We're seven weeks into the season and we're just around the corner from making some key changes to our draft line-ups. Last season, we would be going into the waiver draft in Week Eight, but since we have some even segments this season, we have ourselves one more week before we get to start dropping and picking up new players, which also means we have another couple weeks worth of action to go before our first jersey prize gets handed out as well.
Top prize in the waiver draft this time around looks to be Sergei Bobrovsky of the Philadelphia Flyers, who has taken on the number one job in the absence of Michael Leighton, who has been battling injury to start the season. But with Leighton on the verge of making a return to the line-up, there is plenty of questions as to whether or not Bobrovsky has done enough to solidify his job as the number one guy.
Justin Williams of the Los Angeles Kings is the top forward available for the draft next week, as per right now, leading all available forwards with 20 points in 19 games. I would have to believe that his health issues in the last number of seasons led to his omission from the opening night draft and may be a factor when deciding whether or not to pick him this time around.
The top defensemen available with a week to go is Dan Girardi of the New York Rangers and Steve Montador of the Buffalo Sabres, both sitting with 11 points each. Neither player has really amazed with their play, but they have done well enough to possibly find a job at this waiver draft.
Well, this has been a tiny little preview for the draft coming up, let's see how the pools work out.
I thought leading up to the statistical audit, we were going to have a tie for the Player of the Week honours in Week Seven, but coming out in the wash was a single player to lead the draft in scoring and with 8 points in the week, the best player in the pool was Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens. Price finished with a 2-1-0 record in the week, but both of his wins were shutouts, which made Wayne H. pretty happy, as that is his number one goalie in the draft.
Price's week started on Tuesday night with his best performance, a 41-save effort against the Philadelphia Flyers, which led to a 3-0 Habs victory. On Thursday, the Habs were shutout by the same score by the Nashville Predators, where Price only stopped 27 of 30 shots to take the loss. Finally, on Saturday night, the Canadiens shutout their long-time rivals, the Maple Leafs, 2-0, where Price made 30 stops for all 4 points. That's an 8-point week right there.
Price has now jumped up into the conversation for best player in the pool this season, now leading all goaltenders with 33 points, which currently ranks 3rd in the league. Price was in the conversation for the same honour last week, which suggests that he is on quite the hot streak at the moment.
It wasn't quite the scoring week that I was hoping for in the draft, as we had 50 games on the schedule, but the pool could only draw 11.4 points per game, which led to a lower Mover and Shaker total than I hoped for. Nevertheless, Allan S. had himself a great week in the pool, racking up 38 points in Week Seven to clearly come away with the top spot and then jump back into 2nd spot in the standings, only 1 point behind our leader.
This is Allan's first nod of the regular season, making it a pretty good one. His team has been consistently at the top of the weekly standings so far this season, staying on the good side of the scoring table for five of the first seven weeks.
Helping lead Allan to a great week in Week Seven was both James Neal and Pekka Rinne, who each came away with 6 points each, while Matt Duchene, Claude Giroux and Marian Hossa all had 4 points in a supporting role. That is a lot of young talent leading the way, isn't it? Allan had a pair of zeros on his team this week, but obviously, that didn't really make a big difference in his weekly performance, as he did get plenty of help from the rest of his team.
Allan's biggest strength through seven weeks is his skaters, who have stayed very healthy thus far, ranking 2nd in games played with 232 and in 3rd in points-per-game at a rate of 0.74, so consistency up front has helped him to lead the pool in points from forwards (132) and the 4th best defensive ranks (40). He will definitely challenge for top spot all year with numbers like these.
A tie for the Basement Dwelling in Week Seven brings two teams to a tie-breaker on Monday morning. Two teams finished with 21 points in the week, so we'll go to the first tie-breaker, which is goals scored in the week... both teams finished with 6 goals scored in the week! Damn. Next will be wins in the pool, which lifts one team over the other and Clayton C. is your dweller for Week Seven.
