Welcome back to another edition of Lining Up. Every league should now be in playoff time as we approach the final few weeks of the season. This iteration of the column will examine recent hot players who are on teams with strong schedules this week. During this time of year, nearly everyone on your roster should be considered expendable unless they are stars. It is all about maximizing each spot on your roster to the fullest potential by rotating in players that either have full weeks or play on lighter nights.
Let's dive in.
Robert Thomas – Pavel Buchnevich
Robert Thomas may just be one of the quietest point-per-game players of the year. He has had some injury troubles and is a Certified Band-Aid Boy but he is on pace for 81 points on the season right now thanks in part due to his recent hot streak of nine points in his past five games. He has been lining up beside Vladimir Tarasenko and Buchnevich for more than half of his playing time so far and it has paid big dividends. When the trio are together they have a 53.3 CF% and a plus-7 goal differential against their opposition. At only 41% owned in Yahoo leagues, he is worth slotting into your roster as St. Louis has one of the better schedules this week. They will play three more times this week but on the advantageous off nights, Wednesday, Friday as well as Saturday. Included in one of these matchups is a home game against the lowly Seattle Kraken.
Buchnevich, to a lesser extent, is also on a hot streak with six points in his last five games which brings him up to a 75-point pace on the season. Despite the slightly slower pace, Buchnevich is owned in 77% of Yahoo leagues for a ludicrous 36% difference in ownership between him and Thomas. Although it does not explain the difference, Buchnevich can contribute in the shot categories more than Thomas as he has nearly three shots on goal per game. If he happens to be available in your league and your league counts shots, scoop him up for the solid St. Louis schedule this week.
Erik Haula/Jake DeBrusk
Both Haula and DeBrusk are paired here not because they are on the same line but because each are lining up with the top two Boston lines and contributing. Boston plays three more times this week including a great matchup against Detroit tonight. They also play on Friday and Sunday which are light days in the schedule. Each player is owned i