Monday, November 13, 2017
Week Six Newsletter
Long weekend Monday! With any luck, I'm hoping to have long weekends through until the end of the calendar year, which should mean some pretty good Newsletters, in theory. Try not to get your hopes up too far, but maybe a little bit more than normal.
It was another outright winner in Week Six, as 8 points was the total to beat heading into Sunday and there may have been a couple of players set to try for the title, but through it all, Devan Dubnyk remained as the top dog for the week, earning his fourth Player of the Week nod, once in each of the last four seasons, keeping a fairly impressive streak alive.
Another impressive statistic, one that I don't believe that I have seen before in writing the Player of the Week nods for this Newsletter, is a goalie that started the week 0-2-0, allowing 7 goals against in the first part of the week and then turning around and posting back-to-back shutouts for his 8 points.
Yes, after dropping games against Boston and Toronto earlier in the week, traveling through Montreal and Philadelphia was much easier for him, posting the shutouts on Thursday and Saturday. The Wild have not been shy, playing their number one goalie, even on back-to-back nights, but that could be more because their regular back-up was away from the team as well.
Nevertheless, the 8 points from 2 wins and 2 shutouts brings his overall total up to 6 wins, 2 shutouts and an assist for 17 points, now good for 50th overall in pool scoring, worthy of being right at the end of the 2nd round today. It's still fairly early in the season and this is the sign of bouncing back, but Dubnyk was taken 9th overall in the draft, sitting as a slight bust for Brenda & Seward, but again, the bounce back seems to be coming along.
Thanks to Dubnyk's big week, the duo continue to be moving in the right direction in the standings, moving up again from 18th to 14th.
The real Mover & Shaker this week is Grant, as his team finally found some consistency through its lineup and found 32 points to lead the way in weekly scoring. Grant's lead heading into Sunday's action was only at 2 points for this weekly title, but any of his challengers in the week didn't come close, while Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals added one more win against Edmonton on the final day of this week's action, giving him a 4-point lead at the end of the day.
Of course, with the best points, you're going to see your team move up the standings and Grant's saw his climb back up to 16th from 21st, as its on the way back up from a quick fall from starting the season in 5th place after Week One. Even being in 16th place after Week Six, Grant's team is only 22 points out of the money and with two Waiver Drafts left to do, that's still a very manageable number to whittle down.
Holtby and Winnipeg Jets forward Blake Wheeler were his two best players in Week Six, both finishing with 6 points a piece, exactly what two of his top three picks of the season should be doing. Nazem Kadri of the Maple Leafs also chipped in with 5 points, while Patrik Laine of the Jets had 4 points.
Grant's team had three naughts on his team, two thanks to players being on the Injured Reserve, while the other one couldn't get a win out of his only start this week. Everyone else seemed to be contributing at a pretty good clip and he could be getting one of those injured players back before too long, as Travis Hamonic has started skating with the Flames again this past weekend.
It has been three years to the week, since Grant's last Mover & Shaker nod, as he was last glorified in Week Six of the 2015 season, where he finished back-to-back weeks in the top spot in weekly scoring. The last season he saw a Mover & Shaker nod, he finished in 2nd place in that pool, but he was also in 1st place when he had that Mover & Shaker. Being in 16th place with the award means that there is much more of a climb, but it is a positive sign.
The struggle, that was staying out of the Basement Dweller nod, was absolutely real in Week Six, as five teams were scratching and clawing for those last few points, trying to help their team out of the last spot in the weekly scoring race, but in the end, Wes' team was the one holding the emptiest bucket, only able to claw out 14 points in the week, while four other teams finished with 15 points.
To Wes' team's credit, that is now the highest total of points that has been collected by a Basement Dweller team, but at the same time, that took it down from 13th to 19th in the standings. Sure, that has likely improved his Waiver Draft pick selection in a few weeks, but that's not really what you want. Wes' team is only 24 points back of the money, so it's not a devastating blow, but they'll just need to work harder is all.
Cam Talbot of the Oilers was his team's best player, finishing with 4 points in the week, while Derick Brassard of the Senators and Jacob Markstrom of the Canucks each had 2 points, so there was some production in there. His team did have the best Basement Dweller week of the year, after all. There were five naughts on his team though, one due to a long-term injury, the other four were just cold as ice.
How about that money race? We currently have a tie for 1st place and the difference of 10 points takes us all the way down to 9th in the standings, which suggests a monster week within the top 10, in the next week or two, could drastically change the face of the money standings. That's pretty exciting, if you ask me. Even 10 points from 3rd place, gets us down to 12th place, which is tight!
Nevertheless, Brian still holds the current tie-breaker in goals scored, leading Dale C. by 10 in that category, which makes them 1st and 2nd, respectively. Jeremy was dethroned this week, his first week outside of 1st place this season, thanks to being one of those four teams that just narrowly avoided the Basement Dweller nod. Benson fell out of the money this week too, dropping from 2nd to 6th, being in the same boat as Jeremy this week. Dale B. made a big leap, from 10th to 4th, proving the point about a big week doing great things, as the reigning champ is ready to let go yet.
