Monday, December 03, 2018

Week Nine Newsletter



Well, a few of you have been screaming for the Waiver Draft to happen, a few more were wondering why the players were not active as soon as we took them, but now the wait is pretty much over.  We've gone through the Waiver Draft week, the first two rounds went rather swimmingly, we had a few more picks in the bonus round to add a few more healthy bodies to the pool and now we wait to see if these moves bear fruit for us.

First things first though... let's recap the week that was!



It was a fairly impressive week for individual scorers in Week Nine, as the final tally saw a number of players with 7 points or better, a good handful of them were finished at 8 points, but only one player outshone them all with 9 points and that was Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau, who was consistently on the board for the Panthers all week long.

Huberdeau opened up the week with a goal and a pair of assists against the Devils on Monday, had a pair of assists against the Ducks on Wednesday, another pair of assists against the Sabres on Friday and then a goal and an assist against the Lightning on Saturday.  2 goals and 7 assists in four games now gives the Panthers pivot a total of 6 goals and 22 assists in 25 games this year, good enough for 35th overall in hockey pool scoring, so far this year.

The 25-year old is really finding his form now with the Panthers and it looks like Ryan is cashing in on that success, taking him in the 3rd round of the draft, 62nd overall, he's turning into a decent bargain player, up near the top of the scoring ranks.

The 3rd overall pick in the 2011 entry draft has never made it to the heights of the Player of the Week nod before and he has been playing since the 2013 season.  It has been a long time coming for him.  As for Ryan, this appears to be his 8th Player of the Week nod, dating back to the 2012 season.

Ryan doesn't only take the Player of the Week nod, he sweeps the good nods in the Newsletter in Week Nine, also taking the Mover & Shaker after a very good race, which was quite back-and-forth, finishing up with 37 points and his team moved from 14th up to 7th place in the standings, certainly giving good meaning to the moving and the shaking.

So, besides the Player of the Week nod, Ryan also had some pretty big weeks from Mikko Rantanen of the Avalanche, who had 7 points, Evgenii Dadonov of the Panthers, who had 6 points and Nick Schmaltz, fresh in the desert, finished with 4 points.  It was a pretty top-heavy week for Ryan's team, but I don't think he's going to complain much.  His goalies did nothing for him and he had one other skater fail to register a point, due to injury, so top-heavy does seem to be the right word to describe his team this week.

At 7th place at the end of the week, this is his peak position at Newsletter time this season and his team has been making some strong strides after a fairly slow start.  At the one-third mark of the season, his forwards ranked 2nd in the pool with 164 points, defense is tied for 12th at 41 points and his goalies are tied for 21st with 22 points.  His team has stayed relatively healthy, tied for 3rd in skater games played and his plan to avoid goalies early on shows, ranking 23rd in goalie minutes played.

Let's see if his Waiver Draft picks can shore up some of those spots and maybe, just maybe, he can keep this momentum going.

Ryan has been putting in a team in the hockey pool draft on the website since it went up in the 2008 season and he may only have eight Player of the Week nods, but this brings his overall total of Movers & Shakers to 14.  That ties him for 5th on the all-time list.

It was certainly a letdown week for John P., especially right down at the end of the week, where his team just couldn't find any footing on the score sheets over the weekend.  His team was lingering down near the bottom of the weekly standings for its entirety and just when it counted the most, when Sunday rolled around, the teams around his picked up the necessary points and left him alone as the Basement Dweller for Week Nine.

With only 13 points in Week Nine, John's team fell from 8th to 14th, just below the standings equator and it couldn't come at a worse time, since this is the first week after the Waiver Draft order was decided and his picks don't improve, unless he holds steady for another nine weeks.

John's team was carried by the best player on his team, John Carlson of the Capitals, picking up 4 points in the week to lead the way for his team, but there were six no-shows, two of them due to injury in the week.

