Ramblings: Line Combinations and Third Wheels – September 18

Michael Clifford



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One thing that is always worth discussing in fantasy hockey is the concept of third wheels. Those guys who skate with two elite (or near-elite) talents and reap the rewards of doing so. The laundry list of players to take full advantage of this in the last four or five years is lengthy. Just think of skaters like Jiri Hudler, Vladislav Namestnikov, Sven Baertschi, Josh Bailey, Kyle Connor, and so on. All good players in their own right, but their fantasy value went to another level when slotted alongside top talents.

There’s always a risk with drafting these players. If a guy goes from top line/top PP unit to third line/second PP unit, his value goes from high to nil. Sometimes, the supposed third wheels don’t work out; names like Brett Ritchie and Andre Burakovsky come to mind. I haven’t given up on either as far as fantasy value is concerned for the future, they just haven’t worked out as hoped in the past.

All the same, we know what the upside is. We saw a 70-point season from Hudler. We saw Namestnikov tear it up for a few months last year. We saw Kyle Connor guy from the AHL to a 30-goal scorer in one year. If the right guys get the right slotting, even for a few months, their fantasy value is enormous.

I thought it’d be worth discussing some of these third wheels. This will focus mainly on guys I think are undervalued right now and worth the gamble at the draft table. As always, things can change in the preseason and ADPs can get inflated. This is just as of right now.


In case anyone missed it – the game was on in the middle of the night – there wasn’t much to take away from the Calgary-Boston preseason game from China other than this:

As always, t