Monday, January 08, 2018
Week Fourteen Newsletter
This was quite the week for the Player of the Week honour, as Week Fourteen finished with four players with 8 points a piece and some real tie-breaking processes needed to be completed before we determined our eventual winner, which you have probably already have found out, thanks to the picture above. Still, the process... Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche, Brad Marchand of the Bruins, Jonathan Bernier of the Avalanche and Sidney Crosby of the Penguins were all finalists for the nod and with our first tie-breaker being goals scored... our winner, with 3 goals this week was Rantanen of the Avs.
The 10th overall pick in the 2015 entry draft has finally come to life in Denver this season and his numbers have been fairly impressive this season. In the past week is where we saw a real jump, as he played in three games this week, scoring at least a goal and an assist in each of them and adding an extra assist against the Jets and the Wild in the week as well.
This week has now brought Rantanen's totals up to 15 goals and 41 points in 41 games played, a point-per-game player, currently ranking 29th overall in hockey pool scoring, good enough to be a high 2nd round pick, if we were to redo the draft today, according to these numbers.
So, it should come as no surprise that the young Finn is the best player taken in the 9th round of the hockey pool draft, narrowly edging Vegas' Jonathan Marchessault through 14 weeks and making him into one of the best bargains in the pool. A huge plus for Brian's season, which is still in need of a massive rebound here soon.
The Mover & Shaker nod isn't in need of any tie-breaking procedures, but it was getting to be awfully darn close to needing them, as we raced to the wire on Sunday night. In the end, Dale C.'s team found enough points in the last day of the week to overtake Brenda & Seward's team, which had the clubhouse lead after Saturday's action, scooping up the honour, thanks to a 36-point week.
This is Dale's second Mover & Shaker nod this season, after having a long drought without a mention on the blog for a couple of years, but with his team still in 9th place in the standings, there's still quite a bit more work to do for his team to make these honours worth while in the money department.
Phil Kessel of the Penguins and Ivan Provorov of the Flyers led the way for Dale's team in Week Fourteen, finishing with 5 points each, while Mike Hoffman of the Senators, Vladimir Tarasenko of the Blues, Jared Spurgeon of the Wild, Carey Price of the Canadiens and Jimmy Howard of the Red Wings all had 4 points each. That's a combined 30 points from half of his team, which was better than 17 teams in the pool by themselves.
Dale's team did have three active players on his roster without points, probably to the benefit of the rest of the pool or else his team would have really have run away with this honour in the end. It has been a bumpy road for his team in the last couple of weeks, as it has seen its share of ups and downs, peaking at 2nd place after Week Six and dropping as low as 14th place, just as recently as Week Thirteen, finishing up in 9th this week. With how competitive the pool points are in the top half of the standings, your team needs to have some sort of consistency to stay among the top.
It was also quite close in the race for the Basement Dweller this week, but no tie-breakers were needed here either. However, both Steve and Jeremy were in tight to start Sunday, trying to lock this dubious honour up, but each of their teams found a handful of points on the final day of action and Eric's team was thinking it was in the clear (or so I would assume), so it didn't worry about picking up many points... so it didn't. And then it was passed by the two leaders, leaving Eric's team holding the bag in 25th for the week and here he is... in the Basement Dweller spot for the first time this season.
Eight of Eric's 14 active players were able to pick up points in the week, led by Ryan Getzlaf of the Ducks, who finished with 4 points, but his team was unable to find a lot of consistency through the lineup, which has been a huge hurdle all year long. Eric's team has narrowly avoided the Basement Dweller nod on a number of occasions, which is the main reason why his team is mired in 23rd this year.
Unfortunately, Eric's peak position in the standings was 18th after Week One and there was just no recovery from a poor early start. His team hasn't been the worst, in terms of staying healthy, but it hasn't been overly healthy either, ranking 17th in skater games played (446) and 24th in goalie minutes (1,345), which hasn't helped much. Staying healthy is what gives your team the chance to compete.
Now, Eric's team is 100 points out of 1st place and we've just crossed over the midway point of the season, which means that gap will undoubtedly get bigger and increasingly more impossible to overcome.
Dale B. doesn't seem to want to relinquish the title this season, as his team is still going strong, looking for back-to-back wins. His team even put a few extra points on his lead in Week Fourteen, now sitting 12 points clear of Benson's team, which remained in 2nd place for back-to-back weeks. Wilton remains in 3rd place, keeping the last money spot warm, but now sitting 13 points back of Dale's team for 1st, which can be made up in one great week.
1st place to 10th place has increased to 43 points, which might get some aid from the next Waiver Draft, which goes in a few weeks time, but it's going to be a tough road to hoe, if the lead keeps getting bigger and bigger. The upcoming bye weeks for teams will also make this pretty difficult, with the schedule shrinking a bit, our teams will really have to make good use of its time.
And then there were two!
Jeremy's team was down to its last shooter in the shootout and he needed Brian Gibbons to keep the Devils alive, as Cory Schneider gave up a goal to Brock Nelson in the 5th round, but Gibbons clanked one off the post and the game was over, Jeremy's goalies don't make it through to Week Fifteen.
