Looking at some of the hot line combinations of the past week...
It was a crazy week full of injuries including a huge one in Ottawa, where Erik Karlsson is out for the season with a lacerated Achilles. The injury count is up over 100 and in a shortened season, these lines and pairings are tearing it up. Let’s go “Between The Lines”.
Brad Boyes-Matt Moulson-John Tavares (NY Islanders) -- We were not kidding when we said John Tavares is a superstar in this league and the shortened season is proving it true. Tavares had an eight point week as the Islanders first line piled up 19 points (Matt Moulson had four assists and seven points) while together which is a high for any seven day period this fantasy season. This line has been more consistent so far and with a favorable set of games this week, a very productive one is likely. It is nice when your star player has six goals in seven days.
Jiri Tlusty-Eric Staal-Alex Semin (Carolina) -- I warned people last week that this line can bring home the bacon. They had 12 points when paired together but the pleasant surprise was Jiri Tlusty, who had five goals and two assists in Week 4. Semin and Staal can be catalysts but if Tlusty can keep his head on straight he may have the ability to score 30 or even 40 goals in this league. The power forward ability is there but it has to be harnessed properly. So far it is working as Carolina has had a hot two weeks of it. The power play frequency is rising to near 40% with these guys but do expect a bit of a dip this week as the schedule stiffens.
Joel Ward-Eric Fehr-Mathieu Perrault (Washington) -- Honestly this trio had a 14 point week and teams like Florida should be ashamed of themselves. Yes Ward and Fehr are nice stories with the adversity that they overcame but to see each of these guys put up five points in a week when Alex Ovechkin is well playing average is a bit strange. There is a part of me that still says checking line with some pop. Do not expect this every week. Teams will funnel them outside and figure it out.
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Tyler Bozak-James Van Riemsdyk-Phil Kessel (Toronto) -- Here are these guys yet again as they continue to get top line frequency and more chemistry. Another week, another double digit (10 points). On the bright side, they managed to pile up the points together. The only bad thing is that the scoring starts to wane on weekends with these guys. It might be something to keep an eye on. At some point, the schedule may rear its ugly head but at least for now its Joffrey Lupul who?
Matt Duchene-Jamie McGinn-Pierre Parenteau (Colorado) -- The rebirth of Matt Duchene continues after a five point week. Yes he plays nearly 22:00 a night but this is a young player that truly can handle it. Pierre Parenteau and Jamie McGinn are complimentary parts. Considering they play together 43.2% at EV and 60% on the PP. With Colorado’s “first line” completely out, this has become line one. The fact that Duchene can still produce is a testament to his off season habits which improved greatly. I’d go yellow light here.
Lead Us Defenders…..
Lubomir Visnovsky-Mark Streit (NY Islanders) -- One could have inserted Brian Strait into this equation and pretty much developed the same result. The common link is Visnovsky and his ability to facilitate the man advantage on Long Island. Overall, he had four points this week and had chances for more. Week 5 and beyond looks pretty bullish no matter the pairing as long as the Islanders first line is clicking.
Dion Phaneuf-Cody Franson (Toronto) -- Maybe Dion Phaneuf is finally heading towards that form in Calgary where the defenseman was an absolute fantasy godsend. Memories of 60 points and nearly 200 PIMS dance in old fantasy veterans’ heads but a five point week and a physical presence was a bottom line that had owners feeling very good. Phaneuf is showing signs of being that five tool category filler once again. Let’s see what happens when adversity hits.
Joe Corvo-Jamie McBain (Carolina) -- This is Joe Corvo’s third stint and this week he turned back the clock with a five point week. The real issue with Corvo going forward is going to be can his offensive output overcome his defensive shortcomings. There is no doubt the points are still there but if he is a liability near the goalie, then he cannot justify being in the lineup. Jamie McBain may be the real gem in the long run.
As always you can follow @ChrisWasselTHW and fire away those questions. Good luck this week.