Monday, December 29, 2014

Week Twelve Newsletter

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The holidays came early for the Arizona Coyotes and Sam Gagner, who came away with a pretty big week and likely a load of presents from Santa for being a good boy. Gagner was one of two players in the week to finish with 6 points, but the other was Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, to which Gagner only needed a single goal to beat him in the tie-breakers.

Gagner started his own personal 3-game point streak in the holiday week, starting with an assist against the Canucks on Monday, 2 goals and 2 assists on Tuesday against his old club in Edmonton and then added another assist against the Ducks on Saturday night.  2 goals and 4 assists, more than enough to take the title for Week Twelve.

For the season, this brings Gagner's numbers up to a less-than-impressive 17 points, which has him ranked 199th overall in pool scoring.  Gagner did get off to a very slow start to his season, but has ramped it up, with 13 points coming since the middle of November.

This is just another player hitting his stride at the right time for Kristy & Don, who have seen some downturns for a few of their players, who were hot earlier in the year.  The duo took Gagner with the 239th pick, so they are starting to see a bargain emerge, especially if he stays hot.

PhotobucketLooks like someone's team is really hitting their stride and it could be everyone else's concern in the money before too long.  Wilton's team has been hot of late and in Week Twelve, they were the hottest team in the pool, picking up a weekly-best 29 points and his team moved up from 12th to 6th in the process.  Leaps and bounds, I believe is what you can call that move.

Wilton now sits only 5 points back of 3rd place and has his sights set on a return to the money ranks and with the number of points in recent weeks.

In Week Twelve, saw a huge week from John Gaudreau in Calgary, who had 5 points, while Nikita Kucherov in Tampa and Gustav Nyquist in Detroit each had 4 points.  Three more players each had 3 points in the shortened week and it all added up pretty quickly.  On the flip side, only three of his players failed to pick up points and one of them had injury concerns in the week as well.

In the supporting statistics department, Wilton was one of the healthier teams in the week, which supports his team as the 2nd-healthiest team for skaters, now having 413 games played by his forwards and defensemen.  His goalies have been okay, making a couple starts in the week and picking up a win in the process, but overall, they are only just above-average in their minutes played.

There are some more notes to how good Wilton's second segment has been going a little later on in the Newsletter, so I won't beat this horse here quite yet.

PhotobucketIt was a rough week for another team in the top 10, as Stacey M. is going in the opposite direction as Wilton, having been passed by him in the process.  Stacey's team only managed to collect 8 points in the shortened week, which dropped her team from 4th to 8th and she sees a 9-point gap between her team and 3rd place.  That gap is nothing to sneeze at, especially given what Wilton's team did with a hot week, but no one wants to drop in the standings at any point in the season.

Marian Gaborik of the Kings and Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks were the only notable players on Stacey's team in Week Twelve, each picking up a couple of points.  Stacey had no love from her goalies and minimal love from other players, as four other players picked up single points in the week.

In terms of participation in the week, her skaters only made 20 appearances on the ice, which wasn't the worst, but only one game better than the worst, where Wilton saw 26 games and Kristy & Don saw 29 games.  Stacey's team only saw one start in net for her keepers as well, thanks, in part to injury as well.

There's a good chance that Stacey's team will return to being dangerous again in a busy Week Thirteen.

TROPHY TALK

Another week... a larger lead for Kristy & Don over Grant S., now 37 points, and a larger lead for Grant S. over Tony, now 31 points for 2nd place.  Those are some comfortable numbers, which we may not see shrink any time soon.

The race for 3rd place, however, is a raging production of heat!  She's hot!  Tony's lead was 6 points after Week Eleven, but it now sits at 3 points and now, as mentioned above, 8th place is only 9 points away.  It would be really impressive, if this group vying for 3rd place would all get hot together and chase down the top two, but that doesn't seem likely at this point.  I shouldn't forget about 9th and 10th place in the standings either... they are only 12 points out, at worst.  Clayton, Dale C., Wilton, Cam, Stacey M., Troy and Wes... all in the mix for 3rd place.

For as hot as Wilton has been, he only ranks 2nd in the second segment in scoring, trailing Brenda & Seward, who have been just a bit hotter.  The pool's second duo sits at 89 points, Wilton has 85 points and Kristy & Don are at 83 points, as they lead the way by a clear 15 points over 4th place.  This race could be for three horses and three horses only before too long.

Now, how about the bottom of the pool?  Well, well, well... looks like Benson's team has finally woken from its slumber, as they had a good week, picking up 26 points and they closed the gap on Wyllie, who is now only 2 points better.  The Olli may have a new home here soon.  Ryan is only 8 points clear of Benson after his big week and Allan is only 15 points clear.

