Lining Up takes a look at potential line combos for the first week of the NHL season
The season starts tonight. All that hard work via the draft hopefully pays off. May there not be as many injuries as last year. What could happen as far as week one? Are there combinations that could really click? Let’s take a look right now.
Lead Us Forwards
Daniel Briere-David Desharnais-Max Pacioretty (Montreal) -- Pacioretty is the meat of this line no question, but you have a known playmaking quantity in Desharnais. Plus, Daniel Briere just has an ability to get his points. Now to put up preseason point totals can make things a bit misleading, however, this is a trio that can get hot early and those starts in an Olympic year are more important. This trio is at least worth a start in your leagues for the first few games because remember, this is a shortened week.
Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis-Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh) -- This was one of the gold standard trios. Dupuis may have some DobberNomics value too. Crosby at 9.62 million while Chris Kunitz weighs in at 9.88 million, but Dupuis is the real value at 7.45 million. There is always the third guy on a line that will be the “value pick” because they get points and that is the bottom line. Pittsburgh’s first line is usually a match-up nightmare for most opponents. A point a game is almost certain for this week.
Boone Jenner-Brandon Dubinsky-Marian Gaborik (Columbus) -- I know we mentioned these guys last week, but with the official news that Boone Jenner will be riding the top line to start the season, he is an absolute start across the board (a cheap $2 million in DobberNomics). Dubinsky might equal his goal total in a week (2 last year). This line will also give you special teams potential as well as 5-on-5 upside. The chemistry meshes, but the health and mental state of Gaborik are really the only questions to be had.
Mark Arcobello-Jordan Eberle-David Perron (Edmonton) -- This is a second line? Yes it was and is. They have looked good throughout the preseason and while Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is still recovering, this trio could provide a pretty good punch after Taylor Hall does his damage. Now Eberle may play on the first line, but the mix was right, so do not be surprised if you see Eberle do some second line time. Edmonton has high fantasy potential and these guys may have high shot percentages early.
Andrei Markov-P.K. Subban (Montreal) -- Markov and Subban will be lethal on the man advantage, though Markov is a bit of a liability as far as shorthanded chances going the other way. Both of these guys have plus stuff when it comes to shot and passing, and it makes it tough to pick a poison as they say. I could see Markov topping 50 points even despite the injury possibilities. Subban, on the other hand, could come very close to a 70 point year with around 30-35 power play points. It would not be a shock honestly because they will be paired a ton and in some even strength situations. Get in while the getting is good as they say.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson-David Rundblad (Phoenix) -- There is 50+ point potential with Ekman-Larsson and that breakout is just about ready to happen. David Rundblad is another talent, but he is more offensive centric. For this duo, Rundblad has to be unleashed by Dave Tippett because until he does, that may restrict Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s prediction. This will be your top defensive fantasy pairing in Phoenix and will be something to keep an eye on as shooting percentages are expected to increase. This is worth it.
Travis Hamonic-Andrew MacDonald (NY Islanders) -- Hamonic is a very intriguing commodity in fantasy circles because there are some legitimate concerns with Lubomir Visnovsky health wise. Now Andrew MacDonald could go over 150 hits and 200 blocks easy while Travis Hamonic could break 30 points along with some nice IDP (individual defensive performance) numbers. This year will be extremely essential in Hamonic’s development so you may want to get ahead of the curve before it’s too late. Beware that Hamonic may ultimately still get paired with Visnovsky as this is a fluid situation.
As always you can follow me on Twitter @ChrisWasselTHW. In the meantime, good luck and happy combination fishing. See you next week.
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