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Right on Schedule: Eriksson's Star on the rise

by | Rotowire.com
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Of the four teams playing only twice this week, it seems Niklas Backstrom (3-2-2) and the Minnesota Wild (3-2-3) have the least favorable Fantasy setup, drawing only two games with Anaheim (4-2) and Detroit (5-1).

Tyler Seguin (3 goals, 6 assists, plus-7) has two goals and two assists in his last two games but Boston's week is compact. The Bruins' (3-5) week consists of a traditional home-and-home series with the Canadiens.

The NHL's only unbeaten team, Washington (7-0), plays only two games in Edmonton and Vancouver.

Meanwhile, division cellar-dwelling Calgary (2-4-1) has Colorado (6-2-0) and St. Louis (4-4-0).

The Grid

GP = Games Played
B2B = Back-to-Back games
H = Home
A = Away
GPNW = Games Played Next Week

NHL schedule

Play Like the Lotto (playing four games)

Florida (4-3) hits the road for the first three of four games this week. They announced this past Saturday that the personnel would be a bit different. Vancouver Canucks get: LW David Booth (A, minus-6), C Steve Reinprecht and a (2013) third-round draft pick. Florida Panthers get: Marco Sturm (0 points, minus-5) and Mikael Samuelsson (1 G, 2 A, plus-1). Later that night, Jose Theodore left the game (DTD) with a “cramping” issue and watched on as Jacob Markstrom earned his first NHL win, 4-2 over the Islanders. Is Kris Veesterg (4 G, 4 A, plus-2 ) available in your FA pool? He seems to be jostling himself of slumps quicker.

Columbus, the league's worst team (0-7-1), has arguably the hardest (vs. DET @BUF, CHI vs. ANH) four-game week ahead.

Ottawa, flip-flops (@CAR vs. FLA @NYR vs. TOR) during a four-game week.

Outside of Northeast-leading Toronto (5-1-1), Philadelphia enjoys a favorable schedule against Montreal (1-4-2), Winnipeg (2-4-1) and Carolina (3-3-2).

Anaheim heads to the heart of the country for four games (@CHI, MIN, NSH, CLS).

While Edmonton enjoys three games at home this week, all four Oilers' games (vs. VAN, WAS, @COL, vs. STL) look to be demanding on either goalie they may start. The NKOTB team of Hockey is fresh off a 2-0 win over travel team, the New York Rangers.

Call me a schmuck, but a draft oversight cost me Jack Johnson (3, 2, plus-4) in a deal for Semyon Varlamov. Varlamov (3-2, .936 save percentage) snagged me a shootout win (4 GA) in the goalie column Saturday. Then I called myself a schmuck as I watched Johnson break a tightly played scoreless game between the Stars and Kings. This kind of behavior could go on all season ... is there a Fantasy pill for buyer's remorse? Los Angeles (5-1-1) plays host to New Jersey, before three white jersey nights with Dallas, Phoenix, Colorado.

After a two-goal performance in Saturday's 5-4 loss to Toronto, Travis Moen (one assist) now has four goals on 12 shots in seven games. The third line nine-year veteran, entering his fourth season with the Habs is nearly halfway to breaking his career-best (11) for goals in a season. With Michael Cammalleri (two goals in five games) and the amazing Max Pacioretty (second in NHL SOG) ahead of Moen, he likely will not see an increase in ice time. Montreal will look to change their luck with three of their four at home, including the aforementioned home-and-home against Boston.

Reading Between the Lines (playing three games)

Can you imagine if James Neal (first in NHL SOG) and Jamie Benn (2 G, 5 A, plus-5) were still playing for the same team? Both Pittsburgh (@NYI vs. NYI @TOR) and Dallas (@PHO, vs. LA NJ) head into the week hoping to cement their positions as conference leaders. Although Los Angeles (5-1-1) snapped his five-game point streak, Stars leader Loui Eriksson (5 G, 2 A, plus-4) may be awakening. Mike Ribeiro (six points in 8 games) is starting off a lot like last year. Even back up, Andrew Raycroft looked good in the loss to Jonathan Quick (3 SO's in a row) and Anze Kopitar (4 G, 6 A, plus-5). If Kari Lehtonen's (6-0) back holds up for another full campaign, they may keep the steam until April.

