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Right on Schedule: Get your roster straight

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Nearly half of the NHL will play four games next week, by that time, the smoke will have cleared from the NHL trading deadline. This week, it's imperative you determine how the deadline has affected your existing roster and possible FA moves.

NHL schedule

The Anaheim Ducks (@COL, vs. BUF, CAL, @LA) will start their four-game week on the road, head home to host the Sabres and Flames and then bus out to Los Angeles on Saturday. Since the first whispers of the Thrashers moving to Winnipeg, the cheeseball inside of me has wanted the Ducks to trade Teemu Selanne back to the Jets. Even with the Ducks (7-2-3 in February) playing as well as they are, if they decide at deadline time that their turn around was too little, too late in a very tight Western Conference, you may look to the Ducks AHL affiliate Syracuse Crunch for a bit of keeper league good news. Yes, a bit of a homer pick for me, hailing from Smithtown, NY, right-winger Kyle Palmieri has 48 points (30 goals and 18 assists) in just 36 games. Also, ranked sixth in AHL-scoring is left-winger Patrick Maroon. Maroon (25 goals, 30 assists) has 55 points in 53 games.

Starting this week, the slumping Boston Bruins' schedule (vs. OTT, NJ, NYI, @NYR) kicks things up a notch. After hosting Ottawa and into March (17 games), the only time the Bruins will play on back-to-back nights will be on the weekend, three times to be exact. That being said, it's entirely foreseeable that Tuukka Rask (11-8-3, .929, 2.05 GAA, 3 SHO) may actually be moved before the deadline. No one is really sure if the Bruins will be as busy as they were at last year's deadline. With Rich Peverley out four-to-six weeks and Nathan Horton's health (concussion) still in question, for now, Boston is attempting to help themselves internally. Recent call-up, center Carter Camper scored his first NHL goal in just his third game. Camper had 38 points (14 goals, 24 assists) in Providence of the AHL.

Yeah, you don't really sup up a rusting vehicle. Sinking fast (fell three spots in seven days) Calgary (vs. STL, @PHO, ANH, vs. DAL) willmost likely look to their IR for any additional scoring punch. Right-winger, David Moss (foot surgery) should be back with Mikael Backlund (shoulder) about two weeks behind him. No, I just don't see Coach Sutter getting any assistance from the brass before the deadline. Former first-round pick of the Coyotes (2000) center Krystofer Kolanos did register his first point of the season. Kolanos (18 goals, 22 assists, 41 PIM) was leading the Abbordsford Heat when he was called up to the big club.

Fresh Florida (@TOR, WPG, vs. NSH, OTT) he may call it, as Wojtek Wolski scored in his first game with the Panthers this past Saturday night. The goal was Wolski's first to hit the back of the net since April 23rd, 2011. This could be a great fit ladies and gentleman. Also making his Florida debut Saturday was former Predators right-winger, Jerred Smithson. Smithson had two shots on goal, plus-1 in nearly 13 minutes of ice time. After a two-game skid, it's also noteworthy, Tomas Fleischmann grabbed a goal in the win as well. Fleischman has 10 points in 12 February games. Perhaps Florida is on the mend instead of shopping for more trades as well. Goalie Jacob Markstrom (knee) recently had a 40-save effort since returning to San Antonio of the AHL. Jason Garrison (13 goals, 10 assists) also returned to the lineup with an assist in nearly 27 minutes of ice time. Garrison missed several weeks with a lower- body injury. Scottie Upshall (sports hernia), Dmitry Kulikov (knee), John Madden and Marco Sturm (knee) are all expected returns in late-March.

I'm not sure anyone knew what Colorado (vs. ANH, CLS, PIT, @MIN) was up to when they shipped out defenseman Kyle Quincey (six goals, 18 assists) for right-winger Steve Downie. Although Quincey scored in his second debut with the Wings, it seems Downie (14 goals, 19 assists) may have produced better dividends in the first week. Downie has two goals and three assists in the past two games while helping wake up left wing Gabriel Landeskog and center Ryan O'Reilly. Since Downie joined the team, the three have combined for five goals and ten assists and helping the Avs win three straight for the first time since the new year. Recently back from his own knee injury, center Matt Duchene, who was expected to skate with Landeskog and O'Reilly, has just one assist in four games. Right-winger Milan Hejduk (groin) is listed as day-to-day currently.

