Lining Up: Take Notice of the Hurricanes’ Top Line

by Fred Poulin on December 20, 2016
  • Lining Up
  • Lining Up: Take Notice of the Hurricanes’ Top Line

A look at the hottest lines in the National Hockey League since the beginning of the season, including a few defensemen producing offensively. You will also find below the "Cold as ice" line of the week.

 

Hot forwards

 

Derek Ryan – Victor RaskJeff Skinner (Carolina)

Skinner has been money in fantasy circles despite playing for a defensive-minded coach. He has five points in his last four games and is clicking nicely with Rask. On the season, he now has a respectable 12 goals and 26 points in 31 games, adding 11 points on the man-advantage in the process. Rask is producing at a similar pace, getting seven points in his last five games for a total of 10 goals and 25 points in 32 games. He should easily surpass his career best of 48 points recorded last year. Joining them on the team's first line is Ryan, who has ten points in his last nine games after a slow start (two points in his first nine games. The rookie has added six points on the power play and is enjoying a solid first season in Carolina.

 

EV Strength Production = 63 points

PP Production = 23 points

 

Alexander OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovJustin Williams (Washington)

The veteran Williams is finally showing signs of life offensively, recording seven points in his last seven games after spending some time on the fourth line. The veteran right winger now has 11 points in 30 games, but he will have a hard time repeating last year's production of 52 points. As for Ovechkin, he has four points in his last four games. The Russian sniper has already 14 goals this season, but he has only 23 points in 30 games. While he is unlikely to pot 50 goals in 2016-17, he should get at least 40 goals and 70 points for the powerful Capitals. With eight points in his last seven games, Kuznetzov is finally getting hot after a very slow start. The third-year player had only recorded nine points in 23 games prior to heating up. Currently on pace for 50 points, he will certainly not repeat last season's surprising production of 77 points.

 

EV Strength Production = 59 points

PP Production = 17 points

 

Ryan DzingelKyle TurrisBobby Ryan (Ottawa)

The surprising Dzingel has seven points in his last nine games after being reunited with his new linemates. The speedster now has 18 points in 32 games. With points in four consecutive games, Ryan is finally putting points on the board for the goal-starving Senators. Still, Ryan has only 12 points in 27 games after a very slow start and various ailments. The talented winger will be hard pressed to reach his usual 50+ points. Finally, Turris has eight points in his past ten games for a total 21 points in 32 games. He should reach the 50-point plateau after an injury-marred season in 2015-16 during which he only played 57 games, notching 30 points.

 

EV Strength Production = 51 points

PP Production = 9 points

 

Mathieu PerreaultBryan LittleBlake Wheeler (Winnipeg)

Since coming back from injury, Little has given the Jets more depth offensively, scoring eight points in his last ten contests. Little got injured during Winnipeg's first game, so he is just finding his groove back. The injury-prone Little is a solid fantasy option when he is able to stay healthy, potting 42 points in only 47 games in 2015-16. Grab him while he is not in the injury ward! With nine points in his past 11 games, Wheeler is quietly enjoying a good campaign with 24 points in 34 games so far. He won't be able to replicate last year's 78 points, but he should get you between 60 and 70 points. The third member of this line is Perreault the Band-Aid boy. The speedster has three points in his last three games for a total of only six points in 20 games. After productions of 41, 41, and 42 points, Perreault is a solid option to add in deep leagues and he always finds a way to record points in bunches when he finds his offensive game.

 

EV Strength Production = 39 points

PP Production = 9 points

 

Dynamic duo

Dmitry OrlovMatt Niskanen (Washington)

With five points and a plus-five differential in his last four games, Niskanen is finally finding his scoring touch for the surging Capitals. The right-handed blueliner now has 14 points in 31 games overall and is on pace to recorded between 35 and 40 points, which is his usual pace. As for Orlov, he has four points in his last five games, getting some power-play time on the second unit. While he has only one goal, he has 12 points in 30 contests and should eclipse last year's mark of 29 points. He makes for a solid waiver-wire acquisition in deep fantasy drafts.

 

EV Strength Production = 26 points

PP Production = 4 points

 

Cold as ice line

Taylor HallTravis ZajacDevante Smith-Pelly (New Jersey)

The Devils are currently struggling, going 2-6-2 in the last 10 games. As a result, most of their offensive weapons have been pretty quiet lately. Zajac has a mere two points in his last six games and he has not scored a goal in his past eight. He still has 23 points in 31 games overall, so he's enjoying a solid year despite this cold spell. Hall has been blanked in his last four games after potting eight points in his previous games. Hall has 20 points in 23 contests and should find back his scoring touch sooner than later. After enjoying moderate success with the Devils in 2015-16, scoring 13 points in 18 games after his acquisition from Montreal, Smith-Pelly is struggling mightily to put his name on the scoresheet. DSP has no point in his last 11 games for a total of six points in 28 games. Steer clear of him!

 

EV Strength Production = 49 points

PP Production = 14 points

 

Cold as ice duo

Alexei EmelinShea Weber (Montreal)

Oh, the mighty has fallen! After a torrid start to the season, Weber has been ice cold over the last nine games, recording no point at all. The former Predators defenseman still has 18 points in 31 contests in 2016-17, but he will have to step up his game offensively as Andrei Markov is now day-to-day with an injury. As for his defensive partner Alexei Emelin, he has been an offensive black hole without a single point in his last 17 games and only four points overall. Look somewhere else for help on the blue line.

 

EV Strength Production = 22 points

PP Production = 10 points