Where did the 2015 season go? This had to be one of the quickest years that I can remember, but that was likely because there wasn't any real race for 1st place money, so some of us may have been wishing this season away.
Okay, first things first... we'll start with the last week's worth of information and then we'll look to the year-end stuff, just so we can pay everyone their dues for the season.
In a week where all the teams are gearing up for the playoffs and a lot of spots had been decided early, teams were taking it easy in some cases, more than others. Still, we did have a couple of players finish up the week with 10 points a piece, one forward and one goalie, so it becomes really easy to break that tie, isn't it?
Jamie Benn of the Stars scored 5 goals and 5 assists in three games this week, out-dueling Winnipeg's Ondrej Pavelec, who went 2-0-1 with three shutouts, quite the week for player performances.
Benn finished the year as the Art Ross Trophy winner, as he finished with 35 goals and 87 points in all 82 games for the Stars, but in the year of the goalie, that was only good enough for him to finish 7th overall in pool scoring, still 20 points behind the pool MVP, which will be revealed later.
The huge week also vaulted Scott into 4th place, 10 points out of the money, just a wee bit short of a good finish.
I wonder what was bigger for Wilton this week... picking up the 33 points and the Mover & Shaker nod in the year-end Newsletter OR getting married on Saturday in Banff? It has to be the Mover & Shaker, right?
Of course, it's too little, too late on the season, but his goaltending really came out like they had been doing it all year, as Jhonas Enroth was dominating for the Dallas Stars as well in the week, as he finished the week with 8 points, while Sergei Bobrovsky had 6 points in Columbus, giving him 14 of his 33 points from the crease in the week. Jack Johnson chipped in from the Jackets' blueline, while three more players had 3 points a piece.
The big week helped his team finish 13th in the standings, which isn't a great finish to the year, but he finished 3rd the year before, so it was good of him to spread it around.
This was Wilton's second Mover & Shaker of the year, but his team also had a couple of Basement Dwellers this season, which gives you an idea of why his team finished closer to the middle of the pack.
Wilton did have some pretty good late round picks this season, but without some better picks at the beginning of the draft, they kind of fell through. Wilton was able to pick up Johnny Gaudreau in the 14th round and he turned out to be worthy of a 3rd round pick this season, definitely one of the premier picks of the season.
We did have a tie for the Basement Dweller in the final week of the season, as Allan and Grant K. sat back and watched all the teams go by in the final few days of the year. Despite Grant's team sitting for the better part of the week, they still scored a couple more goals than Allan's team and with 12 points and only 2 goals, Mr. Scott was our final Basement Dweller of the year.
Allan's team wasn't the worst team in the skater games played department in the week, thanks to all those scratches for healthy players heading into the playoffs, but his team wasn't nearly as active as many, which is why he earned a bobblehead this year.
Patric Hornqvist was his best player in the week, as the Penguins forward picked up 3 points, while he got a win from each of his goalies, Antti Niemi in San Jose and Steve Mason in Philadelphia. Between those three players made up 7 of his 12 points in the week and beyond that it was a number of singles through the week.
Allan's 1st round pick, Niemi, was the only 1st round worthy player he had in the season, which finished one spot below where he was picked, but after that, Allan didn't get any bang for his buck. Okay, that isn't exactly the case, as Alex Tanguay in Colorado did do better than his draft selection, picked 304th and finished 84th in scoring. That's kind of where the pluses end though.
Yes, as expected, it was a pretty poor week in the scoring department. All of the scratches in the lineups brought the averages down in both skater games and scoring, while the goalie minutes actually got a boost, our best week since Week Twenty in that department.
Overall, the week was quite poor, which helped the winners of all the races, with less points to be had, they had less chances to be caught.
In total, the pool finished with 440 points, which was only better than the All-Star week, which was shortened considerably.
WINNING EVERY WEEK
Yes, so this was decided back in Week Twenty-Two, when Brenda & Seward's goalies couldn't keep up the pace, thanks to injury and belonging to the Oilers, as Kristy & Don managed to be the champion of this unofficial event. I think the interest in this one made it a winner through the second half of the year and it will be something to consider when you're drafting your team this coming year.
Kristy & Don's team needed until the last day for their last win, but their combination of Frederik Andersen in Anaheim and Pekka Rinne in Nashville, earned them the title of the team with a win in every week of the season.
Six teams in the pool only had one week where they didn't manage a win in the season, notably... Stacey C. only had one week where his team didn't pick up a win, but that was in Week Four or else his team would have been in the running at the end. This was all on the shoulders of Braden Holtby in Washington, who was stellar all year.
