Monday, February 06, 2017

Week Seventeen Newsletter

Well, that Waiver Draft wasn't nearly so bad.  The players will be going live today and I should be able to have it all sorted out by this evening.  So, don't worry, any points you collect from your fresh faces today will be going into your totals.

We had a few injury round picks, as four teams took advantage of a third pick, due to injury.  Troy & Wilton each picked up an extra goon to try and secure the PIM pool, while Wes added some scoring and Kristy & Don just wanted some help from their goaltending.  Oh, then there was Stuart with a late move, replacing a guy who is out for the rest of the year.  That pretty much wrapped it all up.  Now it's time for the stretch run.

But first, let's look at last week.

One of the stars from the first Waiver Draft of the season came up huge in Week Seventeen, as Los Angeles' Peter Budaj was the only player in the pool to get more than 6 points, as he finished the week with 10.  The Kings keeper has been more than capable as a replacement for the injured Jonathan Quick this season and he's trying to keep the Kings in playoff contention, as best he can.

Budaj went 3-1-0 in the week, picking up back-to-back shutouts for his big week.  A win against Arizona kicked off the week, sandwiching shutouts of Colorado and Philadelphia, but then dropping a decision against the Capitals on back-to-back days.

The 10-point week has brought Budaj's numbers up to 65 points on the season, which ranks 2nd in pool scoring, but since Wes picked him up in the first Waiver Draft, he was unable to collect all of those points.  Since his activation, however, Wes has picked up 37 of those points (13 wins, 5 shutouts & 1 assist).

Speaking of Wes' team, it was also the best team in the pool in the week, picking up 35 points, 2 points better than the next team on the list and that also moved his side up the standings, going from 17th to 15th.  With the Waiver Draft done and a few pick-ups made for his side, he's looking at that 32-point gap to the money and probably thinking that there is still a chance.

And there is.

The big performers on his team, besides having the Player of the Week on his side, included Mikael Granlund of the Wild with 6 points, Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Capitals with 5 points and also Martin Jones of the Sharks with 4 points.  His top four players combined for 25 points in the week and there was a smattering of scoring through the rest of his lineup, including 2 points from his blueline, which is getting revamped after the Waiver Draft today.

With this segment now coming to an end, this huge week was a big plus for Wes' team, as he finished tied for 3rd in points between the start of Week Nine until the end of Week Seventeen, finishing with 234 points, 8 points back of the segment-best, Dale B..  Wes' goaltending was a huge part of that comeback, Budaj being his best player, but he was 2nd in the pool in minutes played by his goalies in that segment, meaning he pretty well always had a goalie going most nights.  That's pretty important in this pool, especially if you're deficient in other positions.

Now the race is drawing to a close, as the final third of the season will kick-off tonight and will there be a dramatic comeback by Wes' team, as he will be coming back from last place, where he was at the end of Week Nine.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Mike's team has slipped a little further down the totem pole, as his team was only able to collect 15 points in the week, going down to 20th from 18th in the standings.  Mike's team has fallen from 7th, at the end of Week Twelve, all the way down to the bottom-third of the standings right now.

Mike's strength has been his goaltending this season, but even in the last few weeks, that has gone really cold and that has been the main reason why his team has slid down so far.  His best players in the week were Josh Bailey of the Islanders, Matt Duchene of the Avalanche and Kris Letang of the Penguins, all finishing with 3 points, but then scoring was pretty sparse below them, some of which due to injury and one player in the minors as well.

The Waiver Draft was somewhat fruitful, as he picked up a couple of new forwards, but he has to hope that his goaltending returns to form, if he's going to recover any pride in this season's standings.

There was change again in the money rankings, as 3rd place has changed hands again and Brenda & Seward made the best of the first tie-breaker over Cam to edge their way into the last money spot at the end of the week.  The duo are 32 goals better than Cam's team, despite both teams having 409 points on the season.

Brian continues to lead and his team increased their lead over Dale B.'s team to 9 points, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things.  As mentioned before, Dale's team was the hottest in the middle segment and it has its sights on top spot.

Jeremy, Ryan, Marcie, Stacey C. and Scott are also within 10 points of the money to start the third segment of the season, so this race is far from over.

John S. had the goon team of the week, but it was a pretty close and uninteresting race.  John finished the week with 29 minutes in penalties, which brings his overall total to 251, good enough for 18th in the standings.

Marcie's team continues to lead, but now that the second Waiver Draft has come and gone, the teams gunning for hers have a lot more ammo to work with.  Kristy & Don improved their goon situation a little bit, Wilton did a lot, while Derek B. and Troy both added some muscle, but have a little bit further to travel up.