Tobias Enstrom (G, 3 A) is officially out-producing Dustin Byfuglien (G, 2 A). Was someone saying something about switching Buff back to right-wing? Anything to get this high-draftee going. After beating (2-1) visitor Pittsburgh last week, a big risk and big reward situations is still awaiting for Ondrej Pavelec. Pavelec has a difficult (vs. NYR @PHI, TB) schedule, as his under-whelming win-less Jets offense (0-3-1) is on the road. If anyone is going to take over for this Winnipeg squad, it needs to initiated by their goalie. Later that night Pavelec (two goals on five shots) was yanked in the first period of Saturday's game against Carolina. Would this be happening in Quebec? Chris Mason anyone?

Truly, it gives me a headache trying to gauge who on a team of young Blues will take the reins of leadership. I have already stashed T.J. Oshie (G, 3 A), Patrik Berglund (2 G, 2 A) and Alex Steen (3 G, 3 A) with late draft-picks and it's beginning to yield a few points. Alex Steen has a point in six of his eight games this season. But it was Matt D'Agostini (4 G, A, plus-7) who invaded the slot for an O.T. game-winner against Carolina this past Friday. Oshie scored his first goal of the season as St. Louis 4-2 in Philadelphia the following night. St. Louis endures a three-game road-trip against the mediocre Canucks, Flames and Oilers.

A goal, three assists and 11 shots on goal isn't exactly living up to the hype for Matt Duchene. But the Avs may have staying power nonetheless. Kyle Quincey (G, 3 A, 25 SOG) continues his productive way return to the lineup. The Avs have an interesting (@CGY, vs. EDM, LA) schedule ahead.

San Jose's Logan Couture scored his first goal in a 4-2 road win against Boston. Will Joe Pavelski, two goals, two assists, plus-4 in the last two games, continue his uptick on the road versus the Predators, Red Wings and Islanders?

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Player News
Ryan Ellis
Preds, Ellis Still At Odds Over New Contract
Ryan Ellis, D, NSH
9/21/2014
News: Preds GM David Poile addressed Ryan Ellis' contract situation Saturday, saying the main stumbling block continues to be money, according to the Tennessean. "Unfortunately at this time we have not agreed what they think and what we think is fair compensation," Poile said. "We want [Ellis]. We are not trading him, we really like him. We really like the way he played last year. It's just a disagreement on dollars."
Analysis: Ryan Ellis, who has missed the first two days of training camp so far, played in 80 games last season for and finished with 27 points - his highest full season total to date. And while there is still plenty of time left to get a deal done before the start of the season, the clock is ticking. Not only is he missing out on conditioning drills and scrimmages, the more Ellis misses of training camp, the greater the chances of some other defenseman impressing the coaching staff and grabbing a roster spot that might otherwise go to Ellis. Bottom line, we think Ellis will get signed by the start of the regular season, but what his role on the team will be is anybody's guess. He's a risky fantasy pick right now, until all of the above gets sorted out.

Jon Merrill
Devils' Merrill Misses Practice With Head Injury
Jon Merrill, D, NJ
9/21/2014
News: Jon Merrill missed the second day of Devils' training camp on Saturday due to a head injury he suffered after colliding with teammate Ruslan Fedotenko during Friday's practice, Rich Chere of NJ.com reports.
Analysis: Luckily for Jon Merrill, the Devils' first regular season game isn't until October 9th. While head injuries are never a good thing, the promising young defender should have ample time to get healthy before the regular season kicks off.

Jonathan Quick
Kings' Quick Still Struggling With Wrist Injury
Jonathan Quick, G, LA
5:05 PM
News: Jonathan Quick was able to practice Saturday but said that his wrist is still not 100 percent, ESPN reports.
Analysis: Jonathan Quick is trying to work his way back to health, but the early news from Los Angeles continues to note that his season might get off to a slow start. While the injury doesn't seem to have long-term determinants, he's still a viable option for fantasy squads.

