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Right on Schedule: Trade your way to success

by | Rotowire.com
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With only eight of the 30 NHL teams playing four games this week, you might think it's going to be a slow week. Not so fast sir or madam, the remainder of the 22 teams will all play three games. Not one team will play less than fewer games, and 17 teams will play on back-to-back nights at one point. So with a very small variable, how can we gain at least a small edge over our opponent?

Ah, deadline time!

NHL schedule

Headed for the links:

Probably the most gawked team in the NHL right now, Columbus' futility has them at storm's eye of the NHL trading deadline. The Columbus Dispatch reported a few of the key reactions. "It's extremely tough," left winger R.J. Umberger went on to elaborate. "A guy like Rick Nash being all over the news. Whether it's true, if it happens or doesn't happen, it affects our team because he is this organization. When you think Columbus Blue Jackets, you think Rick Nash. It's tough." Meanwhile, GM Scott Howson told The Dispatch something a bit more generic. "We're going to do whatever it takes to make our team better." If goalie(s) Steve Mason or Curtis Sanford are moved, look for pup Allen York to get more playing time. Another trading tool, defenseman, James Wisniewski is considered day-to-day after pulling a groin. To top things off, Columbus (vs. SJ, COL, @PIT) has a dirty schedule this week.

Edmonton's Ales Hemsky (4 goals, 20 assists) wants a long-term deal. With so many young guns to begin locking up on this squad, would it be a smart investment? You betcha! Hemsky is the iron man of this team, having played 534 straight games since joining the Oilers. Needless to say, this is the kind of attitude you want around a bunch of young kids. But, if the offer is right, GM Steve Tambellini could pull the trigger on just about anyone, including struggling tender Nikolai Khabibulin. Left-winger Ben Eager has two goals, an assist, seven penalty minutes and seven hits over his last three games. Edmonton (@CAL, vs. PHI, PHO) will play two of three from home.

With their most appealing trade-bait, Tuomo Ruttu, sidelined (upper-body) beyond the trading deadline, Carolina will most likely push the press on their intent to re-sign Ruttu. But how will that change the suitors of the 28-year-old? Defenseman Jaroslav Spacek (seven points in 22 games) is possibly on the move before the deadline as well. Left-winger Jiri Tlusty (14 goals, 11 assists) has a point in every one of his seven games (plus-7) this month. The Hurricanes (vs. WAS, ANH, FLA) will host three this week, including two divisional games starting with Washington on NBCS Monday.

Nearing what Buffalo spent on Ville Leino's (four goals, 13 assists, -6) six-year contract this past summer, are the Sabres' medical expenses this season. Though Leino has shown some spark (especially since moving to a younger second line unit) as of late, could the Fin be out as quick as he came in? Buffalo (vs. NYI, BOS, @NYR) hosts two of three.

Big schedule:

We knew it was coming and for Blackhawks fans, it came in the nick of time. Chicago used a 4-2 win over the heavily favored Rangers to catapult themselves back into coherence. After losing their first six games (all on the road) in February, Chicago bounced back and outscored their opponents 10-3 to end their eight-game road trip on a high note. Hell, even Corey Crawford (2-0, .944) came around this week. Defenseman Brent Seabrook, averaging 26-plus minutes of ice time per game, has two goals and three assists in his last seven games. The Blackhawks (vs. DET, DAL, @LA, ANA) hope to continue their feeling with two at home and then two more on the road.

In what has been a very busy February, Dallas (4-4-2) has barely kept their head above water with .500 hockey. Things will begin to settle for the Stars after this week, but first they must get through some difficult teams including another back-to-back schedule. Dallas is 0-8-2 on the second night of back-to-back games. Jamie Benn missed both games this past weekend with a leg laceration and is listed as day-to-day. The Stars (@MON, CHI, vs. MIN, VAN) hit the road for two, then home for two more.

Fresh off welcoming center Dominic Moore (assist, four shots on goal in debut) to the team, San Jose may not be done with trade deadline. With right-winger Martin Havlat (hamstring) is expected to return in time for the playoffs, the Sharks may look to solidify their goaltending situation as Antti Niemi has been suspect in the month of February (1-3-1, .862) and rookie Thomas Greiss may not be ready to lead this team to a Cup. The Sharks (@CLS, TOR, NSH, MIN) will play four on the road.

It took all week, but that offensive Vancouver explosion we talked about in the schedule analysis last week did come against Toronto in the form of 6-2 win. More buzz-worthy was the arrival of Chris Tanev, 22-year-old defenseman. Tanev, who played 18-plus minutes in place of the injured Keith Ballard, registered 14 assists in 34 regular season AHL games with the Chicago Wolves. The Canucks (@NSH, DET, NJ, DAL) take to the road for a brutal schedule.