His team is only 30 points out of the money at the start of the second segment of the season and change at forward and another on defense, his team should be able to make that up with a couple good runs during the rest of the season.  A comeback is certainly not impossible at this point, not even improbable either.

The three teams up at the top remained the same, but the order has changed this week, as Stuart's team was in the running for the Mover & Shaker and overtook Troy's team, which only did okay in the week.  Stuart's team took down a 13-point gap and put 3 points between his team and Troy's, which now stands at 250-247 after the first segment.  Stacey M. is holding tight at 243 points, well within striking range of top spot, while Kristy & Don captured 4th place with 241 points, followed closely by Grant at 240 points.  Mike rounds out the top group at 236 points, then we have a bit of a drop off to the next group.

The second segment is all about the new picks, so these middle teams that made some clutch picks, may have given themselves a chance in this next segment to catch those top teams.

The landscape of the rookie pool is about to change with the Waiver Draft, as Derek B. has made a push, acquiring four new rookies on his team and it will look to compete with Clayton's team for the $60 prize at the end of the tunnel.  Clayton's team sits at 36 points after the first segment, 15 points clear of John P., both teams making swaps at the rookie position, hoping to improve upon their numbers with one switch.  Ryan is in 3rd at 18 points, no changes, while Stuart, Jesse and Derek B. are all at 16 points.  Stuart didn't make any changes, for or against, Jesse dropped two underachieving rookies, leaving one to still play, while Derek picked up four forwards and that now gives him six on his team, five in the NHL right now.  This should be a good race.

I think there were only two shootouts in total in Week Nine, which only provided us with 4 goals in total.  Brian's team picked up 2 of those goals, now giving him 4 goals on the season, now tied for 3rd in the mini-game through one segment.

Jeremy and Mike continue to lead the pool with 5 goals each.  I don't think there is an adequate tie-breaker for this game, so teams that are atop the standings here will split the money, if there is no clear winner.

There really isn't a lot that anyone could do in the Waiver Draft with this game, especially with the lack of shootouts there have been this year. 

There was also no real gauging how game-winning goals would be affected by the Waiver Draft, so there's no real metric for it, unless you think Devin Shore of the Stars is going to continue his run of clutch scoring, then Mike did well to snap up him, the leader in the category at the start of the Waiver Draft.

Stuart, Clayton, Benson, Brian and Steve all had 3 winners in Week Nine, leading the weekly clutch scoring, but Stuart still leads the overall game with 17 winners, followed by Clayton at 14 and then four more teams at 13.  Either you got some clutch scoring on your team or you don't.

Goon team of the week belongs to Tony, thanks in large part to Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks, as his team finished with 41 minutes in penalties, just a couple off the season-high this year, set by our PIM pool leader, Stuart.

The penalty minutes aren't paying, so there were no big goons being taken at the Waiver Draft and I do miss those days.  It really put a charge into the season, watching those teams gut it out all year.  Stuart would have the first segment lead at 189 minutes, well ahead of Steve's team, which sits at 167 minutes.

I kind of wish I kept track of the top PIM-getter in the Waiver Draft, just for shits and giggles, but I didn't.  Damn.

All four teams that were qualified for Week Nine has made it through Week Nine and have qualified for Week Ten.  Troy, Wes, Jeremy and Stacey M. are all through for another week.  Of the seven goalies dropped and the seven goalies picked, none of those transactions came from a surviving team, so they are all ready to rock with their original two into next week.

The top team in the plus/minus department in Week Nine belonged to Wes, who had a combined rating of +20 and took the overall lead in the pool at a combined rating of +47.  Wes only has two players in the minuses among his skaters this season and is just killing it in this non-paying game at the moment.

On the other side of the ledger, Clayton's team set a new season-low in this department, as his team was a combined -23 in the week, also overtaking last place at a combined -40.  His team has the points, but a lot of them are coming on the power play.

