Zach Parise is finally healthy and no one is happier than his linemates

As crazy as it sounds, the “Olympic Break” will be here in just days. The roster freeze, by the way, starts on Friday at 3pm ET. General managers may at least kick the desire on a new deal. Usually the effects can be felt almost right away. Meanwhile, the best goes on.. It is time to quickly go “Between The Lines”.


Forward March!


Phil Kessel-Tyler Bozak-James van Riemsdyk (Toronto) -- Phil Kessel’s Crosby-like run continues as he is averaging nearly two points a game over his last 14. Again, the last time I saw anything close was the 50 points in 25 games that Sidney Crosby pulled off. The bottom line is this trio is heavily relied on and they continued to deliver last week with 13 points when together. Kessel slowed down a hair to seven points while Van Riemsdyk chipped in five. Even with the shortened week, they are must starts with three games between now and Sochi.


Mikael Granlund-Zach Parise-Jason Pominville (Minnesota) -- The question for Minnesota is can they continue to keep it together? That answer, so far, is a resounding yes as the top line had tied for a league high 13 points while a trio in Week 18. The frequencies are off the charts as they are on the ice at 30.3% EV and a whopping 72.9% PP. Basically that works out to about 88 seconds for every two minute man advantage. The Wild close out the week at home against Nashville in what could be a higher scoring clash than people expect. Don’t sleep on tonight’s game either completely. Just to add, Zach Parise had eight points while Mikael Granlund dazzled with six. Temper the points expectations a bit but good things are expected down the road.


Jarome Iginla-David Krejci-Milan Lucic (Boston) -- Again this is one of those top lines that can seemingly dominate at will at times but just does not often enough. For me, this trip had 11 points yet I felt again, they might have been able to do even more damage with a schedule tailored to their strengths. On the bright side Boston plays Vancouver tonight. Then there is the downside where Zdeno Chara will not play the last two games before Sochi. That might have a slight ripple effect on fantasy production. It is an intriguing subplot to keep an eye on.


Defend This!


Mike Green-Dmitri Orlov (Washington) -- This is quite the high risk, moderately high reward duo when they are clicking. The problem is one never quite knows when the fantasy party will stop. Also, Green’s health is always a question but they led the way as a duo with five points in a relatively slow Week 18. They actually combined for 100% of their total points together which means to a point that Orlov is a bit dependent on Green while say a guy like John Carlson produced five points almost exclusively as a one man wrecking crew on Washington’s lethal power play unit. This pairing’s defense leaves much to be desired so I would still be very wary.


Victor Hedman-Sami Salo (Tampa Bay) -- So that rise of Victor Hedman up your fantasy rankings continues with a four point week. This is a player that can put it all together and yet is so young. The biggest thing is simply that Hedman is getting too near that 25:00 a night threshold which is a strong indicator of trust among his coaching staff in Tampa. That number will only continue to rise along with hits, blocks, points, shots on goal, etc. Hedman did get all of his points while his mentor (Salo) was on the ice with him but make no mistake the confidence rise in Hedman has been meteoric this season.


Zdeno Chara-Torey Krug (Boston) -- There is good news and bad news in this one. Last week they combined while paired for four points but seven overall. Then there’s the fact that Zdeno Chara will not be available until after the “Olympic Break” (flag bearer). However, what has been seen from them is enough to indicate that a mentor-student relationship is plenty profitable for fantasy owners. Roto wise this duo could be projected in the top ten for March and April which is fantasy hockey gold. Teams are sticking their best defensive forwards against these guys which again is an indication Chara is getting into a rhythm again.

As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW and thanks again for reading. Good luck this week as the fantasy hockey world heads toward the break. Do not fret next week there is the Olympics and a pool to enter.

Recently from Between the Lines:


Carolina's top line is making a case to stay together 
Toronto's Top Line is Fueling Their Win Streak 
The Isles are firing on all cylinders 
Colorado's line juggling is paying off 

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