Part five of this ongoing series breaking down the scoring lines and depth options.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4



Note: Take the line combos with a grain of salt. They are just arbitrary and are used primarily to separate a team’s top-six from the bottom-six. I really don’t want to get into arguments about player X had chemistry with player Y therefore they’ll be on a line together during the season.


Here’s a summation table of the previous 12 teams that we’ve covered if you haven’t had a chance to read the articles.














































Los Angeles





















San Jose – Top-six pretty much set in stone, shallow competition from bottom-six

Top Six
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Martin Havlat
Ryane Clowe – Joe Pavelski – Logan Couture



Michal Handzus and James Sheppard

Bottom Feeders

Jamie McGinn, Benn Ferriero, Andrew Murray, Andrew Desjardins, and Torrey Mitchell


Last season, the Sharks took a bit of an offense by committee approach, which explains why you saw the point totals pretty tight amongst the top seven Shark forwards. This season you’ll probably see much more of a traditional top-six, bottom-six approach, which should see the top offensive threats return to their norm point production.


Thornton struggled due to the spread of PP ice-time last campaign, which largely explains the decrease in point production. He’s a player that needs to garner a large chunk of the team’s man advantage time in order to produce big numbers. With the competition from the bottom six largely disappearing, look for JT to inch back towards the century point plateau. Havlat hasn’t really had a chance to play alongside a superstar, playmaking center, like Thornton, since 2005 when he played with Jason Spezza. Look for him to return back to the glory point-per-game days with one of the league’s best passers feeding him pucks. The biggest beneficiary from the cabinet reshuffle will probably be Pavelski. With the depth the Sharks had the last couple of seasons, Pavelski saw plenty of time in a third-line checking role. Now that the top-six is clearly defined, Pavelski should spend much more time in an offensive role, rather than focussing on stopping the opposition.


Clowe has averaged 0.67 points and 2.08 SOG per contest since entering the NHL. The downside is that he always seems to be hampered by all kinds of knick-knack injuries. Expect a decent line by season’s end, but a few games missed as well. Couture had a great sophomore campaign while posting 56 points in 79 games, expect a little bit of an improvement, but don’t expect the moon.


If you’ve bought the guide, then you probably would’ve seen Handzus’ name as part of my sleeper candidates. He is one of the best “tweener” centers in the league. He won’t put up mind-boggling numbers, but he’ll certainly chip in during an offensive role when called upon. Havlat and Clowe aren’t exactly immune to the injury bug, which should enable Handzus to have a shot in a top-six role during the season. Consider Handzus a strong sleeper candidate for 2011-12. Recently acquired Sheppard could also play a role with the Sharks this season. The Sharks always seem to find a way to get the most out of their young talent (Milan Michalek, Steve Bernier, Pavelski, Devin Setoguchi, McGinn, and Couture), Sheppard certainly has the pedigree (225 points in 187 contests in juniors) to continue that trend, but a change of scenery might just be the answer to his early career woes, so keep an eye on that situation.


Last year’s pre-season top-six:

Marleau, Thornton, Heatley, Clowe, Pavelski and Setoguchi


End of year finish:















St. Louis – Offense by committee.

Top Six

David Backes – Andy McDonald – T.J. Oshie

Chris Stewart – Patrik Berglund – Alex Steen


Jason Arnott, Jamie Langenbrunner, Matt D’Agostini, David Perron*

Bottom Feeders

B.J. Crombeen, Vladimir Sobotka, Scott Nichol, and Ryan Reaves.


Offensive depth is going to be the name of the game in St. Louis, as you probably won’t find many holes amongst the forward line up of the Blues this season. 10 of the 15 players listed above have seen at least one 40-point season so far in their career, so the question that will plague fantasy poolies all season long is whether or not there’s going to be enough offense to spread around.


I’ve kind of just made my educated guess as to how my top-six would look, but in all honesty, everyone’s probably going to have a completely different top-six to anyone else, which just shows how unpredictable 2011-12 is going to be for poolies.


Backes and McDonald demonstrated plenty of chemistry as the duo last campaign, so I’ve decided to keep them together while slotting Oshie in, to complete the trio. He registered 10 points in 13 contests before missing a large chunk of the season due to a broken ankle, and then promptly returned with 24 points in 36 games to finish the season. The offensive depth is going to be a problem, but Oshie seems to be a favourite of coach Davis Payne, that he might just gain immunity. 35 percent of Stewart’s points last season came playing alongside Berglund. The two have also demonstrated plenty of chemistry, so look for them to be reunited once again. Steen has averaged 12 PPP per season for the last three seasons. If you are looking some help in that department strongly consider him as an option.