Truly more applicable to "headed for the links," the Islanders are just playing with the emotions of their fans. John Tavares (24 goals, 34 assists) and P.A. Parenteau (12 goals, 41 assists) are doing all they can to provide a glimmer of hope for the Nassau Coliseum faithful, but this team hasn't felt a winning streak since mid-January. Defenseman Travis Hamonic (nose) has resumed skating and Kevin Poulin (won 4-3 over Carolina Saturday) is up from AHL Bridgeport while Evgeni Nabokov (flu) gets better. The Islanders (vs. OTT, @BUF, vs. NYR, @OTT) will continue the audition of their trading chips (i.e. Steve Staios) with an alternating home-and-road schedule, including two with Ottawa.

Ottawa (seventh in the Eastern Conference) on the other hand, has quietly taken control of their playoff-life, going 3-0-1 and outscoring (17-9) their last four opponents heavily. Neither are Fantasy-applicable, but a few former first-round players are contributing to the confidence as of late. Defenseman Brian Lee registered his first multi-point effort and center Jim O'Brien scored his first NHL goal last week against the Panthers. The Senators (@NYI, vs. WAS, BOS, NYI), as previously mentioned will take on the indecisive Isles twice this week.

Also more applicable to headed for the tee, general manager Stevie Y [Yzerman] has made it clear, his team (11th in conference) will not be buyers. After trading veteran role players like Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina, there's not a lot to say about their playoff chances. Though I'm sure Martin St. Louis (18 goals, 34 assists), Vincent Lecavalier (21 goals, 25 assists) and Steven Stamkos (40 goals, 27 assists) feel differently. To top it off, the Lightning (vs. ANH, @WPG, PIT, NJ) host Anaheim then hit the road for three this week.

Warding off division rivals Tampa Bay and Winnipeg is Dale Hunter and his barely breathing Washington Capitals. The good news is defenseman Mike Green returned last week and played 14-plus minutes in a 2-1 loss to the aforementioned Lightning. With Nicklas Backstrom (concussion symptoms) still out and Keith Aucoin having been ineffective in five NHL games, the Caps (averaging 2.22 goals scored per game) need an offensive jolt. Though their playoff chances won't be clear until well after the deadline, the Capitals (@CAR, OTT, vs. MON, @TOR) hope to have a great week on the road with the personnel they currently have.

Gearing Up:

No, Chris Pronger won't be back, but the Philadelphia Flyers (@WPG, EDM, CAL) have added two veteran defensemen, Nicklas Grossman (Dallas) and Pavel Kubina (Tampa Bay) to offset that. Left-winger James van Riemsdyk returned from a concussion with three hits and an assist. Recently recalled left-winger Eric Wellwood has a goal and two assists in his first four games this season. Having given up four draft-picks –and AHL forward Jon Kalinski - in the last three days, regardless of their teetering goal-tender situation, I think it's safe to say Philly is pushing for a cup run now. The Flyers (@WPG, EDM, CAL) have three on the road this week.

The St. Louis Blues' plan to add "from within" is seemingly working. Not only is David Perron (10 points in last seven games) as hot as anyone in the league, but he's awakening players like T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund. Add in the unbreakable tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott, and one of the league's top scoring defenseman in Alex Pietrangelo, yep, the St. Louis is finally playing the right tune at the right time. The Blues (vs. BOS, @NSH, WPG) have a fairly tough road ahead of them after hosting the defending Stanley Cup champion Bruins.

Some Others:

Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal may catch up to more productive brother Eric very soon. Jordan (four goals, two assists since returning five games ago) logged 16.5 CBS Fantasy points last week. The Penguins (vs. NYR, TB, CLS) will play three this week. Prior to publishing, word is Matt Duchene (24 points in 39 games) will return (knee) to the Avalanche (vs. LA, @CLS, DET) lineup this Sunday, lining up with Paul Stastny and Milan Hejduk. Montreal's (vs. DAL, @WAS, FLA) Tomas Kaberle has a goal and an assist in his last three games. New Jersey's (@TOR, vs. VAN, TB) Adam Henrique (four points in his last four games) is back to his productive ways. Minnesota's (@FLA, DAL, vs. SJ) Mikko Koivu (undisclosed) is day-to-day. Detroit's (@CHI, vs. VAN, COL) Jimmy Howard (broken finger) is expected to start this Tuesday against Chicago.

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Player News
Daniel Paille
Bruins' Paille Skates On Saturday
Daniel Paille, LW, BOS
9:18 AM
News: Daniel Paille (undisclosed injury) skated for the second straight day Saturday, the Boston Herald reports.
Analysis: Given that Daniel Paille skated with Dennis Seidenberg and Adam McQuaid -- who both are still in injury rehab mode -- it doesn't seem likely that the winger will suit up for Sunday's playoff game against the Red Wings.

