NHL

Matchup 18 – Ashes and Fire

February 12, 2018

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Vacations are good. I don’t know that I realized quite home much I needed one until I went to Mexico over the New Years break.

But vacations can be bad. Case in point: all that relaxing completely derailed my posting schedule, and I got so far behind that it became impossible to catch up.

So we’re starting fresh this week, and with four matchups remaining before the playoffs start, we’re in for a wild finish.

Matchup Recap

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Best Forward: Connor McDavid 26.0 (Brett D)
Best Defenseman: Shayne Gostisbehere 17.6 (Davin)
Best Goalie: Devan Dubnyk 17.5 (Cal)
Best Individual Performance: Connor McDavid 17.3 (Brett D)
Best Team Performance: Sabretooth Chickens 216.6

It doesn’t get any closer than this. Chris defeated Brett D by 0.1 fantasy points to win their head to head matchup this week, with a save by Jonathan Bernier at 19:36 of the third period of the last game on Sunday making the difference. Unbelievably tough loss for Brett D, as he comes out with a loss to go with the second most fantasy points scored this week.

Jace, Frank and Davin pretty convincingly dispatched of Sohayl, Rhys and Brett R respectively, and the battle of the tanking all-stars saw Cal lose (win?) to Brennan. In the only other close match this week, Brock and Steve went back and forth all week before a big day on Saturday put Steve over the top.

The playoff picture is still pretty murky though, with nine teams still very much in the race.

Projected Playoff Bracket

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If the Playoffs Were Today
We still only have three teams clearly out of the playoff picture, and the rest of the bracket is very much up for grabs.

#1 Sabretooth Chickens (15-3) – bye
#2 Jean Claude Van Damphousse (12-6) – bye

#3 Phantom of the Pacific (11-7) vs #6 Fists of Fuhry (10-8)
#4 Frank the Tank (11-7) vs #5 Bo Knows Hockey (10-8)

In the Hunt

#7 Connor’s Cup (9-9)
#8 Blades of Glory (9-9)
#9 Going for the Calder (9-9)

At this point in the season, the strength of schedule remaining starts to come into play. For example, Rhys plays matchups against both Davin and Brennan who are long out of the playoff hunt and into draft position territory. Funny enough, the hardest schedule going forward is probably Chris, with matchups against Steve, Sohayl and Frank to finish off the regular season.

At this point we also know that Chris will lock up the West first round bye with just one more win, but all of a sudden Sohayl looks vulnerable in the East as Frank has pulled within one. It’s also not impossible for Brett R or Steve to rattle off four straight wins and squeak into that first place slot.

Matchup Precap

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Two hugely significant playoff matchups this week with Sohayl (12-6) vs Brock (10-8). Brock needs to keep adding points in a stacked West division, and Sohayl needs to fend off a surging Frank to keep the playoff bye. Frank (11-7) of course is trying to bridge that gap, and he faces Jace (11-7) this week who made significant moves to load up at the deadline.

Chris (15-3) needs just one more win to lock up the bye, and he could do it this week against Brennan (4-14). Also looking to add points in that tight West division during lopsided matchups are Rhys (10-8) versus Davin (4-14) and Brett D (9-9) vs Brett R (4-14). Lastly, Steve (9-9) takes on Cal (9-9) and while this looks like a close matchup, Cal is firmly in tank mode.

NHL

Matchup 13 – The Rescue Blues

January 1, 2018

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This week’s post will be short and sweet since it’s the week between Christmas and New Years and I’ve got a deck chair and a book calling my name.

This week we saw Brett D and Davin execute two trades with each other. The sum of these trades is:

Brett D trades
Joe Thornton
Jakob Silfverberg
11th round pick

Davin trades
Tyler Johnson
Jonathan Druin
24th round pick

Start negotiating your deadline deals now, boys. The good players aren’t going to last.

