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Right on Schedule: Full slates push Fantasy races

by | Rotowire.com
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Some of you owners with maximums and minimums on the mind definitely need to dissect the next 14 days carefully. With only two full weeks left in the season, a quick glance at the remaining schedule shows us 14 NHL teams are playing a full (four-game) schedule this week. Furthermore, 17 teams are playing four games next week, so it's certainly imperative to insert only the best players on your roster. Here it begins - the light at the end of the tunnel.

NHL schedule

Hanging On

Toronto (@BOS vs. NYI @NJ vs. NYR): The Leafs have merely a mathematical hope of making the playoffs. But the Jekyl-side of James Reimer (2-0 63-65) has appeared the past two games against Tampa Bay and Ottawa and has Maple Leafs loyal clammering about more than just mathematics. Toronto has games on back-to-back nights on two occurrences this week.

San Jose (vs. ANH @LA vs. BOS vs. PHO): With a tough road of fellow playoff-hungry conference rivals in their schedule, oddly enough, only Boston looks like an appealing game. Center Tommy Wingels has missed three straight games with an undisclosed upper-body injury while veteran right-winger Martin Havlat returned to the scoring sheet in a big way. Havlat grabbed two goals in just his second game back during the Sharks 3-2 win over Detroit.

Buffalo (@ TB vs. MON @NYR vs. MIN): The Sabres have been one of the most consistent teams since the trading deadline, causing a ruckus in their conference playoff hunt. Having lost two straight going into Sunday, this week's four-game schedule could put an end to that ruckus. Tyler Ennis has 15 points (seven goals, eight assists) in his last 16 games.

Los Angeles (vs. SJ vs. STL vs. BOS): Most concerning for Kings fans should be that their team will play San Jose (series tied 1-1-1) three times in the final three weeks. Right-winger Dustin Brown has not been the same since whispers of a possible trade began before the deadline. Despite being kept quiet in a 4-2 win over Nashville on St. Patrick's Day, the veteran winger has six goals and 11 assists in his last 13 games. Additionally, Brown has been a plus-9 for the Kings, who are tied for eighth in the conference headed into Sunday's action.

Tampa Bay (vs. BUF vs. EDM vs. NYI): After a showdown with the Sabres, the Lightning has a fairly low strength of schedule this week. Let's face it, though, even their GM started paying more attention to their AHL affiliate after the trading deadline. If the Lightning make the playoffs, I'll fly there for their first home game. At least the future looks good for Tampa Bay as the aforementioned Norfolk Admirals have won an AHL-record 17 straight games. What a number!

Calgary (@COL @MIN @DAL): Regardless of the fact that the Flames have half an army of role players on the injured reserve, they're hanging tough. Defenseman Mark Giordano (three goals, five assists in nine March games) appears to be heating up just in the nick of time and Lee Stempniak returned Sunday from an ankle injury.

Winnipeg (@PIT @WAS @NSH): Winnipeg had a commanding 5-2 win over Dallas, but as mentioned last week, they'll need to rely on Ondrej Pavelec, who has been less-than-stellar on the road.

Washington (@DET @PHI vs. WPG vs. MIN): If the Caps can survive the first half of their week, the second half may provide them with some breathing room on the eighth and final spot in the East. Mike Green is back, and Roman Hamrlik is back to street clothes.

Dallas (vs. PHO vs. VAN vs. CAL): Currently first in the Pacific has the Stars ranked third in the West. This can change quickly as the Stars will face three strong teams from home this week. Loui Eriksson (15 points in his last 11 games) is finally burning bright. Despite a 4-1 loss to Chicago, Kari Lehtonen is 8-1-1 in his last his last 10 starts.

Easy Pickings

Minnesota (vs. VAN vs. CAL @BUF @WAS): By far the team to pick on, players taking on the Wild could be considered easy fantasy points this week. Going into Sunday's action with Carolina, Minnesota is being outscored 32-14 in nine March games. All four of Minnesota's opponents this week have something to fight for and may bloody an already beat up Twin Cities squad. Mikko Koivu is still day-to-day for Monday's game against Vancouver. Meanwhilte, Wild.com is reporting Niklas Backstrom (groin) is nearing a return to action.

Columbus (vs. CHI vs. CAR vs. EDM): After starting out the month 5-0 and hanging tough with St. Louis and Vancouver, the Blue Jackets have lost four in a row heading into their Sunday match up with Calgary. Columbus heads home for three straight.

