As we finish Week Seven in the draft and begin Week Eight, it is high time to start thinking about the Waiver Draft, which will begin a week from now. During the week, I'll probably highlight the top available players for the draft in their own little post, but usually in Week Seven, I do a quick mention of the best available players for the draft.
The past couple of seasons, we have seen a goaltender lead the way for available players, last season it was Sergei Bobrovsky of the Philadelphia Flyers and the season before, it was Craig Anderson, when he was playing with the Colorado Avalanche. Goalies are usually hot commodities in the waiver draft, because of the unforeseen circumstances that surround the crease during the year, gambling on the wrong back-up or having your starter go down early for the long-term.
This season, the best player available will likely be a forward and leading the charge is the Maple Leafs' Joffrey Lupul, who has been on fire to start the year, as a part of the team's top line. Through 21 games, Lupul has 25 points and I'm sure many of the 22 teams in the draft are kicking themselves, wondering why they didn't pick him at the draft in September.
Marc-Andre Bergeron leads all available defensemen in scoring with 17 points in 19 games for the Lightning and you have to know that he will go very early on, while Jhonas Enroth of the Sabres is the top goalie with 16 points, but he will provide a little bit more of a gamble this year. The gamble on Enroth will likely be one of the highlights of my top available players post, so I won't spoil it here.
And don't forget, it doesn't take a waiver draft to swap out players in the selection sheet pool... submit your trades before puck drop on Monday to have them count. This week, four games open the schedule on Monday, 5pm MT... get your e-mails to me before then and the trades will count for the week.
Not a bad week for Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, as he was far and away the best player in the hockey pool in Week Seven. His 2-0-1 record in the week may be a little bit deceiving at first, but when you notice that both of his wins were shutouts and that he was able to post an assist in there as well, everything quickly adds up for him and 9 points looks pretty good on him.
On Monday, Price and the Canadiens dropped a 2-goal lead going into the 3rd period against the Buffalo Sabres to lose 3-2 in the shootout, which wasn't a great start to the week. Thursday, he bounced back with a 25-save effort against the Carolina Hurricanes in a 4-0 shutout, which is where he posted his assist in the week, getting a helper on the eventual winner. Finally, on Saturday, Price stopped one streak and continued another, as he blanked the Rangers in another 4-0 win, making 17 stops for the shutout.
This good week brings Price's record up to 8-6-3 on the season, add 2 shutouts and an assist and he now has 21 points on the year, good enough for 19th in pool scoring to this point in the year, good enough to be a 1st round pick in the draft... which he was, taken 12th overall by John P..
This is Price's second Player of the Week nod in as many seasons. Coincidentally, he was the Player of the Week of Week Seven last season as well.
It was another even spread of points in the draft in Week Seven, which kept the Mover and Shaker race fairly close all week long. Three teams were able to crack the 30-point mark in the week and on Sunday it did become somewhat of a 2-horse race, but in the end, it was Clayton C. who took it at the line in a photo finish, finishing with 33 points, 1 point ahead of Jani K. for the honour in the week.
With the big week, Clayton moved up from 6th to 4th place and he is now back within striking distance of 3rd and 2nd place, trailing Stuart G. for 3rd by only 4 points.
Clayton had big weeks in Week Seven from Claude Giroux (7 points), Patrick Marleau (5), Taylor Hall (4), Thomas Vanek (4) and Antti Niemi (4). Currently, Clayton has two players in the top 10 in pool scoring with Giroux and Vanek and he has five players in the top 50 in scoring, so you can see where a lot of his successes are coming from.
One of the more remarkable statistics that Clayton's team has is that his team has below-average numbers for both skater games played (199) and minutes played by his goaltending duo (845), but still ranks in the top five in the standings, thanks in part to the great scoring rates by both skaters and goalies, getting the most out of the time spent on the ice.
In the basement this week, we had ourselves a tie for the weekly worst with 15 points between Munden G. and Peter H.. The first tie-break is goals for and the least amount of goals in Week Seven between the two teams belongs to... both of them! Both Munden and Peter each had 6 goals scored between the two of them, which wasn't the weekly worst in that category, actually wasn't even close. Next tie-break in the pool is wins and not having registered a win was Peter, because both of his goalies are now injured, so he gets the basement nod for Week Seven.
