Another 27-week season is now in the books! It was a great year of some really good races and some very good hockey throughout the year. I would like to thank everyone that participated this year, making it one of the best years in the draft and one of the closest races in the selection sheet pool, in all the years I've been running these pools on the website.
So, I will go through the motions for the week and will do all the pool money announcements at the bottom of the newsletter.
The final Player of the Week nod was a clear win, as Phoenix Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith takes the final honour of the season with 8 points. Smith finished the regular season on a massive winning streak, which included 3 wins in the final week of the season and a shutout. Smith has been very important for the Coyotes, as the team earned their first Pacific Division title this season and finished 3rd in the Western Conference standings.
The 8 points for Smith gives him 93 points on the season, which made him 6th overall in pool scoring this season, 3rd among all goalies this year. Smith finished ahead goaltenders like Marc-Andre Fleury, Jonathan Quick, Jimmy Howard and Tim Thomas and he earned a lot of respect from all the entire lead and should be considered one of the league's best. If the Coyotes make any noise in the playoffs, it will be on the shoulders of Smith.
The final Mover and Shaker of the year belongs to Allan S., who has had the hottest team outside of the All-Star Game, picking up 29 points in the final week of the season, 325 points since the All-Star Game. His team earned some money this year in a couple ways, which I will go through a little bit further down in the newsletter.
Allan's 29 points were due to big weeks from Max Pacioretty (5 points), Martin Havlat (4) and five players with 3 points each in the week. Allan has had some great results this year, mostly due to some healthy players all year long.
With the big week, Allan moved up one spot in the standings, taking 4th place from Wayne H., making it into somewhat of an upset, considering Allan was down in 13th place after Week Thirteen.
There was a rough finish to the season for John P., who finished the year as the final Basement Dweller of the week, picking up 14 points. In one respect, it isn't a bad thing, because it didn't cost him any pool prize money, but it did drop him one position in the standings, going down from 11th to 12th in the final standings. John's best players in the final week were Derrick Brassard and Jake Gardiner, who each had 3 points. His goaltending wasn't able to pick up any points and there were a fair amount of zeroes in his weekly collection.
Just a quick run through the main stats, as Chris M. took the top spot in the weekly scoring with 62 points in Week Twenty-Seven, he moved up three spots, which tied him with Kendra E. for the most spots moved up in the standings and three teams had the top end for goals scored in the pool in the final week, Stuart G., Tony C. and Dylan I. all had 22 goals in the week to lead the way.
The headlines in Pittsburgh for the better part of the season were about the health issues for Sidney Crosby, who was out with his concussion for the majority of the regular season, but it really wasn't about how the Penguins missed him, because Evgeni Malkin came out of the woodwork to dominate the scoring race, even more so after Crosby made his return.
Malkin was an unstoppable force down the stretch and he blasted through the final third of the season, finishing the year with 109 points, taking the title of the best player in the hockey pools for a second year, his first coming back in 2009.
In the draft, Malkin was taken 20th overall by Dale C., who picked up a real bargain in the 1st round, which is something that you don't normally say in a draft style pool. With a large number of competitors in the draft this year and some interesting looks at new and exciting players, there was many who forgot that Malkin was still available and skipped over him early on. Dale, unfortunately, couldn't cash in on the prizes with Malkin's help, but he sure looked pretty smart with that pick this year.
Also getting mentions are the top defenseman and top goalie this year... Erik Karlsson of the Senators ran away with the top blueliner billing with 78 points in 81 games, ranking 20th overall in pool scoring, an exceptional year from him. Top goalie was Pekka Rinne, who finished with 101 points, 2nd overall to Malkin in scoring and was one of the most consistent players all season long.
So, now we come to the big announcements! The money. The dollars and cents that we were all playing for all year.
We'll start in the selection sheet pool, as Jeff E. ran away with the pool this year, attaining top spot in Week Eight and didn't let it go. His lead got to be pretty big this year and it was big enough that he could survive the late-season charges by those right behind him. Jeff will walk away with $400 for his efforts and a very good job on his part.
In 2nd place, picking up $150, was Zach H., who had a really good season as well, also among the top of the standings for the best part of the season. His lead through the year wasn't quite as big and was threatened by a couple teams below him in the end, but he survived and made good on his season.
3rd place goes to Don D., who picks up $75 for his efforts, Clayton C. was 4th for $50 and in 5th, Caterina F. gets her money back, $25.
The draft had an amazing year, with more people in the pool, more players taken, the depth was key to a lot of teams and everything just went so well from start to finish.
It was a pretty close race through the best parts of the season, but the last couple weeks saw Clayton C. run away with the standings, finishing 23 points ahead of 2nd place, taking the title of Draft Champion for the 2012 season. He comes away with $500 for his efforts, not to mention the second segment prize of $50 for having the most points in the middle segment of the season.
2nd place belongs to Stuart G., who quietly ran up the standings with some pretty awesome weeks, he picks up $250 this year. Stuart hovered around the money all season long, mostly in 3rd and 4th for the second half of the season and then snuck up to 2nd place in Week Twenty-Six, not to let it go in the final week's worth of action.
3rd place goes to Dale B., who had a weekly lead in eight weeks in the second half of the season, but some key injuries down the stretch saw his team falter and then drop from 1st to 3rd, losing out on a fair bit of money there.
4th place belongs to Allan S., a team that saw a mid-season collapse and a late-season charge in the year. Allan's team was very hot at the end, also picking up the final segment win of $50 and his money back, $50.
Wayne H., who finished just outside the final money position (which I claimed was 5th for the better part of the year, but was wrong), picked up $50 for having the best team in the first segment of the year, so he doesn't come away empty-handed. Awesome work by his team again.
Again, thanks to all who participated this year, I hope everyone had a great time and we'll get all the prizes out to the winners here soon and I hope you all join the playoff pool, which is live right now!