Wassel checks in with what combos have been making waves during the preseason.
Did you miss us? We’re back for a whole new season with Dobberhockey. This edition may not have all the numbers you crave, but it will give an idea of what possibly to look out for during the regular season. Is everyone ready? Let’s go!
Lead Us Forwards
Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Marian Gaborik (Columbus) -- I wish I knew how long they are going to stay together, but Boone Jenner has made the team. This line torched Pittsburgh (division rival) twice in a week with some crooked numbers. Their frequency is at 8.79% which is around a top line threshold for preseason. In the last week, that number is up to 45.7% at EV. The PP is a different story for now, but Jenner will end up there at some point. If they stay healthy, this has the makings of a nice, sleeper line.
Damien Brunner-Patrik Elias-Jaromir Jagr (New Jersey) -- This was a line that has not even taken shape yet, but has definite potential. Patrik Elias makes anyone better, though that took a hit last year when even David Clarkson went belly up. With Clarkson gone, it appears Elias found instant chemistry with Damien Brunner the other night. Jaromir Jagr is close to returning from a groin tweak so do not be surprised if the line is formed. Stay tuned.
Aleksander Barkov-Brad Boyes-Garrett Wilson (Florida) -- This is more about Boyes and the second overall pick in Barkov. At least early on, there seems to be a bit of chemistry. When Jonathan Huberdeau is added into the mix, there may be more intrigue. The problem is during preseason, there is a lot of jumbling. These are just possible combinations to keep an eye on. If Barkov plays with Huberdeau and maybe Nick Bjugstad, then there may be something brewing.
Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf-Dustin Penner (Anaheim) -- Let’s do the time warp again. Will Dustin Penner be less inconsistent? Can they find the magic again? If they do, Penner has a ton more fantasy relevance than expected. While Getzlaf and Perry will be near or around a point a game, the 245 pound Penner has the potential to recapture what was lost. Fantasy owners may cringe a little but a late round pick is not a bad thing on a guy who is still only 30 and back with teammates that can boost his confidence. Familiarity breeds numbers.
Lubomir Visnovsky-Travis Hamonic (NY Islanders) -- This may not be the opening night defensive pairing, but it could be the best one because of the high end talent on the top line, the power play points have to come from somewhere on the defense. These two have a complimentary skill set. Let’s see if Jack Capuano figures this one out. He better soon because with higher expectations, the hot seat may come calling if the Islanders should falter. The blue line is at the very least going to be a bit instrumental in the Islanders success.
Daniel Girardi-Ryan McDonagh (NY Rangers) -- These are two guys that work well together while still in a hit and shot blocking mode. At least early on, the Alain Vigneault system will take some time to fully get used to, so the hits, blocks, even ATOI and SOG can be had with this first pairing. While McDonagh may never produce at an elite level offensively, his game at least puts some fear in the hearts of the opposition. The Rangers may just score more this year so these guys warrant looks for different reasons.
John Carlson-Thomas Kundratek (Washington) -- The pairing has become at least something to look at on a Washington power play that converts at a top five level. After all, the points again have to come from somewhere. As Carlson gets 25:00 plus a night, he will be matched with Kundratek, who has a bit more skill than John Erskine. If the PP percentage goes above 30 for these two, I expect both to benefit nicely in the “Nation’s Capital”.
As always you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWasselTHW. In the meantime, good luck and happy combination fishing. See you next week.