampa Bay 1 3 4
Washington 2 2 4
Atlanta 0 3 3
Buffalo 1 2 3
Carolina 2 1 3
Chicago 3 0 3
Colorado 2 1 3
Detroit 2 1 3
Edmonton 1 2 3
Los Angeles 2 1 3
Minnesota 1 2 3
San Jose 2 1 3
St. Louis 2 1 3
Toronto 2 1 3
Anaheim 1 1 2
N.Y. Islanders 0 2 2
Phoenix 0 2 2
Vancouver 0 2 2
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Player News
Brett Bellemore
Hurricanes Sign Bellemore To One-Year Deal
Brett Bellemore, D, CAR
7/25/2014
News: Brett Bellemore agreed to a one-year, two way contract with the Hurricanes on Friday, the Hurricanes' Official Site reports.
Analysis: Brett Bellemore played in 64 games for the Hurricanes last season as it was the first time that he spent the entire year in the NHL. He has been able to contribute two goals and eight assists over the stretch of his two-year tenure with Carolina. The defenseman stands to improve on those numbers since he's slowly but surely gaining professional experience.

James Reimer
Leafs Agree To Two-Year Deal With Reimer
James Reimer, G, TOR
7/25/2014
News: James Reimer agreed to a two-year, $4.6 million deal with Toronto on Friday, Toronto Sun writer Rob Longley reports.
Analysis: After posting a 19-8-5 record in 2012 to go along with a GAA of 2.46, James Reimer struggled last year, finishing with a GAA of 3.29 and a record of 12-16-1. The Leafs are banking on him returning to the form he showed in the three years before last, in which case he would be a useful backup to Jonathan Bernier.

Landon Ferraro
Red Wings Ink Ferraro To One-Year Deal
Landon Ferraro, C, DET
7/25/2014
News: Landon Ferraro signed a one-year deal with the Red Wings on Friday.
Analysis: Landon Ferraro inked a two-way contract, meaning he can be assigned to AHL Grand Rapids at will by the Red Wings. He played just four games for Detroit in 2013-14, with the majority of his time coming with Grand Rapids. In the minors, Ferraro was responsible for 31 points (15 goals) over 70 games.

Lars Eller
Eller Signs Four-Year Deal With Habs
Lars Eller, C, MON
7/25/2014
News: Lars Eller signed a four-year, $14 million deal with the Canadiens on Thursday, the Canadian Press reports.
Analysis: The deal will pay Lars Eller $3.5 million each of the next four seasons. Coming off of a relatively average 2013-14 season in which he scored 26 points (12 goals) and recorded a career-worst minus-15 rating, Eller will look to prove he's worthy of the new deal.

Cory Sarich
Sarich Injured In Cycling Accident
Cory Sarich, D, COL
7/24/2014
News: Cory Sarich, who was injured in a cycling accident on Monday, is recovering in a Calgary hospital, TSN.ca reports.
Analysis: The report adds that Cory Sarich, who was hit by a car while training in B.C., was airlifted to a hospital in Calgary and is in stable condition, with non-life-threatening injuries. "It's been a rough couple of days and I'm grateful for the support I've been receiving from the medical team here and from family and friends" said Sarich, via a news release. At this stage, the timetable for the free agent blueliner's recovery is unclear. Sarich spent the 2013-14 season with the Avs, notching 10 points in 54 games.

David Warsofsky
Bruins Ink Warsofsky To One-Year, Two-Way Deal
David Warsofsky, D, BOS
7/24/2014
News: David Warsofsky agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins on Thursday.
Analysis: The diminutive blueliner is coming off a productive season at AHL Providence, where he supplied six goals and 26 assists over 56 games, ranking fourth on the team in points. He parlayed that minor league success into his first NHL call-up in December, ultimately finishing with two points in six games. With no present openings on the Bruins' top three pairings, David Warsofsky is likely bound for Providence to start the upcoming season, but should be one of the team's top replacement options should the parent club suffer an injury on defense.

Taylor Pyatt
Ex-Penguin Pyatt Signs With Swiss Club
Taylor Pyatt, LW, PIT
7/24/2014
News: Taylor Pyatt signed a one-year contract with Geneve-Servette of Switzerland on Wednesday, Seth Rorabaugh of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Analysis: Taylor Pyatt was only a bit contributor for the Rangers and Penugins last season, totaling five points over 56 NHL games. The former No. 8 overall pick in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft will attempt to restore some value overseas before returning stateside, perhaps next season.

Kevin Poulin
Isles, Poulin Reach New Deal
Kevin Poulin, G, NYI
7/24/2014
News: Kevin Poulin and the Islanders came to terms Thursday on a one-year, two-way contract, avoiding arbitration, Sportsnet reports.
Analysis: The offseason additions of Jaroslav Halak and Chad Johnson probably relegates Kevin Poulin to AHL Bridgeport to open the 2014-15 campaign, but the Islanders still seem bullish on Poulin's long-term potential. Only 23 years old, Poulin could end up pushing Halak for the starting job as soon as next season if he shows some growth in the minors.

Rasmus Rissanen
Rissanen Signs With Hurricanes
Rasmus Rissanen, D, CAR
7/23/2014
News: Rasmus Rissanen has signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Hurricanes, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: The 23-year-old Rasmus Rissanen, who notched 10 points and 91 penalty minutes in 62 games with AHL Charlotte in 2013-14, is in line to reprise his role as an organizational depth blueliner for the Hurricanes.

Andre Benoit
Sabres, Benoit Agree To One-Year Deal
Andre Benoit, D, BUF
7/23/2014
News: Andre Benoit signed a one-year, $800,000 contract with the Sabres on Wednesday, TSN's Aaron Ward reports.
Analysis: Andre Benoit, 30, logged 79 games with the Avalanche last season, accumulating 28 points and 26 PIM. The blue line was a major area of weakness in the Sabres' dismal 2013-14 campaign, and the additions of Benoit, Josh Gorges and Andrej Meszaros over the summer should only improve the team on that side of the ice during the upcoming season. Also expect the 30-year-old to mentor some of Buffalo's top young defensemen, including Rasmus Ristolainen, Nikita Zadorov, Chad Ruhwedel and Mark Pysyk.

 
 
 
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