Another year in the books. What a year it was, too. A record number of teams in the pool, which meant a record number of players taken in the pool and that all translated into more competition.
The overall talent in the pool was spread out over some more teams, which also meant that the level of talent near the bottom of the draft was a bit thinner, making the importance of finding some good picks late, all the more paramount.
Just like the last time I had a year-end Newsletter, we'll go through all the usual weekly stuff, in a hurried manner and then we'll get to all the year-end goodness.
Well, how about that? The last week of the season made a new name and face into a Player of the Week and it was with some legitimate numbers as well. Craig Smith of the Nashville Predators may not be going to the playoffs or be a viable pick in the upcoming playoff pool, but you may want to jot down his name for next year's regular season draft.
Smith played in four games in Week Twenty-Seven, registering at least a point in each of those games. An assist on Tuesday in Dallas, a goal against the Coyotes at home, the Blackhawks fed him a goal and an assist and for his finale, he scored a pair and helped a pair in Minnesota.
4 goals, 4 assists in four games and here he is... Player of the Week. The 8 points gave him 52 points on the year, ranking him 97th in overall scoring in the pool, making for a mighty fine year, despite not going to the playoffs.
In the Mover & Shaker category, it was a second appearance for Dale B. in the position this year, but unfortunately, a couple of mentions didn't help him in the overall standings, as Dale finished in the 15th position.
Dale's team was the only team to eclipse the 30-point mark in the final week of the season, but he found himself in a little bit of a bubble, as he wasn't able to move out of 15h place, coming 3 points short of moving up to 14th.
Jason Pominville of the Wild and Kari Lehtonen of the Stars led the way for Dale with 6 points, followed by Logan Couture of the Sharks with 5 points, while Mikko Koivu of the Wild and Henrik Lundqvist of the Rangers chipped in with 4 points each.
Not quite the way that any team would want to finish their regular season, but Derek Wyllie finished with back-to-back Basement Dweller weeks, not to mention they were both only good for 10 points each. This poor finish dropped his team down to 21st place in the standings, just a shade clear of 22nd.
Four of his players had a couple points each, while a couple players chipped in with singles in the week. Injuries and scratches really hurt his team down the stretch, but there was very little he can do about it.
It was an absolute runaway in the MVP department, as Sidney Crosby came, saw and conquered the 2014 regular season, being the only player in the NHL to eclipse the 100-point barrier, being 15 points better than his nearest rival in hockey pool scoring (which, of course, includes the simple scoring for goaltenders).
In 80 games with the Penguins in the 2014 season, Crosby finished with 36 goals and 68 assists for 104 points, scoring at an even rate of 1.3 points-per-game.
He certainly gave full value to being the 1st overall pick, which Benson was unable to cash in for some year-end prizing, as Benson finished 11th. Crosby made up 17.4% of his overall total of points.
Crosby scored more points than 16 teams worth of goaltending and eight teams worth of defense, all by himself. Yes, he was a great player... but he was also one-third of the points from Benson's forwards.
The top defenseman was also a runaway, as Erik Karlsson of the Senators out-paced Duncan Keith of the Blackhawks, 74 points to 61. In the goaltending department, it was a super-tight race, but it was Semyon Varlamov of the Avalanche, who came away the victor, ranking 2nd overall in pool scoring with 89 points. All three of these players will get nice long looks in the early parts of the draft next season.
Finally! Let's talk money, shall we?
It was probably the tightest race we have seen in the history of the Opiated Sherpa pools, mostly because we've mostly seen runaway winners from Week Eight on. No, instead, this year went right down to the wire, right down to the pool audit, just in case.
Allan comes away with the win, just edging Scott, who chased him down to only a 2-point gap. The difference of $250 came down to only 2 points... how exciting! $500 went to Allan, while Scott collected a cool $250. For the 3rd place prize of $110, Derek Wilton came away with another prize, edging out Stacey M., who will walk away with a Toronto Maple Leafs jersey (much to her chagrin, I'm sure).
As for the jersey prize for the third segement, it was Scott who held on to top spot, beating out both Allan and Dale C. by 6 points.
I will be contacting all the winners shortly.
Congratulations to all our winners and hit me up for a playoff pool entry! We're only a couple days away from the start.