Matchup Recap

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Best Forward: Mikael Granlund 19.7 (Brett D)
Best Defenseman: PK Subban 13.8 (Brett D)
Best Goalie: Connor Hellebuyck 19.9 (Brock)
Best Individual Performance: Thomas Vanek 12.8 (Cal)
Best Team Performance: Connor’s Cup 177.6

Brock continues to chase after Chris, and his win over Rhys keeps him just 3 games back. Brett D’s commanding performance over Steve has quietly given him a three game winning streak, as did Cal’s win over Jace and Sohayl’s over Brennan. Frank narrowly beat out Davin to drop him to 1-11, and Chris shellacked Brett R to move to 12-1.

Projected Playoff Bracket

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If the Playoffs Were Today
In the most volatile week yet, we saw Frank, Brett D and Cal leap into the playoff bracket while Steve, Rhys and Jace all drop out.

#1 Sabretooth Chickens (12-1) – bye
#2 Jean Claude Van Damphousse (10-3) – bye

#3 Bo Knows Hockey (9-4) vs #6 Blades of Glory (7-6)
#4 Frank the Tank (7-6) vs #5 Connor’s Cup (7-6)

In the Hunt

#7 Going for the Calder! (7-6)
#8 Fists of Fuhry (7-6)
#9 Phantom of the Pacific (6-7)

Matchup Precap

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Huge playoff implications in our matchups this week, with Brock (9-4) taking on Chris (12-1), Sohayl (10-3) taking on Brett D (7-6), and Rhys (7-6) taking on Cal (7-6). Finally, Jace (6-7) looks to stay in the playoff picture with a game against Brett R (3-10) and Davin (1-12) and Brennan (2-11) meet in the Battle of the Basement.

NHL

Matchup 12 – When The Stars Go Blue

December 29, 2017

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you guys. I’m writing this week’s recap from Puerto Vallarta with the ocean roaring in the background. Enjoy the snow, suckers!

But more to the point, the Christmas break is typically the mid-point of our fantasy hockey season, and it’s a good time to look ahead at what the storylines for the second half of the season.

Can anyone stop Chris?

Because individual teams can have fairly wild swings from week to week, a good representation of how a team is performing is the Cumulative Fantasy Points Compared to Average chart on our Charts and Statistics page. For example, if we look at last year’s final chart, we see that Rhys (our eventual champion) spent the entire season in first place and finished pretty far above everyone else, while the other teams that finished above average (Cal, Brett R, Jace, Brock) finished almost exactly in that same order in the playoffs.

This year it has been closer at the top with multiple teams spending time at the top of this chart. Steve jumped out to a big lead in week 2, Chris took over from weeks 3-6, Sohayl reigned from weeks 7-9, Rhys took over in week 10 before relinquishing the lead to Chris again in week 11. It will interesting to see if Chris can keep this lead going forward, but his 11-1 record has sure put him in a favorable position.

With just 10 matchups left, the teams challenging Chris for top spot in the division have their work cut out for them.

Will Brett D be the surprise breakout star in the second half?

Connor’s Cup is sitting at a disappointing 5-7 this season, but I think there’s plenty of room for optimism. He’s sitting in 3rd for both Fantasy Points For and Fantasy Points Against, which means despite scoring a ton of points, he’s been pretty unlucky in matchups. Over time, we’d expect the Fantasy Points Against to even out, which means Brett D should be due for some lucky wins coming his way. His big guns are running hot, with three of the top 10 scorers in the NHL right now.

He’s also in a weaker division, which means the possibility of nabbing that top spot and a bye in the playoffs is a very real possibility. Seriously. Let’s dig into that next.
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Who will win the East Division?

Both Brennan and Davin are effectively out of the running the season, which leaves four teams all vying for the top seed and a guaranteed playoff spot. At first glance it appears like Sohayl has a pretty comfortable lead at 9-3, but I think he’d be wise to be wary. Sohayl has, by far, the lowest Points Against this year, and that isn’t likely to continue. Additionally, he’s only 7th overall in Points For, which suggests his current record is a bit of an illusion. Both Frank and Brett D are higher on this list, and with both chasing him, Sohayl had better watch his back.

