Sunday, April 07, 2019
Week Twenty-Seven Newsletter, Year-End Edition
Where did that season go? That was 27 weeks done in a huge hurry, wasn't it?
The 2019 regular season is now in the books and we turn the page towards the playoffs and just to reiterate, there won't be any playoff pool this year. Lack of time and a lack of interest added up to the decision not to put the sheet together. That's not to say the blog won't be active in this off-season, things will still be going on here, but it will be more for the preparation for the 2020 regular season.
So, we'll go through the Week Twenty-Seven honours and then we'll move right into the annual nods, including our prize winners and such.
It was an outright win for Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues, who finished atop the weekly scoring ranks among all the players, finishing with 7 points in the final week of the season. He helped guide the Blues back into the playoff picture after a dismal first half of the regular season and the Blues almost topped the Central Division in the end, falling just a couple of points short in the end.
Tarasenko and the Blues played in four games in the final week of the season and the Russian winger was able to post points in each of them. He kicked off his week on Monday with a goal against the Avalanche, followed by a goal and an assist against the Blackhawks on Wednesday, a pair of assists against the Flyers on Thursday and then a goal and an assist against the Canucks in the Saturday matinee. With 3 goals and 4 assists, he edged four other players for the top spot in the weekly scoring ranks and the Blues will now open the playoffs in Winnipeg in the middle of the week.
Overall, the Blues forward, with his 2nd Player of the Week nod of the season, finished 67th overall in hockey pool scoring, tallying 33 goals and 68 points in 76 games with the Blues. Eric took him with the 41st pick in the draft this year, so it turned out that he was a bit of a disappointment in that regard, falling 26 spots below his draft position, a whole round worse, which is a tough pill to swallow.
My overall projection for Tarasenko at the beginning of the season was 70 points and in my 5-point segments, that's pretty much a win. I probably wouldn't have taken him as high as Eric did, but it wasn't a terrible bet at the same time.
Well, even at the end of the regular season, the top two teams were still running away with the tallies and Stuart topped the ranks in the weekly standings again, finishing with 32 points, a strong finish to what was a pretty dominating season all the way around, but we'll have more on that a little bit later on in the Newsletter.
There was literally no worries, when Stuart saw three of his key players hit the news/injury page for being a healthy scratch, not only for the overall title, but his team was just that deep all season long, it didn't seem to matter if there were any players on a cold streak, his team just picked up those players in that week and it was very much the same in this last week of the season.
Stuart's team, despite the scratches, only had two players to fail to pick up points in the week and his team was led by Dylan Strome of the Blackhawks, who didn't have anything to play for in the regular season standings in the last week, but still posted 6 points. Strome was one of the best pickups in the Waiver Draft this season, posting 48 points since being picked up in the Week Nine swap, 2nd to teammate Erik Gustafsson, who was taken by Tony.
Stuart's other strong performers in the week were Patrick Kane of the Blackhawks, who had 5 points, and then Jeff Skinner of the Sabres, Brady Tkachuk of the Senators and Mikhail Sergachev of the Lightning, each posting 3 points.
In total, Stuart finished with four Mover & Shakers this season and he didn't post his first one until Week Sixteen, so it was just a massive push at the end of the season.
The Basement Dweller race was a bit of a tight one, coming right down to the wire on the final day of the season, but as apt as Stuart's team taking the Mover & Shaker in the final week of the season, it seems equally apt that Scott's team ended up in the Basement Dweller nod for the last week, finishing in last place in the overall standings, unable to climb out of the spot, thanks to a 12-point week.
Scott's team finished the regular season with back-to-back Basement Dweller nods, only posting 23 points in those two weeks and it was just bad luck, right from the get-go this season. In the last week of the season, Jake Guentzel of the Penguins tried to rally his troops, finishing with 4 points to lead the way, but the rest of the bodies were not listening, as six of his active players were not posting any points, thanks mostly to injury and healthy scratches, but just ice-cold play was to blame for the better part of the weeks and the season.
In total this season, Scott's team finished with six Basement Dweller nods and finished 16 out of 27 weeks in the 25th position in the standings. His team was out of the basement for Weeks Twenty-Four and Twenty-Five, but fell back in, thanks to these weekly nods and that was about it for his team. It had to be a long year for his team, but next year will be a different story, right Scott?
It was a record-setting season for Nikita Kucherov, as he set the all-time season scoring record for a Russian-born player, registering a goal and an assist against the Bruins on Sunday, bringing his overall total up to 128 points and he takes home the MVP nod for the hockey pool season, far and away the best player in the scoring ranks this season. Connor McDavid of the Oilers was 2nd place in the list, finishing with 116 points, hardly causing any grief to the Lightning forward.
Kucherov was only a mild bargain pick, as Grant took him with the 5th overall selection at the draft, a good heads up pick at the time. The Lightning forward really came up trumps this season and dominated for the better part of the year, earning the nod by a fair margin.
Top spot among all goaltenders was Andrei Vasilevskiy of the Lightning, he finished with 93 points and was ranked 12th among all players in the hockey pool this year. Dale C. took him with the 2nd overall pick in the draft this year and didn't quite get the return he was probably hoping for, but he was still ranked among 1st round picks, which isn't too bad.
The top defenseman in scoring was Brent Burns of the Sharks, he was the clear winner of this mention, finishing with 83 points in all 82 games this season, good enough for 25th overall in pool scoring, which would equate to the last pick in the 1st round in the draft. Brenda & Seward took a shot with him in the 2nd round, 36th overall and it turned out in their favour, for sure. It's a shame their team couldn't pick it up around him though.