Benson is also starting to try and make a move out of the Jordan contention, where Wyllie is the most likely candidate to take his spot there as well.  Benson's skaters saw 26 games, but still has a 19-game gap to Wyllie, while Dale C. is still 24 games up, as the next closest.  Wyllie's team saw 21 games in Week Twelve, while Dale C. had 20.  Another team with their hat in the ring is Allan's, who saw the least amount of games in the week, with 19, and his team is 27 games up.  This race could be more interesting before too long... or until the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft anyways.

WINNING EVERY WEEK

One of the more interesting additions to the Newsletter this season, the goalie wins survivor pool (unofficial), may become something more official next season, as it has been really interesting to watch.

In Week Twelve, thanks to the holiday break, in part, we had more eliminations.  Officially, we are now down to three teams left in the survivor pool, as the Christmas break took its toll on this pool.  Antti Niemi couldn't win for Allan and Marc-Andre Fleury couldn't get a win for Clayton, as both teams had their second goalies out during the week to injury.

This leaves the top two teams in the pool, Kristy & Don and Grant S., plus the streaking duo of Brenda & Seward, left in the survivor pool, which next year, will likely be worth your money back, if all my plans come to fruition.

ROOKIE SCORING

Along with the goalie survivor pool, I think there will be some merit in a rookie scoring pool as well.  This may have more of an effect on teams that may be out of the running for the money at the Waiver Drafts, as lower teams may find something to fight for, possibly to get some money back.

This season, to date, Wilton has a 2-point lead in the category over Mike, as their rookies have been good this year.  Wilton is tops with 29 points, thanks to John Gaudreau of Calgary, while Mike is at 27 points, on the back of Jake Allen in St. Louis.

Most notably from the Waiver Draft, Brenda & Seward picked up the best rookie, Filip Forsberg in Nashville, who has their only 9 points in the race, but they now rank 6th in the pseudo-competition this year.

Would this have changed your strategy at the Week Nine Waiver Draft if it was active?

WEEK NINE WAIVER DRAFT TO DATE

Since we are now three weeks clear into the second segment, I think it is now a good idea to see what the Waiver Draft has done for teams and I've now found a way to see the good from the bad.  I have now put in some metrics in the hockey pool sheet to measure the difference between the players picked and dropped, since Week Nine, just to give us a good idea.

At the end of Week Twelve, the team with the best bang for their buck belongs to Wilton, who has seen a +9 point difference from the players he's dropped to the players he's picked up in the first three weeks of action.  Wilton owns the top player taken in the Waiver Draft, Tampa's Nikita Kucherov, who has picked up 11 points in the last three weeks.

Of course, with the best, there also has to be the worst.  Unfortunately for Mike, his only move at the Waiver Draft has cost him 7 points to the bad, as Christopher Higgins hasn't quite done it in Vancouver since being picked up, only registering a single point, while Mathieu Perreault of the Jets has been on fire since being dropped, picking up 8 points.

15 of 21 teams that made moves are in the plus since the Waiver Draft, one team is even steven and the other five have made some mistakes in their moves.  The shallow pool of the available players worked as a misnomer, it would seem.

ROUND 14 OF THE DRAFT

Pick # Round Pool Team Player NHL Pos Points
302 14 Derek Wilton John Gaudreau CAL F 29
309 14 Grant Saskiw Jori Lehtera STL F 25
304 14 Allan Scott Alex Tanguay COL F 24
322 14 Stuart Greenley Carl Hagelin NYR F 14
314 14 Kristy & Don Jiri Tlusty CAR F 13
308 14 Stacey McDonald Lars Eller MTL F 12
315 14 Clayton Corley Thomas Hickey NYI D 11
306 14 Mike Somerville Chad Johnson NYI G 10
321 14 Cam Wagner Brian Gionta BUF F 9
317 14 Ryan Miller Dan Girardi NYR D 8
320 14 Grant Kanwischer Dennis Seidenberg BOS D 8
300 14 Scott Gilmore Patrik Berglund STL F 7
311 14 Dale Bradley Andrew MacDonald PHI D 7
319 14 Brian Towers Dan Hamhuis VAN D 6
303 14 Brenda Farrell Radko Gudas TAM D 5
312 14 Leo Macht Matt Stajan CAL F 5
313 14 Tony Dourado Tom Gilbert MTL D 5
301 14 Dale Corley Patrick Wiercioch OTT D 4
305 14 Benson Greenley Fedor Tyutin CBJ D 3
307 14 Wes Moroz Ryan Murphy CAR D 1
318 14 Troy Berkley Sam Reinhart BUF F 1
310 14 Stacey Campbell Dany Heatley ANA F 0
316 14 Derek Wyllie Sam Bennett CAL F 0

Definitely, one of the more interesting rounds of the draft, especially in a draft that is this deep, is that last round of the draft, in this case, Round 14.  As you can see, through Week Twelve, there were some home runs hit, to date, and some duds, which were dropped a few weeks ago.  Some players have the ability to still make themselves relevant in the draft, while a few others were likely left active on rosters, because draft teams had bigger fish to drop (and fry).