Steve would also look like he has to potential to fade in the stretch (he’s been hovering just below average in Cumulative Fantasy Points), but with a 7-5 record already in the books, he can definitely make a run for that spot. He’s got some absolute studs on his team, including Stamkos, currently 4th overall in scoring, and as we approach the trade deadline, he can absolutely add some depth.

We’ve already talked about how Brett D is set up for a run, and the same reasons apply to Frank. He’s second overall in Points For! How he’s only 6-6 is crazy to me, and he’s loaded with players that should make him a winning threat every single week. He’s facing a lot of underperforming teams in the next few weeks, so he could put together a stretch of wins that would put him in position to challenge for the top spot.

Have we seen the beginning of trade season?

We saw our first trade in a while, (and only our fifth trade of the year) with Davin (seriously) trading Tyler Johnson and a 24th round pick to Brett D for Joe Thornton and an 11th round pick.

Last year we saw a slow ramp up in trade activity from Christmas to the deadline. Will we see the same again this year?

Matchup Recap

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Best Forward: Claude Giroux 20.1 (Brett D)
Best Defenseman: Seth Jones 18.8 (Chris)
Best Goalie: James Reimer 21.6 (Cal)
Best Individual Performance: Shea Theodore 13.4 (Sohayl)
Best Team Performance: Sabretooth Chickens 196.4

This week saw the same matchups as Matchup 1, and wow, there was a lot of deja vu this week. It was another super close win for Steve, and another super close loss for Davin. Chris ran up the score, and Brett R got smoked. Both Cal and Brett D got revenge for week 1 though, beating Brock and Brennan, respectively.

Team In-Depth

Team In-Depth will return next week.

Projected Playoff Bracket

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If the Playoffs Were Today

Yeah, this week made the playoff picture even more convoluted with four teams at 6-6 vying for the last playoff spot. Right now Jace takes it because of the tiebreaker rules.

#1 Sabretooth Chickens (11-1) – bye
#2 Jean Claude Van Damphousse (9-3) – bye

#3 Bo Knows Hockey (8-4) vs #6 Phantom of the Pacific (6-6)
#4 Going for the Calder! (7-5) vs #5 Fists of Fuhry (7-5)

In the Hunt

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

Waiver Wire

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It’s a compacted schedule with only 5 days of games being played this week. With a bunch of back-to-backs, it’s a good chance to pick up some goalie starts. If you’ve been struggling this season, thing about picking up Alex Stalock. He’s started every game for Minnesota since Dubnyk went on IR, and he’s held his own, despite the team in front of him having a rough time.

Phillip Danault has played for three teams so far this year and seems to have the inside track on earning the Most Teams award this season. He’s collected the most fantasy points of any available free agent this season, and has dual eligibility with C and LW. He’s averaging a nearly 17 minutes per night, and seems to have solidified his place in the Canadiens top 9.

He’s not a sexy pick, but the Leafs’ Ron Hainsey has been quietly putting together a very nice season in Toronto. Hainsey is averaging nearly 22 minutes per night, and he’s picked up 3 G and 13 assists so far. He likely won’t put up monster numbers, but having depth guys consistently adding points will make all the difference as we approach the last half of the season.

Matchup Precap

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There’s two matchups that have significant playoff implications this week, with Steve (7-5) playing Brett D (6-6) and Cal (6-6) playing Jace (6-6). Also significant is Brock (8-4) hoping to fend off Rhys (7-5) in that bonkers race for second place in the West. Davin (1-11) looks for his second victory of the season in a matchup against Frank (6-6). Sohayl (9-3) tries to gain ground Chris with a game against Brennan (2-10), while Chris (11-1) looks to extend his lead in a matchup against Brett R (3-9).

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.

NHL

Matchup 10 – Don’t Fail Me Now

December 11, 2017

Here we are, halfway though the fantasy regular season. And much like our look back at the draft in the Matchup 5 post, let’s look at the best Free Agent pickups of the season for each team, based on how many fantasy points have been collected since pickup.

