Happy Waiver Draft Week everybody! Well, everyone in the draft, that is... the selection sheet runs smoothly throughout the season without any fancy breaks or notable prize giveaways, until we get more people in it, of course.
First of all, I want to acknowledge a major correction this week in Don D.'s team, which was only brought to my attention this week. His goaltender points were not correct for the first seven weeks of the season, as he was showing points for only half of his goaltending tandem, while the other half was Derek W.'s team. In short, Henrik Lundqvist was not redeeming all of his points in the standings, but now that we have a correction, Don's team is back to being correct and we'll play the correction as is. This correction has lifted Don out of the basement of the pool and given him his correct pick in the waiver draft this week.
Yes, we're in the last week of the first segment of the season, which will begin our waiver draft and conclude our prize giveaway this year. Very exciting times and it is a pretty good race for the prize, with two teams taking a large percentage of the chances of coming away with the jersey, but I would say there are three more teams with an outside shot and two more teams as real dark horses to take the jersey home.
Thankfully, with the waiver draft upon us and a new segment starting next week, teams can refresh their chances and get their teams back in contention for the second jersey, just like that. If you had a bad segment in the first nine weeks, make a couple of good drops and pick-ups and you could be back in the race for a jersey right away.
So, let's hit up the waiver draft page to check out the drafting order and get it going!
Not taking into account the massive correction that saw Henrik Lundqvist be worth 21 points in Week Eight, we had three other goaltenders vying for the spot of Player of the Week, all scoring 8 points each with the same record of 3-0-0 with 1 shutout. Since it was three goalies with the exact same records in the same number of games played, I took to the number of saves to break this tie and it was Marc-Andre Fleury who came away with the prize after making 100 saves in three games for the Penguins.
It's taken a little while for Fleury to get back in the saddle as the number one goalie for the Penguins, with Brent Johnson doing such an amazing job while Fleury struggled, but now it seems like the Flower is back to his rightful spot as the starting goalie. Just in time too, with the waiver draft upon us, I would wonder if John P. would consider moving him if Johnson had successfully dethroned Fleury. Okay, that is a tad far-fetched.
On Monday, Fleury made 27 saves against the Florida Panthers in a 3-2 victory to open the week, then made 30 stops against the Buffalo Sabres in a tight 1-0 shutout victory on Wednesday, capping off the week with a 43 save performance against the Senators on Friday night, giving him 8 points on the week and 100 saves for the Player of the Week nod.
Fleury's week nearly doubled his overall output in points this season, bringing his season total to 18, which currently ranks him 86th in league scoring and 20th among goalies.
Even if I was to take the corrected team as the best team in the pool this week, it wouldn't have been by much, but that isn't really fair to the team that actually did the business without getting corrected in Week Eight. Dale B.'s team had a fantastic week on the scoresheet, despite it being a pretty poor week for points as a whole. Dale finished the week with 32 points and moved up from 13th to 10th spot, which is somewhat counter-productive just before a waiver draft, but he's at least putting himself in better striking distance when he improves his team this week.
This is Dale's first mention in the newsletter this season and it is definitely a good one. Dale's good fortune has now put him only 18 points out of the money spots and he can deal with a couple of injuries that are holding him back at the moment.
The only two players not to score any points were those players holding Dale back in Week Eight, while everyone else was out there registering at least a point for him in Week Eight. Leading the way for Dale B. was Brian Gionta, Jimmy Howard and Cam Ward, who all finished with 4 points each. Johan Franzen, Scott Hartnell, Jakub Voracek and Marc Staal were all good for 3 points each as well in the week, showing some definite consistency throughout his line-up.
His two zeros, Simon Gagne and T.J. Oshie may be hard to part with this week, but it might have to be done, especially if there are suitable replacements to help boost his season.
Unfortunately, only being in 10th going into Week Nine doesn't suggest great things about his pool team overall, nor does it have him in the running for a jersey this week, but that kind of consistency he had this week would do well for him in the second segment. Dale's statistical strength this season has been in goal, where Howard and Ward have been good enough for the 2nd most minutes played in the pool for a tandem with 2,108 and he's gets the 3rd best production per 60 minutes from them as well, 1.42 points, which has worked out to be 50 points through eight weeks, tops in the pool. If Dale can improve his forwards, he'll be tough to stop.
