Lining Up: Under-The-Radar Adds For Championship Week

by Brennan Des on March 26, 2019
  • Lining Up
  • Lining Up: Under-The-Radar Adds For Championship Week

 

In this week’s installment, we focus on a few players with low-ownership in fantasy leagues that can help you secure your league’s championship. Using Dobber’s Line Production Tool, we compared even-strength point production around the league over the past 10 games. I compiled a list of the highest scoring line for each team at even strength. Here’s the list…

#

Team

Line

Points

1

Florida

Jonathan Huberdeau – Aleksander Barkov – Evgenii Dadonov

36

2

Calgary

Matthew Tkachuk – Mikael Backlund – Michael Frolik

27

3

Vegas

Jonathan Marchessault – William Karlsson – Reilly Smith

25

4

Edmonton

Zack Kassian – Connor McDavid – Leon Draisaitl

18

5

Toronto

Zach Hyman – John Tavares – Mitchell Marner

16

6

Boston

Brad Marchand – Patrice Bergeron – David Pastrnak

14

7

Tampa Bay

Tyler Johnson – Brayden Point – Nikita Kucherov

14

8

Washington

Carl Hagelin – Lars Eller – Brett Connolly

14

9

Chicago

Brendan Perlini – Dylan Strome – Alex DeBrincat

13

10

Montreal

Tomas Tatar – Phillip Danault – Brendan Gallagher

13

11

San Jose

Kevin Labanc – Joe Thornton – Marcus Sorensen

13

12

St. Louis

Pat Maroon – Tyler Bozak – Robert Thomas

13

13

Winnipeg

Kyle Connor – Kevin Hayes – Patrik Laine

11

14

Carolina

Nino Niederreiter – Sebastian Aho – Justin Williams

10

15

Philadelphia

Claude Giroux – Sean Couturier – Oskar Lindblom

10

16

Columbus

Josh Anderson – Matt Duchene – Ryan Dzingel

9

17

Dallas

Jamie Benn – Tyler Seguin – Alexander Radulov

9

18

Vancouver

Loui Eriksson – Bo Horvat – Tanner Pearson

9

19

Anaheim

Rickard Rakell – Devin Shore – Jakob Silfverberg

8

20

Los Angeles

Alex Iafallo – Anze Kopitar -Dustin Brown

8

21

Nashville

Colton Sissons – Calle Jarnkrok – Craig Smith

8

22

Rangers

Pavel Buchnevich – Brett Howden – Brendan Lemieux

8

23

Minnesota

J.T. Brown – Eric Fehr – Marcus Foligno

7

24

Pittsburgh

Dominik Simon – Nick Bjugstad – Patric Hornqvist

7

25

Ottawa

Mikkel Boedker – Brian Gibbons – Anthony Duclair

6

26

Arizona

Richard Panik – Christian Dvorak – Clayton Keller

5

27

Buffalo

Johan Larsson – Zemgus Girgensons – Kyle Okpsoso

5

28

Islanders

Anders Lee – Mathew Barzal – Jordan Eberle

5

39

New Jersery

Kenny Agostino – Kevin Rooney – Kyle Palmieri

5

30

Colorado

J.T. Compher – Carl Soderberg – Colin Wilson

3

31

Detroit

Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan Larkin – Anthony Mantha

3

 

Matthew TkachukMikael BacklundMichael Frolik

The Flames had scored 33 goals in seven games (averaging 4.71 goals/game) leading up to Monday’s matchup against the Kings, where they failed to get on the scoreboard. While Calgary’s top line of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan and Elias Lindholm has gotten the most attention this season, the team’s second line has also been extremely good – especially recently. You don’t need me to tell you that Tkachuk has been great, but his point-per-game production (76 points in 76 games) means you’re not going to find him on the waiver wire. Fortunately, his two linemates are much more attainable in fantasy leagues with 34% and 4% ownership, respectively.  Backlund has seven points in his last eight games and has fired a whopping 33 shots on net during that span, an average of four shots a game! However, if you’re looking for power-play production, Backlund is probably not your best option as he’s tallied just two points with the man-advantage this season. Similarly, Frolik hasn’t registered a power-play point this season, but he has provided stretches of great even-strength production. In his last eight games, Frolik has put up 10 points but it’s worth mentioning that all 10 of those points were scored in four multi-point games, meaning he was held off the scoresheet in the other four games. The way I see it, Frolik is either going to tally a few points this week or none at all.

