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Week 18 schedule analysis

by | Rotowire.com
  •  
NHL schedule

*B2B (Back-to-Back) occurrences in bold

Flush

The following seven teams will provide you with the most pack for your punch, as they have four games on the docket.

On the surface, it appears as though Boston (at NYI, FLA, MTL, EDM) has one of the easiest schedules on paper this week. Forgetting their combined 0-3 record against the Isles and Canadiens, the Bruins also have eight games over the final two weeks prior to the Olympic break. Jordan Caron (back), Dougie Hamilton (concussion), Jarome Iginla and Zdeno Chara all returned in their own ways on Saturday.

You don’t need a quick glance at Buffalo’s (at PIT, WAS, at PHX, at COL) schedule to know it’s too late for the team to turn things around in time for a playoff push. However, that’s not going to stop the Sabres from breaking a lot of hearts, fantasy or otherwise. Christian Ehrhoff and Tyler Ennis are picking up the pace, while Cody Hodgson is the only constant. Ville Leino (upper body) and Drew Stafford (upper body) left Saturday’s game ... shocker.

Columbus (at CAR, OTT, WAS, FLA) is fully aware of Buffalo’s heart-breaking abilities. On paper, we like the Jackets’ chances of starting a new winning streak. Sergei Bobrovsky was one of six starting goalies pulled Saturday night; perhaps it’s an isolated incident. Mark Letestu and Derek MacKenzie continued their production despite the loss.

Los Angeles (at SJS, at PHX, PIT, PHI) starts the week with b2b games on the road before heading home for contests against two teams on a west coast swing. The Kings’ offense is really letting Jonathan Quick (3-4-2,2.11 GAA) down since he returned from the IR on January 4.

Montreal (CAR, at BOS, TBL, WIN) has two winnable tilts at the beginning and end of the week and three of four from home to boot. Despite their four-game losing streak, the Canadiens are unbeaten (combined 3-0-2) in regulation against this week’s opponents. Carey Price was one of the shamed on Saturday night, and it’s becoming a bit of a habit, having been pulled in two of his last three outings. Price has given up 48 goals (3.42 GAA) in his last 14 starts.

San Jose (LOS, at EDM, at CGY, CHI) has the inside-out version of Montreal’s schedule, with its easiest (5-0 against the Oilers and Flames) two games in the middle of the week on a b2b Alberta swing. While Tommy Wingels has a goal and three assists in his last four games, it’s Joe Pavelski (seven goals, three assists in his last five games) who is truly driving the Sharks’ latest winning streak.

Washington (at BUF, at CBJ, at DET, DET) has been some sort of strange fantasy experiment. Additionally, the Caps will battle the even stranger Red Wings in a non-traditional home-and-home slate to end the week. Mikhail Grabovski (leg) did not play on Saturday, while Alexander Ovechkin (groin) did. Nicklas Backstrom is cold, but could Martin Erat’s inevitable exit (we expect this week) finally shake this team up? Apparently Braden Holtby took the reins last week, not Michal Neuvirth. Casey Wellman (23 points in 37 games with AHL Hershey) was recalled in light of the injuries to Ovi and Grabovski.

One Pair

While the Rangers (at NYI, NYI) organization is surrounded by excitement in light of the Stadium Series, the team is not only strapped with the dreaded two-game slate this week, but a mere three games next week. For what it’s worth, the Rangers are a combined 5-15 on the power play in three games (1-2) against the Islanders this season.

Three of a Kind

No, none of this week’s Three of a Kind candidates were yanked on Saturday night. Despite having just three tilts scheduled this week, these teams will have b2b occurrences and no trend is in sight.

Carolina (CBJ, at MTL, STL) has two games in the first two nights this week, then takes off until Friday. Anton Khudobin has yet to yield more than three goals in a game this season. However, he’s played on b2b occurrences twice this month and won’t likely do again this week. Justin Peters should get a start.

Chicago (at CGY, at VAN, SJS) plays on b2b nights starting Tuesday. Corey Crawford hasn’t played since January 22, and his career GAA (2.83) against the Flames suggests Antti Raanta will play in Calgary, with Crawford drawing the Canucks.

New Jersey (at STL, at DAL, at NSHdoes the southern swing on b2b nights beginning Thursday. Cory Schneider has certainly been coming on strong (eight goals allowed in seven games) since the turn of the calendar. One of those performances includes a 1-0 shutout over the Stars. Considering Schneider has allowed three goals in just 20 career minutes of ice time against the Preds, we like Martin Brodeur in Nashville.

Nashville (at WIN, NJD, at STL) will play just once until Friday, then host the Devils and travel to St. Louis on b2b nights. Carter Hutton is quietly on a four-game winning streak, while Devan Dubnyk has given up nine goals in two games with Nashville. Expect to see Dubnyk against the Devils and Hutton in St. Louis.

St. Louis (NJD, at CAR, NSH) won’t have much of an upper-hand against the Preds, as they’ll be on the back-half of a b2b occurrence as well. Despite a 7-1 loss to New Jersey this past Tuesday, Jaroslav Halak has been solid (5-1) in January, while Brian Elliott is winless in his last three games after winning 12 of his 14 previous starts. Look for Elliott against Carolina and Halak (1.71 career GAA against the Predators) against Nashville.

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Player News
Alex Biega
Biega Signs With Canucks
Alex Biega, D, VAN
12:43 AM
News: The Canucks re-signed Alex Biega to a one-year, two-way contract Tuesday, the Province reports. The deal is worth $600,000 at the NHL level.
Analysis: Alex Biega, who notched a goal in seven games with the big club in 2014-15, spent most of the season with AHL Utica, where he recorded 19 points in 62 games. The 27-year-old is thus slated to reprise his role as a depth blueliner for the Canucks' organization.

