Monday, November 17, 2008

Week Seven Newsletter

Good day to you! It's the beginning of Week Eight in the hockey pool season, the last week of standings jumping in the Draft before we set-up the line-up for the Waiver Draft. This week, I should have figured out a way to put a list of available players up on the main website of whom are available to be picked in the Waiver Draft. Just for argument's sake, the best players by position are Devin Setoguchi in San Jose with 20 points, Christian Ehrhoff in San Jose is the best defenseman with 15 points and finally, Brian Boucher, also with San Jose, has 14 points. Boy, the Sharks will be raided come the Waiver Draft, eh?

As for the Sheet, there have still been plenty of trades coming through the wire. There have been a few more major injuries, so be sure to keep an eye on the injury page to make sure you're not keeping anyone around who is not going to get you any points.

For the Week Seven poll question, it was asked how well you think the Devils are going to do without their best player, Martin Brodeur, as he is now out of the line-up for an extended period of time. It was ten votes this week and no one thought that the Devils would go out and deal for another goalie to do well, which I thought could have been a very legitimate option. The winning selection, however, is that the Devils should remain about .500 through this stretch, which could very well hinder their playoff hopes this season. Once Brodeur comes back, he'll need to be on top of his game to help the Devils reach the playoffs.

For Week Eight, we'll simplify the question a little bit. As of right now, which team do you think is the best all-around team in the league? There are six options for you to choose from, looking at the top six teams in the overall standings at the moment.

It wasn't our highest scoring week of the year, by any means, but we did have our best week in the Draft this year anyways. Larry actually eclipsed the 40-point marker this week, the only one to do it so far this year, with a rocking 44 points. This is his second Mover & Shaker distinction of the season as well, as he's moved up from 12th spot after Week Six to 5th spot after Week Seven. That's some serious moving and shaking. For his prize in Week Eight, he picks up a quality Thomas Vanek oversized card from Victory (another set from Upper Deck), which there are also a couple more to be picked up in the next couple weeks.

Coming up big for Larry in Week Eight were Simon Gagne (7 points), Jordan Staal (6), Niklas Backstrom (6), Dan Ellis (6) and Mike Green (5). Only three players failed to register points in the week. He also saw the return of Jere Lehtinen to the Stars line-up, which offered up a single goal in the first three games of the season.

Moving and Shaking his way out of the Basement of the Sheet, quite literally, was Riley, as he moved from last place in the Sheet standings to 33rd, jumping 11 spots with 79 points in the week. Riley found himself having to make six trades at the beginning of Week Seven, in order to keep himself from being in last place for any longer. It looks as though it was a very clever move, also keeeping one of his trades in pocket, just in case. Having a big week for Riley this week was Alexander Ovechkin (10 points), Evgeni Malkin (8), Simon Gagne (7), Carey Price (7) and four others with 6 points each. That's some pretty good work, as Gagne was one of Riley's trades in the week, making an immediate impact on his team.

It was a pair of teams who tied for the worst week in the Draft this past week. Let's go to the tie-breaker... positions dropped. Dropping down from 3rd place (the money) to the 8th place, with 15 points was Wes. It's a heartbreaking week when you fall out of the money that far, but it's only a 10-point displacement in the Standings, which is more than reasonable to come back from. Six players in the week failed to register a point for Wes in Week Seven, while his best players only managed to snag 3 points a piece (Marco Sturm & Brian Campbell). A sore back for Joe Sakic is his only notable injury in the week, so it was a pretty cold week for his bunch.

Down in the Basement of the Sheet, it was a 19-place drop for Bob K., who only managed 35 points in Week Seven. His team would be considered a good candidate for making some trades, as none have been done just yet. Now sitting in 39th position in the Standings, Bob is still one of the teams that haven't moved Martin Brodeur, which gave him one of fifteen players on his roster that failed to register a point in the week. Panic time has arrived there.

It was a pretty good week in Washington for Week Seven. I would imagine it was a pretty big sigh of relief for a lot of Capitals fans to see that their best players are starting to wake up from their off-season slumber and finally putting some big points on the board. It was a pretty big breakout week for the big guns and it was a pretty close race for the Player of the Week honours.

Having an 11-point week for the Capitals was Nicklas Backstrom, scoring 2 goals and adding 9 assists to take the top honour. Taken 77th in the Draft (the 3rd round) by Dale C. helped his Capitals to a 3-0-1 record during the week, beating the Lightning, Hurricanes and Devils and helping lift his team to sixth place in the league standings, a top of the Southeast Division. Backstrom's best game of the week actually came in the shootout loss on the backend of the home & home series with New Jersey, where he picked up a goal and four assists in the result. The big week also helped him up into being the fifth best pick in the third round, as he was the last player taken in the round, making him a huge bargain in the Draft format.

Having a pretty cold week in the State of Hockey, were two players for Jeremy, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mikko Koivu, both not registering a point in the week. Sure they only had two games in the week, but neither of them figured into one of the six regulation time goals for the Wild in the team's two wins. You would think that these players would at least have figured into something of the sort. In Week Eight, they will have three games to try and get themselves back on track.

