Eastern Edge: The top line from each Eastern Conference team

Brennan Des

2020-06-23

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In this week's Eastern Edge, we'll take a look at each team's most productive line during the 2019-2020 season. Using Dobber's handy dandy line production tool, we were able to figure out which lines put up the most points for their team at even strength. To give you a more detailed picture of each line's performance, I included a few 'advanced' stats from Natural Stat Trick. I shared my thoughts on a few lines, but I'm more than happy to expand on others in future articles if you'd like me to. Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

Rank Team Line Combination Points
1 Boston Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak 102
2 Montreal Tomas TatarPhillip DanaultBrendan Gallagher 78
3 Florida Jonathan HuberdeauAleksander BarkovEvgenii Dadonov 72
4 Tampa Bay Nikita KucherovBrayden PointSteven Stamkos 70
5 NY Rangers Artemi PanarinRyan StromeJesper Fast 62
6 Toronto Zach HymanAuston MatthewsMitchell Marner 61
7 Buffalo Victor Olofsson – Jack EichelSam Reinhart 54
8 NY Islanders Anders LeeMathew BarzalJordan Eberle 51
9 Pittsburgh Jake GuentzelEvgeni MalkinBryan Rust 45
10 Carolina Andrei SvechnikovSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen 44
11 Detroit Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan LarkinAnthony Mantha 41
12 New Jersey Nikita Gusev – Travis Zajac – Blake Coleman 41
13 Washington Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson 41
14 Philadelphia Claude GirouxSean CouturierJakub Voracek 33
15 Columbus Oliver BjorkstrandBoone JennerGustav Nyquist 19
16 Ottawa Brady Tkachuk – Jean-Gabriel PageauConnor Brown 18

 

  1. Boston Bruins: Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
658:13 58.7 50 29 64.9

 

I don't think this one comes as much of a surprise. When we discuss the league's best lines, Boston's 'Perfection Line' tends to headline the conversation. Bergeron's elite two-way abilities provide a metaphorical safety net, allowing Marchand and Pastrnak to be more creative with their offensive attack.  This year was no different, as the trio managed to outscore opponents by their widest margin since the line came together in 2016-2017. Although Bergeron, Marchand and Pastrnak played together for short stretches during 2014 and 2015, they didn't see significant minutes as a trio until the 2016-2017 campaign. It's no coincidence that Pastrnak and Marchand broke out as elite offensive threats during that same season.

 

  1. Montreal Canadiens: Tomas TatarPhillip DanaultBrendan Gallagher 
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
585:46 62.47 40 27 52.90

 

The league's most underrated line. Although Danault, Gallagher and Tatar have recently been receiving more recognition for their efforts, I don't think everyone realizes how good these guys are. In many ways, I feel that they embody the same chemistry we see from Boston's Perfection Line. Gallagher displays the same tenacity as Marchand, albeit with less offensive flair and a less active tongue. Danault is an extremely gifted two-way center who continues to develop his game, striving for the two-way excellence that Bergeron has exemplified throughout his career. Finally, there's Tatar – who obviously doesn't possess the same offensive skillset as Pastrnak but certainly has a nose for the net, as he's proven with seven consecutive 20-goal seasons. I don't expect Tatar, Danault and Gallagher to reach the same offensive heights as Boston's top line, because they're frequently tasked with defensive assignments and don't have the same offensive freedom. A quick comparison of offensive zone faceoff percentage shows that the Marchand-Bergeron-Pastrnak line is more frequently deployed in situations conducive to scoring.

 

  1. Florida Panthers: Jonathan HuberdeauAleksander BarkovEvgenii Dadonov
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
612:55 55.33 44 39 70.32

 

While reviewing the advanced stats for Florida's top line, there was one category that caught my attention – offensive zone faceoff percentage. After covering lines in Montreal and Boston that were highly regarded for their deployment at both ends of the ice, it was surprising to see a line with such an uneven split (70/30) between faceoffs taken in the offensive zone and faceoffs taken elsewhere. It seems that this skew towards offensive deployment actually began this year under the supervision of coach Joel Quenneville. Last season, coach Bob Boughner opted for more balance as he sent the trio out to take 55-percent of their faceoffs in the offensive zone and 45-percent of their faceoffs in the defensive zone. Considering that Florida's top line was frequently deployed in offensive situations this year, it's puzzling that Dadonov and Barkov put up underwhelming point totals. The good news is that coach Quenneville doesn't seem afraid to put his stars in a position to score, which should bode well for Barkov and Huberdeau going forward (and Dadonov if he opts to re-sign with Florida)

 

  1. Tampa Bay Lightning: Nikita KucherovBrayden PointSteven Stamkos
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
309:19 55.54 37 18 62.98