LIGHTING THE LAMP
Both Kristy & Don and Stacey M.'s team were goal scoring machines, as they were able to keep up a pace of 4 goals per week all season long, while Stacey C. and Grant K. finished the season with 3 goals per week, all season long. Ryan, who was in the 3-goal streak, failed to hit the mark in Week Twenty-Seven.
I am not sure what the plan is for this streak race, but it was kind of neat to watch through the year. It might end up as a side bet, but I'm not totally certain.
The rookie scoring race is a definite add for next season, rewarding teams that take a chance on some freshman talent and it will be just in time for a huge race next season, where Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel and Max Domi will likely heading up the race.
This year, Johnny Gaudreau wasn't enough for Wilton, who put up some good numbers this year, but Dale B. picked up a bunch of rookies through the Waiver Draft and blasted ahead on the late season merits of his boys. Thanks to Mike Hoffman in Ottawa, Anders Lee on Long Island and John Klingberg in Dallas, Dale took the race with 71 points.
In the Summer, I will be doing up some features with the rookie class for next season and they'll get their own projection page, just in case you're going to do some homework with the rookies.
CHRIS STEWART VS ERIK COLE
So, before the big (yes, the obvious) reveals, let's go over the side bet. Stuart and Clayton had a $1 per point difference between Wild forward Chris Stewart and Red Wings forward Erik Cole and thanks to the injury to Cole with two and a half weeks to go in the season, Stewart finished on top, 15-14, over Cole and Clayton owes Stuart... $1.
Okay, the lesser trophy of the bunch, the Jordan bobblehead, going to the team with the least amount of skater games to their record. Allan grabbed a hold of the lead (if you can call it that) for this trophy back in Week Seventeen, when his team had far less games than Benson and it all went downhill from there. Allan's team finished with 776 skater games played, 34 games less than Tony, who was 22nd in the category.
Allan was in the running for the Olli bobblehead and tried to make a run at it in the final week of the season, earning the Basement Dweller, but Wyllie's team had too much of a gap between them and then proceeded to have a slightly less shitty week than Allan, retaining the trophy, thanks to a 507-point season. Wyllie didn't have the worst season of all-time though, so we can't exactly give him much shit about that.
For the segments, Kristy & Don owe their huge season to winning segments one and two, but in the third segment, they didn't even place in the top five, not that it mattered. Benson made a pretty good run at the money, as you can tell by his third segment totals, picking up 260 points and he earns a small trophy for his troubles.
In 3rd place, Wes hung on for dear life and finally scored a finish in the hockey pool draft, as he had been shutout of any money or prizing in the days of the opiatedsherpa.com website, from way back in 2008. Congratulations to Wes! $100 prize money is your takeaway...
Grant S. was in 2nd place by Week Two, briefly saw the heavenly light of 1st place in both Week Six and Week Seven, but reverted back down to 2nd place, where he'd stay for the remainder of the season. He finished Week Eight, only a single point behind our leaders, but that would be the closest he'd ever come again, as the lead seemingly multiplied by the week, 11 points, 24, 26, 37, 41 and so on. Still, it was a pretty good run and his team put up a pretty good fight through the year, despite only two Mover & Shakers, back when he took over 1st place. $250 for Grant S. this year, congratulations!
Finally, it was the Kristy & Don show all year around, breaking the curse of the team who finished Week One in 1st place never won the pool. Technically speaking, it wasn't wire-to-wire, from Grant's foray into top spot for a couple of weeks, but it was close enough to just break the curse. They were the Mover & Shaker in five of the first 10 weeks, adding three more before the third segment started. They were able to rest on their laurels for the remainder of the season and that's all that counts. Surprisingly, they only had three Player of the Week nods on their team, all of which were pretty early on in the year. With 755 points, Kristy & Don get the big bobblehead trophy for the Summer and $500 to their credit.
The year of the goalie concludes with a goalie on top of the heap... a heap of six other goalies, before we even saw a forward in the scoring race. With 107 points in the regular season, Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens is our pool MVP!
Price, taken by Wes in the 1st round, 16th overall, scored 5 points more than 2nd place, Braden Holtby of hte Washington Capitals, the only two players to score over 100 points this season. Wes rode Price through to his 3rd place finish.
Next season, with likely some extra money put on the goalies, Price could be a favourite to go 1st overall in the pool, as it could be an all-goalie opening round, if we're not careful.
I would like to congratulate all of our winners again and would also like to thank everyone for playing again this year. The overall year may not have been as much fun as 2014, but the races were still decent and by the sound of things, people were still having some fun in this one.
I am hoping next year, we pick up a few more people, making it the biggest draft ever and there will be some extra prizes to play for, hopefully keeping everyone's interest in possibly earning their money back with smaller side bet games, like the ones I had been outlining through the year.
Thanks again everyone and keep checking back to the blog for the playoffs, which get started on Wednesday and then all of the off-season acquisitions and news.