A few interesting things pop out at me. First, three of the best pickups are goaltenders, which makes some sense as injuries and cold streaks have been pretty common for goalies this year. Second, it’s not surprising to see a couple of untested rookies pop up in Barzal and Keller, as these players would have been unknown quantities before the season started going and it was clear they were the real deal. Lastly, and this is weird, four of the 12 players on this list are Vancouver Canucks. No idea what that means.
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Steve – Sean Couturier 77.3

In retrospect it seems insane that Couturier didn’t get drafted. Blame it on a glut of centers I suppose, along with the fact that Giroux seemed to have the first line C spot locked down in Philly. But with Giroux’s move to the wing, Couturier has flourished. By picking him up on Oct 15, Steve has benefited from all of those points that have made Couturier his 6th best scorer on the roster.

Sohayl – Clayton Keller 66.2

Originally drafted by Brett D, Keller was picked up on Waivers by Sohayl on Oct 15, and boy is this looking like a heist. The Coyotes are pretty bad this year, and that has given Keller a bunch of ice time that he might not otherwise have gotten. In addition to scoring at will, he’s averaging almost 3 shots per game.

Brock – Connor Hellebuyck 60.8

Another Oct 15th pickup, Hellebuyck was expected to play backup to incoming Steve Mason. That lasted all of a week or so, and by November Hellebuyck was getting nearly all of the starts. He’s been struggling lately though, and Mason has taken two of the last 3 starts.
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Rhys – Josh Anderson 54.8

Josh Anderson began the year in a contract dispute with the Blue Jackets, and was left unpicked in the draft. Rhys nabbed him on Oct 24th, and Anderson has been showing no signs that the late start has held him back.

Davin – Mathew Barzal 43.9

While Sohayl looked like a genius picking up Keller, it meant that he had to drop another untested rookie in Barzal. Barzal sat in free agency for nearly three weeks until Davin picked him up on Nov 5th, right after Barzal’s 5 assist performance against the Avs. Since then he’s averaged nearly a point per game, and is the clubhouse leader in the Calder race.

Cal – Gabriel Landeskog 42.0

Technically Namestnikov is the best FA pickup, but since Cal drafted him, dropped him and picked him up again in the first week of the season, I’m not going to count it. Instead, let’s look at a late round draft pick by Steve. Landeskog had a slow start to the year and was dropped on Oct 23rd. Call picked him up two days later, and despite missing a handful of games to injury, has been a pretty solid fantasy performer.
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Chris – Sven Baertschi 41.2

Baertschi was drafted by Brock in the final round, and dropped the final day of the first matchup. Picked up by Chris a few weeks later, Baertschi has been surprisingly productive, although he’s cooled off lately. And now out with a fractured jaw for 4-6 weeks, he won’t be much of a help in the immediate term.

Frank – Jacob Markstrom 38.9

Frank added Markstrom on Oct 7th to bolster his goaltending platoon, and it’s paid off well with Markstrom out-earning Brian Elliott on Frank’s roster. Markstrom hasn’t totally nailed down the starters spot though. More on that below.

Brett D – Loui Eriksson 32.2

Eriksson was a-w-f-u-l last year, and spent just two weeks on Chris’ roster before ending up back in free agency. Brett picked him up as an injury replacement on Nov 15, just in time for Eriksson to get hot. All five of Eriksson’s goals have come since then, and it appears that maybe, just maybe, Eriksson has turned the corner?
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Brennan – Andrew Shaw 31.6

Chris is showing up in a lot of these pickups, and Andrew Shaw is no exception. Drafted by Chris in the final round, Shaw was dropped on Oct 11 and languished in Free Agency until Nov 2. Since then, Shaw has moved up the depth chart and is averaging well over 17 minutes per game, 2 SOG, and included a five game point streak.

Jace – Anders Nilsson 26.7

Anders Nilsson has been Jace’s third goalie since Oct 18th, and while he hasn’t played many games, he gets enough starts that he’s been collecting a decent amount of points. Can he get enough starts going forward to make it worth using him in a roster spot?