Losing Steam

New York Rangers (vs. NJ vs. DET vs. BUF @TOR): Losers of two in a row, the MSG faithful have their Stanley Cup contending boys at home for a busy, three of four at home. Rangers captain Ryan Callahan is back from injury and Mats Zuccarello is back from Connecticut of the AHL. Zuccarello scored the team's lone-goal in their loss to Colorado this past weekend.

Vancouver (@MIN @ CHI @ DAL @ COL): After squeaking out a 4-3 win over Columbus, no one is quite sure where to seed the Canucks. Let's see if four games away from home can help straighten the ship. Once again, talk around the British Columbia ice hockey club is to replace Roberto Luongo with Cory Schneider. Schneider (two assists this season) is 9-1-1 in his sporadic spot starts since the December 29. Defenseman Alexander Edler has three goals and an assist in his last five games. Left-winger Chris Higgins has two goals, seven assists in his last nine games and is currently riding a five-game point scoring streak.

Boston (vs. TOR @SJ @LA @ANH): Same goes here for the Bruins, who after hosting the hungry Leafs, will head out West for three games. Right-wingers Rich Peverley (torn MCL in right knee) has resumed skating, while deadline pickup Brian Rolston has a goal and an assist in last two games.

Building Momentum

Pittsburgh (vs. WPG vs. NSH @OTT vs. NJ): Though Sidney Crosby (17 points in 11 games this season) has yet to find the back of the net since coming back three games ago, he has notched five assists since Thursday. Pittsburgh has not lost in regulation since a 6-2 loss to Buffalo on Feb. 19.

Ottawa (vs. NJ @MON vs. PIT): As if Boston wasn't playing bad enough for the Sens to take over the lead in the Northeast Division, Ottawa can also attribute their new-found divisional lead to their GM Bryan Murray. In hindsight, they may turn out to have completed the most underrated trade in quite some time. Traded from St. Louis due to a traffic jam for a mere second-round draft pick (2012), goalie Ben Bishop (3-1-2) has been everything he was at the AHL level. The Sens are gearing up for a deep run this year with a rookie goalie that may have the chops to get it done. Last week the Canadian (TOR, MON) rivalry, this week a few east coast visitors for Bishop.

St. Louis (@ANH @LA @PHO): The Blues are the first team to eclipse 100 points in the 2011-12 campaign. How they handle this road-trip against those clawing to make the playoffs could make for an interesting week. Left-winger Jaden Schwartz made the most of first NHL shot on goal, scoring during his debut this past weekend. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports a bit of good new on the horizon as Jason Arnott (general soreness) should return to the Blues' lineup this week, possibly Wednesday against Anaheim. Andy McDonald began treatment for his injured shoulder and did some off-ice stick-handling drills.

Your CBS Stream

Still no return date for New Jersey's Travis Zajac (Achilles). Nashville's Paul Gaustad (upper body) did not play Sunday against the Ducks. Rene Bourque had a goal and five shots on net, Aaron Palushaj scored his first NHL goal and defenseman Andrei Markov played a season-high 21:49 of ice time in a losing cause as the Canadiens fell to Isles in a 3-2 shootout. Preds forward Colin Wilson was a healthy scratch for two games this past weekend. Taylor Hall (concussion) missed Sunday's night's game against Phoenix.

TV Time (all games in EST)

March 19: Devils at Rangers, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports

March 20: Coyotes at Stars, 8 p.m., NBC Sports

March 21: Red Wings at Rangers, 7:30, NBC Sports

March 25: Wild at Caps, 5 p.m., NBC Sports

March 25: Predators at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m., NBC Sports

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

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Player News
Zac Rinaldo
Rinaldo Traded To Bruins
Zac Rinaldo, C, PHI
12:47 AM
News: The Flyers traded Zac Rinaldo to the Bruins on Monday for a third-round draft choice in the 2017 NHL Draft, NHL.com reports.
Analysis: Zac Rinaldo, who tallied one goal and six points to go along with 109 penalty minutes in 58 games for Philadelphia this past season, adds depth and grit to the B's forward mix, but he's presumably ticketed for a fourth-line/agitator role that limits his fantasy utility to PIM-heavy formats.

Chris Pronger
Flyers Deal Pronger's Contract To Coyotes
Chris Pronger, D, PHI
12:30 AM
News: Chris Pronger was dealt to the Coyotes over the weekend along with defenseman Niklas Grossmann in exchange for forward Sam Gagner, a conditional fourth-round draft pick in 2016 or a third-round pick in 2017, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Chris Pronger's playing career came to an end during the 2011-12 season due to post-concussion issues and an eye injury, but he still has two years remaining on the seven-year, $34.5 million contract he inked with the Flyers in the summer of 2009. His contract will cost the Coyotes $575,000 over both of the next two seasons and carries a cap hit of just under $5 million annually, which will help Arizona in their attempt to meet the league's salary-cap minimum. The 40-year-old Pronger, who was hired by the NHL's Department of Player Safety last season, is eligible to be voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame this week.

