James Neal's suspension could be Pascal Dupuis' gain
It is another week closer to Christmas and apparently some line combinations have hit a rough patch while others just keep plugging away. The funnier thing is that a Toronto trio once again broke double digits. That top line was solid again but let’s see who else produced at a pretty good clip on this week’s edition of “Between The Lines”.
Lead Us Forwards
Nazem Kadri-Phil Kessel-James van Riemsdyk (Toronto) -- This line led the way with 11 points in Week 10. Not surprisingly, Kessel and van Riemsdyk both tallied five points each. It almost does not matter who centers this line as all the LW-RW combo needs is a server of the puck as they say. Basically the wingers are where it is at for consistent fantasy production and Philadelphia still has to be wondering where this was in van Riemsdyk’s game. Toronto may not win much but at least you can depend on their first line for fantasy happiness in Week 11.
Jamie Benn-Tyler Seguin-Valeri Nichushkin (Dallas) -- People need to start taking notice that Valeri Nichushkin has very much arrived. He had seven points during Week 10 including three in just a 62 second span that saw him and Tyler Seguin both have four point performances. Nichushkin was also a league leading plus-6. This line has shown flashes like this and they only seem to get more and more frequent as the season goes on. If you are an owner of one of these three players, one should expect more good things from this point forward.
Tuomo Ruutu-Jeff Skinner-Eric Staal (Carolina) -- Again, an outburst scoring wise seemed to get you near the top of the heap in Week 10. Carolina is relying on these guys heavily (49.2% EV, 67.3% PP). Those are heavy numbers, almost too heavy. Now the danger is obvious with this kind of heavy reliance (Toronto does this too) but what choice does Carolina have? That is the question. In the meantime, this line should see decent opportunities in Week 11. Could this line produce 8-10 points? It is a possibility.
Sidney Crosby-Chris Kunitz-James Neal (Pittsburgh) -- Ladies and gentlemen you will see Pascal Dupuis in this spot in Week 11 and a good part of Week 12 as James Neal was suspended five games for kneeing Brad Marchand Saturday in Boston. Crosby and Neal saw a ton of power play time (5:02 and 5:00 respectively). Chris Kunitz should be one of the power play minute hawks this week along with Evgeni Malkin, who returned Monday night. This line with Dupuis will do well for itself in Week 11 with nice games on the docket including NJ and CBJ for starters.
Erik Gudbranson-Dylan Olsen (Florida) -- WHO? It was a strange Week 10 fantasy hockey fans. What can I say? Florida has to play its youngsters and they topped the lists with seven points in the last seven days. Olsen managed four points with Gudbranson’s three points coming along with some solid category builders. These are young guys who will have more growing pains still (especially Olsen) but with Erik Gudbranson’s experiences, that might serve the pairing well. Temper expectations for Week 11 by all means.
Marco Scandella-Jared Spurgeon (Minnesota) -- WHAT? This was another duo who piled up seven points combined. Both players had four points each and were just a humongous surprise last week. Line production charts just seem to indicate that this pairing was sort of at the right place at the right time. Something tells me Ryan Suter will bounce back next week but Scandella and Spurgeon at least have to be kept an eye on.
Justin Faulk-Andrej Sekera (Carolina) -- Suddenly Andrej Sekera is a consistent player? Yes this is quite true. This duo found a way to five points when playing together and Sekera led all defensemen with a plus-5 rating. The other thing I like about Sekera’s game is he is brimming with confidence and that is having an impact on Justin Faulk, who is showing signs of improvement. Sekera had three points overall but Faulk was the pleasant surprise with four. Can this continue into Week 11? Out of the three duos, this one is the most likely to see their production at least continuing. They are a moderately strong play.
As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW and thanks again for reading. Good luck this week and enjoy your waiver wire shopping looking for those combinations!
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