Well, the only real benefit of having back-to-back weeks in the Basement Dweller spot is that this team is going to likely have the first pick in the waiver draft this week, but that's a far cry from where any team wants to be in the season... last place. This is Clayton's dilemma, as his team has again fallen well-below expectations and things are in need of some serious change. With only 15 points in Week Eight and a correction to one of his competitors in the bottom-third of the pool, Clayton has been left all by himself, 9 points back of 19th place and still a week away from having his new players activated.
Clayton had no help from his goaltending, 0 points, 4 points from his two rookie defensemen, 0 points from his veteran defensemen and then a smattering of 11 points from his forwards with Ryan Getzlaf leading the way with 4 points, which he had in one game.
No team has ever come back from last place in the pool at the waiver draft to win the whole thing or win money, but it's time to just aim low and just get out of last place with whatever changes can be made.
Well, I haven't received many trade requests coming out of Week Eight, most of the excitement of making the trades must have passed and now we'll wait and see how they all pan out now.
Our leader, Wes M., has now led four teams, including himself, over the 500-point mark in Week Eight, while there are still four teams yet to click over 400 points for the year, but that should happen by the end of Week Nine. Wes opened up a little bit more of a lead, scoring 13 more points than Mitch F., a total that can be made up in a week as well.
Top billing for points in Week Eight belongs to Don C., who finished the week with 77 points, helping him move up three spots in the standings to 17th place and on the climb upwards. Don was led by Alex Ovechkin (6 points), Dustin Byfuglien (6), Joe Thornton (5), Dany Heatley (5), Patrick Sharp (5), Nicklas Backstrom (5) and four others with 4 points a piece. Don has made six of his seven trades this season to get this far and now he's hoping those moves can get him a little bit higher into the standings and start fighting for the money.
The biggest mover in the standings was Zarcar's Magic, who went up five spots from 30th to 25th, thanks to making four trades at the beginning of Week Eight. Trades are good, they'll move you out of the basement!
NEWS AND NOTES
A bout of the flu was enough to keep David Krejci from practicing and playing on the weekend. The flu shouldn't keep Krejci out of the line-up for too long, which is likely music to the coaching staff's ears, because the team looked a little lost without him on Sunday against the Thrashers, losing 4-1 in the process.
Nikita Filatov returned to the press box on Sunday when the Blue Jackets took on the Red Wings in the second half of a home and home series on the weekend. Filatov has not been dynamic in his return to the NHL this season and that can likely be attributed to one or both points here; he's not fitting in with the system and/or he doesn't care. Neither of which are sitting well with the Jackets and I'm beginning to wonder what they'll do with him.
The Florida Panthers lost the services of Cory Stillman to back spasms in Saturday night's shootout victory over the Lightning and we are currently awaiting word to how much time he is expected to miss, if any, this week. Back spasms are not the most severe ailments in the league, so he could just as easily return right away, but I imagine he'll miss at least one game.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
Tripleheader! Already being eight weeks through the season, I almost forgot that Hockey Night In Canada occasionally broadcasts a game on Saturday afternoon, but we will all be reminded with an early game, which may keep the interest in the jersey race alive!
To start Saturday's action, we'll see the San Jose Sharks take on the Montreal Canadiens and the top scoring player among these six teams, Carey Price (37 points), which should be a pretty good test for both teams. The Sharks come into this game with 11 players drafted, but will definitely finish Week Nine with a couple drops to their team name in the waiver draft, while the Canadiens will come in with eight players and may have a couple drops and pick-ups on the blueline.
In the middle game, an Original Six match-up between the Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs will feature 18 drafted players this week, with Tim Thomas leading all players in this game with 31 points this season. Looking at who has who in this game, I'm not sure how many players are poised to get dropped, but we may have one or two new faces in the draft next week from these teams.
In the late game, we will see the Edmonton Oilers host the St. Louis Blues and it will be the return of Jaroslav Halak to Hockey Night In Canada, this time in the road whites with blue and yellow trim. Halak leads all players in this game with 26 points through eight weeks, ranking 17th in the league. It's hard to say whether or not players from either team will be dropped this week, while there are not many candidates for being picked either.