Lining Up: Week Four (2016-17)

by Fred Poulin on November 8, 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

Michael GrabnerKevin HayesJ.T. Miller (NYRangers)

We were bound to find one of the best offensive lines in the highest-scoring team in the league. The Rangers are scoring in bunches and that line is leading the way. Miller now has 13 points this season, notching 12 points in his last five games. He will definitely top his career best of 43 points last year. As for Hayes, he has the hot hand, scoring 11 points in his last five games, including four goals. Finally, the less likely player to sustain this pace, Michael Grabner, has seven points in his last five games.

It is worth nothing that only Miller has recorded points on the PP so far this season, so this line is doing all of its damage at even strength.

EV Strength Production = 35 points

PP Production = 2 points

 

Brandon SaadAlexander WennbergNick Foligno (Columbus)

This newly-formed line is red hot for the surging Blue Jackets and feasted on the Habs Friday during a 10-0 romp against the best team in the NHL right now. The unheralded Wennberg is dishing pucks all over the ice, especially on the man advantage (eight PP points), as the youngster is leading the league with 11 assists this season. After a miserable 2015-16 campaign (only 37 points), Foligno seems bound to rebound and is off to a torrid start, recording seven points in his last four games for Columbus. The talented winger will certainly reach the 60-point plateau again this season after potting 73 points two seasons ago. Finally, after a slow start, Saad has recorded six points in his last five games and should reach the 50-point mark for a third consecutive season.

EV Strength Production = 32 points

PP Production = 14 points

 

James van RiemsdykTyler Bozak – Mitchell Marner (Toronto)

After a slow start, this line has picked the slack offensively for Toronto as Austin Matthews has considerably slowed down. The rookie Marner has been spectacular and he now has seven points in his last six games for the entertaining Leafs. After an injury-marred season last year, van Riemsdyk is finally healthy and back to being an offensive threat with eight points in his last eight games. Bozak is also pitching in with five points in his past six contests. A potential trading chip, Bozak is also coming off an injury-shortened 2015-16 season, and is looking to bounce back to reach the 50-point plateau for the first time of his career (he scored 49 points twice).

 

EV Strength Production = 29 points

PP Production = 4 points

 

Chris KunitzEvgeni MalkinPhil Kessel (Pittsburgh)

When Sidney Crosby returned to the Pens' line-up after missing six games with a concussion, Mike Sullivan split the HBK line and formed this new line. This line has been playing well together in recent games as Pittsburgh's second line. Kunitz is finally contributing with four points in his last five games. As for Geno, he has four goals and two helpers in his last five games, for a total of 12 points this year (four on the PP). If you're looking for a PP specialist, look no further than Kessel who has seven PP points already this season.

If Malkin can stay healthy (a big if) and play more than 70 games, this line can do a lot of damage offensively for the 2016 Stanley Cup champions, with Malkin easily topping the 80-point mark and Kessel probably recording more than 60 points.

EV Strength Production = 28 points

PP Production = 11 points

 

Jamie BennTyler SeguinPatrick Eaves (Dallas)

With all the injuries mounting in Dallas, all-star center Tyler Seguin has picked his game offensively, notching six points in his last four games for a total of 13 on the season. His long-time linemate, Jamie Been, is also hot with five points in his last four games; he has now nine points this year. With Spezza, Sharp, Hemsky and Hudler all nursing injuries/illnesses, Eaves is the beneficiary and he has joined the dynamic duo on the team's first line. Spending stretches of time with them last season, Eaves has two points in his last three games, and six overall.

This line should continue to get a lot of ice time and put points on the board, especially Seguin and Benn, who are proven point producers year after year.

EV Strength Production = 28 points

PP Production = 9 points

 

Dynamic duo

Dennis Seidenberg – Calvin de Haan (NY Islanders)

With Travis Hamonic going down with an upper-body injury for four-to-six weeks, Seidenberg and de Haan will be relied upon even more. While neither of them are power play threats, Seidenberg should get a sniff on the man advantage during Hamonic's absence. de Haan has three points in his last four contests, while the German veteran has six points in his last four games. Finally, both players can help your plus/minus differential if your league uses this stat category as de Haan is plus-seven and Seidenberg is plus-10 this season.

EV Strength Production = 13 points

PP Production = 0 point

 

Cold as ice

Tanner PearsonAnze KopitarTeddy Purcell (Los Angeles)

This line was formed when Purcell came back from an injury two games ago and has been ice cold. With Peter Budaj holding the fort during Jonathan Quick's absence, the Kings were counting on Kopitar to shoulder the load offensively and he has failed so far. The two-way pivot has only six points in 12 games this season and he has been held off the score sheet in the past five games. After a hot start, Pearson has only one point in his last six contests.

Hitting the road for a five-game road trip, the Kings will have a hard time scoring goals and this line should be avoided for the moment.

 

EV Strength Production = 13 points

PP Production = 2 points