Lining Up: Week Five (2016)

by Fred Poulin on November 15, 2016

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

Nikolaj EhlersMark Scheifele – Patrick Laine (Winnipeg)

Playing on average 20 minutes a night, this line is generating a lot of scoring chances and is keeping the Jets in the playoff race. With Blake Wheeler and Dustin Byfuglien joining them on the first power play unit, this trio is red-hot right now. With 12 points in his last 10 games, Scheifele is leading the way and is experiencing a breakout season so far. Remember that it's Scheifele's fourth NHL season. As for the 20-year-old Ehlers, who was recently moved to this line, he now has notched 11 points in his last ten contests. He will easily surpass the 38 points he recorded during his rookie season. Finally, Laine recorded his second hat-trick of the season against the Stars and has recorded five goals and three assists in his last 10 games. Make sure, you don't leave Laine on your bench as he has been scoring in bunches this season.

EV Strength Production = 50 points

PP Production = 14 points

 

Vladislav NamestnikovSteven StamkosNikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay)

Recently paired with Tampa's top two guns, Namestnikov has two points in his last three games, and six on the season. With 35 points in 80 games during his sophomore season, Namestnikov has enough talent to stay on the first line as long as he racks up points. After a subpar season during which he potted only 64 points for the Bolt, Stamkos decided to remain in Tampa Bay and signed a new contract. So far so good as the sniper has ten points in his last ten games for 19 points overall. Back at center, Stammer is healthy and happy, which means he will be back to his usual PPG game pace and should reach the 80-point mark for the fourth time of his career. With 15 points (six G and nine A) in his last ten matches, Kucherov is one of the hottest players in the NHL right now and is on pace to surpass his career-best of 66 points he recorded last season. Kucherov is playing his fourth NHL season, so a breakout was to be expected.

 

EV Strength Production = 43 points

PP Production = 19 points

 

Paul ByronAlex GalchenyukAlexander Radulov (Montreal)

As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, I am used to see weird line combinations as Michel Therrien likes his grinders more than he should. The beneficiary this time is waiver pickup Paul Byron, who was recently added to this offensive line. With five goals and two assists in his last ten matches, the speedy Byron is making the best of his opportunity and now has ten points in 2016-17 despite getting zero power play time. After his best NHL season with 56 points in 2015-16, Galchenyuk is finally living to the expectations with 17 points in 16 games this year. The skillful pivot is enjoying great chemistry with Russian sniper Alex Radulov. After playing in the KHL for a few seasons, Radulov wanted to come back in the NHL and he accepted a one-year deal with Montreal to prove he can still be dominant on the ice. Riding a five-game scoring streak, the right winger now has 11 assists on the season and is showing up every game for the league-leading Habs. He's not Alex Semin!

 

This line should continue to plenty of scoring opportunities and put points on the board for the near future, especially Galchenyuk and Radulov, who are very talented forwards.

 

EV Strength Production = 41 points

PP Production = 9 points

 

Patrick MaroonConnor McDavidJordan Eberle (Edmonton)

Replacing Milan Lucic on the Oilers' first line, Maroon has taking advantage of the opportunity, recording five goals and three assists in his last ten games. The towering winger has been a steady point-producer since joining Edmonton midway through last season. He potted 14 points in 16 contests in 2015-16 and he now has nine points in 17 games this year. Maroon will have good value as long as he stays on the top line. With two goals and four assists in his last six games, Eberle is known to be a very streaky player. Enjoy the hot streak while you can as he has a tendency for stretches. He will be hard pressed to record 60 points this season.

With only one goal in his last ten games, McDavid is struggling to find the back of the net. Luckily for his fantasy owners, he has recorded nine helpers during the same period. If the sophomore pivot can stay healthy this season, he will easily surpass the 80-point mark and finish in the top-ten NHL scorers.

 

EV Strength Production = 40 points

PP Production = 9 points

 

Carl HagelinSidney CrosbyPatric Hornqvist (Pittsburgh)

With five points in his last six games, Hagelin is finally producing offensively after a tough start with the HBK line (which was subsequently split and then recently slapped back together). Playing with Crosby certainly helped get points on the board. After missing six games with a concussion, Sid the Kid has turned into a goal-scoring machine, notching 10 goals in only nine games while recording three helpers along the way. If Crosby can avoid missing more games with concussion-like symptoms, his owners can reasonably expect him to reach to 84-point mark for a fourth consecutive campaign. With consecutive seasons of 53, 51 and 51 points, you don't find a more consistent player in the NHL right now than Horny. Currently on pace for 71 points, the right winger is a power play specialist who likes to stand in front of the net to bury rebounds and screen goalies. Whether he plays with Malkin or Crosby, Hornqvist is sure to get on the scoreboard. Keep an eye on Conor Sheary, who has replaced Hagelin on this high-upside line.  

 

EV Strength Production = 32 points

PP Production = 11 points

 

Dynamic duo

Brady SkjeiKevin Klein (NYRangers)

While the pairing has not scored a goal this season, Skjei has amassed six helpers while Klein recorded four assists in the last two weeks. The Rangers are still the highest-scoring team in the league and everyone is contributing. While Klein only has four points on the season, the right-handed defenseman recorded 26 points in each of the last two seasons, so he has some offensive flair. As for the rookie Skjei, he now as nine assists this season to go along with a plus-five rating. Both rearguards are widely available in most fantasy leagues so it shouldn't be a problem to grab them on the waiver wire.

EV Strength Production = 13 points

PP Production = 2 points

 

Cold as ice

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanAlex Chiasson (Calgary)

The Flames are struggling offensively as their big guns are not getting on the scoresheet. After scoring at almost a PPG pace in 2015-16 (78 points in 79 games), Johnny Hockey is having trouble getting on the board this season, with only ten points in 16 games. The chemistry he had with Monahan is all but gone and new head coach Glen Gulutzan keeps shuffling the lines in hope of finding the good combinations. After missing the World Cup with a back strain, Monahan doesn't seem to be 100% yet and is struggling as a result with a mere six points in 16 games after potting 62 and 63 points over the last two campaigns. As for Chiasson, he simply shouldn't be on the top line as he's unable to keep the pace, recording only four points in 2016-17. It's the same Chiasson that only potted 14 points in 77 games with the Senators a year ago.

 

EV Strength Production = 20 points

PP Production = 2 points