Back-to-back titles... the sound of it is terrible at the very root of it all, but it's the sad truth. Stuart will now his name on the trophy, coming this week, for a 3rd time, which is a hockey pool best and it has never happened in back-to-back seasons. I hope that everyone has paid attention to his strategy or at the very least, found out which store he buys his horseshoes from.
The final tally sees Stuart's team finishing with 783 points, which was 40 points better than Stacey M., who finished in 2nd place and 44 points better than Kristy & Don, who finished in 3rd place. These are your three money winners for the overall standings, Stuart's team wins $700 for top spot in the pool, while Stacey will take home $300 and the duo will win twice their money back, $120.
The mini-games were instituted to keep some of the teams out of the overall race still interested in the pool and the website and it worked pretty well with the rookie pool, as Derek B. took the rookies to the limit, making good use of the Waiver Draft, adding youthful bodies to his team and he ended up running away with the mini-game. Surprisingly, he was the only one that took to the rookie pool in the Waiver Draft, no one else really did. Nevertheless, his team finished with 131 points from the freshmen and has won the $60 entry fee back (or he could put it towards next year).
Rasmus Dahlin of the Sabres led the way for his team in the rookie pool, finishing with 44 points in all 82 games this season, followed by Week Nine pickup Dominik Kahun of the Blackhawks, who collected 26 points in 54 games after being activated. A pretty good pickup in the end, indeed.
Mini-game #2 was the shootout goals game and I thought this one would have been a little bit more exciting in the season, but it was kind of a drag, as there wasn't a ton of excitement this season. In the NHL, there were only 639 attempts in the shootout this season, where the pool collected 499 of them. Out of those 639 attempts, only 188 goals were scored, 151 of them were collected by the pool, so we did really well in the overall sense, collecting 80% of the goals out of 78% of the shots.
In the end, Grant's team won his money back in the draft, collecting 13 goals through the season, Jack Eichel of the Sabres and Nikita Kucherov of the Lightning each posted 4 shootout goals this season to lead the way. It's a small consolation for a team, however, which was in the running for the top three spots in the overall standings, as Grant's team was in a money spot at the end of 14 weeks this season, only to drop down to 5th in the last couple of weeks.
Maybe the game-winning goals had too much of a correlation with the overall standings, as a team that saw goals being scored was getting points in the overall standings and there was always a good chance that these goals could stand up to being winners on a nightly basis. Mini-game #3 belonged to our overall leader, Stuart, who finished tops in the overall goal scoring with 269 goals this season, 50 of them ended up being game-winners to take an extra $60 out of the kitty.
Brad Marchand of the Bruins led the way for Stuart's team this season, posting 9 winners this season, followed by three others with 7 winners as well. Having clutch players is pretty key to the hockey pool in the overall sense, but it paid off in a mini-game as well this season.
In the grand scheme of things, there were 1,185 game-winning goals posted this season in the NHL and the hockey pool collected on 825 of them, reeling in 69.6% of them, which isn't a bad total.
Moving on quickly to the mini-games that didn't make the cut from the wheel, Stuart would have won another one, if the PIM pool was still working and no one made any swaps for it in the Waiver Draft. Stuart's team topped Scott's team, 522-507, thanks to a big final week for the point total winner. Scott's team just couldn't catch a break in any of the statistics this season, I guess.
Troy's pairing of goalies, Marc-Andre Fleury of the Golden Knights and Aaron Dell of the Sharks, lasted 16 weeks with registering a win in each week, which would have been good enough for the goalie survivor pool, if there was money involved. Troy later swapped Dell for Brian Elliott of the Flyers for the overall points race, but it didn't really pan out for his team in the end.
At the end of the year, Troy's goalies ranked 6th in scoring overall, finishing with 114 points, 34 points back of Kristy & Don, who won the category and some money overall.
Neil's team was a dynamo in the plus/minus department, especially in the final third of the season, where it was a combined +69 in the last nine weeks, bringing his overall total up to a rating of +137. That was 56 points better than Dale C.'s team, but it was really good for nothing in the end. Neil's team did finish 7th overall in the standings, but there's no money in that.
Teuvo Teravainen of the Hurricanes and Ron Hainsey of the Maple Leafs were each a +30 this season, helping to guide the way for Neil's team to the title.
Clayton and Stuart would have split the money in the All-Star Game competition, if there was one, as they both collected 9 points each in the 3-on-3 tournament that they held in San Jose this past year. That's all that Stuart needed, was another thing to win or at the very least, split.
There were only a couple of outdoor games this season, the Winter Classic in Notre Dame and the Stadium Series game in Philadelphia and if we collected the points from those two games to hand out some money, Troy's team would have taken this one as well, leading the pool with 7 points from those two games combined. The Flyers were his key to victory in this one, having three of them with a couple of points each and walking away with the title.
Looking at last year's Newsletter for the end of the season, the pool collected a total of 15,985 points from the 22,893 points that were registered from 985 players that touched the ice in the season. That's a collection rate of 69.8% of points, which isn't too bad.
This season, the pool collected 16,089 points, up 104 points from last season, and the league posted a total of 23,216 points, up 323 points from last season. This gives us a collection rate of 69.3% of the total points, which obviously is slightly down, but only slightly. We're taking a good cut out of those points and that's pretty impressive. In total, 999 players took to the ice this season, which is also up and we certainly were not going to get to them all, even with Waiver Drafts and such.
Two years ago, we had a collection rate of 70.9%... so are we collectively getting worse? Let's do better next year, yeah?