We our now left with Wilton and Grant, the final two! Wilton is banking on Andrei Vasilevskiy in Tampa Bay and Malcolm Subban in Vegas, while Grant's team is all about the Washington Capitals, Braden Holtby and Philipp Grubauer.
This is going to be a quiet week too... only 31 games on the docket! Could this contest be over at this time next week?
Steve's team moved into last place in the overall standings, but still sits fairly comfortably up at the top of the plus/minus mini-game, which is really something. His team was a combined +4 in this past week and his overall total has increased to +60 on the year, now 15 points better than Cam's team and having some positive results there. His team has been hitting all the right buttons in the mini-game and he could be out shopping for a little bit more help in this category at the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft, with players like Zdeno Chara of the Bruins, who is a +20 this year or Dan Girardi of the Lightning, who is a +17 as well.
The All-Star Game rosters will be announced on Friday, so we'll all have a good idea of who will be playing where and how many pool teams will have the proper representation for the mini-game. The captains have already been announced, the coaching staff was announced on Sunday morning and now the most important part, the players will be unveiled in due time. There will be 11 players on each roster, each NHL team will be represented at the unveiling and then we'll see where the chips fall after the fact.
Wes still leads the PIM pool with 280 minutes in penalties this year, only 3 minutes clear of Brenda & Seward, while Ryan has a firm grip on the year's Lady Byng Trophy, 24 minutes below Stacey M.'s team for the title, down at 144 minutes. The goons nearly double the gentlemen in the minute department, which is really saying something in a year where there isn't much in the way of goons being taken.
In the rookie department, Cam's team had a good week with 5 points from his freshmen, tying him for the overall lead with Clayton at 61 points through 14 weeks. Chris' team led all freshmen with 7 points in the week, but his team was coming up from behind after the Waiver Draft and currently sits at 50 points, still within arm's length of the top in this non-money mini-game.
This past week, we saw our 3rd-best week for skater games with 877 played among pool players and our best week for goalie participation, 5,555 minutes played through 51 games on the schedule and that gave us 643 points in total, our 2nd-best week this season, trailing only Week Eight, where we had 646 points. That's not too bad.
Week Fifteen, however, will be a different beast altogether, as a number of teams will be having their CBA-mandated bye week, which may have already started for some teams and it will take down the number of contests played to 31 in Week Fifteen. We won't be seeing many points in total this week and it will be interesting to see what our averages look like, when it's all said and done.
NEWS AND NOTES
The New York Islanders may have been able to post that big win against the Devils on Sunday afternoon, but it looks like they are falling apart at the seams, as they have suffered another big injury. Mathew Barzal suffered a lower-body injury, believed to be a knee injury and he'll be reevaluated in the next day or so and they'll eventually let us know what the scoop is.
This could be a massive loss for Stuart's team, as Barzal is the biggest bargain pick in this year's draft, taken in the 14th round, he has been valued at a 2nd round pick, heading into yesterday's action. That's a home run pick, if I have ever seen one.
The Carolina Hurricanes have updated the status for their injured forward Sebastian Aho and it is probably the best news we could expect. The word from team management is that the 20-year old will be day-to-day with his lower-body injury, but there was no word on how far away he was from being back in the lineup and it sounds like he'll be doubtful for Tuesday's game in Tampa Bay.
Kristy & Don are not going to lose out on their projected games with this news, as he could be back before too long, but no one will say when. The duo moved up into 4th place this week and Aho has been a big part of that. Will they be able to maintain or climb with the Finn out of the lineup.
A couple of notes from the New York Rangers camp, as they faced off against the Golden Knights in the late game on Sunday. Before the game, forward Pavel Buchnevich was a scratch, but it was unclear as to why. There is always the chance that he had fallen ill, like Mats Zuccarello had done in the game before and wasn't able to go or it may have been a healthy scratch for performance reasons, it's hard to say at the moment. For now, he'll be day-to-day for undisclosed reasons. And then during the game, forward Kevin Hayes suffered a lower-body injury in the 1st period, not to return to the game, but there was no post-game update on his condition, something that we'll likely hear about in the next day or so. The Rangers don't appear to play again until Saturday, so it might even be a bit longer than a day or two.
Buchnevich belongs to Stacey C.'s 20th place team, while Hayes belongs to Mike's 18th place team, the two teams are currently separated by 13 points and each found themselves down a skater on Sunday night. Not exactly ideal news.
And with the Penguins blueline getting healthier this week, this could mean that Ian Cole could find himself in a familiar position, as a healthy scratch, being the odd-man out of a depth situation. Just before Kris Letang and Justin Schultz were hurt for a number of weeks, Cole was finding himself upstairs among the scratches fairly regularly and was even in the trade rumour mill for a good portion of those weeks as well. I'm sure the Penguins are happy they didn't deal him, as they dealt with those injuries and it might be a consideration that they keep him around, since those other two are quite injury prone.
Either way, it doesn't sound too great for Neil's team, who sits between Stacey C. and Mike's team in 19th place, only 1 points back of Mike. It's been a long year with injuries and scratches for Neil, something that is exceptionally hard to foresee at the draft.