 

It's interesting to see that coach Jon Cooper turned to the 'nuclear option' more often this season than last year. During the 2018-2019 campaign, he combined the talents of his top three players for just 62 minutes over 79 games. This season, Stamkos, Kucherov and Point played together for over 300 minutes during the 52 games in which all three players were available. I mean, considering the trio combined for 37 goals through 300 minutes of action – a better scoring rate than Boston's Perfection Line – I don't blame Cooper for deploying them more frequently this year. With that being said, stacking your top line obviously takes away from scoring depth throughout the lineup. So, I don't expect this to be a trend going forward – rather, I see it as a tool that Cooper isn't afraid to use if he needs to.

 

  1. New York Rangers: Artemi PanarinRyan StromeJesper Fast
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
454:03 50.11 29 11 52.48

 

  1. Toronto Maple Leafs: Zach HymanAuston MatthewsMitchell Marner
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
393:27 52.59 34 20 56.97

 

Last season, Toronto's most productive line also featured Hyman and Marner, but it was John Tavares in between them – not Auston Matthews. So naturally, we have to compare the line's production with Tavares last year to the line's production with Matthews this year. Well, through 844 minutes of ice time, the Hyman-Tavares-Marner line took a modest 53-percent of their faceoffs in the offensive zone, controlling 53.4-percent of the shot-share and outscoring opponents by a score of 60 to 39. I guess you really can't go wrong when you have so many talented forwards on your roster.

 

  1. Buffalo Sabres: Victor Olofsson – Jack EichelSam Reinhart
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
634:43 50.84 32 31 63.51

 

Jeff Skinner scored 40 goals last year, primarily playing alongside Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart. The drop-off was staggering this season as he scored just 14 goals, relegated to a depth role away from Eichel and Reinhart. So, how did the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line compare to this year's iteration that features Olofsson instead of Skinner? Well, through 563 minutes of action last year, the Skinner-Eichel-Reinhart line started 69-percent of their shifts in the offensive zone, controlling 53-percent of the shot-share and outscoring opponents 33 to 28. So, I guess you could say the Buffalo's top line was slightly more productive with Skinner on it, but they were also put in a position to score more frequently with that higher offensive zone faceoff percentage, so it's hard to confidently say that Skinner is a better fit on the line.

 

  1. New York Islanders: Anders LeeMathew BarzalJordan Eberle
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
553:19 55.49 26 28 62.87

 

  1. Pittsburgh Penguins: Jake GuentzelEvgeni MalkinBryan Rust
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
228:55 57.43 22 10 63.64

 

  1. Carolina Hurricanes: Andrei SvechnikovSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
304:51 58.43 23 17 68.63

 

  1. Detroit Red Wings: Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan LarkinAnthony Mantha 
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
336:19 55.69 24 22 60.91

 

  1. New Jersey Devils: Nikita Gusev – Travis Zajac – Blake Coleman
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
399:19 52.14 19 26 49.82

 

  1. Washington Capitals: Alex OvechkinNicklas BackstromTom Wilson
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
398:55 59.21 28 29 60.66

 

  1. Philadelphia Flyers: Claude GirouxSean CouturierJakub Voracek
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
270:18 58.84 16 14 54.94

 

  1. Columbus Blue Jackets: Oliver BjorkstrandBoone JennerGustav Nyquist
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
166:34 54.69 10 4 49.24

 

  1. Ottawa Senators: Brady Tkachuk – Jean-Gabriel PageauConnor Brown
Time on Ice Corsi For % Goals For Goals Against Offensive Zone Faceoff %
285:22 51.10 10 14 46.53

 

 

 

 

 

UPCOMING GAMES

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STARTING GOALIES

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HOT PLAYERS

  Players Team GP G A P
EVGENI MALKIN PIT 5 4 7 11
ADAM FOX NYR 4 1 6 7
JAKUB VORACEK PHI 6 0 10 10
NATHAN MACKINNON COL 5 2 6 8
MIKA ZIBANEJAD NYR 29 25 19 44
NIKITA KUCHEROV T.B 24 16 20 36
KEVIN FIALA MIN 11 9 7 16
EVANDER KANE S.J 7 5 5 10
KYLE CONNOR WPG 7 8 2 10
RYAN NUGENT-HOPKINS EDM 17 8 16 24

LINE COMBOS

  Frequency T.B Players
30.8% NIKITA KUCHEROV ONDREJ PALAT BRAYDEN POINT
20.7% ANTHONY CIRELLI TYLER JOHNSON ALEX KILLORN
18.5% BLAKE COLEMAN BARCLAY GOODROW YANNI GOURDE

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