P.A. Parenteau
Habs' Parenteau Scores In Scrimmage
P.A. Parenteau, RW, MON
5:04 PM
News: P.A. Parenteau scored two goals in an intra-squad scrimmage Saturday, Hockey Inside Out reports. He skated on a line with David Desharnais and Max Pacioretty.
Analysis: P.A. Parenteau, who was acquired in the offseason from Colorado, will be part of a few line combinations during the preseason to see where he fits best, so we're not jumping to any conclusions because he skated on the Habs' top line. Head coach Michel Therrien said he was pleased with Parenteau's conditioning, something he and general manager Marc Bergevin talked to Parenteau about when he was acquired.

Mark Stuart
Jets' Stuart Dealing With Muscle Issue
Mark Stuart, D, WPG
2:59 PM
News: Mark Stuart is dealing with a minor muscle issue, Ken Wiebe of the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: Mark Stuart is apparently improving and is considered day-to-day at this point. The injury doesn't appear as though it will cost him any regular season time.

Jordan Staal
New Linemates For Canes' Staal Early In Camp
Jordan Staal, C, CAR
1:44 PM
News: Jordan Staal has been skating with Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty so far in training camp, reports the Raleigh News & Observer.
Analysis: Although it's early and new coach Bill Peters will likely experiment with various line combinations before the start of the regular season, Jordan Staal could really benefit from inheriting his brother Eric's linemates from the last two seasons. Semin and Tlusty are two reliable, scoring wingers who are used to playing on the same line together, something Staal has often lacked since joining the Canes two seasons ago. One thing is for certain - Staal will once again open the season as the Canes' second-line center, so it's really just a matter of who will be his wingers at this point - likely some combination of Semin, Tlusty, Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm.

Eric Staal
Canes' Staal Has New Linemates In Camp
Eric Staal, C, CAR
1:25 PM
News: Eric Staal has been skating with Jeff Skinner and Elias Lindholm so far in training camp, reports the Raleigh News & Observer.
Analysis: Eric Staal, who is attempting to rebound from a disappointing 2013-14 season (61 points in 79 games) in which he skated primarily with Alexander Semin and Jiri Tlusty, could be looking at a fresh start this season with a new coach (Bill Peters) and new linemates. And although Peters cautioned reporters on the first day of camp not to read too much into his initial line combination choices, the thought of Staal playing with Skinner and Lindholm - two of the Canes' most skilled forwards - is an intriguing one. While it's still just the first week of training camp, and nothing is written in stone at this point, it's a situation worth keeping an eye on.

Taylor Beck
Preds' Rookie Beck Remains Unsigned
Taylor Beck, LW, NSH
1:00 PM
News: Taylor Beck has been a participant at training camp this week, despite being an unrestricted free agent, according to the Tennessean.
Analysis: Taylor Beck, who is coming off a three-year, $2.7 million entry-level deal, has spent most of his time playing for AHL Milwaukee, posting 44 goals and 86 assists over the last three years. He has appeared in 16 career games for the Preds, including seven last season. Unless he makes a major impression in training camp, expect him to start the season back in the minors, when and if he gets re-signed.

Jhonas Enroth
Sabres Coach Confident In Enroth
Jhonas Enroth, G, BUF
11:09 AM
News: Sabres head coach Ted Nolan believes Jhonas Enroth can be a starting goalie in the NHL, reports the Olean Times Herald.
Analysis: Jhonas Enroth will battle Michal Neuvirth for the starting job, but if one of them has the edge, it's Enroth. Despite his lack of wins the previous season, Enroth still had a respectable .911 save percentage on the league's worst team and made the Swedish national team for Sochi. He has been Ryan Miller's understudy for the past few seasons, but Neuvirth is also reunited with Arturs Irbe, his goaltending coach in Washington. Nolan will split starts between Enroth and Neuvirth for the time being. The Sabres have six exhibition games this season.

Tyler Bozak
Leafs' Bozak Dealing With Lower-Body Issue
Tyler Bozak, C, TOR
11:05 AM
News: Tyler Bozak is dealing with a lower-body injury, Terry Koshan of the Toronto Sun reports.
Analysis: Tyler Bozak reportedly skated in full equipment before the Leafs' practice Saturday, but didn't participate with the team. He and David Clarkson both suffered the injuries in pre-camp workouts, but both are believed to be minor injuries.

 
 
 
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