Toronto might be struggling but the top line is still producing
If you are still recovering a bit from the feast that was Thanksgiving and the weekend long Black Friday then we have a little fantasy advice for you. Now as we head into Week 10, line combinations constantly seem to be changing. Snap out of it and let’s go “Between The Lines” one more time.
Lead Us Forwards….
James Neal-Evgeni Malkin-Chris Kunitz-Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) -- So they did it again. Their four man unit generated 12 points together but combined for a whopping 28 points overall during Week 9. Even their schedule is still fairly conducive to offense as they play the New York Islanders on Tuesday. Honestly, as long as the power play clicks, they click. It really is that simple. People also forgot that Evgeni Malkin actually scored three goals to go along with James Neal’s four. Week 10 still looks quite promising.
Justin Abdelkader-Daniel Alfredsson-Darren Helm (Detroit) -- Apparently a dozen was enough but the biggest shocker may be the fact that Daniel Alfredsson had a whopping seven points. Between Darren Helm and Alfredsson, they tallied seven goals? Yes that actually happened. Usually the first line is the one that is closer to the top but this new second unit found a spark especially against the Islanders (then again who doesn’t lately?). Will the magic continue in Week 10? The first line may have something to say about that.
Tyler Bozak-Phil Kessel-James van Riemsdyk (Toronto) -- Sure their record has not been very good lately but they are chemistry personified on the ice with another double digit week. While Bozak and vanRiemsdyk had four points each, Phil Kessel only had three points. Most people would consider that a nice week but Kessel owners were grumbling. Their frequency numbers are literally not like most first lines at a whopping (46.2% EV, 65.9% PP). The problems with numbers that elevated is if they do not produce or give up lots of chances then there are issues. At least they get points.
Jussi Jokinen-Evgeni Malkin-James Neal (Pittsburgh) -- The Gustav Nyquist trio almost made it but alas the Pittsburgh boys found a way to eek their way onto our list once again. Even Dallas’s Ryan Garbutt had a nice line with ten points but the star power is just too much to pass up with their week to week potential. Plus the line production lifts Jussi Jokinen into relevance. Is he going to be a point a game player? That is likely a not quite. Again a promising Week 10 schedule is lined up so expect high chances for more points.
Andrei Markov-P.K. Subban (Montreal) -- It just seems that this duo always finds a way to end up at or near the top of the list. Markov and Subban had six points combined and the reality is Montreal just uses these guys mostly on the man advantage. That serves them very well. Their three points each was what I would like to call consistent production. While they may taper off a bit this week, they are always worth the start as far as your fantasy lineups. After all, one could do far worse.
Brent Seabrook-Duncan Keith (Chicago) -- They are on the ice for it seems like forever but when you eat up over ¾ of your team’s power play time as a pairing, points are bound to be a good consequence. Six points combined is just normal and solid. More importantly, their minutes and stat padding is what we always notice here on “Between The Lines”. It is why either one of these players is a D1 or D2 in your fantasy leagues. As long as they play the minutes, expect more of the same.
Andy Greene-Mark Fayne (New Jersey) -- There was that four goal outburst in Carolina Friday night which might have helped these numbers a little but their five points is nothing to sneeze at. When Andy Greene gets going, he has a way of collecting points. Greene wound up with five in all and the 25+ minutes a night is very important for fantasy owners who up until a couple weeks ago mostly forgot Greene existed. Every game for New Jersey seems to be an adventure so as they had a couple points on Monday, do not be surprised to see a couple more. Greene would be a third defenseman maybe a second in most fantasy leagues. Hey it is worth a shot.
As always you can follow me @ChrisWasselTHW and thanks again for reading. Good luck this week and enjoy your waiver wire shopping looking for those combinations!
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