Drew Stafford
Jets Retain Stafford
Drew Stafford, RW, WPG
12:35 AM
News: Drew Stafford signed a two-year, $8.7 million deal to remain with the Jets on Tuesday, Sportsnet.ca's Elliotte Friedman reports.
Analysis: The 29-year-old Drew Stafford, who was acquired from Buffalo in February, finished up the 2014-15 season with 18 goals and 43 points in 76 games overall, but his production picked up with the Jets (19 points in 26 games), earning him a nice two-year payday with the team in advance of free agency. He'll likely be ticketed for a second- or third-line role this coming season.

Dougie Hamilton
Flames' Hamilton Signs Six-Year Deal
Dougie Hamilton, D, CGY
12:06 AM
News: Dougie Hamilton signed a six-year, $34.5 million deal with the Flames on Tuesday, Yahoo! Sports reports.
Analysis: Dougie Hamilton came over from Boston in a trade last week, and it appears he's viewed as a key part of the Flames' future. The 22-year-old, who showed flashes of promise as a member of the Bruins, notched 42 points in an average of 21:20 of ice time per game last season.

Martin Jones
Sharks, Jones Reach Agreement On Three-Year Deal
Martin Jones, G, BOS
6/30/2015
News: Martin Jones signed a three-year, $9 million contract with the Sharks on Tuesday, Kevin Kurz of CSN Bay Area reports.
Analysis: Martin Jones has been a member of three different teams within less than a week, but in agreeing to the new contract, it appears he's finally settled on a permanent home. At a $3 million cap hit, Jones will be almost twice as expensive as holdover Alex Stalock ($1.6 million), but both goalies should have a legitimate chance at fighting for the No. 1 job. With the Sharks bringing in a new coach in Peter DeBoer, Stalock doesn't figure to be shown any loyalty as the incumbent, which should allow for the better of the two goalies in training camp to rise to the top of the depth chart to begin the season.

Craig Cunningham
Cunningham Re-Signs With Coyotes
Craig Cunningham, LW, ARI
6/30/2015
News: Craig Cunningham re-signed Tuesday with the Coyotes on a one-year, two-way contract.
Analysis: Though the Coyotes declined to tender a qualifying offer a day earlier to Craig Cunningham, a restricted free agent, it didn't take long for the team to find common ground with the winger on a new deal. The two-way deal will allow the Coyotes to demote Cunningham to AHL Portland without having to go through the waiver process, but given the lack of existing forward talent on the parent club's current roster that might be a moot point. The 24-year-old, who has recorded seven points in 53 career NHL games, could stick with Arizona for the bulk of the season.

Patrick Wey
Caps Prospect Wey To Retire
Patrick Wey, D, WAS
6/30/2015
News: Patrick Wey has elected to retire after suffering two successive concussions with AHL Hershey last season.
Analysis: Patrick Wey's two-year, entry-level contract with the Capitals was set to expire July 1, and though he likely could have earned another contract with some organization, he decided to put his health at the forefront. The 24-year-old, who was drafted in the fourth round by the Capitals in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, previously appeared in nine games for the parent club in 2013-14.

Lauri Korpikoski
Coyotes Send Korpikoski To Edmonton
Lauri Korpikoski, LW, ARI
6/30/2015
News: Lauri Korpikoski was traded to the Oilers on Tuesday in exchange for center Boyd Gordon.
Analysis: Lauri Korpikoski was often miscast as a second-line player during his time with the Coyotes, but he should settle into a more natural third- or fourth-line role with Edmonton. The winger recorded six goals and 21 points in an injury-plagued 69 games in the desert last season.

Boyd Gordon
Oilers Ship Gordon To Arizona
Boyd Gordon, C, EDM
6/30/2015
News: Boyd Gordon (back) was traded to the Coyotes on Tuesday in exchange for forward Lauri Korpikoski.
Analysis: Boyd Gordon annually ranks as one of the best performers in the faceoff circle, as illustrated by his 55.9 percent winning rate in 2014-15. However, that's about where his fantasy value begins and ends, as he's never been a big scorer or hitter, even by the standards of a fourth-line player. Additionally, his plus/minus rating remained a regular risk during his tenure with a bad Oilers team, and that figures to remain the case in 2015-16 with the Coyotes projected to be one of the league's worst units.

Mike Richards
Report: Border Stop Why Kings Terminated Richards
Mike Richards, C, LA
6/30/2015
News: Mike Richards had his contract terminated by the Kings on Monday after he was allegedly stopped by police June 17 and questioned about illegal presciption drugs near a Canadian border crossing, according to a report from TMZ Sports.
Analysis: Mike Richards reportedly wasn't charged with a crime during the police stop, but was asked about the prescription painkiller Oxycodone. It's not clear from the report if Richards was even carrying the drug in question at the time, though the Kings evidently determined from the evidence that the incident represented a "material breach" of the forward's contract with the team. The Kings were thought to be pursuing a buyout of the remainder of Richards' 12-year, $69 million contract, so the timing of the report will likely lead the NHLPA to investigate the situation closely. Regardless of the outcome, Richards is officially an unrestricted free agent and will be free to sign with any team.

Bryan Lerg
Sharks Re-Sign Lerg
Bryan Lerg, LW, SJ
6/30/2015
News: Bryan Lerg re-signed with the Sharks on Tuesday to a one-year, two-way contract, Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports reports.
Analysis: The 29-year-old Bryan Lerg had an impressive NHL debut with the Sharks in April, scoring a game-winning goal on a team-high eight shots against the Oilers, but he isn't expected to parlay that performance into a meaningful role during the upcoming season. Instead, he's likely to open with AHL Worcester, where he registered 13 goals and 41 points across 68 games in 2013-14.

 
 
 
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