The cavalry list is long and large, starting with the new veteran acquisitions of Arnott and Langenbrunner. Both are on the other side of the hill and won’t entirely steal the limelight, but they’re still plenty capable of chipping in on the offensive front in a support role. D’Agostini had a solid breakout campaign last year, and should probably get first dibs in a top-six role if a major injury were to happen, but if that doesn’t happen he could be toiling in mediocrity all season long. Consider him a boom or bust (feast or famine) candidate. The latest news out of the Perron camp is that he’s not going to be ready for the start of the season. Concussions are a major issue and with the depth that the Blues have this campaign, they probably won’t rush him back before he’s 100 percent ready.


Reaves only had a brief cup of coffee with the Blues last season, but still managed to register 86 HITs and 78 PIMs in just 28 contests. If you pro-rated that over a course of a full 82-game season, it would’ve ranked him amongst the top-eight in both categories. If you’re looking for an under-the-radar HIT and PIM machine look no further than Reaves.


Last year’s pre-season top-six:

Backes, McDonald, Boyes, Perron, Oshie and Steen


End of year finish:
















Vancouver- Top-six pretty much set in stone almost no depth beyond top-six


Top Six
Daniel Sedin – Henrik Sedin – Marco Sturm

Mason Raymond – Ryan Kesler* – Alex Burrows


Mikael Samuelsson, Cody Hodgson and Sergei Shirokov

Bottom Feeders
Chris Higgins, Manny Malhotra, Janik Hansen, Maxim Lapierre, Andrew Ebbett, Mark Mancari


The Canucks finished the season ranked as the top offensive team in the league. They haven’t done much in the off-season to alter their line up, so expect much of the same this campaign.


The Sedins are the driving force of the Canucks offense, the duo have each averaged 1.28 points and 2.63 SOG per contest during the last two seasons. What’s also amazing is that the duo has averaged 62.5 PPP per season during that span as well. The money spot of the lineup is the player which gets to complete the trio. On even strength, it has been mostly Burrows, but on the PP it’s been Samuelsson. Newcomer, Sturm, might throw a wrench into things this campaign, as his free skating playing style, IMO, definitely complements the play of the Sedins. He could be a very sneaky late-round draft pick up that could pay huge dividends by season’s end.


There are many arguments that can be made for which player is the most important to the Vancouver line up. My vote would have to go to Kesler, as it would be impossible to replace everything that he does (PK, FW, HITS, BS and secondary scoring) with just a single player. He recent underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip which will sideline him till mid-October at the earliest. I’m always a bit wary of hip and shoulder injuries, so expect a bit of a decline in his performance this season. 59 percent of Raymond’s points last season came playing alongside Kesler. With him out of the lineup, expect Raymond’s production to also take a bit of a hit.


Samuelsson has been pretty consistent in a Canuck uniform. He’s averaged 74.5 games played, 51.5 points, a plus nine rating, 16.5 PPP, and 217 SOG for the last two years. As long as you expect pretty much the same, you probably won’t be too far off from your initial projections. The biggest beneficiary to Kesler’s injury might be youngster Hodgson. He was highly touted during his draft year back in 2008, but a string of injuries temporarily derailed his young career. He’ll certainly get a long look at training camp and possibly a top-six gig to start the season or at least until Kesler returns. Shirokov has posted 103 points in 158 career AHL games with the Moose. There’s not much left for him to prove in the minors, but is there a spot for him with the big club in 2011-12?


Malholtra led the league in faceoff winning percentage amongst all players that participated in more than 1000 draws. He won a whopping 61.7 percent of the faceoffs he participated in, if you are in a league that counts FW percentage as a stat, you can’t steer away from Malholtra especially now that Kesler is out of the lineup for the start of the season.


Last year’s pre-season top-six:

D. Sedin, H. Sedin, Samuelsson, Raymond, Kesler and Burrows


End of year finish:

D. Sedin


H. Sedin












Thanks for sticking with me the last few weeks. Hopefully you guys found the information useful and are able to utilize it for your drafts in the upcoming season. I’ve had a pleasure doing the research as well as having some hotly debated topics in the comments section, so if you have questions or comments as always I’ll be willing to discuss them in the section below.


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Comments (11)add comment

b claa said:

wino Dear CanuckWino: Seems like you are still on edge after watching our team blow it in game 7. I am also still totally burned by the 'nucks and I probably won't be back to the fanatic I was before until next May when they get into the conference final. We are all still hurting
August 18, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Writing for a living

Firstly, I don't do it for a living, I would absolutely love to do it for a living, but in actuality I don't. Every article that I write is for FREE, Dobber does not pay me a dime for any of the columns that I write every week. So when I write these articles I do it for the fun of it to help my fellow poolies out who don't have the time to do the research or are too lazy to do so.

