NHL

Matchup 17 Recap – What Have We Done

February 15, 2017

After a flurry right before the bell rang, the trade deadline is now passed. Here’s some stats on what went down this year:

  • 10 teams made at least one trade this year. Davin and Frank were the only two teams to stand pat.
  • 17 separate trades were made with 85 players changing hands.
  • 10 sets of draft picks were exchanged.
  • Chris and Brett D now each hold 8 picks in the first 5 non-keeper rounds of next year’s draft. Cal holds the least with only 1.
  • Brandon Saad was traded 4 times this season, the most of any player. Voracek (3) and Dubnyk (3) were close behind. Saad is also the only player to have played for the same team two separate times (Cal’s).
  • Chris was the most active on the trade block, involved in 7 separate trades involving 25 players changing hands.

All in all, a pretty successful year. I was a little unsure how trading draft picks would work out since we’ve never had that before, but it seems like as a group we were able to figure out what the market prices should be.

We also saw a few teams that missed the deadline, but since this is still a bit of a learning year, I expect we’ll see more action next year.

And with the trade deadline passed, the only source of replacement players left is free agency. I’m sure we’ll see a lot of movement with the “best of the rest” like Letestu, Lindhom, Backes and Slavin (played for 5 different teams already!) get picked up and dropped a few more times before the end of the year.

This is also a great opportunity for tanking teams to gear up for next season. Injuries are going to happen, and playoff teams aren’t going to risk keeping a spot filled with a player on IR. Sometimes star players will get dropped, and if you’re already out for the year, why not nab them?

Head-To-Head Recap

Best Forward: Adam Henrique 23.9 (Brock)
Best Defenseman: Erik Karlsson 15.0 (Chris)
Best Goalie: Peter Budaj 21.0 (Brett R)
Best Individual Performance: Sebastian Aho 14.0 (Brock)

Brock’s 3.6 point victory over Jace was about as important a win as we’ve seen all season. Davin missed out on his opportunity to go for it, losing to Rhys. Cal beat Brennan, Brett R beat Chris, Brett D beat Sohayl and Frank beat Justin to even up the bottom of the standings at 4-13.

Projected Playoff Bracket

#1 Brett R (13-4) vs #4 Jace (11-6)
#2 Rhys (13-4) vs #3 Cal (12-5)

In the Hunt

Brock (10-7)

Fighting Chance

Brett D (8-9)

So let’s start at the bottom. With Davin losing last week and Brett D winning, they both have records of 8-9 on the year. Why is Brett D now listed as having a fighting chance while Davin is off the board? While Davin is essentially done for, there’s a very specific scenario in which Brett D could make the post season. Here’s what needs to happen:

  • Brett D needs to win his next 3 weeks (Jace, Justin, Cal) to finish 11-9
  • Jace needs to lose his next 3 weeks (Brett D, Davin, Brett R) to finish 11-9
  • Brock needs to lose his next 3 weeks (Justin, Cal, Chris) to finish 10-10

This would then leave Brett D and Jace tied for the final spot, and move to tie-breakers. If Brett D wins his matchup this week against Jace, that makes him 2-0 on the year, so Brett D would claim the final spot.

Davin, however, split his season series with both Brett and Jace, so even if he wins three straight and Jace and Brock both lose out, he’d have to move to the second tie breaker – Total Fantasy Points. Right now Davin trails Jace by over 300 more points (and trails Brett D by more than 130), and I just can’t see Davin making up that difference in 3 weeks.

Okay, now to Brock – we can’t emphasize how important his win last week against Jace was. The win pulls him within 1 game of the fourth playoff spot with 3 weeks to go.  If Brock gets 2 more wins than Jace does over the final 3 matchups, Brock is in. If he only gets 1 more win than Jace, Brock could still potentially sneak in – he’s only 10 points back of Jace for the second tie-breaker right now.

For Brett R, Rhys, and Cal, their playoff spots are pretty comfortable – with Rhys and Brett R playing each other this week, the winner will secure their berth at the top of the standings and lock in a playoff spot, while the loser will only need one more victory in the remaining 2 weeks to lock it in. If Cal wins 2 of the next 3, he’ll be in for sure.

Watching the Waiver Wire

No waiver claims this week.

As we talked about above, now that the trade deadline has passed, the only source of replacement players left is free agency. At this point of the year, where some players may have spent considerable time on the IR, one stat I like to look at to compare is Average Points Per Game.

There are a handful of call-ups with 1-2 games in hand that are above 3.0 fantasy points per game, but the best guy available at the moment is Elias Lindholm. He averages 2.6 PPG, mostly from Assists, SOG and FOW. He doesn’t get a ton of power play time, which makes his production that much more impressive.

If you’re looking for production from defensemen, there’s not much out there right now. Jaccob Slavin has been the most popular rotating pick-up, but Michael Matheson has an identical 1.2 PPG average this season. Matheson has been a pleasant surprise in Florida this year, playing all 53 games so far this year and picking up 5 goals and 9 assists. Will this scoring rate hold? Or is he just on a hot streak?

We’ve mentioned him several times in this section before, but Philipp Grubauer is unquestionably the best goalie available right now. He won’t get a ton of starts, but he’s averaging 4.1 PPG when he does. That’s the second highest average in the league, behind only Devan Dubnyk at 4.3.

Matchup Precap

It’s easily the biggest matchup of the year – our top two teams Brett R (13-4) and Rhys (13-4) are meeting head-to-head with the winner taking over sole possession of top spot in the standings, and likely cementing their playoff spot. Brett R took the win in their Week 7 matchup…can he do it again?

Also significant is Brett (8-9) looking at a must-win against Jace (11-6) if he wants to keep his faint hopes at playoffs alive.

Finally, Cal (12-5) faces Frank (4-13), Brennan (6-11) takes on Chris (7-10), Davin (8-9) faces Sohayl (6-11), and after his big win last week, Brock (10-7) is looking to continue his run at a playoff spot against Justin (4-13).

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