Lining Up: Road tripping hot and cold lines around the league
Good day to the readers. Aaron here with this week's 'Lining Up'. If you read my goalie ramblings article this week then you would know that I am on a little vacation in Orlando, Florida. It was a long road trip coming from Ontario so I thought I would look at the top line for each team whose state we travelled. I have compiled a list of those teams over the last ten games at even strength.
|1||T.B||KUCHEROV,NIKITA – POINT,BRAYDEN – STAMKOS,STEVEN||27|
|2||NSH||BONINO,NICK – GRIMALDI,ROCCO – SMITH,CRAIG||17|
|3||CBJ||BJORKSTRAND,OLIVER – DUBOIS,PIERRE-LUC – FOLIGNO,NICK||10|
|4||FLA||CONNOLLY,BRETT – HOFFMAN,MIKE – TROCHECK,VINCENT||7|
|5||DET||HELM,DARREN – LARKIN,DYLAN – MANTHA,ANTHONY||4|
We first travelled through Michigan and headed down the I75. Ok most of the driving was down the I75 but that is where we will start.
Detroit Red Wings
The Red Wings are the basement dwellers of the league and it shows in their top line points totals. Scoring four points in their last ten games is quite terrible. The good news is 2/3rds of the top line are still quite young and have a lot of good fantasy years ahead of them.
Darren Helm is a newer member to this line as they are trying to add a little bit of grit and a good veteran presence. He certainly won't tally a lot of points but he has scored three goals in his last four games. Still there isn't much fantasy relevance here so please don't run to the waiver wire to pick him up.
The future captain of the Red Wings is having a ho-hum type season. You aren't going to rave about his scoring abilities this year and really he hasn't been great defensively as well. On the season Larkin has ten goals and 20 assists at even strength. His 54-point pace would be his lowest total over the last three years. He is still shooting the puck a lot but his shooting percentage is three points down from last season. Unless he goes on a run down the stretch there won't be a lot of happy Larkin owners this year. If you have him in a keeper league, hope that this is just a blip in the radar and he will return to somewhere closer to the 70-point total next year.
Recently returned from injury, Anthony Mantha has taken back his spot on the wing of Dylan Larkin. In four games since returning from injury he has three points, two at even strength. In 33 games this season Mantha has eight goals and 12 assists at even strength. If Mantha can get going down the stretch here he could be a good deadline add for your team. Get him soon though before he does take off.
Next on my little road trip we headed into Ohio. For those that don't know, Columbus is in Ohio so I will take a look at their top line next. I know the I75 doesn't travel through Columbus I'm just looking for content here.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The above line has managed to put up a modest ten even strength points over their last ten games. They had a lot of doubters wondering where the offense would come from once Artemi Panarin left. This line has been a key contributor for most of the season.
Since returning from injury, Bjorkstrand has continued his breakout performance. Over his last ten games he has five goals and three assists. Sometime over the next month he should cruise past his career best points total of 40. I could see him finishing the season with about 50-55 points. Certainly not terrible and definitely on the cusp of being fantasy relevant.
The third-year player Dubois is currently on pace to finish a point less than his career high of 60. On the season he has 18 goals and 19 assists at even strength. He is shooting the puck a little more than twice a game and his shooting percentage is three points lower than last year’s totals. If he can get that percentage up a little bit over the last seven weeks, I see no reason he can't get to the 30-goal mark for the first time in his career.
Next down the highway we drove through the beautiful state of Kentucky and into Tennessee. Nashville is in Tennessee so here is a look into their top line at the moment.
This line has been together for most of the season. When coach John Hynes showed up, we weren't sure how the lines were going to be, but it looks like he has kept this hard-working line together.
Currently listed as hot with four points over his last five games, Bonino has started to pour it on since Coach Hynes came around. In 17 games he has put up four goals and six assists. He is getting next to no power play time most nights but that hasn't slowed down his points totals. On the season he has 16 goals and 17 assists at even strength. His .59 points per game total is his second-best career number. I think he will get to a new career best and cross the 50-point plateau and have a new career best. For the short-term, Bonino could be a good little dailies player when you've over spent on top line guys.