New Jersey (@NYR, BOS, WAS, NYI) will play on back-to-back nights twice this week. With 17 games scheduled in March, things could get ugly. But first, one last tilt in February against bitter cross-river rivals the Rangers. The Devils traded defenseman Kurtis Foster, forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, a second-round pick in the 2012 draft (originally Washington's) and a conditional third-round pick in the 2013 draft for Marek Zidlicky. Though Zidlicky waived his no-trade clause and is said to have a friendship Patrik Elias, only time will tell if Zids can return to a positive plus/minus type of player now that he has exited Minnesota.

Finally the Isles (@WAS, PHI, BOS, vs. NJ) stopped winning every other game. Unfortunately their streakiness took a bounce to the wrong side, and if not for two points in a shootout win against the Rangers, they would have gone winless. This week gets no easier, ending with the first of three straight games against New Jersey. A month consisting of 15 games and every single one will be against Eastern Conference opponents. In a move completely expected, the Islanders have placed left-winger Brian Rolston on waivers. Rolston has four goals, five assists and is a minus-12 in 49 games played.

For all the talk about the Rangers (vs. NJ @CAR, TB, vs. BOS) acquiring Rick Nash, they've been fairly quiet, seemingly staying put. Though moving Wolski cleared up $3.8 million on the Rangers cap, the New York Post is reporting it may cost the Broadway blues Brandon Dubinsky (six goals, 19 assists) and a slew of other prospects. Previously attached to those reports is Connecticut-AHL defenseman Tim Erixon, who recently suffered a neck strain. Carl Hagelin (10 goals, 15 assists) remains the offensive surprise of the season for the Rangers. Hagelin has 12 points in his last 17 games.

Chalk full of young talent from New Jersey, Minnesota (vs. LA,@MON, DET, vs. COL) will play two on the road and two from home. Formerly brief leaders in team points, the Wild are five points out of the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs and it's largely due to the efforts of Niklas Backstrom. Then Backstrom fell flat on his face this past Saturday night against Dallas, on the second half of back-to-back games. Acquired in the Zidlicky trade, Nick Palmieri had five goals, six assists and 24 penalty minutes in 25 games for the Albany Devils-AHL while Stephane Veilleux had 11 goals, 11 assists and 53 penalty minutes in 40 games for Albany as well. Though Kurtis Foster (four goals, 10 assists) isn't likely to catch on fire now that he's back in Minnesota, stranger things have happened. Foster (back), who is day-to-day, had put up a two goal, one assist effort earlier this month for New Jersey.

St. Louis (@CAL, EDM, VAN, SJ) is scheduled to spend 10 of their 15 games in the NHL's final full month of the season on the road. Several weeks ago, we talked about the Blues dire need to attend to the goalie traffic jam in their system. Recently named MVP at the AHL All-Star game, 25-year-old goalie Ben Bishop (24-14-0, 6 SHO,.928 SV%, 2.26 GAA)has been traded to the Ottawa Senators in exchange for Ottawa's 2013 second-round draft-pick. This move shows Blues management has a lot of confidence in Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott for many seasons to come. It seems the only big move St. Louis needed to make was made back in the beginning of the season when they hired Ken Hitchcock. If St. Louis were to go a bit stale, you may see them call their Peoria-AHL affiliate, as center T.J. Hensick (19 goals, 45 assists) is third in the league with 64 points.

Other transaction trends

Clearly Edmonton (@WPG, vs. STL, DAL) felt Ales Hemsky (five goals, 21 assists, 27 PIM) is the type of veteran player to help lead their squad of young guns. The Oilers gave Hemsky a two-year ($10 million) extension.

Reports are the Phoenix (vs. VAN, CAL, CLS) Coyotes may stay in Arizona. One of their building blocks, Oliver Ekman-Larsson snapped the snide with his first goal since January 7 on Saturday. After a minus-1 in his Coyotes debut, recently acquired center Antoine Vermette went plus-2 with two hits and one shot on goal this past Saturday. Vermette (eight goals, 19 assists) has been centering the Yotes' second line of Shane Doan and Lauri Korpikoski.

