NHL

Matchup 11 – Tightrope

December 18, 2017

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I’m going to warn you up front, there’s a ton of info coming in this post.

First: Steve ran into a situation where he added a player on Sunday intending to have him start that evening, but didn’t realize that there had already been a game that started that day. Since he’s new I decided to give him a break and reversed the trade so that he didn’t get penalized for it and use up one of his three transactions for the upcoming week.

If you guys have a circumstance where you accidentally add a player you don’t intend to (maybe they are injured and you didn’t realize it, maybe you click the wrong button), you can message me and I can (most of the time) correct it for you with the League Manager tools.

Second: The schedule for the next two matchups is a little bit shorter due to the NHL’s three day break over Christmas. This current matchup has six days of games (Monday-Saturday), and the following matchup has five days of games (Wednesday-Sunday). There’s also several days where nearly all teams are playing, so you’re going to need to make some tough decisions on who to start.

Lastly: Your 2017-2018 Executive Committee (Brock, Jace and Rhys) has been hard at work, and after meeting earlier this week we’re ready to let you know of some of the changes that will be coming for next year. We want to tell you now, before the trade deadline, so you can plan ahead and prepare accordingly.

Rosters
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The first change is to our rosters. The 2018-2019 rosters will be as follows:

4 LW
4 C
4 RW
5 D (was 6)
2 G
4 BN (was 6)
3 IR

23 total non-IR slots (was 26)

Let’s talk thought the changes. We’ve decided to add a third IR slot because a number of use ran into situations where there were more than two valuable players that were injured on our roster, and ultimately we don’t think that we should be penalized for injuries happening in real life. We have reduced the number of defenseman slots because, frankly, there’s just not enough valuable defensemen in the league, especially once injuries start happening.

Finally, we are reducing the bench slots from 6 to 4 for two major reasons. First, it releases 24 additional players into free agency which has been pretty slim pickings lately. And secondly, we hope this will spur on trades a bit more because you won’t be able to stash as many players on your bench.

Scoring

The second change is to scoring. The 2018-2019 scoring will be as follows:

Skaters
Goal: +3.5 (was +3)
Assist: +2.5 (was +2)
Faceoff Won: +0.1
Faceoff Lost: -0.1
Shot on Goal: +0.2
Short Handed Point: +1

So the big deal here is that we’ve eliminated the Power Play Point and Penalty Minute categories. Penalties are pretty obvious – no one likes them, and they’re pretty insignificant in the grand scheme of things. But the Power Play Point was hotly debated in the Committee, and eventually we came to consensus: it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to give a bonus point on a goal or an assist that is scored 5v4 or 5v3, which is much easier than scoring 5v5. The best players will still tend to get power play time anyway, which increases their chances of scoring goals and assists.

The Short Handed Point bonus remains though, since it’s harder to score 4v5 than it is at full strength or on the power play.

To balance out the points lost by removing the PPP, we’ve increased both goals and assists by half a point each.

Goaltenders
Game Started: +1
Win: +1 (was +3)
Goal Against: -1.5 (was -1)
Save: +0.2 (was +0.1)
Shutout: +3

All five categories for Goaltenders remain, but they’ve been rebalanced to reflect better on how goalies actually are performing. The biggest change is that we’ve reduced the value of a Win from 3 to 1. Why? Wins are more of a team stat, because it relies on the skaters scoring goals. We’ve also increased the value of Saves from .1 to .2, and Goals Against from -1 to -1.5. This actually makes it easier for our goalies to catch up, as it takes 7.5 saves to negate a goal allowed compared to 10 saves this season.

This will help good goalies that are stuck behind bad teams most of all. Take a guy like Robin Lehner, who is a career .917 goalie but because he’s in Buffalo, he can’t get a win to save his life. Under the new system, his points earned will be much more reflective of his actual skill.

Despite all the changes, the breakdown of points earned by Skaters/Goalies remains pretty close to the 90/10 split that we currently have. My estimation has goalies worth slightly more currently, closer to 10.5-11, but not so much it throws our balance out of whack.

Keepers
This was already mentioned in a previous blog post, but we are setting the number of Keepers for the 2018-2019 draft at 8. We’re becoming more invested in our teams and players that we’ve developed, so adding one extra player to the keeper list has been a much requested feature.

Matchup Recap

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Best Forward: John Tavares 26.9 (Frank)
Best Defenseman: Mark Giordano 11.4 (Jace), Victor Hedman 11.4 (Brett D)
Best Goalie: Corey Crawford 16.9 (Brock)
Best Individual Performance: Gabriel Landeskog 15.9 (Cal)
Best Team Performance: Sabretooth Chickens 186.3

Wow, Brock got absolutely demolished by Brett D this week. But even his loss was nowhere near as crushing as Frank’s last-second loss to Chris. Literally it came down to Jonathan Marchessault collecting an assist and a goal in the last ten minutes of the last game on Sunday that put Chris over the top.

The rest of the matchups were pretty straightforward, with the better records winning out. The one exception? Steve beat Rhys, who put up a stinker of a week right after beating the pants off of everyone last week.

Team In-Depth

Team In-Depth will return next week.

Projected Playoff Bracket

If the Playoffs Were Today
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This week’s loss for Brett R has dropped him off our our Playoff radar, leaving him with Davin and Brennan as the most likely to be selling at the trade deadline. Brett D and Cal’s wins move them to 5-6, keeping them solidly in the hunt since we now have six teams all with 6-5 or 5-6 records. We’re going to see a lot of movement in the seeds as the next few weeks go by.

#1 Sabretooth Chickens (10-1) – bye
#2 Jean Claude Van Damphousse (8-3) – bye

#3 Bo Knows Hockey (8-3) vs #6 Fists of Fuhry (6-5)
#4 Going for the Calder! (6-5) vs #5 Phantom of the Pacific (6-5)

In the Hunt

#7 Frank the Tank (6-5)
#8 Blades of Glory (5-6)
#9 Connor’s Cup (5-6)

Waiver Wire

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Anaheim plays four games this week, and Andrew Cogliano could be a valuable add. With dual positions, he is currently slotted in at left wing on Anaheim’s second line with Adam Henrique and Rickard Rakell. The ducks have been decimated by injuries lately, so now that they’re getting healthy, I’d expect the team to start getting hot.

Boston also plays four games this week, and Zdeno Chara, as old as he is, still plays over 20 minutes per night. He’s also, surprisingly, averaging nearly 2 shots per game, so he’ll provide you a few points consistently thoughout the week.

With majority of the games this week happening on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, you might want to pick up Sam Bennett, whose Flames play on Wednesday and Friday this week. Bennett will also be the guy who doesn’t seem to live up to his draft position, but he’s capable of exploding for multi-point games. He’s now up to 5 G and 10 A on the year, and seems to have found some good chemistry with Mark Jankowski and Garnet Hathaway.

Matchup Precap

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Can anyone stop Chris (10-1)? It’s on Jace (6-5) to try this week, riding his own 2-game winning streak. The matchup to watch this week is Sohayl (8-3) versus Frank (6-5) – Sohayl is coming off of a win despite getting nearly 58 fewer points than Frank who took the loss. Will it even out this week?

Brett R (3-8) looks to get back into the playoff conversation against Rhys (6-5), while Brennan (2-9) takes on Brett D (5-6). Cal (5-6) looks to upset Brock (8-3), and Davin (1-10) takes his futility tour on the road to play Steve (6-5).

Merry Christmas to you guys, and we’ll see you back here on Boxing Day.

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