It took until Saturday night, but we did have all ten surviving teams get their win again this week, making it three weeks in a row that we've finished with ten teams in the goalie survivor pool at the end of the week.
The last team to be eliminated was Brian in Week Four and since then, he has had more than enough wins, but that's not the whole point of the survivor pool now is it?
Grant, Mike, Cam, Stacey M., Chris, Wilton, Benson, Stacey C., Tony and Jeremy remain as the ten teams still in the pool.
The plus/minus crap shoot, which is a mini-game, saw a change in leadership this week, as Dale B.'s team not only bounced up in the overall standings, but played responsibly at both ends of the ice as well, having a +14 rating in the week and taking the lead in the category, now sitting at +27, 1 point better than Dale C. after Week Six.
Unfortunately for our Basement Dweller, Wes, his team set a new weekly record for the worst plus/minus in the week, dropping a -16 on the last seven days, dropping his team to 21st in the standings.
And just for shits and giggles, who was gooning it up this past week? It looks like that would be Stuart and Clayton's team, both finishing with 24 minutes in penalties this week.
It wasn't a record-setting week, by any means, as Wes' team has found that record, back in Week Four, picking up 42 minutes in penalties, which has helped his team to the overall lead in the category, out-pacing his rivals, Brenda & Seward, by 22 minutes, through six weeks.
The rookie non-pool isn't nearly as interesting these days, as Clayton's rookies, Clayton Keller of the Coyotes, Nico Hischier of the Devils and Joel Eriksson Ek of the Wild have started to run away with it, now leading Cam's rookies by 10 points. It doesn't mean anything, but it's there to hold onto in the Newsletter.
There are quite a few good rookies that will be taken in the Waiver Draft, early on as well. If you're shopping for some scoring help, you'll trip over some freshmen, like Alexander Kerfoot of the Avalanche, Jesper Bratt of the Devils and Yanni Gourde of the Lightning, so this race could get a little more exciting, as the season moves on.
Scoring was disgustingly down this week, as the pool dropped down to a season-worst, 11.2 points collected per NHL game, giving us our worst total of the season since Week One, 537 points among all 25 teams. This was the second time we had 48 NHL games in the week this season and the first time was Week Two, when we finished with 627 points, the season-high total.
We have seen some participation levels drop from Week Two to Week Six, thanks to injuries, demotions and retirements, so there certainly is a reason, but the trend line is going the wrong way. Arguably, this is almost better for the bottom teams, as usually when there are a lot of points, the top teams are running away with the lead, but as we've seen in the Trophy Talk, things are still pretty close.
The schedule is down to 45 games this week, so if the scoring trends are continuing to go down, we might see some ugly lows this week. Let's all keep our fingers crossed that our players use some extra rest to boost their scoring numbers.
NEWS AND NOTES
With John Gibson offically returning for the Anaheim Ducks, it made the lower-body injury to Ryan Miller a little more bearable on Sunday night, as Gibson was able to make the start, albeit a loss to Los Angeles, but they didn't have to go to their number three for a big divisional game. Miller was reportedly hurt in his last start on Thursday, wasn't able to practice on Friday and wasn't able to dress on Sunday. He's considered to be day-to-day, but that's all we know at the moment.
The return of Gibson offers hope to Tony's team, which is still in the survivor pool, but takes hope away from Cam, also in the pool, but also trying to keep his team within reaching distance of the money as well. He's hoping that day-to-day is exactly that and his goalie can get back into a proper rotation.
Jussi Jokinen of the Oilers was playing some regular minutes all week, up until Sunday, where he found himself back in the press box again for the shootout loss in Washington. Frustration levels for the veteran have to be getting up there and the trade market might not be very kind to him, despite having a very cap friendly hit, he just hasn't given anyone any reason to pick him up yet.
Brenda & Seward's team will likely be looking to drop the lack of production from the Finnish vet, but we've still got three more weeks of these kind of guys in our roster, so we'll all have to be patient, because we all have one or two.
With Roberto Luongo returning to health in the early parts of this week, the tenure of Antti Niemi in a Panthers jersey is coming to an end, as he was placed on waivers on Monday morning. It was somewhat surprising to see his name get claimed by Florida earlier this season, so there might still be a market for another Finnish veteran, but his numbers will probably scare some teams away. We'll see what the next 24 hours brings.
It would be crazy to think where Derek B. would see his team, if Niemi was a hit in either Florida or Pittsburgh this season. His team only sits 6 points out of 1st place today, 4 points to the money. Of course, the hope would be that Niemi finds a home and finds his form again, but it does seem more likely that he'll be a Waiver Draft casualty as well.
Also on Monday morning, the Ottawa Senators announced that they have activated forward Bobby Ryan from the Injured Reserve, as his latest broken finger has obviously healed enough to get clearance to play. There is plenty of excitement for this transaction among the Ottawa media types, as the belief is that Ryan will likely be paired with newly-acquired Matt Duchene, to see if there is any chemistry there.
Surely, that has to excite Stacey C.'s proxy team, as it took a bit of hit in the past week, dropping from 15th to 18th. Getting a pretty good scorer back, inserting him into a pretty hot team at the moment and getting a new partner to play with, could make someone awfully giddy. Let's see how that improves his team, shall we?