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Week 6 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
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The NHL schedule has been anything but predictable. Perhaps it's Detroit's reassignment to the Eastern Conference, but it seems the Western Conference has taken the alpha role one month into the season. Headed into Friday's (11/1/13) action 10 of the 16 Eastern Conference had a record above .500 while the Western Conference, who has a gaudy combined record of 57-21-10 in home games, has just three teams of the same futility. With the beginning of the month just having passed, we felt a weekly and monthly perspective was needed.

*All teams include (this week's schedule, home/away totals for the month; BOLD indicates back-to-back occurrence).

NHL schedule

Four Aces

Anaheim (at NYR, PHX, BUF VAN-6H/9A) Ducks will play four games including the two very different teams (Buffalo, Phoenix) on the back end of back-to-back nights.

Edmonton (at FLA, at TB, at PHI, at CHI- 6H/7A) goes on a Florida swing before sweeping up to Philly and Chicago to end the week, yikes.

Florida (EDM, at BOS, at OTT, at NYR-6H/9A) is hosting Edmonton on Tuesday before playing eight of their next nine games on the road over the next 19 days. Opponents include Boston, Ottawa, the Avs and Canucks to name a few.

The second-place Islanders (at WAS, at CAR, at CLS, at MON-7H/8A) have five of their next 6 on the road. Sooner or later these guys are going to need an upgrade or veteran depth of some kind at the goalie position.

The Rangers (ANH, PIT, at CLS, FLA- 8H/7A) start November with seven of their first 10 at the Garden.

The Vancouver Canucks (at PHX, at SJ, at LA, at ANH-7H/6A) finally extended the Sedins, how will they react?

The beginning and end of the week will be most trying for the Washington Capitals (NYI, MIN, at PHX, at COL- 8H/7A).

Back-To-Back

Buffalo (at SJ, at LA, at ANH- 7H/6A), New Jersey (at PHI, at TOR, NAS-7H/8A) and Phoenix (VAN, at ANH, WAS- 6H/6A) all have games on back-to-back nights.

One Pair

Tampa Bay (EDM, at DET- 6H/8A) plays 14 games in the month of November and is one of four teams playing just a pair of tilts this week.

Los Angeles (BUF, VAN-7H/6A will host the Sabres and Canucks before a four-game East Coast swing.

Pittsburgh (at NYR, at STL- 6H/9A) has no trend, spending most of a busy 15-game month on two and three game road trips.

Toronto (NJ, at BOS) has just 13 games this month, five on the road to start, beginning with playing on back-to-back nights this week.

Three of a Kind

Aside from the streaking Colorado (NAS, CAL, WAS) Avalanche, who play three easy tilts at home, here are some teams playing vanilla (3 games) schedules not only this week, but have a 13-15 game schedule in the month of November.

After visiting the Jets on Monday, Detroit (at WPG, DAL, TB-8H/6A) heads home for seven of their next 8 games and the competition includes inconsistent teams like the Stars, Jets, Caps, Preds, Canes and Sens.

Nashville (at COL, at WPG, at NJ- 5H/9A) is in the midst of a seven-game road trip. After catching their breath against the Wings on the 19th, Preds visit Toronto on the 21st then play four of their last five at home in November.

Philadelphia (at CAR, NJ, EDM - 7H/8A) will play six of their first eight games in November on the road.

Ottawa (at CLS, MON, FLA-9H/5A) will host seven of their first eight games this month.

San Jose (BUF, VAN, at WPG-8H/5A) starts with three at home, five on the road, and then five at home to close out the month.

After traveling to Montreal, St. Louis (at MTL, CAL, PIT-7H/8A) heads home for seven of next 10 contests.

The Calgary (at MIN, at STL, at COL-7H/7A) Flames flip flop most of the month, a few 3 game trends, but nothing that sticks out.

Carolina (PHI, NYI, MIN-9H/5A) begins the month with a five game homestand, starting with three very winnable games.

Two Pair

Dallas (at BOS, at DET, CHI-5H/7A) is the team with the shortest (fewest games) straw this month and beginning with a troubling trio of games this week.

Columbus (OTT, NYR, NYI-7H/9A) has a 16-game schedule this month, so Blue Jacket fans and management should find out early what the commitment is there.

The defending Eastern Conference champion Boston Bruins (DAL, FLA, TOR-10H/5A) are playing 10 out of 15 games this month from TD Garden, including a five game home-stand starting this week with a few cupcakes coming into town. If we were betting men, and we are, put your money on Claude Julien's B's.

The Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks (WPG, at DAL, EDM-5H/10A) bear an exactly opposite fate in November, after playing four of their first six at home, eight of their final nine games in the month are on the road.

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Player News
Brandon DeFazio
DeFazio Signs With Bruins
Brandon DeFazio, LW, VAN
7/7/2015
News: Brandon DeFazio signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Bruins on Monday.
Analysis: Brandon DeFazio, who played two games for the Canucks last season, gives the B's organization some added depth up front and the 26-year-old could compete for a fourth-line role with the big club in training camp.

