Lining Up

by Jonathan Coretti

Which forward lines and defensive pairing are making news this week?

Lead us forwards.....

Matt Duchene – Mikhail Grigorenko – Nathan Mackinnon (Colorado)

He’s AAAaaalliivvee! Duchene has been on fire as of late with eight points in his last three games. Consequently, the Avalanche have won three straight. Mackinnon has had a rather productive season with 19 points in 17 games and all signs point towards a career best year. Grigorenko is the most interesting piece of this line. The former first round draft pick has had a rough start to his career but seems rejuvenated with the Avalanche after being traded by the Sabres. Grigorenko currently has a 2% ownership on Yahoo and can be a worthwhile add in deeper leagues. Keep an eye on this trio in the coming weeks. 

  • EV Strength Production = 7 points

Derrick Brassard – Rick Nash – Mats Zuccarello (New York)

Bad news for the Eastern Conference as this line has finally caught fire. Zuccarello has been nothing short of amazing as he has produced a point per game pace to start the season. The scary thing is Nash is still snake bitten with only two goals on the season. That is a far cry from the whopping 42 he posted last year. I expect Nash to end up at around 30 goals and that translates to a ton of assists for his line mates. If you own Zuccarello, STAND PAT. He will continue at this pace or regress a smidge for the rest of the season. Barring injury Zuccarello will have a career best year and flirt with the 70 point mark.

  • EV Strength Production = 11 points

Leon Draisaitl – Taylor Hall – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (Edmonton)

All is not bad in Edmonton. The Oilers surely miss Connor McDavid, however, this line has looked very promising. Draisaitl has been a pleasant surprise as he has managed to produce six points in his last three games. What is more impressive is that those games were on the road against fairly tough opposition with two of those games coming against the Kings and Ducks. The Oilers have to dig deep in the coming months and this line will be key to their success. If Edmonton can stay in the race until McDavid gets back, they will make the playoffs. The next few weeks will be critical for the Oilers and this line will be heavily leaned on to get some much needed wins as they currently sit last in the Western Conference.

  • EV Strength Production = 8 points

Artem Anisimov – Patrick Kane – Artemi Panarin (Chicago)

This line has been money in the bank. As I have said numerous times before, you could put anyone with Agent 88 and they will succeed. Panarin and Anisimov have had exceptional starts to the season and it looks like the Blackhawks finally have a staple second line. With all the spotlight being on Connor McDavid and his arch nemesis Jack Eichel… everyone has forgotten about Panarin. Well guess what? Panarin currently leads all rookies with 18 points on the season which is nine more than Eichel. With McDavid sidelined and this line clicking the way it has… we could see what would be a huge surprise in Panarin taking down the Calder Trophy.

  • EV Strength Production = 4 points
  • PP Production = 3 points

Defend this.....

Daniel Girardi – Ryan McDonagh (New York)

Ever since the acquisition of Keith Yandle, McDonagh has become somewhat of an afterthought. Over the past week Ryan has turned back the clock as he managed to post four points with three of those being goals. Normally I would say this is just a blip in production and to expect him to cool off, however, McDonagh has gotten some decent looks on the PP. In their last game versus Toronto, McDonagh actually played on the top PP unit as Yandle was dropped to the second. Keep an eye on McDonagh and his ice time going forward.

  • EV Production = 5 points

Mattias Ekholm – Ryan Ellis (Nashville)

Barret Jackman – Seth Jones (Nashville)

The Predators are getting a ton of production from their blue line. They quite possibly have the deepest blue line in the NHL and it makes you wonder how long they can keep this defensive core together. Best exemplifying the depth of the Predators D-core is the fact that neither Shea Weber nor Roman Josi appear on this list. Both of these pairings managed to produce five points at even strength. Ellis and Jones are definitely interesting plays in deeper league formats.

  • EV Strength Production = 5 points
  • EV Strength Production = 5 points

Jason Demers – Johnny Oduya (Dallas)

Over the past few weeks everyone has been running to the waiver wire to add any piece from the Stars roster as they have been EXPLOSIVE. This pairing managed to have a solid week and there has been a lot of buzz around Demers. If you want to read more about Jason, check out this Geek of the Week piece as Terry Campkin does a fantastic job analyzing him. I would recommend adding Demers in all formats if you need a 3-4 defenseman but something tells me he is long gone in your pool.

  • EV Strength Production = 6 points

Follow Jonathan Coretti on Twitter (@HolyPuckHockey)


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