Carl Hagelin
Ducks Extend Qualifying Offer To Hagelin
Carl Hagelin, LW, ANA
6/29/2015
News: Carl Hagelin was given a qualifying offer by the Ducks on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: This was a foregone conclusion after the Ducks acquired Carl Hagelin, a restricted free agent, from the Rangers at the draft. He's likely in for a raise this season and could see an uptick in minutes in his new digs, but Hagelin's offensive limitations -- mostly his mediocre shooting ability -- make him best suited for a third-line role.

Jakob Silfverberg
Ducks Give Silfverberg Qualifying Offer
Jakob Silfverberg, LW, ANA
6/29/2015
News: Jakob Silfverberg was given a qualifying offer by the Ducks on Monday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Analysis: After making $850,000 last season, Jakob Silfverberg looks to be in line for a significant raise following his 39-point regular season and 18 points in the playoffs. He should also be looking at regular second-line work for the Ducks next season, which could lead to a scoring breakout for the highly talented Swede.

Ryan Spooner
Bruins Give Qualifying Offer To Spooner
Ryan Spooner, C, BOS
6/29/2015
News: The Bruins have extended a qualifying offer to Ryan Spooner, Joe Haggerty of CSN New England reports.
Analysis: The nimble centerman is thus almost certain to return to Boston for 2015-16, and as things stand now, it looks like he's got the inside track on the third-line center job, with some power-play time to boot -- assuming the Bruins don't bring some depth in during free agency. If he does find his way into a regular role, Ryan Spooner's playmaking ability will make him useful in deeper fantasy formats.

Paul Postma
Jets Qualify Postma
Paul Postma, D, WPG
6/29/2015
News: Paul Postma has been given a qualifying offer by the Jets, the Winnipeg Sun reports.
Analysis: Despite huge offensive success in the AHL -- Paul Postma has 68 points in his last 87 games in the minors -- the Albertan blueliner has never been able to win himself more than bottom-pairing minutes with the Jets so far. As a result, he's never scored more than nine points in an NHL season. The Jets' depth on the blue line makes it likely that Postma doesn't enjoy a large role in 2015-16 either. However, he'll surely be recovered from the lower-body injury he suffered in March by the time training camp rolls around.

Klas Dahlbeck
Coyotes Qualify Dahlbeck
Klas Dahlbeck, D, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Klas Dahlbeck has received a qualifying offer from the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: The soon-to-be 24-year-old blueliner picked up three assists while going minus-7 in 19 games with Arizona last year after being acquired from the Blackhawks. He'll likely bounce between the AHL and NHL this season, but does have some upside -- Klas Dahlbeck picked up 10 goals and 35 points in 75 games for AHL Rockford back in 2013-14.

Brandon Gormley
Coyotes Retain Gormley
Brandon Gormley, D, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Brandon Gormley has been tendered a qualifying offer by the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: Thus it's fairly well assured that Brandon Gormley will spend next season in Arizona. It could be the first full NHL campaign for the No. 13 pick in the 2010 draft, who picked up four points to go with a minus-7 rating while seeing limited ice time in 27 games for the Coyotes last year.

Mikkel Boedker
Coyotes Qualify Boedker
Mikkel Boedker, LW, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Mikkel Boedker (spleen) has been tendered a qualifying offer by the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: The German winger saw last season end prematurely thanks to a ruptured spleen, but is expected to make a full recovery in time for training camp. It doesn't seem likely that another team will swoop in with an offer sheet for Mikkel Boedker, so he'll quite likely suit up for Arizona again in 2015-16. It could be a breakout year if he can stay healthy, as the Coyotes look like they'll have to lean heavily on Boedker, who was on an 82-game pace for his second straight 50-point season last year, picking up 14 goals and 14 assists in 45 contests.

Craig Cunningham
Coyotes Don't Qualify Cunningham
Craig Cunningham, LW, ARI
6/29/2015
News: Craig Cunningham didn't receive a qualifying offer from the Coyotes, Sarah McLellan of the Arizona Republic reports.
Analysis: He'll enter free agency coming off a season in which he recorded all of seven points in 51 games split between the Bruins and Coyotes. Craig Cunningham does have a pair of 40-plus-point seasons to his credit in the AHL, and at just 24 years old, the former fourth-round pick seems likely to catch on with another NHL franchise -- probably on a two-way deal.

 
 
 
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