Over his last ten games, Grimaldi has two goals and four assists. His 2.5 points per 60 is the second highest on the Predators right behind Filip Forsberg. More than half of his zone starts are in the defensive end and with a plus 13 shows he is trusted on both ends of the ice. He is not going to light up the scoreboard but in good game situations he could be a good cheap play in dailies.
Over his last five games he has scored six points and is currently listed as hot. For the season Smith has 14 goals and nine assists at even strength. He is shooting the puck almost two and a half times per game and with a shooting percentage of 11.8 he should easily get to 25 goals on the season. His assist totals are lower than years in the past. He should finish the season with around 40 points. Again like his line mates his only real value is for cheap daily plays.
Continuing down the highway we breezed through Georgia and made it into Florida.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The top scoring line in Florida over the last ten games. This line has been dominant for the last few seasons so they have to chemistry to continue to produce all season long
In a supposed down year, Kucherov is still on pace to put up over 100 points. Over his last 14 games he has scored 24 points and is currently listed as hot. Kucherov has been a mainstay on the top line for the last four seasons and he has turned into one of the league’s top players. If you happen to own him in keeper leagues you should be jumping for joy and not upset that he will finish the season 25 points lower than last year.
Also listed as hot right now with 17 points over his last 13 games, Brayden Point is enjoying another productive season. Like Kucherov, Point will not match his totals from last season but he is still scoring at a point per game pace. For the season he has 14 goals and 32 assists at even strength. He should easily pass the 80-point mark this season. Point may also be the only player on the line that you can try and steal from his owner. After almost putting up 100 points last season his owners may be disappointed with this year’s production. I think it is just an off year as all the lightning players started slow and next year he will be up in the 90 point range where he belongs.
The former 60-goal scorer has slowed down in that department over the last few seasons. Stamkos has however turned into a better playmaker as his assist totals have been higher than his goals over the last three seasons. This year Stamkos has potted 19 goals and managed 26 assists at even strength. Over his last 12 games, Stammer has 18 points and is currently listed as hot. If somehow you can convince his owner that he is washed up and will never be able to produce again because of old injuries than maybe you can get him in a trade. Otherwise look to get him in the first couple of rounds at next year's draft.
Continuing into Florida we finally made it to our rental in Kissimmee. Yes I know Florida is big and neither Tampa or Sunrise are near Kissimmee but I am in the state darn it so I am going to talk about both teams and next on the list if tht Florida Panthers.
The Panthers have been in a bit of a slump as of late and it shows as this line is their top scoring line at even strength over the last ten games.
Currently sitting on Dobber's cold list, Connolly has just one point in his last five games. For the season he has 14 goals and 11 assists. He is looking like he will eclipse his highest single season goal total of 22 and he may even get to 25 goals on the season. It's tough to say that a 25 goal guy isn’t fantasy relevant but Florida has a lot of other weapons I would choose before Connonlly.
Hoffman continues to put up consistent numbers year after year. He isn't going to be a 70-point guy this year, but he will get close. On the season he has 14 goals and 15 assists at even strength. Including all his power play time he is on pace for 65 points on the season. If you can make a trade for Hoffman down the stretch, I think he would be a good addition to fill a hole on your championship team.
Over his last ten games, Trocheck has two goals and three assists. Those numbers are right in line with his almost half a point per game mark he is currently on. This season he has nine goals and 19 assists at even strength and he has a current 82-game points pace of just 52 points. Since his breakout 75 points two seasons ago, Trocheck has been disappointing his owners ever since. It looks as though he will be more like a 50 point guy going forward than a 75 point guy until he gets a chance to play with the Panther big guns.
Thanks for reading this special vacation edition of 'Lining Up'. I am off to explore Hollywood studios today and will be visiting a few more parks later in the week.
So long suckas
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