Some weeks, the minutes have been hard to come by, so there is a chance that Marcie could hang on to this lead.

Stacey M. was pretty darn close to coming away with the win, as it came down to Saturday night, where John S. picked up a huge win from Devan Dubnyk and the Wild in Vancouver and the survival pool will last for yet another week.

Both teams have two healthy goalies and the schedule is very forgiving for the next couple weeks upcoming, so we might stretch this one out for a while yet.

We're still a few weeks away from the last outdoor game between the Penguins and the Flyers and we'll quickly visit the Waiver Draft one last time, to see if anyone has improved their chances in the last mini-game.

Two Flyers and one Penguins player were dropped this past week, while one Flyers player and one Penguins player was picked up, so we, in essence, lost some possible participation.  Clayton and Dale C. were the two teams adding to their chances, one adding a goalie and the other a forward.  It's too bad this one didn't get more exciting.


On Friday, the Dallas Stars placed forward Jason Spezza on the Injured Reserve with an upper-body injury.  They made it clear that the injury was not a concussion, despite the timeline for his possible return, saying it will be the full week or maybe two before he's ready to go.  Spezza's production hasn't been too bad this season, but missing as much time as he had and will continue to do will hurt.  This season, the veteran centre has 31 points in 45 games.

Grant will open the third segment without Spezza and in 16th place in the standings.  His team is 36 points back of the money and he made one change to his team last week, so he's hoping there is a surge in scoring from his team, but he needs all hands on deck for that.

The Anaheim Ducks had a couple of pool scratches on Saturday night, when they were in Tampa Bay to take on the Lightning.  Scoring defenseman Sami Vatanen was held out of the game, due to a lower-body injury, while tough guy Jared Boll was a healthy scratch for the game, since the Lightning are not known as an overly physical team.  Both are considered day-to-day and the Ducks are on Broadway on Tuesday night, so we'll see if either draw back in.

Vatanen's absence added to Mike's misery this season, while Troy didn't need to see one of his new goons take a seat before he was activated, it doesn't exactly exude confidence in his playing time moving forward.  Troy's team in 102 minutes back, but added three players, including Boll, so there's still a shot.

The season continues to be a horrible struggle for Sabres defenseman Zach Bogosian, who suffered a rib injury on the weekend.  He's currently listed as day-to-day, missing out on Saturday night's game, home to the Senators.  The Sabres are in New Jersey tonight, but there is no word on his immediate availability for this game.

John S. had a chance to drop his under-performing ass, but opted not to.  With only 5 points in 30 games and possibly missing some more time, he likely won't be much more help.  John's team is 30 points out of the money and needs help, desperately!

The flu bug hit the Columbus Blue Jackets and forward Josh Anderson when they took on the New Jersey Devils.  The bug has been pretty awful this year, costing players more than one game, but we'll see if he can draw in for the game in Detroit on Tuesday.  He'll be on the list as out day-to-day.

This illness isn't the biggest setback on Mike's team, but Anderson hasn't quite been the saviour that his team needed from the first Waiver Draft, picking up 9 points in 27 games, since being activated.  He has since been his biggest goon this season, picking up 33 minutes in the last nine weeks.

The Nashville Predators opted to give back-up goalie Juuse Saros a start down in the AHL over the weekend, ahead of a busy schedule in the coming week.  Saros will likely get some work on the weekend, when the Predators go back-to-back.  He was recalled on Monday morning, so he should be good to go for the week, if needed.

I wonder if that put a scare into Kristy & Don, who opted for Saros for one of their injured goalies, as they look for "some" goalie minutes this week.  I don't think he is much of a goon though, so there really is no help here at all.

The Edmonton Oilers were without Kris Russell on Sunday in Montreal, due to an undisclosed injury.  The Oilers did a recall of a couple of defenders, but sent them back, immediately after the game.  I'm not sure if that is a sign that Russell had a minor injury or not, but the Oilers begin their mandated 5-day break today, so that could be why.  We'll have to wait and see on Saturday, to get a better feel about how bad Russell's injury is.

The mandated break will probably have a bigger effect on Grant's team this week, than Russell's actual injury.  He wouldn't get any games for the better part of this week anyways, so there's not a lot of concern here.

Finally, the Detroit Red Wings put forward Frans Nielsen on the Injured Reserve, retroactive to late last week, after already missing Saturday's win in Nashville.  Nielsen is dealing with an upper-body injury and will miss the team's next two games, at the very least, with the injury.  Any more time being missed will likely be determined before the weekend.

Bad news for Dale B. and his 2nd place team, as this is quality skater games being missed, since Nielsen has 26 points in 51 games this year, working at a little better than half a point per game.

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