There were 322 picks made in the draft this year, the last 23 coming in this round and only six of these players are still considered relevant, although a couple of them could still wiggle their way into relevance with a strong second half of the season.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

I don't think the NHL collective liked what I said about taking the week off around Christmas at all, as they stepped up and put together the second-best week of the season, in terms of average pool points collected per game on the schedule.  The least-busy week of the year, to date, 32 games, picked up 404 points, which was good enough for 12.6 points per NHL game, still short of the 13.2 points per NHL game in Week One, but that's okay.

The pool was a touch healthier among the skaters and the goalies saw just a little bit more time, but it was open season on the scoresheet and that's all that really matters in the end.

Boy, if we could have that kind of scoring pace in Week Thirteen, it would be like fireworks going off.  Week Thirteen has 54 games scheduled, the busiest week on the schedule and if we saw 12.6 points per NHL game, we should all be sharing in 680 points (or so).  That would be a fun week to write about.

NEWS AND NOTES

On Sunday afternoon, the Islanders activated Jaroslav Halak from the IR, as it appears he just needed an extra couple days to get over whatever muscle tweak he had that ailed him.  I would imagine that he would then get the start on Monday night, home against the Capitals.

This means it should be a good start for Tony in Week Thirteen, getting his number one goalie back.  Halak is in the top 10 in pool scoring and obviously, his most important player.  I'm sure he's hoping that the return isn't premature and he doesn't injure himself further.

The Carolina Hurricanes are fully expecting to have pool forward Jiri Tlusty back in their lineup on Monday night against the Canadiens and they will also expect to see non-pool forward Jordan Staal make his season debut on Monday as well. Tlusty has been out with an upper-body injury and has missed the last couple of weeks with the ailment. Staal, on the other hand, will be returning from an Achilles injury, which he suffered just before the hockey pool draft.

Tlusty belongs to the leading pool duo, Kristy & Don, who have one of the best 14th round picks with the Czech this season.  With them getting a body back this week, it will be that much easier to pad their lead.

Staal should be a prime candidate for selection in the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft, assuming all goes well upon his return.

A late scratch on Sunday afternoon, Maple Leafs number one goalie Jonathan Bernier was under the weather, so he ended up sitting for the game against the Florida Panthers, making way for James Reimer to make an unscheduled start. Bernier was tabbed to make the Sunday start, while Reimer would turn around and start the Monday night game against the Lightning in Tampa.  The Leafs have been good rotating goalies on back-to-back nights, thanks to analytics, so it will be interesting to see if Bernier will be good to go or whether or not Christopher Gibson, who was called up on Sunday, will get his first NHL start.

This acts as a missed start for Troy this past week, which didn't help his point totals at the end of the week.  Troy was hoping to pick up an extra couple points, but that wasn't the case in the end.

The injury bug continues to have its teeth deeply entrenched in the Penguins' roster this season, taking another bite out of forward Patric Hornqvist, who is now slated to miss a few weeks with a lower-body injury.  Unfortunately, that is the extent of the information available at the time of this post, but I would expect to see Hornqvist to be put on the IR here shortly, as the Penguins will take on the Devils in New Jersey on Monday night.

Hornqvist has been one of Allan's best forwards this season with 29 points in 33 games and was one of my key players in my projection post for the Penguins, but injury troubles will certainly hinder those numbers.  Allan isn't safe from the bottom of the standings, by any stretch, and this loss could be costly.

On Monday, the Boston Bruins revealed that both forwards Patrice Bergeron and Milan Lucic will not be available to go, thanks to undisclosed injuries.  Both players were hurt in the team's last game against the Blue Jackets and both players are listed as out day-to-day.  No details have been announced, nor any timetables, so we'll have to sit tight on this one.

Two injuries for teams outside of the top 10, as Grant K. has Bergeron and Lucic belongs to Dale B., both teams going in opposite directions, in terms of goals scored.  Grant leads the pool with 101 goals for, while Dale is last with 54 goals.  Neither team is seemingly going in the right direction in the standings though.

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