Brett R – Mike Cammalleri 20.1

Brett has been had a pretty static roster, so free agents don’t usually stick around long enough to collect many points. Cammalleri was originally drafted by Sohayl, and picked up on Oct 23rd by Brett. Now that he is getting icetime with Connor McDavid, this free agent pickup could look like an absolute steal by the end of the season.

Matchup Recap

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Best Forward: Vincent Trocheck 22.3 (Brett R)
Best Defenseman: Brent Burns 24.6 (Rhys)
Best Goalie: Jake Allen 23.1 (Rhys)
Best Individual Performance: Artemi Panarin 11.4 (Brock)
Best Team Performance: Fists of Fuhry 210.4

This was Rhys’ bounce-back week, as he puts up the biggest score so far this year, both overall and relative to average. Jace also cruised to a pretty easy victory, as did Chris, who beat Sohayl in a match that many were expecting to be much closer. Steve improved to 5-5 with a victory over Brett R, and Brock managed to stop Davin’s winning streak at 1. Finally, Frank improves to 6-4 with a close victory over Cal.

Team In-Depth

Team In-Depth will return next week.

Projected Playoff Bracket

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If the Playoffs Were Today

It’s likely the cutoff for the final playoff spot will be around 9 to 11 wins, which means Chris has essentially locked himself into a spot. Davin and Brennan are likely looking to next year, and Brett R is probably one more loss away from that. But a few quick wins by Jace, Cal or Brett D would vault them into a playoff spot. The next few matchups will likely see a lot of shifting in the 4-9 seedings as a bunch of these teams will be playing against each other.

Also make note that the first round byes go to the winners of each division, which can leave us with a scenario in which the team in the 3rd seed can have a better record than the team with the 2nd seed.

#1 Sabretooth Chickens (9-1) – bye
#2 Jean Claude Van Damphousse (7-3) – bye

#3 Bo Knows Hockey (8-2) vs #6 Going for the Calder! (5-5)
#4 Fists of Fuhry (6-4) vs #5 Frank the Tank (6-4)

In the Hunt

#7 Phantom of the Pacific (5-5)
#8 Blades of Glory (4-6)
#9 Connor’s Cup (4-6)

Fighting Chance

#10 Takin a Darren Puppa (3-7)

Waiver Wire

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After getting featured in last week’s Waiver Wire section, we saw Jujhar Khaira get bumped up to a line with Leon Draisaitl and score two goals. Looks like the handsome genius who writes this section has done it again!

This week, we’re taking a looooong look at Calle Jarnkrok, the latest Nashville forward to go on a tear. Jarnkrok has moved up the depth chart with injuries to Johansen and Hartnell, now centering Filip Forsberg and Pontus Aberg on a line that has been hot fire over the last few weeks, while also playing the pivot on the second power play unit.

Antti Raanta has returned from injured reserve, and while Scott Wedgewood has been good in relief, you’d have to think Raanta will resume getting the majority of starts going forward. Raanta was excellent in his first game back, stopping 33 of 34 shots in a 1-0 loss this weekend.

With Hampus Lindholm injured and Sami Vatanen traded away, Francois Beauchemin has seen his minutes skyrocket in the last few weeks. The veteran has been pulling nearly 22 minutes of duty per game, and with it has come more goals, assists and shots. He’s looking like a pretty savvy medium-term pickup for those looking to bolster their blueline.

Matchup Precap

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Lots of seeding impact this week, with Cal (4-6) taking on Davin (1-9), Jace (5-5) taking on Brennan (2-8), Rhys (6-4) taking on Steve (5-5) and Brett D (4-6) taking on Brock (8-2). The most interesting matchups though are Sohayl (7-3) versus Brett R (3-7) and Frank (6-4) versus Chris (9-1). With the winner of each division getting the automatic bye into the second round, a win this week by Frank and a loss by Sohayl would mean that both end up with matching 7-4 records, tied for that top spot. Sohayl holds the tie-breaker as he beat Frank head to head in Matchup 1, but they meet again in Matchup 12. This could be a particularly interesting battle going forward.