Lining Up: Winnipeg and Columbus Boast Productive Top Lines

by Brennan Des on January 22, 2019
  • Lining Up
  • Lining Up: Winnipeg and Columbus Boast Productive Top Lines

 

In this week’s instalment, I’ll be sharing thoughts about a few lines listed in the table below. Using Dobber’s Line Production Tool, I 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

Calgary

Johnny GaudreauSean MonahanElias Lindholm

20

2

Columbus

Artemi PanarinPierre-Luc DuboisCam Atkinson

20

3

San Jose

Evander KaneTomas HertlJoonas Donskoi

19

4

Detroit

Tyler Bertuzzi – Dylan LarkinGustav Nyquist

17

5

Winnipeg

Kyle ConnorMark ScheifeleBlake Wheeler

17

6

Rangers

Chris KreiderMika ZibanejadMats Zuccarello 

16

7

Tampa Bay

Tyler JohnsonBrayden PointNikita Kucherov

16

8

Vegas

Max PaciorettyPaul StastnyAlex Tuch

15

9

Islanders

Matt MartinCasey CizikasCal Clutterbuck

13

10

Nashville

Filip ForsbergRyan JohansenViktor Arvidsson

13

11

Boston

Brad MarchandPatrice BergeronDavid Pastrnak

12

12

Arizona

Lawson Crouse – Mario Kempe – Josh Archibald

11

13

Colorado

Gabriel LandeskogNathan MacKinnonMikko Rantanen

11

14

Philadelphia

Scott LaughtonNolan PatrickWayne Simmonds

11

15

Pittsburgh

Jake GuentzelSidney CrosbyBryan Rust

11

16

Minnesota

Zach PariseCharlie CoyleLuke Kunin

9

17

Ottawa

Bobby RyanMatt DucheneRyan Dzingel

9

18

Toronto

Zach HymanJohn TavaresMitchell Marner

9

19

Los Angeles

Ilya KovalchukAnze KopitarDustin Brown

8

20

New Jersey

Miles WoodTravis Zajac – Blake Coleman

8

21

Anaheim

Ondrej KaseAdam HenriqueNick Ritchie

7

22

Carolina

Micheal FerlandSebastian AhoTeuvo Teravainen

7

23

Chicago

Dylan StromeArtem AnisimovPatrick Kane

7

24

Dallas

Jamie BennTyler SeguinAlexander Radulov

7

25

Edmonton

Zack KassianConnor McDavidLeon Draisaitl

7

26

Washington

Alex OvechkinEvgeny KuznetsovTom Wilson

7

27

Buffalo

Jeff SkinnerJack EichelSam Reinhart

6

28

Montreal

Jonathan DrouinPhillip DanaultBrendan Gallagher

6

29

St. Louis

Jaden SchwartzBrayden SchennVladimir Tarasenko

6

30

Florida

Frank VatranoAleksander BarkovEvgenii Dadonov

4

31

Vancouver

Sven BaertschiBo HorvatBrock Boeser

4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notable Notes

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Columbus Blue Jackets have one of the most offensively gifted lines in hockey and they don’t get the credit they deserve. Artemi Panarin has 53 points in 46 games. That Cam Atkinson guy? 48 points in 47 games. Pierre-Luc Dubois is definitely a victim of that dreaded sophomore slump, right? His 43 points in 48 games might beg to differ. While I was tempted to call them one of the league’s best lines, it’s hard to comment on their defensive abilities when they start 85% of their shifts in the offensive zone. With Martin St. Louis joining the Blue Jackets as a special teams consultant, let’s see if he can improve a power play that ranks as one of the league’s worst.

 

Since Nikolaj Ehlers went down with an upper-body injury a few weeks ago, Kyle Connor has filled the role of Winnipeg’s top left wing. He’s played the last nine games with Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler, and has ten points to show for it.  Speaking of Blake Wheeler, did you know that he’s tallied more points that Alex Ovechkin since the start of the 2014-2015 season? Ovi has 360 points in 372 games in that span, while Wheeler has 365 points in the same number of games. In fact, only three players have outscored Winnipeg’s captain since 2014-15: Patrick Kane, Sidney Crosby, and Nikita Kucherov. Wheeler is an elite player who isn’t recognized enough for how talented he is.

 

While the Connor-Scheifele-Wheeler trio has been putting up points, they’ve been outscored 18-21 at even strength and started 63% of their shifts in the offensive zone. On the other hand, the Ehlers-Scheifele-Wheeler line outscored opponents 23-11 while starting just 55% of their shifts in offensive zone. Just something to think about if you’re hoping for Connor to stick on the top line when Ehlers returns from injury.

 

 

In New York, Chris Kreider is on pace for 63 points – which would be the highest total of his career. Mika Zibanejad is on pace for 75 points, which would be the highest total of his career. Mats Zuccarello is on pace for 56 points – not a career-high, but he has been extra impressive recently with nine points in his last five games. The Kreider-Zibanejad-Zuccarello trio has controlled 56% of shots taken while they’re on the ice, as well as 56% of scoring chances and 61% of high-danger opportunities. Even while the Rangers are rebuilding, you can find good fantasy value on their roster.

If you get a chance to read these articles every week, you’re probably familiar with my love for Nashville’s top line of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson. If not for key injuries to both Forsberg and Arvidsson, I have no doubt that the hockey world would give this line more credit as one of the league’s best. This season, the trio has controlled 63% of shots, 63% of scoring chances and 69% of high-danger opportunities created while they’re on the ice. Those are insane numbers. But wait, there’s more! Despite missing 24 games with a broken thumb, Arvidsson is on pace for 40 goals this season. Similarly, Forsberg missed 17 games and is still on track for 35 goals! The fact that Ryan Johansen wasn’t playing with his regular wingers for a large chunk of the season makes his current 70-point pace all the more impressive. I have a feeling this is going to be a career-season for Johansen.

While he tallied a mere 11 points in his first 34 games of the season, Nolan Patrick has been hot recently with six points in his last seven games. If you take a look at his regular season quarterly comparison (which you can find by clicking his name), you’ll notice that his recent stretch of production has come while playing fewer minutes than he had been playing earlier in the season. While he still needs some time to develop into a proven fantasy hockey commodity, the 20-year-old has definitely shown flashes of brilliance.

 

 

Keep an Eye On

Toronto’s Forwards

It’s no secret the Leafs have been struggling in the new year. When teams struggle, coaches tend to shake up their lines in an attempt to find a combination that works. In Toronto, coach Mike Babcock has made quite a few notable moves that might impact your fantasy hockey roster:

 

Zach HymanJohn TavaresKasperi Kapanen

Patrick MarleauAuston MatthewsMitch Marner

Connor BrownNazem KadriWilliam Nylander

 

Matthews hasn’t registered a point in his last three games, so Babcock is trying to get him going by playing him alongside Marner – the team’s leading scorer. Obviously, if you’re a Nylander owner you don’t want to see him skating on the third line, but I have a feeling he’ll be back in the top-six once Matthews starts scoring again. Babcock wouldn’t commit to these line combinations beyond the practice for which they were assembled, so don’t be surprised to see even more changes going forward.

***

 

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