This week Between The Lines takes a look at potential Olympic line combinations

The “Olympic Break” is here at last. Now comes an event that stirs up the most intense nationalism. In two of the last three Olympics, Canada has outlasted the United States to win gold but both teams flamed out in Torino in 2006. So, what happens in Sochi this time around? That is the question. What could some lines look like? Now that is something that is in our wheelhouse. I have been consulting back and forth with quite a few experts -- Brock Seguin (Daily Faceoff), Michael Clifford (FantasyTrade411), Neil Parker (The Fake Hockey) and so many others. Let’s try to take a look at the US and Canada and then spotlight a few lines quickly from the European countries.

Team USA:

It was tough to try and guess these so keep in mind that this can change at any time. However these are the lines that seem to be a relative consensus among the fantasy hockey community.

Here are the forward lines (not in any particular order):

Brown-Kesler Kane

van Riemsdyk-Pavelski-Kessel


The defensive pairings…..




Now if you want to guess power play projections, I would rather wait on those. However I am actually quite intrigued by the Parise line combination. Though the James van Riemsdyk-Phil Kessel duo has instant chemistry, I still think the David Backes-T.J. Oshie duo will be stronger with a puck pursuit wizard like Parise. That is the line I have my spotlight on with Parise, Kane, and Kessel being my top fantasy producers. For the defense, John Carlson is my wildcard only because on the international stage, he has come up big before.

Next up is Canada ladies and gentlemen.

Team Canada:

This is the one team that seems to have had its lines in order from the beginning. Canada is the favorite to repeat as gold medalists even without Steven Stamkos. That is how good they are. Also, their team of “snubs” would have medaled according to some projections out there. Now the projected lines…..

The forward lines….

Kunitz-Crosby-St. Louis




The defensive duos…..




The gamble is always trying to figure out what defensive duos can come up big on the man advantage and then penalty kill. Martin St. Louis could be anywhere from the 13th forward to the first line with Crosby and Kunitz. For now, he makes most sense on that first line as it creates an intriguing dynamic. Surprisingly, Sidney Crosby may be among the point leaders but not the point leader. That honor may belong to Corey Perry or Ryan Getzlaf. It just depends on how the minutes play out as they say.

Canada has what looks like a fantasy hockey expert’s dream to select from as far as players. It is almost not fair. The reality is it comes down to chemistry and can they mesh. If everything goes smoothly, quite a few of your top fantasy producers will come from Canada. After all the only foreseeable weaknesses from Canada may be goaltending and team defensive lapses.

Hello Europe:

So from this standpoint, the European countries offer some extremely intriguing line combinations. What will happen from Europe? Needless to say the ultimate gold medalists may be from Sweden so do not be surprised. Certain countries just have these fantasy possibilities that I could not turn my eyes away from. Here are a few.

Forwards from abroad……

Landeskog-Zetterberg-Steen (SWE)

Ovechkin-Malkin-Semin (RUS)

Elias-Plekanec-Jagr (CZE)

Granlund-Barkov-Ruutu (FIN)

Defensemen  Across The Pond….

Ekman-Larsson-Carlson (SWE)

Markov-Voynov (RUS)

Maatta-Timonen (FIN)

There is going to be a little controversy now and then but the goal of projecting lines abroad was done with a strict eye toward skill sets could easily complement the best. The question for readers is who would you have as some of your best or favorite line combinations. Let us have it because after all, the men’s hockey starts on Wednesday.

As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW. Good luck in your fantasy hockey box pools and who knows, maybe there will be a look at some of the best come next week. Thanks for reading.

Recently from Between The Lines:


Zach Parise's return has boosted the Wild's Top Line 
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 

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TimCallahan said:

... Finnish coaching has confirmed that teams #1 line will be Granlund-Barkov-Selanne. The oldest hockey player in the Olympic games (43years) will be centered by the youngset (18 years)...
February 11, 2014
Votes: +1

Username said:

... Why would Canada split up Pietrangelo and Bouwmeester? Their perceived chemistry is the reason Bouwmeester made the team to begin with.
February 11, 2014
Votes: +3
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