With bye-week bonanza upon us, we take a look at some lines that won’t be limited by games played this week. Follow me on Twitter for the latest injury updates and new line combinations, @BrennanDeSouza!
Scoring Chances For: 35 | Scoring Chances Against: 20 | Corsi For %: 63.39
The Hurricanes have four games this week: Tuesday against Tampa, a home-and-home against the Capitals on Thursday and Friday, and finally the Flames on Sunday. With Sebastian Aho’s current day-to-day status, there is some uncertainty as to how Carolina’s lines will look this week. Since initial reports didn’t make the injury seem too serious, we’ll assume Aho plays on Tuesday and the lines stay the same.
It may be hard to believe, but Jeff Skinner is entering his eighth season in the NHL! Since being drafted seventh overall in 2010, Skinner has totalled 193 goals in 538 games (0.36 goals/game). He ranks 19th in goal scoring across the eight-season span, with players like Phil Kessel (218 goals in 584 games – 0.37 goals/game) and Joe Pavelski (220 in 571 – 0.39 goals/game) producing at similar rates. While he’s currently on pace for only 26 goals, he is on track to set a career high in shots (290). It’s going to be tough to match the 37 goals he scored last year, but as we all know, goal scorers can be streaky. Despite going five games without a goal, a couple of multi-goal games could put help him return to 30-goal form.
After being drafted fifth overall in 2013, Elias Lindholm has hovered around a 40-point pace throughout his time in the NHL. Last season’s 45 points in 72 games was a career-high for Lindholm, and it’s promising that he’s seeing even more time on the power play this season (2:12 to 2:54). It’s also interesting to note that Lindholm is seeing 60.49% of his starts in the offensive zone, as opposed to the 50.23% he was seeing last season. One cause for concern might be his 13.9 shooting percentage, which sat at 7.3% and 6.3% in the past two seasons. However, it is possible he maintains this efficiency for the rest of the campaign, so keep an eye on that.
A long road to the NHL culminated in a 29-point rookie season (67 games) for Derek Ryan. A rookie season at the age of 29. He’s certainly not facing the traditional sophomore slump either, as he’s on pace to surpass most of his totals from last year. The fact that he’s seeing more ice-time than last season (from 14:53 to 16:17) has helped his production as continues to sow he belongs in the big leagues. Ryan’s ability to win face-offs from the wing in Yahoo! Leagues (C, RW) makes him even more valuable if your league counts face-off wins as a stat.
Scoring Chances For: 25 | Scoring Chances Against: 29 | Corsi For %: 46.72
The Winnipeg Jets are 4-0-1 since Mark Scheifele went down with an injury, and they have scored 19 goals in those five games. Despite the team’s overall success, the fancy stats don’t exactly favour the new top line, which features Blake Wheeler centering Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor.
Since 2015-2016, Blake Wheeler ranks fourth in point production among skaters (202 points in 207 games), behind only Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Nikita Kucherov. I don’t know about you, but that’s pretty elite company to me. This season in Yahoo! Leagues, Wheeler averaged the 42nd overall pick. To put things into perspective, Vladimir Tarasenko was selected eighth overall on average. Remember how I said Wheeler totaled 202 points in his last 207 games? Well, Tarasenko managed 191 in 207 games. I’m not saying one player is better than the other, but it speaks to how underrated Blake Wheeler still is.
Apparently, Patrik Laine hasn’t heard of the sophomore slump. The 19-year-old Jets’ forward is on pace for 67 points, which would be another step forward after a 64-point rookie season (Although he did only play 73 games). While Laine is shooting more (on pace for 233 shots after 204 last year), and seeing more time on the power play (now 3:25 from last season’s 2:44), his ice time overall is down from 17:55 last year to 16:38 this year. Seeing more time with the man advantage has greatly benefitted Laine, as he already has 16 power play points in just 43 games. Last season, he managed a total of 14 power play points.
With 25 points in 37 games, Kyle Connor has made the most of his first real opportunity in the NHL. I find it crazy that Connor is owned in only 18% of Yahoo! Leagues, despite seeing 17:26 of ice-time, 3:04 of which is on the power play. The Jets are currently third in the league, sporting a 25-11-7 record, why wouldn’t you want to own their first line left wing? It certainly doesn’t hurt that he’s skating beside the likes of Blake Wheeler and Patrik Laine!
Scoring Chances For: 30 | Scoring Chances Against: 30 | CF%: 53.06
Brock Boeser is good, Brock Boeser is very good. We’re about halfway through the season, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that Brock Boeser can shoot the puck. He currently leads all rookies in points, with 40 in 39 games. Sure, that’s great among rookies, but how does he stack up against the rest of the league? I’m glad you asked! Boeser is top-five in goal scoring across the entire league with his 22 goals. Only Nikita Kucherov (27), Alex Ovechkin (27), Anders Lee (25), and Sean Couturier (23) have scored more than Boeser, and they’ve all played more games. He’s currently seeing 16:51 of ice-time, 2:48 of which is on the power play, and is on pace for 227 shots. Not too shabby! I know I’ve been throwing a lot of numbers at you, so maybe this absolute snipe on Carey Price will act as a visual aid (yes, I acknowledge the Habs forgot how to defense on this play).
Last season, Henrik and Daniel Sedin were scoring at uncharacteristically low point paces (0.61 points per game for Henrik, 0.54 for Daniel). Considering the twins were going to be 37-year-olds heading into this season, it was fair to assume their production would continue to decline. While they have taken on a reduced role overall, now seeing 15 minutes of ice-time as opposed to 18 minutes last season, their power play ice-time remains the same (3:01). Henrik is on pace for 53 points, and Daniel is on pace for 55. 50-point players can still be valuable in most leagues, right? After years of showcasing such a great level of chemistry that only twins could share, it’s exciting to see those silky Swede passes now leading to a Brock Boeser shot.
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