Lining Up – The Hottest Line Combos in the NHL – Week 2 (16-17)

by Fred Poulin on October 19, 2016
  • Lining Up
  • Lining Up – The Hottest Line Combos in the NHL – Week 2 (16-17)

 

A look at the hottest lines in the National Hockey League, including a few defensemen producing offensively.

 

Fred Poulin makes his DobberHockey debut after years as Managing Editor of DobberBaseball. His contributions will be found on DobberHockey every Tuesday beginning November 1st…

 

Hot forwards

Brad MarchandDavid BackesDavid Pastrnak (Boston)

Through three games, this temporary line is lighting it up during Patrice Bergeron's absence (who is rumored to have a high-ankle sprain). Despite losing 4-1 to the hands of the Leafs, this line has been red hot so far this season. The Bruins beat the Blue Jackets and the Jets, not exactly defensive powerhouses, scoring a combined 10 goals in the process. Marchand leads the team with 7 points, followed by Pastrnak with 6 and Backes with 3. The biggest loser when Bergeron returns from injury will be Backes as he will be relegated to the team's third line.

Marchand is coming off a stellar World Cup playing with Sidney Crosby and Patrice Bergeron, so it's not surprising to see him already in high gear. Backes and Pastrnak also participated in the tournament, which could explain why this line is rolling as all three players had an extended "training camp".

EV Strength Production = 13 points

PP Production = 2 points

 

Mike Hoffman – Kyle Turris – Mark Stone (Ottawa)

A very efficient line last season for the Senators, this trio has been reunited together this season and with reason. After 4 games, the Senators are 3-1 and have been playing very well offensively (expect for that 5-1 stinker in Detroit on Monday).

Turris is leading the way with 3 goals and 1 helper, while Stone finally found the back of the net last night against the Coyotes. As for Hoffman, he has yet to score a goal despite 20 shots on net already in only 4 games. Expect him to light the lamp very soon as he scored 29 and 27 goals over the last 2 seasons.

The Senators have only scored one power play goal this season, so expect this line to rack up even more points when the man advantage wakes up. Don't forget they have the chance to play with All-Star defenseman Erik Karlsson who already has 7 points from the blue line (6 of them at even strength).

While the PP units are still changing, you can expect the 3 above players to see the most ice time along with Bobby Ryan and Derrick Brassard.

EV Strength Production = 10 points

PP Production = 1 point

 

Jeff Skinner – Victor Rask – Lee Stempniak (Carolina)

The newly-formed line is enjoying early success for the winless Hurricanes. Having scored 6 of the team's 9 goals, this line has been the only positive element of a very young Carolina team. Journeyman Lee Stempniak is leading the way with 3 goals and 5 points in 3 contests on this Western Canada road trip. The right winger, who recorded 51 points last year with the Devils, will have a very long leash with Skinner and Rask, as head coach Bill Peters is known for his fondness of veterans over younger players such as Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen.

The 2 youngsters, centered by Elias Lindholm, have combined for only 3 points this season on the team's third line, barely playing over 12 minutes a game.

The team is currently splitting the power play time evenly between the above line (with Hanifin and Bickell), while we have seen Justin Faulk man the point with the youngsters as well as Jordan Staal.

You can expect something around 50-55 points for every player on this line and they are probably flying under the radar of some poolers as the Hurricanes are playing in a very small market out of the spotlight.

EV Strength Production = 9 points

PP Production = 3 points

 

Joe Pavelski –  Joe Thornton – Thomas Hertl (San Jose)

The 2 veterans keep producing year after year and their right winger, in this case Hertl, is the benefactor of their offensive acumen. The Sharks are off to a good start (3-1) after losing in the Stanley Cup finals against the Pittsburgh Penguins, so there doesn't seem to be any Cup hangover, which is a good news for poolers.

The dish master and wizard (with his Scandinavian beard) Joe Thornton is back at it this season, notching 5 helpers already. The ironman Joe Pavelski (who hasn't missed a single game in the past 5 years) is off to a blazing start with 6 points in 4 games and will likely surpass the 80-point mark for the first time in his career.

Thornton and Pavelski also play on a very good first PP unit with Brent Burns, Patrick Marleau and Logan Couture. All 5 players will rack up a lot of points with the man advantage again this season, while Hertl's value will be hurt as he gets less PP time on the second unit.

Brent Burns already leads the NHL in scoring with 8 points after recording 75 points last season. Don't be surprised if he battles with Erik Karlsson until the end for the scoring title among defensemen (close to one point per game). When he is on the ice, the Sharks are practically playing with 4 forwards, this creating more scoring chances for his teammates.   

EV Strength Production = 9 points

PP Production = 4 points

 

Dynamic duo

Duncan KeithBrent Seabrook (Chicago)

Playing together on the first PP unit, the 2 All-Star defensemen are used to put their names on the scoresheet.  Off to a solid start for the Hawks, both rearguards have collected 2 points on the man advantage, playing with the likes of Patrick Kane, Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov.

After 2 subpar seasons (43 and 41) following a 61-point output in 2013-14, fantasy owners would be very pleased if Keith could crack the 50-point for the third time of his illustrious career.

As for Seabrook, he is coming off a career-best 49 points (including 14 goals) in 2015-16 and he is still in his prime, so it's not unreasonable to also expect a 50-point campaign for the dynamic rearguard.

EV Strength Production = 5 points

PP Production = 4 points

 

Cold as ice

Keith YandleAaron Ekblad (Florida)

Both defenseman have yet to record a single point this season even though the Panthers have scored 9 goals over 3 games (2-0-1). Ekblad will be hard pressed to crack the 40-point mark without Nick Bjugstad and Jonathan Huberdeau out long term up front and Yandle needs to familiarize himself with a new defensive-minded system.

It will be difficult for Yandle to reach the 50-point plateau again as Gerard Gallant doesn't like when defenseman jump on the rush. After recording 47 points with the Rangers last season, it would be more reasonable to expect around 40 points from the point by Yandle, as the Panthers' power play will struggle most of the season.