Brent Seabrook
Hawks' Seabrook Hearing Set For Sunday
Brent Seabrook, D, CHI
8:26 AM
News: Brent Seabrook will have a hearing over the phone with the NHL for his hit on Blues' David Backes on Sunday that resulted in a game misconduct and knocking Backes out of the game, the NHL told the USA Today.
Analysis: The turnaround on the decision should be pretty quick since both teams play Monday night. Also since it is a phone hearing, the suspension should be less than five games. Brent Seabrook will probably face some form of discipline especially a suspension, but several factors will probably come into play especially how long Backes is out and also that Seabrook does not have a history of dirty hits. In addition the league might also look at that Chicago has already suffered since the the five-minute major that Seabrook was also hit with resulted in the game being sent into overtime.

Brandon Dubinsky
Jackets' Dubinsky Makes An Impact Saturday
Brandon Dubinsky, C, CLB
8:07 AM
News: Brandon Dubinsky was all over the score sheet Saturday, picking up an assist on Matt Calvert's game winner in the second OT period while recording nine shots, eight hits (both team highs) and four PIMs.
Analysis: He did this while being asked to blanket Sidney Crosby, a job he also did very well. Brandon Dubinsky has become the Blue Jackets' heart and soul, and if they pull off the first round upset and make any noise this postseason, he'll be at the center of the action.

Anders Lindback
Bolts' Lindback Between The Pipes For Game 3
Anders Lindback, G, TB
8:05 AM
News: Anders Lindback will start in net for the Lightning in Game 3 on Sunday, Damian Cristodero of the Tampa Bay Times reports.
Analysis: Anders Lindback has struggled in his first two outings, allowing five goals in Game 1 and three more in Game 2 before being pulled with 8:14 left in the game. He will look to turn things around in Montreal on Sunday.

David Savard
Jackets' Savard Dishes Two Assists Saturday
David Savard, D, CLB
8:01 AM
News: David Savard recorded two assists in Saturday's 4-3 double-OT win over the Penguins.
Analysis: He saw huge ice time in this one (almost 34 minutes, more than double his Game 1 TOI) and rewarded coach Todd Richards' faith. David Savard had just five goals and 15 points during the regular season though, so don't expect him to keep it up.

Carey Price
Habs Go With Price For Game 3
Carey Price, G, MON
7:44 AM
News: Carey Price will start in net for the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday, John Lu of TSN Montreal reports.
Analysis: After a shaky performance in Game 1 where Carey Price allowed four goals on 25 shots, he gave up only one goal on 27 shots in Game 2. He will look to put up another solid performance on Sunday in the Canadiens first home game of the series.

Ondrej Palat
Lightning's Palat (Upper Body/Knee) Skates Sunday
Ondrej Palat, LW, TB
7:35 AM
News: Ondrej Palat (upper body/knee) participated in the morning skate on Sunday, Erik Erlendsson of The Tampa Tribune reports.
Analysis: Ondrej Palat missed Game 2 after suffering a knee-to-knee collision in Game 1 and has been dealing with an upper body injury as well. The fact that he is skating on Sunday morning bodes well for his availability in Game 3, but there is still no guarantee he will play.

T.J. Oshie
Blues' Oshie (Upper Body) Will Play In Game 2
T.J. Oshie, RW, STL
12:03 AM
News: T.J. Oshie (upper body) is participating in pregame warmups and will play in Saturday's Game 2 against the Blackhawks, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: T.J. Oshie was considered questionable to play heading into Saturday after missing Game 1 with an upper-body injury. He skated prior to the game and will be in the lineup Saturday afternoon.

Darcy Kuemper
Kuemper's Relief Effort Not Enough For Wild
Darcy Kuemper, G, MIN
4/19/2014
News: Darcy Kuemper (upper body) was summoned to action in the second period of Saturday's Game 2 against Colorado after starter Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three goals. Kuemper stopped all 14 shots he faced, but the Wild were unable to dig out of an early hole and fell, 4-2.
Analysis: When the series moves to Minnesota for Game 3, he'll likely get the nod as long as he's anywhere near healthy enough to go.

Ilya Bryzgalov
Bryzgalov Yanked As Wild Lose Game 2
Ilya Bryzgalov, G, MIN
4/19/2014
News: Ilya Bryzgalov allowed three goals before being pulled from the crease midway through the second period of Saturday's 4-2 loss at Colorado.
Analysis: He had put together a solid regular season, but a 2-0 deficit in a seven-game series is a four-alarm emergency. There's a fair chance that the Minnesota coaching staff will give the Game 3 nod to Darcy Kuemper, who played well in relief Saturday.

 
 
 
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