The final day of making roster moves in the NHL is upon us, as the Week Twenty-One newsletter descends upon NHL trade deadline day and it is hard to know what to expect. There are supposedly a number of teams looking to buy this time around, but the number of sellers may not be all that high.
Nevertheless, all of the crucial trades will be covered on the blog today, but first we'll cycle through what has happened during the week in both pools. We have a new leader in the Draft and we have a new team in the money in the sheet pool, but you won't know who they are until... well, you could have looked at the standings before the blog, but if you didn't, you'd read it right here.
This doesn't happen very often, but when it does happen, it has some pretty big numbers associated with it. For the first time since Week Five in 2010, we have a defenseman as the Player of the Week and he scored 12 points, in order to do so... much like Week Five in 2010. Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators, absolutely went to town on NHL opponents in Week Twenty-One, storming scoresheets from Monday to Sunday, tying the season-high, which was set back in Week Three by Jonathan Quick.
Karlsson played in four games during the week and he made noise in each and every one of those games, leading to this honour at the end of the week.
The week started out with a bang on Long Island, as he scored 2 goals and 2 assists on Monday in the 6-0 win over the Islanders, followed by a goal and 2 assists at home to Washington in a 5-2 win, then another goal and 2 assists in a 5-3 loss to Boston and finally on Sunday, 2 assists in another win over the Islanders, 5-2. 4 goals and 8 assists in total during the week, which is tough to beat at any time of the year.
This now has Karlsson's season totals up to 14 goals and 51 assists for 65 points in 63 games for the Senators, good enough to have him ranked 13th overall in pool scoring, far and away the best defenseman in scoring this season. He is a worthy 1st round pick in the hockey pools this season.
As you'll see in the next segment, he's done quite well for his draft team as well.
It wasn't a record-setting week for Clayton C. in the draft, but it was good enough for two things: being the Mover and Shaker and taking 1st place in the draft standings. Clayton's draft team finished up with 46 points in Week Twenty-One, his fourth week this season over the 40-point mark, each time earning him the Mover and Shaker nod in the year. This is also the second week of the season, where he has finished in the lead, the last time was Week Fourteen and didn't last through the next week.
Clayton owes his big week in the pool to Erik Karlsson, who finished as the Player of the Week with 12 points, as well as Patrick Marleau, who had 6 points and then Daniel Alfredsson, Claude Giroux and Taylor Hall, who each had 4 points each. There were a couple of active zeroes on his team, but otherwise, the team was pretty good at picking up points throughout.
Statistically, Clayton's team not only took a 1-point lead in the overall standings, his team has been on fire lighting the lamp, as it has also taken the overall lead in goals scored with 184, which has a 3-tally lead over 2nd place. For the better part of the season, Clayton has also had the best scoring rates from his skaters, picking up .733 points-per-skater game this year and his team has been healthy since the first waiver draft, now having an above-average total of skater games played, which is huge.
With the race at the top as tight as it is, we might get to see a bit more jockeying for first place, which may also result in a photo finish. I think we're in for a great final six weeks.
It's rough when the pool has a pretty good total of points collected through the 22 teams and you end up in the Basement, but there were two teams that finished up at the bottom for the draft, so we'll have to go to the usual tie-breaker, the least amount of goals for. With 16 points and 4 goals for, Brenda F. has fallen a little further out of the money race, with her first trip to the Basement.
Brenda fell down to 12th place in the standings at the end of Week Twenty, but has lost even more ground on 5th place, with the gap now sitting at 64 points, I would say her team is officially out of money contention.
Brenda's best player in Week Twenty-One has been her best player all season long, Jonathan Quick, who had 4 points in the week, but it really dropped off after the fact. Her goaltending tandem has been awesome all season long, but since it is only two players in a group of 14, it doesn't hold a great deal of water.
To the sheet pool... we had a slight move in the pool this week, as the top four teams remained the same from Week Twenty, Jeff E., Zac H., Clayton C. and Justin L. all stood firm in their spots, but we had a switch at the last money spot, as Don D. had a pretty good week, overtaking Kendra E. for 5th spot and opening up a 23-point gap at the same time. It's not a very safe distance, but it may take a couple of weeks to work itself back into shape.
Speaking of Don D., his pretty good week ended up being the best week in the pool, as he finished with 69 points, moving up that one position into 5th in the process. Don owes his big week to players like Steven Stamkos (8 points), Martin St. Louis (6), Marc-Andre Fleury (6), Jordan Eberle (5), Mathieu Garon (5), Trevor Daley (4) and Scott Hartnell (4). Don's team has been rather good over the last few weeks, in and around the 60-point mark in each week since the All-Star Break, which has now put him in the money conversation.
Dale C. and Chris M. had the best movement in the pool in the week, each of them moved up a couple of spots in the standings. Dale went from 10th to 8th and Chris up from 16th to 14th, both collecting over 60 points in the process.
Justin L. and Debbie G. led the pool in goal scoring in the week, as they both hit 25 goals, but neither of them moved in the pool standings. Both Justin and Debbie are tied for 2nd in pool goal scoring, each picking up 385 goals in total and gained 6 goals on the leader in the process.
NEWS AND NOTES
Before the Sharks took on the Wild on Sunday night, the team made the decision to scratch Michal Handzus for the game, which could lead to all kinds of rampant speculation about him being in a trade to help improve the team in some way. Handzus may be a good piece to move on Monday, as he hasn't necessarily fit well with the Sharks, having only 23 points in 59 games with the team, but he could provide depth to a team that would need some in return in a deal that helps a contender like the Sharks.
Reports from the game itself saw that Logan Couture left the game with a lower-body injury after taking a couple of solid hits from Minnesota Wild players. Couture left the game in the 3rd period and didn't return and there has been no update, early on Monday morning to say what his condition is. With the trade deadline upon us, any injury to Couture that may be serious, could help the team make a move or two to help the team over the hump in the playoffs.
Link to the Injury/News Page
HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA
We're back to the regular double-header on Hockey Night In Canada for the weekend of Week Twenty-Two, a pair of games that have a little bit of historical significance in each match-up. This will be the first broadcast after the Trade Deadline, which goes later on today (Monday), so we'll see if we can highlight a player that plays in the draft and is somewhat deadline-centric.
In the early game, it will be the old rivalry, as the Maple Leafs make the trek up to Montreal to take on the Canadiens for the fifth meeting between these two teams in the 2012 season. The Habs have a slight edge in the season series, going 2-1-1 in the first four games of the season. The Leafs are trying to chase down an Eastern Conference playoff berth for the first time in a few seasons, while the Canadiens are nowhere near playoff contention, but I don't think that will take away from the intensity in the game. Between the two teams, the top name floating around at the deadline is Tomas Plekanec, who has a no-trade clause, but has been rumoured to be on the block, as the Canadiens may look to re-tool and re-structure this season.
In the late game, expansion cousins go head-to-head, as the Buffalo Sabres come to the West Coast to take on the Vancouver Canucks. This will be the only meeting between the two sides this season, since they don't normally get much love from the NHL schedule makers. The Sabres spent a whole lot of money in the off-season, but they haven't managed to stay in the playoff picture, while the Canucks are among the NHL elite, which may not make for a gritty game. The top name floating around the trade rumours on Monday morning is Derek Roy, who has been linked to a number of teams and could be a good fit with even a team like the Canucks. We shall wait and see.