It was only a matter of time before Clayton found his way onto the newsletter for dwelling in the basement, as injuries and very low scoring numbers have finally caught up to his team for a weekly mention. His team finished with six zeros, three due to injury, one for the minors, one for a lack of starts and the other is just cold. There were a couple of bright spots, as Mike Richards finished with 7 points and Ryane Clowe finished with 5 points, but two players making up more than 50% of your weekly points is not a very good sign at all. It doesn't look like a waiver draft is really going to help him very much this year.
Clayton is now 44 points out of the money contention this year, which is not good news for his team at all.
The points are now coming faster and more furiously in the pool, as the top 12 teams have now eclipsed the 400-point mark this season and we still have plenty of trades to make and positions to gain before it is all said and done. It was a much quieter week in the pool for trades, but there were a few made and they did seem to help. Remember, you only get seven trades... or on the other hand, you get seven trades, so be sure you use them up through the season, just to stay in the money.
Top spot in the week for scoring was Zach H., who finished the week with a whopping 85 points, heads and tails above anyone else in the pool for the week. He was 5 points better than 2nd place. Zach also moved up six spots in the standings from 15th to 9th place and he has made trades this year, so there's a great example of why you should. Helping to lead the way for Zach in Week Seven were Brian Rafalski (7 points), Jarome Iginla (6), Sidney Crosby (6), Thomas Vanek (6), Tim Thomas (6), Alex Tanguay (5), Milan Lucic (5) and two others with 4 points each. That is quite the collection of names for the weekly honour!
Since the most points and the biggest gains are the same team, I'll try and find a couple boxes of note to possibly make a trade in. Box 3 has a clear leader in Chris Stewart of the Avalanche. He's running the table in that box with 24 points, both Bobby Ryan and Dany Heatley only have 19 points each as 2nd place in that box. In the same category box in the Eastern Conference, Box 19, Alexander Semin is also running away with it, leading Andrew Ladd, 26-21 in points. Those two boxes could really help your team to succeed, if you had the right players in there.
NEWS AND NOTES
A sore groin was to blame for the absence of Teemu Selanne from the Ducks line-up on Sunday night against the Oilers. Selanne had reportedly suffered the injury on Friday night, having to leave the game and not return, but he will be considered day-to-day for the time being. On the plus side for the Ducks, they had return of Andy Sutton to their line-up on Sunday night.
On Saturday night against the Islanders, Stephen Weiss was forced to leave the game with a reported ankle injury, but it was unclear as to whether or not he had re-aggravated a previous ankle injury, which he suffered not long ago or something new. The Monday morning update suggests that the injury is not serious and that Weiss shouldn't be out of the line-up for very long.
I am a little shocked to think that Adrian Aucoin was a healthy scratch for the Phoenix Coyotes against the Canucks on Sunday night, but I can't seem to see anything that says that the veteran defenseman is actually injured, so a scratch he will have to be for now. If that is indeed the case, I don't think he'll be out of the line-up for too long.
On Saturday night, Mike Knuble missed the game against the Flyers after taking a puck in the game previous, Friday night against Atlanta. Knuble is listed as out day-to-day with the injury and doesn't expect to miss too much time. Coach Boudreau suggests that Knuble will only miss a couple of days and should be back to action.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
A couple of non-playoff match-ups on Hockey Night In Canada probably highlight the least interesting weekend of hockey on CBC to date. In the opening match, the Maple Leafs head to Ottawa to take on the Senators, while the Sharks and Oilers go head-to-head in Edmonton.
In the early game, we will have a combination of 18 players from the draft between Toronto and Ottawa, the Senators leading the way with 10 players in the game. Leading the way in the scoring race between these two games coming into this game is Brian Elliot, who has 20 points through seven weeks in the season. There is a good chance he'll be starting in goal for the Senators when they hit the ice as well.
In the late game, there will be 22 players from the draft represented by the logos on the sweaters, each team having 11 players each on the docket. Sure, Nikolai Khabibulin will likely still be on the shelf and Thomas Greiss is still in Europe, but you know what I mean. Leading the scoring race between these two teams is Dany Heatley, who has 19 points in 19 games.