Frozen Tools Forensics: Early Top Lines

by Grant Campbell on November 1, 2019


According to the Frozen Tools Report Generator, the top line in 2018-2019 with 118 points was Johnny Gaudreau, Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan, followed closely at 113 by Zach Hyman, Mitch Marner and John Tavares. The third top line last season was Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan Mackinnon and Mikko Rantanen (top line in 2017-2018 with 121 points). With Hyman, Tavares, Landeskog and Rantanen out with injury (Tavares is set to return any day), we might have some new leaders this season. These numbers include even-strength and power play but most of these three-man lines will be ES as most PP units are four forwards these days.

There are a few surprises on these lines after the first month of 2019-2020. We even have three defensive pairings mixed in. Here are the top 31 lines so far:
 


Off to a great start is the line of Leon Draisaitl, Connor McDavid and Zack Kassian (of course) who have 32 points combined. Next is no surprise, with Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak at 28 points. The next few combinations have some players that not many would have foreseen. At 24 points are Sidney Crosby, Jake Guentzel and Dominik Simon.

A line that had a great start that is slowing down a little is Tyler Bertuzzi, Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha as they have produced 21 combined points to date. Mantha started the season on fire with five goals and two assists in his first two games and has had two goals in his last 11 games. The line has shown signs of getting back on track in the past two games with Larkin putting up four points and Bertuzzi three.

With Vladimir Tarasenko out with a shoulder injury for at least five months, the line with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz is no longer and will be stuck at 20 combined points. A big blow for the Schenn, Schwartz and the rest of the Blues.

Matt Duchene, Filip Forsberg and Mikael Granlund have combined for 19 points and would be higher on this list if Forsberg hadn’t missed the past six games from injury. Nashville has bet a lot on this line producing and they will struggle if it doesn’t (Forsberg should be back in early November).

Another impressive line has been in Vancouver with Brock Boeser, J.T. Miller and Elias Pettersson producing 17 combined points so far. Miller has been a revelation in Vancouver so far and even though he probably won’t get 97 points, his play has been impressive. Looking at Miller’s career shot totals, I don’t know how his career high in shots has only been 141 as his current pace takes him above 200 easily? The added PP time helps for sure, but it’s not like he is the designated shooter on the PP deployment. It will be interesting to see if Miller can maintain his game to break through the 30-goal or 70-point barrier. He’s had great starts to the season before.

A notable addition to the list is the defensive pairing of Ryan Ellis and newly re-signed Roman Josi who have combined for a staggering 15 points (13 at ES). It is still early in the campaign, so one game can have a huge influence as demonstrated by the line of Nick Bonino, Rocco Grimaldi and Craig Smith having eight points combined in Nashville’s 3-0 victory against Chicago on October 29.

There might be concerns in Philadelphia as the top line is being out produced by the second line of Sean Couturier, Travis Konecny and Oskar Lindblom (14 combined points). Claude Giroux, James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek have produced a combined 109 shots in 11 games which is almost 11 SOG for 11 combined points. They have scored only 9 goals for a shooting percentage of 8.2. Production should come for them sooner than later.

Last season’s top line of Gaudreau, Lindholm and Monahan, have got off to a relatively slow start but have still produced a combined 11 points, which should only improve as the season progresses. Lines change all of the time with the ebbs and flows of the seasons, but good chemistry is hard to find and coaches usually will revert back to it.

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