Monday, January 25, 2016
Week Sixteen Newsletter
The Colorado Avalanche are moving up the ranks in the Central Division and a big reason for that is their number one goalie, Semyon Varlamov, who has been on point over the last couple weeks, winning seven of his last nine games. In Week Sixteen, Varlamov made four starts and came away with a win in each game, only allowing one goal in each game and he finished the week with 8 points to be the clear winner of the Player of the Week nod.
Wins against Winnipeg, Buffalo, St. Louis and Dallas were a huge help for the Avalanche's push into the Wild Card spots in the Western Conference and they brought their goalie's season totals up to 19 wins and 1 shutout for 40 points this year, ranking 41st overall in pool scoring, 17th among all goalies.
Unfortunately for Kristy & Don, Varlamov hasn't quite lived up to expectations to this point in the season, since they took him with their 1st pick, 27th overall. He hasn't quite been a 1st round pick to them, but he's still considered a 2nd round pick, which is still pretty darn good.
Getting two good goalies does seem to be a good trick in the hockey pool, especially since you look at Kristy & Don, who have the Player of the Week this week and their second best player was their 2nd round pick, another goalie in Roberto Luongo, and they accounted for 14 of their 32 points in the week. The pool's first duo were far and away in the lead for the Mover & Shaker, by the time Sunday rolled around, but they held on by a 4-point margin to get the job done.
Between Varlamov and Luongo, Kristy & Don have the 3rd best pair of goalies in the pool this season, but they have been shutout in two weeks for wins, which has kept them out of the goalie survivor pool since Week Three. Still, when those two keepers are rolling, this pool team is hard to stop.
Other than the goaltending, their team was just out to chip in a point or two here and there. Only one of their skaters finished better than 2 points, Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman finished with 3 points to lead the skaters. Only one active skater finished without a point on their team, so everyone was chipping in here and there.
The reigning champions are moving up the ranks, finishing as the Mover & Shaker for the third time in six weeks, moving up from 17th place at the end of Week Eleven to 6th place at the end of Week Sixteen. They have definitely have a pretty good shot at the money now, only 19 points back of 3rd place and there is still another Waiver Draft to come in a week's time.
I would imagine that they are going to be shopping for forwards this time around and it's a good thing that Wes isn't right ahead of them in the standings or else there will be a lot of unhappy campers.
The collapse of Stacey M.'s team continues for a third straight week, as they have found their way back to the Basement Dweller and they have now dropped out of the top 20, now sitting in 21st spot after a 12-point week.
Jordan Staal of the Hurricanes was her team's top player in the week, finishing with 3 points, while Morgan Rielly of the Leafs and Antti Niemi of the Stars each had 2 points and there, between three players, was 7 out of the 12 points from her team.
Is there anything left for Stacey's team to do at the Waiver Draft next week? Her team doesn't have any rookies, didn't survive past Week Three and is currently the Lady Byng team of the pool, so there is no hope in the mini-games. It might be all about saving face, with a couple of clever improvements here and there.
The teams remained the same in the money spots, as they have now been the same for five straight weeks, but we've seen a little bit more movement within the top three, as Brenda & Seward have retaken the lead, the first time since Week Thirteen's Newsletter. Brenda & Seward and Jeremy are doing a great job jockeying for the top spot in the pool, keeping things interesting up there.
John P. reeled them both in a little with a big week of his own, as his 28 points, brought his team within 11 points of 1st place and they could climb into the conversation again, before too long.
Neil and Stuart, only 1 point difference between the two of them, are still trying to chase down John P. for 3rd place, and they are only 7 & 8 points out of 3rd at the end of this week, so they are still in it for the money here. Another good Waiver Draft will go a long ways for these two teams.
Where will they finish this week? It makes a big difference, because after Wednesday night's games, the order for the Waiver Draft will be decided.
Ryan's rookies posted another 4 points in the week, as did Clayton's rookies, so the lead remained at 39 points after Week Sixteen. Troy is only 2 points back of Clayton for 2nd place, but it would have to take a monumental third segment for either team to catch Ryan, especially with Connor McDavid set to return in Week Eighteen.
The top rookies available for Week Eighteen's Waiver Draft... San Jose's Joonas Donskoi and Arizona's Louis Domingue, each having 21 points through Week Sixteen. They are both top end players in the available list, so it is doubtful that any of the three racing teams would even get a sniff of these two.
We have now arrived to the nail-biting week in the goalie survivor pool... the All-Star shortened week. Our two combatants, Allan and Jeremy, will have limited chances for their wins, which makes this very, very interesting.
There are only 19 games on the NHL schedule this week, Allan has two possible starts out of Ben Bishop and Connor Hellebuyck, while Jeremy has two possible starts, but only one likely start out of Braden Holtby and Al Montoya this week.
We'll have plenty of coverage this week on this development, will either one survive? Will neither survive? They would have to split the $60 if they were both eliminated this week or if they both survive to the end of the year. Wait and see!
Week Sixteen set a new record for the worst average number of penalty minutes from the NHL schedule in the season. The pool only pulled an average of 8.3 minutes out of 45 games, so there was very little movement in this one in the week.
Eric's team, thanks to a couple goon moments, finished atop the weekly standings with 32 minutes in penalties, followed closely by Tony, whose team finished with 31 minutes. Not a bad race, if it meant something.
Derek & Dan had the best team among the top five, finishing with 24 minutes, but their team still ranks 4th in the race, 9 minutes out of 2nd and now 66 minutes back of 1st place.
Tom Wilson of the Capitals will be the hottest commodity at the Waiver Draft, as his 109 PIM is one of the best in the league, so far, while Ottawa defenseman Mark Borowiecki has 97 PIM and is the next best available. If the Waiver Draft started today, Wes would pick 4th and Derek & Dan would pick 8th, so you can guess which team would get which goon, eh?
Despite the penalty minutes taking a dive, the points stayed pretty well the same from the week before and thanks to the huge snow storm, the Week Sixteen schedule was trimmed down by three games, each being postponed to later dates, which have yet to be announced. This could be a bit of a game-changer in the pool, if these Washington games are put into good times or bad times, something we can look at later as well.
Skater games and goalie minutes were fairly steady again and now with a short week ahead, just before the Waiver Draft, we'll be looking for some improvements down the stretch here, for sure.
As it was mentioned earlier, we're only looking at 19 games this week, which means we could likely start the Waiver Draft early and push through two full rounds and then another bonus round for injuries, much like we did in Week Nine. I will have more details on that this week.
NEWS AND NOTES
After a shot block to the knee on the weekend, New York Rangers forward Rick Nash sat out on Sunday's contest, trying to overcome some bruising, at the very least. Nash blocked a Justin Faulk shot in Friday's game against the Hurricanes, reportedly played a couple more shifts, but wasn't able to go for his side on Sunday, but there is a possibility he plays on Monday. For now, he'll be on the list as out day-to-day.
Benson's team is 24th in the standings today, 40 points clear of last place, but 10 points out of the top 20. A small injury like this could possibly improve his Waiver Draft spot, but without a mini-game to really strive for, his team is pretty much dead in the water, at a competitive level.
In the midst of the Sunday football watching, the Los Angeles Kings were doing back-to-back nights, but they did so without Milan Lucic, who was suspended for Sunday night's game against San Jose, because of a sucker punch he threw the night before and it cost him in the end. He won't get a big post for his suspension, because he has already served it, but I will include the video for your viewing please, see below.
The suspension didn't give Eric any more minutes in his PIM totals, but Lucic did earn 12 minutes on the play itself, so that was a big plus for his team, if he was to resort to that competition.
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