Thursday, April 05, 2018

Morning Player Notes in the Draft (Apr 5)

The New Jersey Devils are coming down to crunch time for their playoff eligibility, so the coaching staff is really preaching some more consistency in their game and that has likely meant that rookie forward Jesper Bratt hasn't been the guy to keep that going, likely having hit the rookie wall in the second half of the long season. He was a healthy scratch again for the Devils on Tuesday night against the Rangers.

The Devils only have two more games this season and it is questionable as to whether or not Bratt will make his return for one, both or any of those two games.  Ryan's team is barely hanging on to 23rd place in this last week, as Scott is putting on a good chase for the spot.

It sounds like Mats Zuccarello missed that game between the Rangers and the Devils on Tuesday night, due to a minor injury and not a resting scratch.  Zuccarello and the Rangers are just going through the motions at the end of the year, as they haven't been in the playoff race for quite some time.  He is expected to be back in the lineup tonight, when the Rangers take on the Islanders.

Cam has been riding out the season for about the same amount of time as the Rangers have, as his team is situated in about the same place.  Right near the middle, but was never really in it.  Cam's team enters Thursday night's action in 16th, 10 points from the equator.

Tuesday night in Vancouver was a good night for the Golden Knights to get a couple of their top forwards rested, ahead of their playoff run.  The Pacific Division champs are locked into the number two slot in the Western Conference and now they're looking ahead to the playoffs, so Jonathan Marchessault and Erik Haula were both rested for a nothing game, for them, against the Canucks.  Vegas finishes their regular season schedule in Alberta, playing in Edmonton tonight and Calgary on Saturday.

Marchessault is the biggest player of note, since he belongs to Benson's 2nd place team.  Benson's team holds onto a 6-point lead over Dale B.'s team, heading into Thursday's action, which isn't quite comfortable, but it isn't bad either.  Haula, on the other hand, belongs to Dale C.'s 14th place team, which isn't quite as notable.

The Winnipeg Jets were also in resting mode, as they are likely going to finish 2nd in the Central Division, so they were also in a key resting mode.  Dustin Byfuglien drew back in to the lineup, after his one game rest earlier in the week, but Mark Scheifele, Blake Wheeler and Josh Morrissey came out for a rest against the Canadiens.  The Jets were still able to post an overtime win, which might say more to the Canadiens season, more than anything, but the Jets continue to roll on.

No money spots were harmed with these scratches, as it was Brian, Grant and Wilton's team that each missed out on skater games.  Grant's team is ranked the highest at 9th, still 10 points clear of 10th.

It was a good day for returns on Tuesday night, as Charlie McAvoy of the Bruins, Viktor Arvidsson of the Predators, Josh Bailey & Jaroslav Halak of the Islanders, Anders Nilsson of the Canucks, Brad Hunt of the Golden Knights and of course, Dustin Byfuglien of the Jets.

The two Islanders players were key returns for Benson's team, as it tries to defend 2nd place, as mentioned above.

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