Does that mean my material can be incorrect and illogical? Nope I don't think so, but I do think I've earn a few free passes along the way to make a few mistakes.

The reason behind the brain fart was that I was on vacay the last couple of weeks so I'm behind on the "minor news" of the NHL. Like many poolies in my regular life, I live and breathe hockey just like most Dobberites do, so I'm generally on top of things, the last couple of weeks I haven't had my regularity, so I'm not 100% up to date with the news. Case in point the Shirokov comment...

Also to be fair, you don't pay a dime for the articles that I write, so when you come on and whinge about one mistake that I made compared to all of the articles that I did for you during the last three years (I'm assuming you're not a first time user of DobberHockey) the least you can do is do it respectfully. If you didn't have food and you went to the food bank, would you go and complain to them about the "quality" of food that they're serving? ATK did it the right way and just pointed it out, and I apologized for it. You don't need to be sarcastic about it. If you don't like what I do, feel free to write your own and pass it off to Dobber to see if he'll put it on his page. Until then the least you can do is point it out but do it in an respectful manner.
August 10, 2011
Votes: +4

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Couture

Yeah I dunno how they classify rookie status... To me if someone plays 25 games that should be considered their rookie season doesn't it?

I kinda drew a line in a sand this year to say 20 games or more is considered a season. So in my books this is his third year.

As for a slump, it certainly could happen but I don't think I'd head into the season expecting it. Just looking over his stats from last season, generally sophomore slumps happen when a player 1) starts losing ice time (with only Handzus there really as competition, his ice time should be safe), 2) had a crazy SH% that it was unsustainable (he shot 12.6, which was a little bit high, but not completely unrepeatable) 3) gets booted off a top PP unit (he never really was on the top unit, so no loss there)

So I'd head into the season probably expecting the same thing maybe a slight increase or slight decrease, but I wouldn't expect a full blown sophomore slump where he falls down to say 30 points or something like that.
August 10, 2011
Votes: +0

CanucksWino said:

Shirokov?! Shirokov? Really? So you write about hockey for a living and didn't realize that weeks ago not only had Shirokov committed to playing in the KHL, but HE WAS TRADED TO FLORIDA! Maybe we recall that whole scandal with Mike Duco's comments on Twitter?! Unbelievable...
August 10, 2011
Votes: -1

Derrek said:

Couture "Couture had a great sophomore campaign while posting 56 points in 79 games"
i know he played 25 games the year before, but he was a calder candidate last year, i could see a sophomore slump rather than a slight improvement to 60 points
August 10, 2011
Votes: +0

Rob said:

Burrows Let's not also forget that Burrows saw a fair amount of time with Kesler in the playoffs. I liked them together, and as a proud Kesler owner and Canucks fan, I'd like to see those 2 stay together.
August 09, 2011
Votes: +0

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Sturm

I don't think he'll "replace" Burrows full time, but I can certainly see a Samuelsson effect where he'll slowly take time away from Burrows especially on the PP. Burrows was on Daniel's ES line for 63.3%. Samuelsson was 14.8%. I think that you might start to see Burrows drop down to 40-50 then 20-30 to Sturm and 20-30 to Samuelsson.

Sturm has the speed and craftiness that I think complements the Sedins. I don't think he'll fully replace Burrows and boot him off the line, but I do think that he could certainly pay a role in stealing some time away from him. I just wanted to highlight his name to remember for the season (drafts).

August 09, 2011
Votes: +1

Ryan Ma said:

... RE: Shirokov

Sorry brain fart...
August 09, 2011
Votes: +0

Isle B. said:

Isle B.
... Marco Sturm played himself off of two teams last season, while Burrows would have been a Conn Smythe candidate if the Nucks had won the Cup. Picking Sturm to replace Burrows on the Sedin line just doesn't make any sense.
August 09, 2011
Votes: +0

Doug said:

Nuck Chorris
... You say Raymonds production will take a bit of a hit but Raymond has a broken vertebrae in his back and is out way longer than Kesler will be (I think till Dec?)? I don't agree that Sturm will play with the Sedin's either as Burrows was exceptional with them for the past few years and Kes will be there on the PP when he recovers from hip surgery. Shirokov was traded to Florida then signed in the KHL-FYI
Other than that a great read,
-Nuck Chorris
August 09, 2011
Votes: +2

atk said:

Shirokov Traded to the Panthers - signed a three year deal w/ CSKA Moscow.
August 09, 2011
Votes: +2
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