The order for the second Waiver Draft has now been set, if you're going to make some changes to your team for the final stretch run of the season, either to move away from a shameful finish or to possibly make a move to help your team vault into a money position, this week will be the week of changes and starting a week today, all those changes will go live and we'll be ready to go.
First things first though, let's see how last week was on the pool.
There was a pretty good push by the goalies for the Player of the Week nod, as there were a couple of backstops that finished off the week with 8 points, but it was a the second coming of Price that took the top spot in Week Seventeen.
Carey Price played in three games in the week, going 3-0-0 and picking up back-to-back shutouts for a 10-point performance, only the third week with a double-digit Player of the Week this season and Price's second nod of the year. His first coming in Week Six.
Price beat the Dallas Stars on Tuesday, shutout the New York Rangers on Thursday and followed that up with a shutout over the Washington Capitals on Saturday. When Price takes back to the net, he'll be working on his career-long shutout streak, which I believe has hit the 150-minute mark already.
With the massive week he had, Price has now moved up to 3rd place overall in pool scoring, only 2 points back of the injured Pekka Rinne for top spot in the overall scoring race, now with 63 points in only 39 appearances this year.
Price was taken with the 16th overall selection in this year's draft and is proving to be a pretty good bargain within the opening round of the draft. He was taken by Wes, who is right in the thick of the 3rd place money action, thanks in large part to his number one keeper. As Price goes, as will Wes, by the look of things.
There really wasn't much doubt from the early part of the week that Kristy & Don would be well on their way to another Mover & Shaker Award, since the week opened up with a 5-assist performance from defenseman Kristopher Letang and it was like a snowball rolling down a hill from there on.
The pool's number one duo has now increased their lead to 66 points, thanks to a 34-point week in Week Seventeen and their third Mover & Shaker nod in the last five weeks.
Despite having two significant injuries to both Pekka Rinne in Nashville and Mikkel Boedker in Arizona, the rest of the team continues to score at will, embarrassing the rest of the pool with their proficiency. Letang finished with 7 points on the week, Alex Ovechkin had 5 points, while four other players had 4 points each.
There doesn't seem to be any end in sight for this avalanche of points and with that giant lead of theirs, the only hope is that they drop a couple of their key players and give the rest of the pool a chance. Sure, it doesn't seem likely at all, but one could hope, couldn't they?
Something that you don't want to have while you're in the midst of the money race is an appearance in the Basement Dweller paragraphs, but that's where Cam finds himself this week.
Cam's team has been good for the better part of the season, starting Week Seventeen in the money, sitting pretty in 3rd place, but after picking up only 10 points, his team fell down to 5th spot and is now 13 points back of the last money spot.
Of course, being so close and improving your Waiver Draft position isn't a terrible thing, you at least ensure that you have the chance at making a better pick than your competitors, but then you have to make good on that.
Cam had no help from his goaltenders in the week and he had four more active zeroes on his roster in the week as well, while his top two players in the week were Frans Nielsen on Long Island and Matt Niskanen with the Capitals, each picking up a couple points in the week.
I'm sure his team will bounce back here soon, we've all seen these weeks before, it's nothing to be too worried about. Better to happen now than in Week Twenty-Six.
Okay, so we've already talked about Kristy & Don and how great their lead is. Now Grant S. does appear to be losing a bit more of his grip on that 2nd place lead, which was 38 points at the start of the week, but is now down to 36 points after the week. Okay, that isn't nearly as exciting, but it is slowly going down.
This week's 3rd place finisher is Clayton, his third time in the position, but only 1 point up on Wes, who has consistently been finishing in 4th place by week's end, ever since he jumped up from 10th place in Week Thirteen.
The second segment in the hockey pool season is going into its final week and yes, Kristy & Don have a significant lead there too. They are one of only two teams to hit the 200-point mark in the segment, although there will be a bunch more by the end of this week, I'm sure. Kristy & Don sit at 238 points, while Brenda & Seward are at 200 points, while Wes and Benson are at 195 points.
As for the Olli bobblehead race, this is where the real action is, right? At the end of Week Seventeen, Wyllie would be the recipient of the trophy, if the season were to end today, only edging out Allan by the goals tie-breaker and Ryan by only 1 point. It looks like there could be a couple more horses in this race before too long, as Mike has dropped down to 5 points out and Leo is only 7 points out, so the Waiver Draft becomes more interesting at the bottom.
Allan does seem to want to run away with the Jordan bobblehead though, as his team suffered with the least amount of skater games played in the week, tied with Wilton and Grant S., but he has now opened up a 9-game gap at the bottom. Allan will get the chance to move out some of his injured bodies and try to make up some games, but his luck this season has been horrible and this trophy is the best measure of that.
WINNING EVERY WEEK
Being down to one goalie has made the last couple weeks somewhat hairy for Kristy & Don, but their remaining goaltender belongs to the best team in the NHL, so they have managed to squeak out at least one win in the last couple weeks. It really makes Brenda & Seward's 2 wins in the week seem pretty awesome, but both teams stay alive for another week and a busy week it will be.
It was a pretty busy week in rookie scoring, as a lot of teams with rookies ended up with points. Wilton and Mike each picked up a pair of points, while Grant S. had 3 points, Dale C. had 4 points and Dale B., down a ways in these standings, had 6 points, now up to 15 on the season.
Wilton still leads with 37 points, still 4 points up on Mike and 9 points up on Grant S..
I know there isn't any money on this particular statistic right now, but I would be interested to see how many rookies get picked up in the Waiver Draft this week, possibly making this a little more interesting down the line.
LIGHTING THE LAMP
The six teams still streaking in the goal-scoring survivor pool are still alive and are likely looking forward to a big week. No one dropped off in Week Seventeen and these teams are going to have to have a really bad week, since there are going to be 50 NHL games in Week Eighteen, a great way to finish the segment.
Grant K., Kristy & Don, Stacey M., Wilton, Ryan and Stacey C. are all still alive with at least 3 goals scored every week.
Scoring in the pool has been on a healthy decline, which means that the Waiver Draft can't come at a better time. Skater games collected were down, goalie minutes collected were down and scoring didn't even make 500 total points in 45 NHL games this week. At only 480 collected points in Week Seventeen, there just didn't seem to be enough points to go around, where more teams felt the pinch then others, obviously.
It will be much better in the pool, when we get rid of those players who are buried in the minors or out for the season with injuries, right?
NEWS AND NOTES
An upper-body injury was the cause of Martin Hanzal's absences at the end of the week and by the sound of things, he is already slated to miss a third consecutive game, already being ruled out of Tuesday's contest against Columbus. There wasn't a lot of detail given on the injury to Hanzal, but he is still considered to be day-to-day at this point in time.
For Troy, Hanzal was a decent pick-up in the Week Nine Waiver Draft, but some other injuries had really kept him from cashing in too well with his new player. In 16 games since Week Nine, Hanzal picked up 3 goals and 11 points, which made him into a pretty good pick. Can Troy find more of that magic this week?
It sounds like the Montreal Canadiens are quite happy with what they've been getting from defenseman Sergei Gonchar, since picking him up from the Dallas Stars earlier in the year. Given that he is 40 years old though, they want to protect their asset and it sounds like Gonchar may not play many back-to-back games down the stretch, likely to save his legs for a playoff run. Likely a wise move, but one that may hurt the scoring numbers down the stretch.
Wes couldn't be too sad with his numbers, picking up 8 assists in 19 games played, to this point since the Week Nine Waiver Draft. It doesn't sound like Gonchar will miss too many more games, but it likely would be much better to rest him every once and a while, instead of risking injury that could cost him more games.
Link to the Injury/News Page