Monday, January 22, 2018

Week Sixteen Newsletter





The Boston Bruins are really starting to clip along again in the Atlantic Division and none too soon, if you ask some people.  They have been tracking down the Tampa Bay Lightning for top spot in the division and the league for the last few weeks, points in 14 straight games, and in Week Sixteen, they were led by Brad Marchand, who led all players in the hockey pool with 7 points.

Marchand and the Bruins played in four games this week and he was shut out in the opening game of the week, Monday against the Stars, but after that, he caught fire again.  A goal and an assist against Montreal on Wednesday, a goal and a pair of assists against Long Island on Thursday and then another pair of assists against Montreal on Saturday.

This week brings Marchand's totals up to 20 goals and 48 points in only 37 games this season, having missed time to a couple of minor injuries this year.  If he hadn't missed that time, it would be interesting to see where he would rank among the rest of the league, but for now, he currently ranks 23rd among all players, just inside of the 1st round consideration, if we were to redraft today.

For Cam, the Bruins forward is his best player this season and he is getting roughly the value he was expecting, taking him with the 32nd overall pick this year.  Unfortunately, the rest of the team hasn't exactly been giving him that sort of value, as his side still sits below the equator in 16th place in the standings after 16 weeks.

After a horribly rocky start, finishing the first three weeks of the season in dead last in the standings, Brenda & Seward really have fought their way back up the standings, thanks in large part to these Mover & Shaker weeks, this being their second one this season.  With 40 points on the board in Week Sixteen, they were able to jump on a week, where there wasn't a great deal of scoring overall and vault themselves from 15th to 7th in the blink of an eye.

This was only the second 40-point week that we have seen this year, Dale B. registering the other one in Week Eight, and we can all see where his team is these days.  If the duo's team remains this hot, there is little to no reason why they couldn't shimmy their way up to a money spot before the end of the year.

It was quite the effort from their forwards this week, as seven of eight of them were able to register points, a minimum of 2 points for those seven players, which is a mighty fine start.  Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins led the way with 6 points, while Alexander Radulov of the Stars and Joe Thornton of the Sharks each had 5 points.  It's probably worth noting as well, that Alexander Steen of the Blues and Kari Lehtonen of the Stars found 4 points, rounding out their top players.

This week now brings their second segment total up to 180 points, from the start of Week Ten until now, and now there are only two more weeks left in the segment, before the next Waiver Draft players are drafted and activated for the stretch run.  There are not very many holes in the duo's team, heading into the last player swap of the season, so it will be interesting to see if they make any moves or stay with the status quo, just to keep a good thing going... into the money.

Injuries and the bye week monster hit Derek B.'s team pretty hard in Week Sixteen, as a number of his guys either didn't find the scoresheet, didn't find a sheet of ice until late in the week or were laying on the sheets in the infirmary.  The week's worst total was 8 points and that dropped Derek's team down from 8th place down to 13th, really just allowing Brenda & Seward to take his spot in the top 10.

Only four players were able to find the scoresheet and they all shared the lead for scoring on his team with 2 points a piece: Connor Brown of the Maple Leafs, Jonathan Drouin of the Canadiens, Wayne Simmonds of the Flyers and Steven Stamkos of the Lightning.

Now that the bye week nonsense is over with, the schedule should start to flatten out for everyone, but not before the All-Star break, which begins this week, starting after Thursday night's games.  Still, Derek's team has 9 points to make up, just to jump back into the top 10 and the shortened week might make that a little more difficult.  Week Eighteen might be where his team starts to shine again.

Talking about teams that have been moving up somewhat consistently, Stuart's team finally ascended into the money after a pretty long climb up from 14th spot after Week One, landing in 2nd place, nudging Wilton out of the money spots this week.  Stuart's team was hot in Week Sixteen, registering 34 points, jumping over Benson as well and now he's the one that trails Dale B.'s team, down by 10 points after this week.

Wilton's team really fell off this week, picking up only 14 points and now it sits in 4th place, 10 points back of Benson's team in 3rd.  Kristy & Don's team didn't have a good week either, having only 11 points and they're 12 points back of Wilton's team.  The gaps are getting bigger and bigger and the money teams are starting to run away.

A 2-1 loss in overtime for the Capitals and no relief appearance in a timely fashion in the Golden Knights victory on Sunday meant that neither Grant, nor Wilton, were able to survive Week Sixteen and therefore, being as though they are the last two teams standings, they have split the pot for the goalie survivor pool for this season.  It is quite the astonishing result in the end, given that we had made it this far and the goalies that were left all went cold in the same week, with plenty of games played.  Still, the nature of the game is survival and sometimes there are ties in the survival game.

We can definitely say one thing about Steve's team, it's sure responsible on the ice.  The last place team in the overall standings has the best shot at the plus/minus money, with his team increasing its lead over Cam's team, now at a 37-point gap.

Stacey M.'s team was the best in Week Sixteen, finishing with a +16 rating, but Steve's team was in 2nd place, with a +12 rating in the week, another 4 points better than Cam's team.  It will be interesting to see if Steve can shore up his side for this mini-game in the next Waiver Draft.

We're only days away from the All-Star Game festivities and we still have to hear who is going to take the spot of Victor Hedman for the Atlantic team, but that's a minor blip on the radar that still needs to come. Saturday, we'll see a revamped skills competition, by the sound of things and then Sunday, that's where the money is going to be made, when the 3-on-3 tournament happens.  Pool leaders Dale B. and Benson lead the way with players in the game, followed by Neil and Derek B., and as we've seen in years previous, it is just about anyone's competition.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

It was a very poor week for scoring overall, as the pool only collected an average of 11.5 points per NHL game on the calendar this week, way down from the 14.3 we saw last week, which was near the Week One best, when almost everyone had a healthy team.

This week, the league will be shoving in 35 games between Monday and Thursday, ramping up for the All-Star Game festivities on Saturday and Sunday, so we'll be all tallied up and likely to start the Waiver Draft proceedings as soon as the audit is completed on Friday morning.  There will be more info on that in the coming days.

NEWS AND NOTES

The Chicago Blackhawks welcomed Artem Anisimov back to their lineup after a few weeks on the shelf with an upper-body injury and to make room for the forward, they sent defenseman Gustav Forsling down to the AHL.  Forsling had 3 goals and 13 points in 41 games played this season and has been consistently in the lineup since the end of December, so it is kind of a shock to see him go down in this instance.

For Jeremy, this is his forward coming back and his defenseman making room, which is awfully disappointing.  Jeremy picked up Forsling in the first Waiver Draft, collecting 5 points in 17 games, but there was no indication if he would be back any time soon.

Finally, the nasty flu bug that has been traveling around got to the San Jose Sharks dressing room and took out forward Joonas Donskoi, ahead of their game against the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday night.  Donskoi is considered to be day-to-day and you would think that he would draw back in for the team's next game, Tuesday night, at home to the Jets.

Donskoi is another Waiver Draft pickup this season, this time for Eric's team and he has been just okay since being activated, collecting 8 points in 16 games, to date.  Eric's team was really good in Week Sixteen, collecting 30 points and moved up to 21st.  Maybe there's more movement left in his side yet.

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