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Right on Schedule: Get your roster straight

by | Rotowire.com
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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
Jimmy Howard
Wings' Howard To Play Wednesday
Jimmy Howard, G, DET
3/4/2015
News: Jimmy Howard will be in the net for Wednesday's game against the Rangers, MLive.com's Ansar Khan reports.
Analysis: Jimmy Howard has alternated starts with backup Jonas Gustavsson over the last four games, but he should still be viewed as the Red Wings' unquestioned No. 1 goalie. He's graded out as an above-average netminder this season with a 2.23 GAA and .917 save percentage, but he could struggle to uphold those numbers against a potent Rangers attack that ranks second in the league in scoring.

Alec Martinez
Kings' Martinez Hopes To Resume Skating This Week
Alec Martinez, D, LA
3/4/2015
News: The Kings are hopeful that Alec Martinez (concussion) will be able to resume skating at some point later this week, Jon Rosen of LA Kings Insider reports.
Analysis: Alec Martinez, who will miss his 11th straight game Tuesday against the Oilers, is evidently showing some signs of progress in his recovery from concussion-like symptoms, but until he gets back on the ice, a return from IR shouldn't be viewed as imminent. The 27-year-old's absence prompted the Kings to address the blue line at the trade deadline, with the team reeling in Andrej Sekera from the Hurricanes last week.

Gregory Campbell
Bruins' Campbell Iffy For Thursday
Gregory Campbell, C, BOS
3/4/2015
News: Gregory Campbell (upper body) did not absorb contact at Tuesday's practice.
Analysis: Gregory Campbell remains iffy for Thursday's game against the Flames, though with the Bruins having added forwards Brett Connolly and Maxime Talbot at the NHL trade deadline, the team can probably afford to not rush Campbell back.

Tyler Kennedy
Isles' Kennedy Will Start On Second Line
Tyler Kennedy, C, NYI
3/4/2015
News: Tyler Kennedy will make his debut with the Islanders during Tuesday's game against the Stars as a member of the second line, according to the Islanders' official web site.
Analysis: Tyler Kennedy probably won't remain on the second line for long. With the Islanders tending to a few injuries, they need Ryan Strome to center the third line, enabling Kennedy to grab a spot on a trio with Michael Grabner and Frans Nielsen. Once either Kyle Okposo or Mikhail Grabovski returns from IR, look for Kennedy to slide into a bottom-six role.

Ben Scrivens
Oilers To Start Scrivens On Tuesday
Ben Scrivens, G, EDM
3/4/2015
News: Ben Scrivens will be in the crease for Tuesday's game against the Kings, Jason Gregor of OilersNation.com reports.
Analysis: Ben Scrivens will be sure to rise to the occasion for a game against his former team, but it's doubtful that his team will do much to help him out. An already porous Oilers squad became a little more suspect Monday by trading away Jeff Petry, leaving the team quite depleted in front of Scrivens. Of course, his offense hasn't been doing much of late either for Scrivens, who has given up two or fewer goals in three consecutive games but only has one win to show for it.

Kevin Bieksa
Canucks' Bieksa Remains Sidelined
Kevin Bieksa, D, VAN
3/4/2015
News: Coach Willie Desjardins indicated Tuesday that Kevin Bieksa (hand) is at least a week away from a return to action, Jon Abbott of tsnradiovancouver.ca reports.
Analysis: Such a timetable effective rules Kevin Bieksa out for at least the Canucks' next four games and a return to action March 12 against the Kings is hardly a lock for the blueliner, who last suited up Jan. 20.

Lubomir Visnovsky
Isles' Visnovsky Back In The Lineup
Lubomir Visnovsky, D, NYI
3/4/2015
News: Lubomir Visnovsky will draw back into the lineup Tuesday for the Islanders, according to Newsday's Arthur Staple.
Analysis: Coach Jack Capuano has been playing musical chairs between Lubomir Visnovsky and Brian Strait and Tuesday Strait was left without a chair when the music stops.

Frederik Andersen
Ducks' Andersen Confirmed For Tuesday
Frederik Andersen, G, ANA
3/4/2015
News: Frederik Andersen has been confirmed as the starter in goal for Tuesday's game against the Coyotes, Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Analysis: It will mark Frederik Andersen's first game since suffering a neck injury in his Feb. 8 start against the Lightning. John Gibson filled in admirably in Andersen's stead and has been especially sound in his last handful of outings, which may result in the Ducks employing a timeshare in goal over their next several games. That was precisely the situation that both goalies found themselves to start the season, only for Andersen to quickly emerge as the No. 1 option after Gibson floundered in the opener and later was reassigned to AHL Norfolk.

Jared Spurgeon
Wild's Spurgeon Gets In Skate Tuesday
Jared Spurgeon, D, MIN
3/4/2015
News: Jared Spurgeon (head) participated in Tuesday's morning skate, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: Jared Spurgeon didn't appear to be facing any limitations during the session and is considered a possibility to play Thursday against the Capitals. However, with the Wild not holding practice Wednesday and thus not being able to make another assessment of Spurgeon's condition, the blueliner might have to wait until the weekend to get back in the lineup.

Matt Cooke
Wild's Cooke Resumes Skating
Matt Cooke, LW, MIN
3/4/2015
News: Matt Cooke (sports hernia) has been able to skate for the last week, Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports.
Analysis: Despite his involvement on the ice, Matt Cooke isn't expected to resume practicing in the near future. It looks like a mid-March return is a best-case scenario for the winger, but it seems more likely that his timetable will extend beyond that.

 
 
 
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