There was some big news this past week and whether it be injuries, suspensions, or what have you none could be bigger than the news of the NHL Realignment coming after this season. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it by now, but if you haven’t check out this nhl.com article for the full breakdown. Sounds like the Stars and the Wild are going to be very happy next season.
Another big story was Tomas Kaberle being traded to the Montreal Canadiens for Jaroslav Spacek to try to fix their Andrei Markov problem and help them out on the power play. Looks like it could be a good move, as Kaberle already picked up two points in his first game. Fantasy owners are definitely going to want to monitor this, and if he is available on your waiver-wire it’s probably worth a speculative add now. He is currently available in 56% of Yahoo leagues.
There’s been another Sidney Crosby scare, as he has been experiencing some headaches after his eight games played this season and won’t return back to action until Friday in Ottawa at the earliest. Crosby and coach Bylsma insist that they are simply erring on the side of caution, but fantasy owners will still want to keep an ear to the ground.
Congrats to the New York Rangers for hitting an impressive franchise milestone. Now the Blackhawks need to step it up and get there as well.
And lastly, this won’t have much fantasy relevance but Andy Sutton has been suspended eight games for his hit on Alex Ponikarovsky.
Here is the weekly breakdown for this upcoming week, Dec. 12 – 18:
4 GAMES: CBJ, CGY, NJD
3 GAMES: ANA, BOS, BUF, CAR, CHI, COL, DAL, DET, FLA, LAK, MIN, MON, NAS, NYI, NYR, OTT, PHI, PHX, PIT, SJS, STL, TBL, TOR, VAN, WAS, WPG
2 GAMES: EDM
Like Dallas last week, the Oilers are the only team this week that plays only two games while only the Blue Jackets, the Devils, and the Flames play four games. Similar to last week, the busy days are again on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday with 12 games, 10 games, and 12 games respectively while the slow days are again on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday with one game, three games, five games, and three games respectively.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
These teams are playing all of their games on the road so be aware that fatigue may play a factor in their play this week: CGY, DAL, EDM, LAK, VAN
These teams are playing all of their games at home this week so they should be rested and practicing: FLA, MON, NAS, WPG
STAYING WELL RESTED
Teams that are not scheduled to play in any back-to-back games in Week 10 while also minimizing travel: CHI, FLA, MON, NAS, TBL, WPG
All of the Home Cooking teams made the list with the additions of Chicago, and Tampa Bay. San Jose almost made the cut as they are only playing one game on the road, but it is at the tail end of a three-game road trip. Look for these teams to have a good week.
B2B: BACKUPS TO SEE ACTION?
All of these teams are schedule to play in back-to-back games this upcoming week, so there are good chances that these teams’ respective backup goaltenders could see some action: ANA, BOS, BUF, CBJ, CGY, DAL, MIN, NJD (x2), NYI, NYR, OTT, PHX, PIT, STL, TOR
No guarantees, but If you are desperate for some goalie starts, make sure to monitor these teams to try to determine if/when their backups are playing so you can snag them off of the waiver-wire if available. As always, there should be plenty of options here. Some backups to lookout for …
Teams that have the best win streaks currently in the NHL as of Friday:
Minnesota – 6 wins (7 after Saturday)
Philadelphia – 4 wins
Winnipeg – 4 wins
Vancouver – 3 wins
The Wild just keep continuing to impress. They have maintained their stay at the top of the league’s standing with a recent six-game winning streak and 11 of their past 13. Not only has the goalie tandem of Niklas Backstrom and Josh Harding been stellar, but even rookie Matt Hackett has gotten in on the action. He has post two wins in his first relief appearance and his first win., a 1.01 GAA, and a .974 SV%. Philadelphia has been playing better and are now only a point below Pittsburgh for the Atlantic Division lead. Winnipeg turned around their slow start and is now 7-2-1 over the last 10 games and has won four straight while Vancouver is continuing to climb up the Western standings.
Teams that have the longest current streaks in the NHL without collecting a point:
Colorado – 3 losses
Carolina – 1-7-1 past 9 games
Anaheim – 2-9-2 past 13 games
The Hurricanes continue to spiral as not even a new coach can get them out of their season-long funk so far. Another team with a new head coach, Bruce Boudreau hasn’t been extremely useful with Ducks yet either, sporting a 1-3-1 record thus far. At least he’s got Bobby Ryan playing well for fantasy owners again (3g-1a-4pts, 7 PIM past 3 games).
Now let’s take a look at what should be the most favorable matchups of the week:
Florida Panthers – Opponents: NJD, CGY, CAR – The Panthers have been surprisingly impressive this year, leading the Southeast division by a decent margin and sport one of the top power play units in the league with Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, Stephen Weiss, Brian Campbell, and Dmitry Kulikov. If that doesn’t already convince you to keep your Panthers in the lineup, their Week 10 schedule should. They are playing three beatable opponents and on some non-busy nights, a great combination for fantasy owners. They start with the Devils on Tuesday, whom they are 1-0 against with four goals scored, then get a rare visit from Calgary on a relatively slow Friday and then cap the week off with a visit from the slumping Hurricanes on Sunday, whom they are also 1-0 against with three goals. Make sure to get your Panthers in the lineup.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Opponents: NJD, CGY, @CBJ – The Bolts have a similar schedule to the Panthers, as they are playing both New Jersey and Calgary as well. They have been slumping recently and this schedule may be the remedy. The only game they’ve played against New Jersey this season ended up in a 2-4 loss, however their defense has looked weaker lately and Tampa will be looking to get revenge. Also, that game takes place on Monday and happens to be the only game being played that day. Playing the league’s worst team on Saturday can’t be a bad thing. However, the Lightning are definitely hoping that Martin St. Louis comes back
…And the least favorable matchups of the week:
Edmonton Oilers – Opponents: @PHX, @SJS – Just like the Stars last week, the Oilers are the only team in the league that’s playing less than three games during the week, and both games are away games on the two of the busiest nights of the week. They have only played one game against either of these teams and that was a 2-4 loss to the hands of the Coyotes. Weekly leaguers may want to stay away all together while daily leaguers will have some extra decisions to make on Thursday and Saturday.
Each of these teams are playing all three of their games on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, by far the busiest nights of the week: Colorado, Detroit, L.A., Montreal, Nashville, New York Islanders and Rangers, Philadelphia, San Jose, Vancouver, Washington, and Winnipeg. You’re going to have to look to the other 18 teams when looking for players that play on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday. Adam Henrique (2g-7a-9pts during 7 game point streak) and Olli Jokinen (3g-3a-6pts, +4, 4 PIM, 15 SOG past 4 games) are prime examples for good adds during Week 10.
That wraps it up. Good luck out there everyone.