Taking a look at some interesting line combos across the league...
There were some expected regressions in Week 2 for fantasy owners. Patrick Marleau did not post a 13-point week. However, Thomas Vanek kept rolling after being out with a slight injury. Officiating continues to be a major issue and some teams are having some unexpected struggles which has created a ripple effect for some fantasy owners. It is time to go “Between The Lines”.
Alex Semin-Eric Staal-Jiri Tlusty (Carolina) -- This is a trio we figured would be worth a look at before the season started. They combined for ten points this week and though Carolina as a team is reeling defensively. Offensively, they are not that bad which means fantasy opportunities. Tlusty seemed to bring the best out of Eric Staal last year and that duo has a nice second week. Add in Alex Semin and there is a pretty nice mix of talent and the ability to finish. Week 3 should be very interesting!
Marian Gaborik-Rick Nash-Brad Richards (NY Rangers) -- Again, they top the lists this week with ten points combined this time. The Rangers have decided to put most, if not, all their eggs in one basket which is great for fantasy owners of any one of these three. They play together pretty much in all situations so the benefits multiply when they play well. Watch how other teams match up against this line. Eventually some are going to figure them out.
Damien Brunner-Johan Franzen-Henrik Zetterberg (Detroit) -- It was going to be interesting to see which young players were going to make an impact on the Red Wings this season and Damien Brunner is the first one to leave his mark. He has complimented Henrik Zetterberg well and the line’s ten points this week is an indication of future success. Yes the line does not always play together on the power play as Pavel Datsyuk sneaks in from time to time but Zetterberg’s eight points mostly came from the help of the guys on his line. This is the top line in Detroit going forward, it seems.
Alex Galchenyuk-Brendan Gallagher-Brandon Prust (Montreal) -- This is one of those lines that is driven by a duo. Prust simply provides the muscle for Galchenyuk and Gallagher to do their work. It was obvious that Alex Galchenyuk was staying in Montreal. This production was not completely expected. The trio combined for eight points but Galchenyuk had six alone. As his ice time increases, his power play time should also. That may mean a little less for the line and a little more for the individual.
Sidney Crosby-Pascal Dupuis-Chris Kunitz (Pittsburgh) -- They had a big Sunday which is usually reserved for Evgeni Malkin but with the Kunitz hat trick, it put a nice bow on the week for this line who played nearly 36% of the overall time on even strength but less than 5% of the time on the power play. As everyone knows, it is Crosby that makes this line go but do not sell the other guys short. They mesh well with the Center and this week looks bullish too.
Lead Us Defenders……
Raphael Diaz-Andrei Markov (Montreal) -- These guys are still cranking out the points with seven combined this week. Diaz gets the assists and Markov the goals it seems. There was a hush over Montreal when Markov may have tweaked something yesterday but he only missed a few shifts. The bottom line is they play together nearly all the time and on the power play they are the reason why Montreal’s man advantage is so dangerous. They are a yellow light still with Markov’s injury history however.
Tobias Enstrom-Paul Postma (Winnipeg) -- Is there someone that could break up the fantasy love affair between Enstrom and Dustin Byfuglien? It is a good question as Paul Postma and Enstrom racked up six points while together. Byfuglien and Enstrom had a solid four points when paired. The splits are all over the place but on the man advantage, Postma had a very slight edge over Byfuglien (40.4 to 38.6). Consider that Postma normally plays with Grant Clitsome even strength but again this is a fluid situation. Will Postma have four points or anywhere close this week? Stay tuned.
Jack Johnson-James Wisniewski (Columbus) -- This is still a nutty pairing in the sense that defense may be optional here but fantasy production has been sweet so far. They racked up four points together this week and had nice weeks individually. Johnson played nearly 35:00 the other night when Wisniewski went down. The problem is with head injuries that well you never know. Keep a check on the status as this combo may be shelved for a bit.
As always you can follow @ChrisWasselTHW and fire away those questions. Good luck this week.