 

We’ve briefly discussed each member of this line individually, but their production as a unit is comparable to some of the best trios in the league. Tkachuk, Backlund and Frolik have played together for just under 400 minutes this season and have managed to outscore their opponents 27 to 12. In the process, they’ve controlled 59 percent of the shot-share and have created 58 percent of all scoring chances generated while they’re on the ice. What I find especially interesting is the impact that  Frolik has had on this line. As a result of injuries and line shuffling, Backlund and Frolik have played almost 400 minutes this season with wingers not named Frolik. Essentially, what we’ve seen is that a trio of Backlund, Tkachuk and a random Flames’ winger is much less successful than the Tkachuk-Backlund-Frolik line. Without Frolik on their line, Backlund and Tkachuk have been outscored 15 to 16 at even-strength and their possession numbers are significantly worse (Line Stats from NaturalStatTrick.com).

 

 

 

Zack KassianConnor McDavid Leon Draisaitl

Since being drafted 13th overall in 2009, Zack Kassian hasn’t done much to live up to the high expectations that were set for him when he entered the NHL. Even this season, he has a mere 24 points in 72 games and it’s hard to imagine him being a valuable fantasy hockey asset unless your league consists of one category and that category is ‘hits’. Well, strange things can happen when you’re thrown on a line with two players who have combined for over 200 points this season. Kassian has scored six goals in his last 12 outings and has averaged a respectable two shots per game over that span. He also has 28 hits during that stretch, a category in which he’s provided relatively consistent production over the course of this season. Another thing to like about Kassian recently is his ice-time, which has consistently been near 20 minutes over the past month. Unfortunately, Kassian isn’t a part of Edmonton’s power-play so he won’t be providing you with any points in that category.

 

Look, I get it. It’s the fantasy hockey playoffs and your championship is on the line. You’re hesitant to use one of your few adds on a player that has just 141 points in 459 career games. But the beautiful thing is, you’re not relying on Zack Kassian for production, you’re relying on  McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. I don’t think there’s a more reliable duo in the league. Can we take a second to appreciate the huge step forward Draisaitl has taken this season? He tallied an impressive 70 points in 78 games last year and has already smashed that mark with 95 points in 75 games this year. He sits fourth in league scoring and only Alex Ovechkin and John Tavares have scored more goals this season. Then there’s McDavid, but you don’t need me to tell you how good he is. I’ll simply remind you that he has 108 points in 71 games this season and sits second in league scoring behind only Nikita Kucherov. When’s the last time a team had two players tally 100 points and still missed the playoffs?

 

The Kassian-McDavid-Draisaitl line has played about 200 minutes together this season, during which they’ve outscored opponents by a margin of 17 to 10. The trio has controlled 54 percent of the shot-share and 54 percent of all scoring chances created while they’re on the ice (Line Stats from NaturalStatTrick.com). Essentially, they’ve outshot, out-chanced and outscored their opponents. Sounds like a recipe for success!

 

 

Notable Lines from Last Game

 

Using Dobber’s Line Combination Tool, I found a few lesser-known players who may be more valuable going forward, based on their linemates from the team’s most recent game. It is important to note that some of these lines can be broken up just as quickly as they were assembled.

 

Alexander Nylander with Jack Eichel and Conor Sheary (Source)

 

J.T. Compher and Alexander Kerfoot with Nathan MacKinnon (Source)

 

Jayce Hawryluk with Vincent Trocheck and Mike Hoffman (Source)

 

Sven Baertschi with Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser (Source)

 

Alex Tuch with Paul Stastny and Mark Stone (Source)