Fantasy, NHL

Riding The Pine (Week 8 Recap)

November 30, 2015

This was an interesting week for fantasy hockey. Because US Thanksgiving Thursday belongs to the NFL, we had a situation where a ton of NHL games fell on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday this week – so many, in fact, that every BOTP team was forced to sit players on the bench.

So how do we choose? Maybe you look at the team they’re playing and figure “Huh, that goalie is really hot right now, I bet he’d be hard to score on.” or perhaps you think “Man, I get killed every week in ATOI, I better sit my lowest rated player in that category.”

Regardless of what you criteria was, we all were forced to sit some players. How well did we choose? I’ll have a full post breaking down the numbers tomorrow, but here’s some highlights for now:

– Rhys is pretty stoked he sat Brandon Saad on Wednesday, as his statline was straight zeros with only 13:49 TOI, including no SOG.

– Brett looks even smarter with his decision to sit Scott Hartnell on Saturday. All zeros except for a -1 and 15:22 TOI.

– Davin had the most sat players with 9; Chris had the least with 1.

– Jace sat Gabriel Landeskog on Wednesday, and the sniping winger picked up 1 G, 1 A, 1 PPP and 23:45 TOI. That hurts, but when Jace sat him again on Saturday, Landeskog responded with 1 G, 2 A, +2, 1 PPP and 23:35 TOI. Ouch.

– On the whole, Chris came out the most unscathed with no G or A left on the bench. Who came out the worst? And which category had the biggest impact on the weekly matchups? Was it Frank and his 35 FOW? Davin’s 6 G? Brett’s 5 A? Jace’s 17 SOG? You’ll have to read tomorrow’s full post to find out.

Matchup Recap

This week was even closer than last! Going into Sunday we had Rhys, Frank, Davin and Brett all at 5-5-1 and Jace leading Chris by a slim 6-4-1 margin. Plenty of categories were in play, and the matches would be determined by what happened in Sunday’s only game, with Florida taking on Detroit.

So naturally, we saw every potentially useful Panther and Red Wing snapped up from free agency. We saw 8 different players picked up by Rhys, Jace, Brett and Chris, each looking for that little extra to put them over the top. There ended up being 16 active players involved in this game, including both goaltenders.

And in the end…well, it didn’t matter much. Brian Campbell’s OT goal prevented Jace from tying Chris in wins. It wasn’t enough for Brett to tie Davin in goals, because Dylan Larkin scored earlier in the game. Luongo’s W gave Rhys 4 this week, but Frank already had 5. Assists from Ekblad, Jokinen and Huberdeau didn’t make a difference in tipping that category.

After all that, the scores remained as they were last night, 5-5-1 ties between Rhys & Frank and Brett & Davin, leaving Jace to collect the only victory, 6-4-1 over Chris.

No movement in the standings this week, as Jace slightly increased his lead at the top to 51-30-7, and Rhys remains close behind at 51-33-4. Davin improves to 43-37-8, and Chris remains just below .500 at 38-41-9. Brett improves to 32-47-9, and Frank’s best week yet moves him to 26-53-9.

This week’s matchups are Jace vs. Rhys, Frank vs. Brett, and Davin vs. Chris.


Best and Worst This Week

Goals – Davin 15 / Rhys & Frank 9
Assists – Rhys & Jace 30 / Brett & Chris 25
+/- –  Davin & Jace +13 / Chris -26
PPP – Brett & Davin 16 / Rhys 12
SHP –  Jace & Rhys 2 / Chris & Davin & Frank 0
FOW – Davin 263 / Frank 73
ATOI – Jace 21:49 / Davin 19:40
SOG – Jace 154 / Frank 104
W – Brett & Frank 5 / Davin 1
GAA – Frank 1.637 / Jace 2.937
SV% – Brett .9412 / Jace .8971

The Best/Worst really highlights how close this week was. The margins for G, A and PPP are the smallest we’ve seen this year. For the third week in a row we see Davin and Frank in the FOW category, but let’s take a closer look at the one big outlier in this week’s stats.

