Now that the 14-day week is over for some, there is a return to fantasy normalcy. “Between The Lines” returns with the best from the last week in fantasy hockey.
Jordan Eberle-Taylor Hall-Sam Gagner (Edmonton) – Yes two games can evidently make or break a fantasy week. If you want to really know, just ask Sam Gagner. Gagner had 12 points in the last seven days, including 11 in just four periods. Lost in the shuffle was Jordan Eberle who had seven points and Taylor Hall’s five points. The question is what happens to Gagner when Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is inserted back into the top line. It's bound to happen once he cools off. Please keep an eye on this because no amount of points can make up for the lack of a good second line in Edmonton.
Mikhail Grabovski-Clarke MacArthur-Nikolai Kulemin (Toronto) – This “second” line really deserves first line status. Their point totals are balanced, they play together frequently, and Toronto is relying more on them than the Joffrey Lupul-Phil Kessel duo. Yes Mikhail Grabovski only had five points but with second line ice time that looks more like six or seven points. Grabovski is your classic second half performer and the rest of the line will continue to ride the wave in Week 17.
Daniel Cleary-Darren Helm-Andrew Miller (Detroit) – It always seems to be those top two lines normally for Detroit but the reason why Detroit is so good is tertiary scoring. Daniel Cleary and Andrew Miller had four points each while Darren Helm scored three. When the two top lines get bottled up, this third line does have the talent to be a top producing trio some weeks. That is a luxury most teams do not enjoy. Expect more of the same in Week 17 as defenses continue to key hard on Detroit’s top six.
David Clarkson-Alexei Ponikarovsky-Dainius Zubrus (New Jersey) – New Jersey scored 15 goals in three games this week. David Clarkson and Dainius Zubrus had six points each in a week that saw them grab some of the headlines from guys like Ilya Kovalchuk and Zach Parise. Do not forget that Alexei Ponikarovsky had four points and makes this a very dangerous third line if it sticks. It did even though Adam Henrique returned yesterday, but other reinforcements could be on the way.
Sean Bergenheim-Marcel Goc-Mikael Samuelsson (Florida) – There is something about this line that suggests it could be kept together for awhile. Mikael Samuelsson has a new lease on life and it shows in Florida where his role has gradually increased. Samuelsson had a four point week with a very solid player like Sean Bergenheim feeding him. Their 42.3% EV frequency is very high but not surprising and in weeks going forward their PP frequency could go up also. This is a line to watch.
Lead Us Defenders……
Ryan Whitney-Cam Barker (Edmonton) – This may be one of the oddest weeks in fantasy hockey when Ryan Whitney has five points. Now a lot of that has to do with the Sam Gagner outburst but when Whitney is rolling, any defenseman that he is paired with has the potential to join in with him on the scoring. Cam Barker is finally healthy and could also benefit. Granted, Edmonton does not have the most consistent depth but Week 17 and beyond could be decent to good for Whitney owners.
Alex Goligoski-Stephane Robidas (Dallas) – The duo combined for four points which was good enough to tie for fantasy league best. Goligoski is a talent ladies and gentlemen and when this line was healthy earlier in the season they were dangerous fantasy wise. Dallas will not have an easy schedule ahead but this top defensive pairing is lumped with the top line in Dallas and that will pay some fantasy dividends. Expect a solid Week 17 from these two and good February numbers that could be at least a half point per game.
Luca Sbisa-Lubomir Visnovsky (Anaheim) – Luca Sbisa is gradually starting to develop into a pretty good assist producer for GM’s looking for a deep reach. Sbisa had three points last week and Lubomir Visnovsky chipped in with two. People forget that Visnovsky can produce at a 50-60 point clip and is completely 100% healthy. Sbisa is actually more of a complete package in the making than Visnovsky will ever be. Sbisa has a lot to learn but has seemed to be the one defenseman who has soaked in the much from the teachings of Coach Bruce Boudreau. February is looking up.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter @TheProgramBTR and fire away your questions. Thanks again and good luck this week.