Yes, both Ryan Miller and Al Montoya are on the shelf for their respective teams and Peter also has had injury problems from Tyler Ennis, Kristian Huselius and Alex Goligoski, so the waiver draft cannot come soon enough for his team this year. Peter can thank his lucky stars for Tomas Plekanec, who led his team in scoring with 6 points in Week Seven or else he really would have been sunk.
It should come as no surprise that Peter's team is below average in games played and minutes played in the pool as well and his scoring rates are barely keeping him afloat this year as well. His skaters have played in 194 games and they're just slightly above average, at .613 points per game played.
Only a couple more weeks to the waiver draft and he can sort some of those things out.
We had ourselves another change in leadership in the selection sheet pool, as Jeff E. took top spot in the week, after having one of the better weeks in the pool, yet again. He and Zac H. are starting to run away with the pool standings, now opening up gaps of around 30 points, thanks in large part to some good trades early on in the season. Getting those trades and making them count continue to work in this pool. The whole top five teams all got a little shifted, as there was a lot of movement in those tight areas between 3rd and 10th.
The best week in points in Week Seven belonged to Debbie G., who finished the week with 65 points, which moved her up nine spots in the pool, from 22nd to 13th and this all happened with having a trade made yet in the season. It was just one of those weeks where the stars aligned for her and he did quite well. Having big weeks for Debbie in the pool were Marc-Edouard Vlasic (7 points), Joffrey Lupul (6), Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (5), Shea Weber (5), Dustin Byfuglien (5), Jonathan Toews (4) and Scott Hartnell (4). It's rare to see a team do so well without many points from their goaltending, but here we are, a great week from the defense leads the way.
The goal scoring leader in the week was Robin F., who did make a number of trades last week and lifted his team up 6 spots to 14th in the week. 20 goals and 60 points made for an excellent week and his team can now start making the trek up the standings a little bit faster.
Currently, I only have a few trades ready to go into the pool for Week Eight, but the deadline is puck drop on Monday evening, so if you want to get someone special in your line-up, I won't say who exactly, then you only have the work day to decide on that or not.
NEWS AND NOTES
The Hurricanes are a difficult team to please, especially for the young players on the squad. Early on Monday morning, the Hurricanes sent down both Zach Boychuk and Zac Dalpe to the Charlotte Checkers of the AHL, recalling Brett Sutter at the same time. Boychuk and Dalpe have not been very effective in their starts to the season, which makes the demotion somewhat reasonable, so I would imagine that they will get a chance to get their confidence back with a game or two with the minor-league affiliate.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
We're back to some doubleheader action on Saturday evening, but I should also make a mention that there is going to be a special Hockey Night In Canada on Monday night (yes, tonight), as they broadcast the game in Pittsburgh against the Islanders. Apparently, someone of some importance is returning to the ice in a regular season game. It sounds like it will be a pretty big deal, as the major American network for the NHL, Versus, will also be carrying the game. For the doubleheader purposes, I think I will note the top goal scorer going into this week from each game.
In somewhat of a surprise start time in the West, it would appear that the Colorado Avalanche will have a 5pm MT start against the Edmonton Oilers, as two tailing off Northwest Division rivals will go head-to-head, trying to regain some footing in the Western Conference standings. Both teams love to score and are still struggling to play a little defense, throw in the fact that it is a little bit of an earlier start and we might see a very good goal scoring bonanza. In their first meeting of the season, the Oilers took the game 3-1 in Denver, so I would suppose the Avalanche would be out for a little bit of revenge. The leading goal scorer going into Week Eight between these two teams is the wily veteran, Ryan Smyth, who has 11 tallies in 19 games for the Oilers, having a resurgence in his career, of sorts.
In the late game, Hockey Night in Canada will travel back down to California to see the Canucks take on the Sharks down in San Jose. The Sharks have recovered well from their early season troubles and are now rolling along quite well in their schedule, while the Canucks are still struggling to find their old identity. I don't think the Sharks will be taking the Canucks lightly in this one, as the talent is still certainly apparent on the ice, but San Jose will likely be looking to take advantage of their opponent's inconsistency and inability to play a full 60 minutes. This will be the first meeting of four between these two teams and it will also be the first time that they met since the Western Conference Finals last Spring, so there could be some hard feelings between the two teams. Leading the goal scoring charge between these two teams is the Sharks' Joe Pavelski, who has 11 goals in 18 games already this year.