In week 3, Jace’s team put up an ugly -15. Since then, the worst +/- has hovered around -7 or so, but Chris has set a new bar for futility with a team -26 rating this week. I’m not even mad – that’s amazing.

Also amazing: 8 weeks into the season and Chris STILL doesn’t have a SHP. Everyone else has at least 3. Jace leads us with 8 on the year (including 2 by Jamie Benn this week alone). What’s a guy gotta do?

Player Showcase

The Flyers/Penguins matchup in the first round of the 2012 playoffs remains my favorite playoff series ever. It was memorable for a few things, including 56 goals scored, 309 penalty minutes accrued, the Penguins coming back from 0-3 to win the next two games (scoring 10 in Game 4), and Marc-Andre Fleury and Ilya Bryzgalov seemingly unable to save a single puck.

Oh yeah, and Sidney Crosby fought Claude Giroux.

This was the series that vaulted Giroux to superstar status, not in small part thanks to coach Peter Laviolette’s comments after the Flyers clinched the series in Game 6.

“When the best player in the world comes up to you and tells you, ‘I don’t know who you’re planning on starting tonight, but I want that first shift’, that says everything you need to know about Claude Giroux right there,”

Best Player in the World? With Sidney Crosby standing right there? Shots fired. The debate raged in the hockey media well into the next season as Crosby was sidelined with injuries for a chunk of the lockout-shortened 2012-2013.

Since then…well, fight hasn’t been particularly close. Crosby roared back with a 104 point season in 2013-2014 while Giroux put up respectable 86 points, and when Sid scored the Golden Goal at the 2014 Olympics, Claude was watching from his couch at home having not even made Team Canada.

But let’s be clear: Giroux is an elite player, even as he’s mired on an awful Flyers team. His statline sparkled this week with 2 G, 4 A, 4 PPP, 1 SHP, 58 FOW and 11 SOG collected. He’s rebounded from his terrible start to the season, and Brett is now being rewarded for sticking with him.

Watching the Waiver Wire

– Mike Hoffman picked up 4 G and 1 A this week, his 7th points in the last 4 games, and bringing his total to 10 G and 11 A on the year. Pretty incredible production from a guy picked up in the 5th round of the 2009 Draft. He’s undeniably hot right now, but will he keep it up? Anyone hurting for goal scoring could probably afford to take a chance.

– Marcus Johansson picked up 2 G and 2 A this week along with 1 PPP and 7 SOG. He appears to have secured his spot on Washington’s second line, and with Backstrom as his pivot, I suspect he’ll continue to collect points. Oh, and he’s also apparently secured a spot on Washington’s red-hot power play. Not bad, not bad.

– Brandon Saad has played for Davin, Brett and Rhys so far this year, and finds himself again on the waiver wire this week. He’s picked up a respectable 9 G and 7 A this year, but hasn’t been able to secure himself a permanent place on anyone’s roster. He doesn’t stay a free agent for very long though, so if you’re eyeing him, better snap him up quick.

– Anton Stralman had a strong week, picking up a goal and an assist with 13 SOG and 22:45 TOI. He seems to have settled down after a slower start to the season, and continues to be a vital part of Tampa’s blue line.

– Speaking of pickups, Alex Edler has proved to be a useful free agent in the past, spending time on Rhys and Jace’s teams. He picked up a couple assists this week, and can be counted on to add to scoring categories, but his value really comes from averaging almost 25 minutes per night.

– Having done two tours of duty on Jace’s team, Tuukka Rask finds himself again on the waiver wire. He’s undoubtedly having a bad year, but he can’t really be this bad…can he? Will someone take a chance on him, hoping for a hot streak?

– Also finding himself on the waiver wire is Devan Dubnyk, finally dropped by Davin this week after running with him since the draft. Dubnyk has a not-great .909 SV%, but he has contributed 11 W this year. The fact that he’s picked those up in the insanely tough Central Division is pretty incredible. Will his performance approach the Vezina-caliber season he had last year?

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