With Craig Anderson (hand) out, you could see Ben Bishop make his Ottawa Senators (@BOS, vs. CHI, @FLA) debut in March.

With Tampa Bay (vs. MON, NYR, @CAR) clearly waving (departure of Dominic More, Pavel Kubina, Steve Downie) their white flags and now Vinny Lecavalier (hand) out, you may see Yzerman give some of their younger talent a shot in the month of March. Left-wingers Cory Conacher has 62 points (29 goals, 33 assists) in 55 games while Pierre-Cedric Labrie has 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 30 games, both with the Norfolk Admirals of the AHL.

Other notable schedule trends

Washington (vs. NYI, NJ, PHI) starts a stretch where they will play six of their next seven games at home. Buffalo (@ANH, SJ, VAN) heads West while Carolina (vs. NSH, NYR, TB) continues their six-game road trip with three more difficult games. After a 3-2 shootout loss to Florida on Saturday, the Hurricanes are likely to miss out on the playoffs. Doesn't mean you can't cash in on Justin Faulk. Turning 20 years old in March, the former 2nd-round draft pick has enjoyed February, notching five points (three goals, two assists), seven penalty minutes, 13 blocked shots and 25 hits. After spending most of February on the road, the last thing Chicago (vs. TOR, @OTT, DET) needs is a few more games on the road. Vancouver (@PHO, vs. STL, BUF), 11 of 15 games at home in March. Winnipeg's (vs. EDM, FLA) Blake Wheeler is arguably one of the hottest forwards in the NHL. Wheeler, who registered for 15 CBS points last week, has a six-game point streak, which includes three goals and 10 assists over that period. I personally found Wheeler available in both of my leagues last week.

TV Time

Feb. 27: Devils at Rangers 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports
Feb. 28: Kings at Wild 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports
Feb. 29: Penguins at Stars 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports
March 4: Bruins at Rangers 12:30 p.m., NBC
March 4: Flyers at Capitals 7 p.m., NBC Sports

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Player News
Tyler Johnson
Bolts' Johnson Takes Postseason Scoring Lead
Tyler Johnson, C, TB
5/26/2015
News: Tyler Johnson dished out two assists in Tuesday's Game 6 loss to the Rangers, giving him 20 points in the playoffs.
Analysis: That's good for tops in the league, one point ahead of his linemate Nikita Kucherov and Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf (who's played five fewer games). Tyler Johnson's dozen goals easily lead the playoffs, so it's nice to see him balance out his stat line with a couple helpers, although they both came in garbage time.

Nikita Kucherov
Bolts' Kucherov Scores Twice In Game 6 Loss
Nikita Kucherov, RW, TB
5/26/2015
News: Nikita Kucherov potted a pair of garbage-time goals in Tuesday's Game 6 loss to the Rangers.
Analysis: His eighth and ninth goals of the playoffs came with the Lightning trailing 5-1 and then 6-2, so they were mainly good for padding his playoff stat line. It's a fine line indeed, as he's sitting on an outstanding 19 points in 19 contests -- good for a tie with Anaheim's Ryan Getzlaf for second in postseason scoring behind Nikita Kucherov's linemate Tyler Johnson.

Ryan Callahan
Bolts' Callahan Finally Tallies Against Rangers
Ryan Callahan, RW, TB
5/26/2015
News: Ryan Callahan potted his first playoff goal -- and first point since April 29 -- on a power play in Tuesday's Game 6 loss to the Rangers. He finished minus-2 with five shots.
Analysis: Ryan Callahan got left all alone by the Rangers' defensemen as he floated by the blue line, got fed a long lead pass, and broke in on Henrik Lundqvist with a quick deke to beat him for a stick-side goal. His last point came in Game 7 against Detroit, and Cally had only tallied three helpers over his first 17 playoff games. The appendix surgery that kept him out of the series-clinching Game 6 against Montreal only excuses part of that. Nonetheless, he looks like he's back to full health already, and you can be sure that he'll put forth a strong effort in Game 7 back at his old haunt, Madison Square Garden.

