The NHL season is 25% complete and it’s interesting to see where the standings are at. There seems to be a pretty clear separation between the Stars, Canadiens (tied with 34 points) and Rangers (not far behind with 32), and then next group of teams. Behind them is St. Louis with 28, Washington with 27, San Jose with 26, and then a bunch of teams with 24-25 points.
We see a similar trend at the bottom of the standings, with the sad-sack Oilers and Avalanche tied with 15 points and Columbus only 1 point better at 16. Above them is 6 different teams with 17-18 points.
Let’s look closer at three teams in the middle of the pack: the Senators with 25 points and second in the Atlantic Divison, the Canucks with 22 points and third in the Pacific Division, and the Flyers with 17 points and seventh in the Metro Division.
What do these teams have in common? Lots and lots of Bettman points.
The Canucks are leading the league in Overtime Losses, with 6 of their points picked up in a loss. If they turn even half of those into wins, they’re now just a single point behind San Jose for tops in the rather pathetic Pacific Division. Conversely, the OTL points hide the fact that the Canucks have only won 8 of 22 games this year, putting them solidly in the bottom third of the league. Are they good? Are they bad? Are they simply a playoff bubble team?
The Senators are close behind with 5 points picked up in Overtime Losses. Once they get through overtime the Sens are lights out, going 3-3 in the shootout this year. With a respectable 10 wins in 20 games, the Sens probably aren’t truly the second best team in the Atlantic, but they’re close. The Lighting are better than their record suggests, but there’s a lot of beatable teams in that division.
The Flyers also have 5 points from OT, and boy oh boy are those points masking a truly horrible record. The Flyers have only 6 wins, less than the Oilers, Avalanche, Hurricanes and Leafs. Even in their own division, the Blue Jackets have only 16 points, but two more wins than the Flyers. This is pretty clearly a lost season for Philly.
Congrats gents, this was the closest week we’ve seen so far. Jace edged out Brett 6-4-1, Davin squeaked out a 6-4-1 victory over Frank, and Chris and Rhys tied 5-5-1. It was a thrilling race right to the end of the week, as the Canucks/Devils game impacted all of the games. The Sedins short handed goal in the 3rd allowed Frank to tie Davin in that category, Edler’s 26:18 TOI allowed Jace to take that category from Brett, and Schneider’s allowing a goal with 5 seconds remaining had Chris and Rhys refreshing the page to see who would take SV% – in the end, Rhys held on just long enough to force the tie.
Jace has now regained the lead in the standings at 45-26-6, as Rhys slips back to second at 46-28-3. Davin continues to inch closer to to the top and sits at 38-32-7. Chris is oh-so-close to the elusive .500 mark at 34-35-8, while Brett sits at 27-42-8 and Frank trails at 21-48-8.
This week is a great opportunity for the bottom of the table to make up ground, as Frank plays Rhys, Brett takes on Davin, and Jace plays Chris.
Best and Worst This Week
Goals – Jace 25 / Rhys 15
Assists – Rhys 33 / Brett 25
+/- – Davin +14 / Rhys -7
PPP – Rhys & Frank & Jace 23 / Davin 7
SHP – Davin & Frank 2 / everyone else 0
FOW – Davin 233 / Frank 111
ATOI – Jace 21:28 / Davin 19:44
SOG – Jace & Rhys 164 / Brett 113
W – Chris 5 / Rhys 2
GAA – Brett 1.247 / Frank 3.747
SV% – Brett .9519 / Frank .8783
Brett’s goalies put up unreal numbers this week, and Frank’s…didn’t. Frank did have a terrific week on the power play though, as we saw an unprecedented three-way tie for the lead with 23 PPP. Rhys continues to collect assists, Jace continues to rack up goals, Davin wins all the faceoffs, and with Carey Price healthy again, expect Chris to get all of the Ws.
Mike Cammalleri broke into the league in 2002, starting his career with the LA Kings. He was a decent player, splitting time between the big club and the farm team, but it wasn’t until the 2004-2005 lock-out season when he found his scoring touch. Playing a full year in the AHL did him good, as he collected a 109 points in 79 games, easily his best production of his career to that point. His best season came after a trade to the Calgary Flames in 2008-2009, when he put up 80 points in 81 games. He’s never come close to that same production, and injuries have limited him to no more than 68 games a season since.
That’s why it’s crazy to see him at 7 G and 14 A in only 20 games this year in New Jersey. 7 of those points have come on the power play, as Cammalleri has been a key component of the surprisingly hot Devils PP. With a lot of young players, Cammalleri has been getting a ton of playing time, and it’s paying off in spades for him. If Cammalleri can stay healthy, his age 33 season could prove to be one of his best.
Watching the Waiver Wire
– WE HAVE A TRADE TO ANNOUNCE. Rhys sent struggling sniper Nikita Kucherov to Brett in exchange for Jordan Eberle, who has had a tough time after coming back from a shoulder injury suffered in preseason. The trade paid off immediately for Rhys as Eberle has scored 2 goals in his first 3 games on his new team, but Kucherov came alive on Saturday night, putting up 1 G and 2 A after being shut out in his last 2 games.
– Looking for a power play specialist? Kyle Palmieri has joined Cammalleri in New Jersey to become one of the most potent duos in the league. Palmieri has 9 PPP, the most of all available skaters.
– Patrick Marleau is on a roll right now, picking up 2 G and 3 A this week as well as his 1000th career point. He’s proving that he’s got a ton of gas left in the tank. He wins faceoffs, flings shots like crazy, and skates over 20 minutes a night despite skating on the second and third lines.
– A good balance on defense is important in a fantasy league. You need guys that eat of minutes and keep their Plus/Minus in the positive, but you also would love to get some secondary scoring from them. Jared Spurgeon hits most of these boxes, with 3 G and 9 A, -1, 4 PPP and 2 SHP while skating just under 22 minutes a night.
– Another great option? Oscar Klefbom is moving up the depth chart in Edmonton, especially after Sekera went out with the flu. He’s quietly picked up 4 G and 7 A and 3 PPP at just under 22 minutes a night.
– No one was sure how the Dallas goalie experiment would work this year, but so far it seems to be a hit. This week it was Niemi’s turn to put up impressive numbers. Only 1 goal was allowed in 2 full games, for a .50 GAA and .979 SV%.
– Almost as good: Craig Anderson in Ottawa was solid this week, putting up a great 1.32 GAA and .959 SV% in 3 games this week. That performace brought his 2016 line to 2.60 GAA and .921 SV%