Monday, February 05, 2018

Week Eighteen Newsletter



Another season of Waiver Drafts have come and gone. The second one finished up on Sunday, the bonus round was offered to anyone who wanted it and it was only Troy that stepped up to the plate to do so, swapping the injured Steve Mason for Flyers number two, Michal Neuvirth.  Now, it's time for the stretch run!



Week Eighteen saw two players finish with 8 points each, tying for the nod for top spot, but as you can see Evgeni Malkin of the Penguins was decided upon to take the title, as he was up against Los Angeles Kings backup goalie Darcy Kuemper, who couldn't score a goal to keep himself in consideration for the title.

The 31-year old has been running hot in his last four games, which included the last game before the All-Star break and then the three games in Week Eighteen, just on the other side.  This week, he played in three games, opening up with a hat-trick against the Sharks on Tuesday, a pair of goals and a pair of assists against the Capitals on Friday and then another goal against the Devils on Saturday.  Even if Kuemper was able to score a goal from his side of the ice, it was going to be hard to beat Malkin's 6 goals and 2 assists, regardless.

Unsurprisingly, this week's worth of scoring shot Malkin up the overall rankings in the hockey pool, as it now gives him 29 goals and 60 points in 50 games for the Penguins, now good enough for 7th overall in pool scoring.  It makes it hard to believe that he wasn't taken until the 49th pick in the draft, almost the last pick in the 2nd round.  Stuart really picked himself up a bargain, didn't he?

Which leads us right into the Mover & Shaker nod for this week, which Stuart absolutely ran away with and did so at an early point in the week, never to look back.  Stuart's team finished with 38 points, 7 points clear of 2nd place in the week, and also took 1st place away from Dale B. in the standings, really making waves ahead of the final segment of the regular season.

So, besides Malkin having one hell of a week for Stuart's team, he also received help from a Week Nine Waiver Draft pick-up, New Jersey goalie Keith Kinkaid, who finished with 6 points.  Los Angeles defenseman Jake Muzzin was next up on the list, finishing with 4 points, while four other players each finished with 3 points a piece.

Only one player on his active roster, Florida goalie Roberto Luongo, finished with no points in the week and he's expected to be back to full health in the next week or two, which kept Stuart from actually dropping the veteran goalie in the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft.  If you could believe it, he almost dropped Kinkaid in that player swap.

In the second segment, Stuart's team finished atop the race, thanks in large part to his forwards, who were dynamite from Week Ten until yesterday, finishing 23 points better than any other team in the pool, while his defense was good, ranking 7th in the pool and also having the worst goaltending, finishing with only 10 points in those nine weeks.  Okay, that might have been a reason to drop Kinkaid.

Probably one of the most remarkable stats is that Stuart's team is now in 1st place and the goaltending numbers aren't in his favour, as injuries had really done in the work from the crease, with his team ranking 24th in the pool in minutes played, with 1,673 so far... the leaders, Kristy & Don, have 4,404.

Injuries are the worst!  Just ask Jeremy's team.  Between the All-Star shortened week of Week Seventeen and then a busy week in Week Eighteen, Jeremy's injury-riddled team finished with 20 points combined in those two weeks, back-to-back 10-point weeks.  It wasn't bad enough for the Basement Dweller in Week Seventeen, but it certainly is for Week Eighteen and it was looking really bad, like single-digits, until the weekly audit found another 2 points for him.

Jeremy's team was perched up in 1st place for the first five weeks of the season, saw another 1st place finish after Week Seven, but his team couldn't bear to hold on any longer.  Week Thirteen, his team fell out of the money and it has been an unceremonious tumble ever since.  His 10-point week, this week, saw his team drop down to 15th place.

Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Capitals and Jakub Voracek of the Flyers were his only life lines in the week, both finishing with 4 points each, while picking up a couple more singles elsewhere, the injuries to Chris Kreider of the Rangers, Ondrej Palat of the Lightning, Conor Sheary of the Penguins, Corey Crawford of the Blackhawks and Cory Schneider of the Devils have really sunk his team.  Oh yes, don't forget the AHL demotion of Gustav Forsling in Chicago too.  I don't think any hockey pool team is going to survive that sort of punishment.

And since we're talking the end of segment two of the season, Jeremy's middle part of the season was indeed pretty bad, finishing with 161 points over those nine weeks, ranking 22nd in scoring in that time.

So, now it's an all-Greenley 1-2 at the top of the standings, heading into the final third of the season.  Stuart leapt up to the top and Benson was trudging along, right behind him, leaving Dale B., who didn't have a very good finish to the segment, down in 3rd place.

The difference between 1st and 3rd is now 10 points, which is a very small number, in the overall scheme of things.  The gap between 3rd and Wilton's 4th place team is now 28 points and that's significantly bigger, one could say.  The top three teams look fairly safe, but as we've seen with Jeremy and Brian's teams this season, it can turn on themselves quite quickly.

The last of the active mini-games this season is the plus/minus pool and Steve's team continues to lead with a +77 rating, down one in the week, while Cam's team is still in 2nd place, up a couple of points to bring his team up to a +50 rating through Week Eighteen.

Grant had big gains, tops in the pool in the week at +10, while Mike's team saw a big loss at a -12 rating in the week. 

Wes looked to secure the imaginary money for the PIM pool in this Waiver Draft, which he certainly may have, acquiring Michael Haley of the Panthers and Zack Kassian of the Oilers in the week, but Eric's team set a new weekly record in Week Eighteen, trying to track down Wes' team for the goon team title, finishing with 47 minutes in penalties in the week and Eric's team only trails by 2 minutes.  Surely Wes' team, with two new big goons, will lock this one up, no problem.

STATISTICALLY SPEAKING

By the last week of a segment, yes, things get to be very below-average, in terms of the participation statistics and if you have been paying attention to the injury/news page on the site, you could see why.  Skater games have been down, goalie minutes were also down, which didn't give our collection of players much of a chance to score at an above-average rate.  Our players only managed to average 11.3 points per NHL game, well below the average of 12.5 and way behind the weekly high of 14.9, way back in Week One.

I don't expect things to get too much better, since we're now replacing hurt and cold players with the bottom of the barrel, whatever was left behind, in the Week Eighteen Waiver Draft.
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