Bergeron Powering the League’s Best Line, and Other Hot Lines to Watch For

by Brennan Des on February 13, 2018
  • Lining Up
  • Bergeron Powering the League’s Best Line, and Other Hot Lines to Watch For

 

As the playoff race intensifies in the NHL, we start to feel the heat in our fantasy leagues. We’re entering that stretch where a single game can be the difference between winning and losing a championship, so this week we look at lines with a few extra games to play. To give you some perspective, number of games remaining currently ranges from 24 (Toronto, St. Louis) to 29 (Florida). Since we refer to CF% a fair bit throughout the article, I’ll preface with a quick refresher on what Corsi means:

Corsi is a measure for offensive zone possession. Players and teams with positive Corsi rates tend to spend more time in the offensive zone at five-on-five, something that’s predictive of success over the long-term. All things being equal, Corsi ratios tend to range between 40-60 per cent for most players and teams. An elite number is usually around 55 per cent or better while anything below 45 per cent tends to below average.

 

Alex GalchenyukJonathan Drouin – Nikita Scherbak

 

# of Games Remaining: 27

 

Since being drafted third overall in 2012, the narrative surrounding Alex Galchenyuk’s career can be summarized in one word: mismanagement. In my eyes, he has always had the potential for greatness, an offensive awareness that just can’t be taught. Unfortunately, management used to punish him with fourth-line minutes for his defensive shortcomings, which seemed to hinder his development. Now, I may not be a fan of coach Claude Julien’s ‘throw every puck to the net’ style, but I have to admit he has played a big role in Galchenyuk’s progression this season. Julien openly praising Galchenyuk’s effort has to be a huge confidence boost for a kid who has been… well, mismanaged in the past. Considering the Habs are well out of a playoff spot, the team’s main concern has to be the future. What better way to plan for the future than to play your best young offensive talents together and evaluate how good they really are. Drouin is 22. Scherbak is 22. Galchenyuk turned 24 literally yesterday. I’m a fan of this line for the rest of the season because I think they’ll have a longer leash without any pressure of making the playoffs. Here’s a great example of some Drouin-Galchenyuk chemistry…

 

 

Filip ForsbergRyan JohansenViktor Arvidsson

 

# of Games Remaining: 28

 

Johansen, Forsberg, and Arvidsson played just over 500 minutes together last season, maintaining a CF% of 58.71. Certainly can’t chalk that up to small sample size! They’ve continued to drive offensive play this season with a 57.78 CF%, scoring 17 goals and allowing only 7. Viktor Arvidsson has quietly put up 11 points in his last 11 games, and with Forsberg’s injury and suspension in the rear-view mirror, I expect good things from this line going forward.

 

 

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

 

# of Games Remaining: 28

 

Is this the best line in hockey? There’s certainly an argument for it. A 5’9” left-winger who blurs the line between nuisance and superstar. Arguably the league’s best two-way center with four Selke trophies to his name. A 21-year old sniper coming off a 34-goal season. Mix that all together and you have a recipe for success. When we discuss line combinations, so many players have fleeting value because of how often coaches shuffle their lines, but that’s not the case here. In just over 350 minutes together this season, the trio has a 59.36 CF%, 23 goals for and 6 against. They’ve generated 214 scoring chances for and allowed only 148. The underlying stats back up all the praise they have received, and will continue to receive going forward.

 

 

Mike HoffmanMatt DucheneColin White

 

# of Games Remaining: 28

 

I felt obligated to include this one because of recent murmurs that Duchene and Hoffman are developing chemistry. Considering Duchene has six points in his last six games, and Hoffman has seven points in the same span, it’s fair to expect more of the same going forward, right? Well, it’s fair, but it may not be wise. Let’s set aside the Hoffman trade rumours for a second and just focus on this line’s numbers. As a trio, Hoffman, Duchene, and White have a CF% of 40.91. They’ve allowed twice as many scoring chances as they have created (42 vs. 21), but have somehow scored more goals than they’ve allowed (5 vs. 3). Again, I did say Duchene – Hoffman were developing chemistry, not Duchene-Hoffman-White. With this in mind, we’ll revisit their numbers without White, and notice a 48.96 CF% which is still below average. It’s not like that’s a result of small sample size either, Duchene and Hoffman have played 220 minutes together this season.

 

 

Tanner PearsonJeff CarterTyler Toffoli

 

# of Games Remaining: 27

 

I know Jeff Carter is still several weeks away from a return (looking like late February/early March), but I thought I’d remind you how good ‘That 70s Line’ has been in the past. Through 325 minutes together last season, they managed a very impressive CF% of 62.81.  They thoroughly out-chanced their opponents, generating 189 scoring chances and allowing only 115. Since some fantasy leagues have their trade deadlines coming up, I thought I’d suggest the idea of acquiring Jeff Carter for a small sum. Short term loss for long term gain, but you gotta take a hit to make a play!

 

 

Jason ZuckerMikko KoivuMikael Granlund

 

# of Games Remaining: 27

 

Last season, the Wild trio scored almost twice as many goals as they allowed (40 vs. 21) in 677 minutes together. They were very good at generating more scoring chances than their opponents, despite a relatively average Corsi.  While the goal scoring totals aren’t as impressive this year, they continue to out-chance opponents, specifically in high danger opportunities. So far this season they’ve generated 76 high danger chances, almost double the 41 they’ve allowed. After a relatively quiet start to the season with nine points in 14 games, Granlund has followed it up with 34 points in his last 36 games. I guess last season wasn’t a fluke!

 

 

Follow me on Twitter @BrennanDeSouza for the latest line combinations and up-to-the-minute injury updates!

 

2 responses to “Bergeron Powering the League’s Best Line, and Other Hot Lines to Watch For”

  1. starz31 says:

    What are you thoughts on Bergeron in keeper leagues? 12-team Multi-cat league, keep-6. I tend to not value centers as high besides the elite ones but Bergeron has been impressive this year. Only reason I would consider keeping him is b/c I’m planning on keeping Marchand and Pasta. But not sure it’s worth it over Pacioretty.

    • Brennan Des says:

      I’d personally go with Pacioretty in your situation, just because high quality left-wingers are so much harder to find compared to high-quality centers. I’m also a fan of diversifying lineups, and believe you already have the most offensively talented members of the trio. I’ve always thought the weight of the captaincy hindered Pacioretty’s production in recent years, especially with the insane pressure of Montreal media. He tried to make his game more well-rounded for the team’s benefit, but strayed from what made him successful. A perfect scenario for you would be if Patches gets traded, because a new environment would allow him to focus on strictly goal scoring, and I really think he could be a top 3 LW in that case. As you alluded to, the center market is a lot more saturated, so you can afford to lose Bergeron.