In case you missed it over the weekend, the NHL has already opened up the voting for the All-Star Game festivities, where you can vote for your hockey pool players to captain their respective divisions in the 3-on-3 tournament they'll have at the end of January.  Of course, I will be keeping track of the scoring of it, as if it was a mini-game and posting the results on the blog, but sadly, unlike last year, it won't count towards any money.

That doesn't mean you shouldn't vote your players in though.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

Being the last week of the segment, it's refreshing to see that it isn't the worst week for overall scoring in the pool, finishing at 12.02 points per NHL game on the schedule, to which there were 51 games and a total of 613 points.  Participation was also pretty low, not quite the lowest, but still so damn close, both skaters and goalies were down, but that's all going to change with the healthy bodies we've injected into the pool.

Let's get those numbers up and get these races kick-started again!  Hoorah!

NEWS AND NOTES

The Buffalo Sabres have sent forward Jason Pominville back to Buffalo to get tended to by team doctors, just ahead of their game on the road in Nashville on Monday night.  Pominville will miss that game, but pending the results of his testing, may or may not be ready for their game on the second half of back-to-back nights, at home against the Maple Leafs.  He'll be considered day-to-day tonight, unless any other news pops up.  Pominville was hurt on Friday against the Panthers.

This just seems to be the luck that Brenda & Seward have had this season, as Pominville was the 1st pick in the Waiver Draft, the highest profile forward available at the time and now he won't be ready to go for game one on their roster.  If the news is indeed bad on Monday, they will have the option to dump him, but here's hoping it's a day-to-day issue.

On Sunday night against the Flames, the Chicago Blackhawks opted to make defenseman Erik Gustafsson a healthy scratch for the first time this season.  He played a season-high of 27 minutes in the game against the Predators on Saturday, but was a -2 on the night and the combination of the two stats may have indicated that he needed a little rest.  In the three games previous, he had 2 goals and 3 points, so his numbers are certainly going up at the right time of the season.

It was fairly ironic though, as Tony picked up Gustafsson in the Waiver Draft and took him after dropping Andrew MacDonald of the Flyers, who had a 3-point game on Saturday against the Penguins.  He still got those 3 points, but the player he picked up was for a player that was being scratched all the time.

An abysmal showing on Saturday night in Montreal forced the hand of the New York Rangers coaching staff and they scratched defenseman Brady Skjei for their game against the Jets on Sunday night.  Skjei was just all over the place in some bad defensive positions and obviously, the coaching staff saw what I saw and that cost him a game, if not more to come.  Skjei only has 8 points in 25 games, so his offensive game is also not quite making up for his defensive lapses.

For Clayton's team, Skjei wasn't the worst defenseman on his team heading into the Waiver Draft, so he was spared a drop, not that there was too much that would improve upon 8 points, to date.  His defense is in the middle of the pack, but has made a significant add this past week to help boost those numbers.

San Jose Sharks defenseman Joakim Ryan found himself up in the press box again, when his team took on the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday evening.  Ryan has been in and out of the lineup on a few occasions this season, unable to really hold down his own spot on a regular basis.

In 25 games this season, he has only posted 4 assists, but Eric had bigger fish to fry, it would seem, at the Waiver Draft and elected to keep Ryan through to the next segment of the season.  There is a fine chance that we'll be seeing his name up on the blog a few more times in the second segment, unless he gets his act together.

Well, in order to make some room for the incoming William Nylander, who should have arrived in Toronto yesterday, the Toronto Maple Leafs needed to drop a player from the roster and send him down to the minors, before his activation.  That body was defenseman Travis Dermott, who had been a healthy scratch over the weekend and still doesn't have to pass through waivers to get down to the AHL, so it was an easy decision.

Brian couldn't have found a better time to drop him either, as the under-performing defender finishes the first segment with 1 goal and 6 points in 24 games with the Leafs.  He was replaced by Jamie Oleksiak of the Penguins at the draft.

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