James Sheppard
Rangers' Sheppard Scores First Playoff Goal
James Sheppard, LW, NYR
5/26/2015
News: James Sheppard scored his first goal of the playoffs in Tuesday's Game 6 against the Lightning, tallying the eventual game-winning tally in the third period.
Analysis: James Sheppard played a game-low (among Rangers) 8:35 in fourth-line duty, but scored a hard-working goal to put the Rangers up 4-1. It was the second tally of what ended up being a five-goal period for the Rangers, with Tampa chipping in a pair of goals to turn Sheppard's into the game-winner. It was his first point since May 10 against Washington.

Keith Yandle
Yandle Helps Rangers Force Game 7 Against Tampa
Keith Yandle, D, NYR
5/26/2015
News: Keith Yandle scored his second goal of the playoffs and added a power-play assist Tuesday in a Game 6 victory against Tampa Bay.
Analysis: He's played his best hockey since joining the Rangers -- by far -- in the Eastern Conference finals against the Lightning. Over the first six games, Keith Yandle's racked up seven points and a plus-6 rating, as this series' fast-paced play has been right up his alley. The Rangers will be counting on Yandle to help drive their offense from the blue line in Game 7 on Friday.

Rick Nash
Rangers' Nash Racks Up Four Points In Game 6
Rick Nash, LW, NYR
5/26/2015
News: Rick Nash scored a power-play goal and handed out there assists in Tuesday's Game 6 victory over the Lightning.
Analysis: After getting shut out in Game 5 at home, the Rangers needed Rick Nash to step up and drive their offense in Game 6, and he did just that. It was his gorgeous pass to Derick Brassard that led to J.T. Miller's first goal of the playoffs, pushing the Rangers' lead to 3-1 early in the third period. Nash has had a quiet playoffs overall, but now has seven points in the last three games. If he can stay hot in Game 7 on Friday, it'll be trouble for Tampa.

J.T. Miller
Rangers' Miller Explodes For Four Points
J.T. Miller, C, NYR
5/26/2015
News: J.T. Miller scored his first goal of the playoffs, dished out three assists and went plus-4 in Tuesday's Game 6 victory over the Lightning.
Analysis: J.T. Miller's seen extensive playing time alongside Derick Brassard and Rick Nash in these playoffs, but although he's been able to generate offensive chances, he's been snakebitten as far as finding the net. That was certainly not the case Tuesday for any member of his trio, as they combined for 13 points to send the series on to Game 7 in New York.

Henrik Lundqvist
Lundqvist Stops 36, Rangers Stay Alive For Game 7
Henrik Lundqvist, G, NYR
5/26/2015
News: Henrik Lundqvist turned away 36 of 39 shots in Tuesday's Game 6 win over the Lightning.
Analysis: Henrik Lundqvist's huge saves in the first two periods helped the Rangers hold a small lead 'til the third, when their offense exploded for five goals. He only gave up Tampa's second and third tallies when the Rangers had 5-1 and 6-2 leads. Now Henrik and the Blueshirts will head back to Madison Square Garden, where they'll host the Lightning in Friday's Game 7.

Derick Brassard
Brassard's Hat Trick Leads Rangers To Game 6 Win
Derick Brassard, C, NYR
5/26/2015
News: Derick Brassard scored three goals on 10 shots, added two assists and went plus-5 in Tuesday's Game 6 victory over the Lightning.
Analysis: The hat-trick-completing goal came into an empty net, but it was a well-deserved one, as Derick Brassard played an excellent game. With nine goals and seven assists in these playoffs, he's been the Rangers' most reliable offensive performer.

Ben Bishop
Bolts' Bishop Chased In Game 6
Ben Bishop, G, TB
5/26/2015
News: Ben Bishop gave up five goals on 26 shots before being pulled from Tuesday's Game 6 loss at the hands of the Rangers.
Analysis: He and the Lightning came in with a chance to close the Rangers out and trailed 2-1 after two periods, but were unable to keep it close in the third, giving up three goals in a span of 4:12. Andrei Vasilevskiy delivered competent work in relief, but the Lightning will almost certainly turn back to Ben Bishop for Game 7 at Madison Square Garden on Friday.

 
 
 
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