Other News and Notes

Starting off the weekend's worth of injury news is some bad news for the Ducks. Francois Beauchemin's season has now been ended with a torn ACL, which will keep him out of the line-up for six months. Of course, if the Ducks are going to go far in the playoffs, there is a chance that he'll be able to be rehabbed in time for that, but as of now, Beauchemin has no fantasy value in the regular season. He wasn't taken in the Draft, but he is a Box 13 defenseman, so if you have him, you are better off dropping him.

Having only 5 points in 17 games for Anaheim, Rob Niedermayer has been struggling mightily. On the weekend, Niedermayer was scratched for a second time this season, which begs the question, 'when is Bobby Ryan finally going to make an appearance from the minors?' Niedermayer is only a Sheet player and wasn't a very popular pick in his box.

Of course, that question was answered right away! Bobby Ryan made his first appearance in the season on Sunday night against the Kings, which the Ducks won 2-0. Ryan was sent down to the minors due to salary cap reasons, but thanks to the long-term injury of Francois Beauchemin, there was enough space underneath the cap to have Ryan up and playing.

IT was getting awfully curious as to how long a flu bug could possibly keep Kari Lehtonen out of the Thrashers' line-up, but it turns out it is his back keeping him out of the line-up in Atlanta. There is some indication that he could be back playing this coming week, which is just in time, as the Thrashers are playing well and as a Draft pick of Clayton's he could be in line to being dropped for a new goalie.

More long-term injury news, this time from Boston, as Andrew Ference is now out of the Bruins' line-up for upwards of six weeks with a broken leg. Ference, before his injury, managed to tally 7 assists in 16 games for Boston, which probably wasn't enough to garner a lot of consideration for the Waiver Draft, but it could have been pretty close. Stay away from Ference, if you were looking to pick him up at any point this season... or just for the time being.

The Sabres have announced on Monday morning that they will be without forward Ales Kotalik for at least the remainder of November, thanks to a hamstring injury that he had suffered this weekend. There was no concrete timetable for his return to the line-up, but the Box 21 forward won't be able to improve on his 10 points in 16 games until December, at the earliest. The Sabres have also lost oft-injured forward, Tim Connolly, to another injury, this time an upper body injury. Connolly didn't dress for the Sabres when they lost to the Penguins on Saturday night. Connolly has 7 points in 6 games for the Sabres and is a Draft pick of Larry's.

Box 11 defenseman, Rostislav Klesla, is having a tough start to the season. He missed his weekend game with an ankle injury, not long after returning from a wrist injury that caused him to miss some time already this year. Klesla has only played in 13 games this year, registering only 4 points. His fantasy value has taken a significant hit this year and probably should be put aside for this season.

The Edmonton Oilers were displaying some tough love to one of their prized free agent possesions on Saturday night, as they scratched Dustin Penner from their line-up, due to a lack of production. Penner, a Draft pick of Dennis' and a Box 5 forward, has only 3 goals and 1 assist in 16 games for Edmonton, which is down significantly from his pace of last year. This scratch should only be temporary and Penner should be back in the Oilers' line-up this week.

Finally, in a short news week, the Canucks sat Alexander Edler from their line-up against the Maple Leafs on Saturday night. Edler has only registered 5 points in 16 games for the Canucks, which isn't quite up to the team's expectations of the young blueliner. Edler is only a Box 13 defenseman in the Sheet this season and doesn't carry too much fantasy value just yet, when it comes to scoring.

Click here to see an updated injury page.

A trade actually occurred in the league over the weekend and in all my dealings this weekend, I couldn't quite get to it for it's own post, so I thought I would include it on the Newsletter for the week.

2008-2009 Stats2009
To PittsburghAgeGPPointsCap Hit
Phillipe Boucher, D35163$2.5 million
To DallasAgeGPPointsCap Hit
Darryl Sydor, D 36 8 2$2.5 million

On the outside looking in, this trade is pretty simple. Swapping veteran defensemen, that bring something a little different to the equation for each team. Boucher, more of a playmaking defenseman, should help the power play for the Penguins by moving the puck around a lot easier. Sydor, a better skating defenseman, should help Dallas with their team speed, while also getting in some quality power play time as well. It does prove to be an interesting trade from either side of the table. With the cap hits being the same, there was much more value to this trade on both sides, who likely believe that their teams have improved without spending any more money.

It's another prototypical Hockey Night in Canada on Saturday night, as the Maple Leafs will play host to the Blackhawks on the National network feed, which does have the makings of a pretty good game. The Leafs, who are playing some decent hockey with their lack of expectations on the season, while the young Blackhawks are doing their best to bring an electric brand of hockey to a resurrecting hockey market. In the late game, the Red Wings will be in Calgary to face-off against the Flames. The Red Wings have also been playing some pretty solid hockey, having lost only twice in regulation, while the Flames are still trying to find their identity this season, playing some better-than-.500 hockey at the moment. Both games should be fairly exciting and are likely going to be big boosts to their fantasy teams.

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