Anders Nilsson
Blackhawks Deal Nilsson To Oilers
Anders Nilsson, G, NYI
3:09 PM
News: Anders Nilsson was acquired by the Oilers from the Blackhawks in exchange for Liam Coughlin on Monday.
Analysis: Anders Nilsson played for Ak Bars Kazan of the KHL in 2014-15. He posted an impressive 1.71 GAA and a .936 save percentage in 38 games with the team last season. Now that they have acquired his rights from the Blackhawks, the Oilers are free to offer him a contract. If Nilsson does in fact sign a contract with the Oilers, he will likely get a shot to compete with Cam Talbot for the Oilers No. 1 job in goal.

Rich Clune
Leafs Sign Clune TO AHL Deal
Rich Clune, LW, NSH
2:07 PM
News: Rich Clune signed an AHL deal with Toronto over the weekend.
Analysis: Bought out of the final year of his contract by the Predators before free agency started, Rich Clune will head north to continue his career after recording 17 points in 62 games for AHL Milwaukee last season while making one appearance with their parent club in Nashville. Clune, who recently opened up in The Players' Tribune about his prior struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, has been sober for five years and could reemerge as a fourth-line option for the Maple Leafs at some point in 2015-16 if he first excels with their farm team.

Colin McDonald
Flyers Pick Up McDonald For Added Forward Depth
Colin McDonald, RW, PHI
1:58 PM
News: Colin McDonald signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Flyers on Friday.
Analysis: The right winger made 18 appearances during the regular season and two in the playoffs for the Islanders, providing two goals and six assists. He'll compete for a fourth-line role with the Flyers in training camp.

Leo Komarov
Leafs' Komarov Facing Charges In Finland
Leo Komarov, C, TOR
1:41 PM
News: Leo Komarov is facing four criminal charges in his native Finland in relation to a 2014 traffic accident, Lance Hornsby of the Toronto Sun reports.
Analysis: Leo Komarov is alleged to have been responsible for a "traffic hazard" and for "falsifying information to police," among other accusations. The 28-year-old could spend up to nine months in jail if found guilty of the charges during his August trial. For their part, the Leafs are standing by Komarov and expect the matter to be resolved before training camp opens, but the charges still cast a dark cloud over the forward. Komarov is under contract with the Leafs for three more seasons after accruing 26 points in 62 games in 2014-15.

Harry Zolnierczyk
Ducks Ink Zolnierczyk To One-Year Deal
Harry Zolnierczyk, RW, ANA
1:20 PM
News: Harry Zolnierczyk signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Ducks on Friday, TSN's Ryan Rishaug reports.
Analysis: The 27-year-old has been an insurance forward the last few seasons, occasionally seeing time for NHL clubs when injuries open up opportunities. At this point of his career, Harry Zolnierczyk appears best suited for a full-time role at the AHL level, where he recorded 18 goals and 44 points in 60 games for Bridgeport last season. The Ducks are expected to assign Zolnierczyk to their affiliate in San Diego to begin the upcoming campaign.

Marc-Andre Gragnani
Devils Sign Gragnani To Two-Way Deal
Marc-Andre Gragnani, D, NJ
1:13 PM
News: Marc-Andre Gragnani signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Devils on Friday, Tom Gulitti of The Record reports.
Analysis: Marc-Andre Gragnani returns to North America after spending the last two seasons in Europe, most recently with Bern of the Swiss Elite League. He led all defensemen in the league with 37 points in 49 games, which was good enough to earn him another look from an NHL club. The 28-year-old previously appeared in 74 NHL contests with the Sabres, Canucks, and Hurricanes, but will likely have to bide his time at AHL Albany before a role with the Devils comes to fruition.

Brett Connolly
Connolly Inks One-Year Deal With Bruins
Brett Connolly, RW, BOS
11:52 AM
News: Brett Connolly signed a one-year, $1.025 million contract with the Bruins on Monday.
Analysis: In the wake of the departures of fellow forwards Carl Soderberg and Milan Lucic this offseason, Brett Connolly -- who the Bruins obtained from Tampa Bay this past March -- has a real shot at sliding into the team's top-six forward mix in 2015-16. The 6-2, 181-pound winger tallied 12 goals and 17 points in 55 NHL games overall last season, and at age 23, the 2010 first-rounder could be poised for a break-out in his first full campaign with the B's.

Jimmy Hayes
Hayes Inks Three-Year Deal With Bruins
Jimmy Hayes, RW, BOS
11:33 AM
News: Jimmy Hayes signed a three-year, $6.9 million contract with the Bruins on Monday.
Analysis: The Boston native could potentially slot into the top-six role that was previously handled by the under-performing Reilly Smith, who was traded to the Panthers in exchange for Jimmy Hayes last week. Hayes proved that he can be a valuable offensive contributor last season with Florida, registering 19 goals and 35 points in 72 games. He's a big-bodied forward (6-foot-6, 221 pounds) who could become a valuable net-front presence for the B'son one of their power play units next season.

Andre Benoit
Benoit Inks One-Year Deal With Blues
Andre Benoit, D, BUF
9:24 AM
News: Andre Benoit signed a one-year, two-way contract with the Blues on Monday.
Analysis: Andre Benoit experienced a large dip in offensive production in 2014-15, tallying a mere nine points after registering 28 points in 2013-14. However, that dip in production can largely be attributed to the fact that the 31-year-old defender played 20 fewer games in 2014-15, and was a member of the league's worst team in the Sabres. A fresh start with a new team may be just what the doctor ordered for Benoit, but don't expect him to surpass the numbers he posted in the 2013-14 campaign.

 
 
 
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