Welcome to Line Combo Look, where we take a somewhat weekly look around the league at any recent changes to line combos or power play set ups.
Today we'll look at the West (click here for the East). All statistics are for games up to Jan 28th, 2011.
After trying pretty much everybody on the Toews/Kane line it looks like the Hawks have settled on Troy Brouwer as he's played the last seven games there (he's picked up six point over that span). With Brouwer on the top line Tomas Kopecky has been centering Hossa and Sharp for the same seven games on L2 (also picking up six points). Neither one of Brouwer or Kopecky sees a ton of PP time so their upside is limited.
Just a heads up because this guys is always underrated... Patrick Sharp is leading the Hawks in in PP TOI and PP points with 21 (tied for 12th in the league).
Ryan Stoa was called up to take Jones' old spot on with Stastny and Hejduk (Yip played on this line for one game as well). He has two points in his last two games but after a so-so AHL campaign (28 points in 44 games) we're not putting a lot of faith in him.
It's been well documented, but just in case you missed it... Fedor Tyutin and Grant Clitsome have been manning the points on the #1 PP in Columbus. They are first and second in Columbus for PP TOI over the last five games and both are hot (Tyutin has 10 points in his last 10 games) and Clitsome has six in his last six. I'd rather own Tyutin but both are worth a start in deeper leagues... just don't expect those paces to continue.
We don't like the look of this. One of our big breakout calls, Jamie Benn, has been bumped from the 2nd to the 3rd line seven games ago. Since he's so good it didn't really slow his production (nine points in last seven games) but this still isn't good news. He's currently suffering from a shoulder injury and will miss a few more games after the break.
The guy replacing Benn on L2 is Jamie Langenbrunner. In the six games since he got the promotion he has four points. We definitely recommend him more if he can keep his 2nd line job but we can't see him outperforming Benn in that spot.
Patrick Eaves played the last four games on Zetteberg's wing. He has two points in those four games but with Datysuk back soon, Eaves could be back on the third line very quickly.
Jiri Hudler has played the last 15 games on L2 and has been getting some good PP time as well. What's the result? 12 points in those 15 games. Not too shabby. Definitely worth an add in deeper leagues if he's still hanging around your waiver wire. I'm kicking myself I didn't pick him up in the 2nd Half Draft.
Shawn Horcoff is back and playing with Taylor Hall and Dustin Penner. He has three points in four games since returning from his knee injury. I'd be surprised if he plays over a 50 point pace... you should be able to find a better C on your wire.
Andrei Loktionov was recalled by the Kings and has spent the past four games on Anze Kopitar's wing. He has only one point so far but with 31 points in 31 AHL games this year there is some upside here.
Let's talk about Joel Ward. The good news: he has been getting more PP time lately (4th on team over the last five games)and he has seven points in his last nine games. The bad news: he has only three PPP all year and is playing on the 3rd line. If that info is helpful, you have one deep league.
Kyle Turris has played the last two games with Shane Doan and Scottie Upshall and has three points in those matchups. He played over 18 minutes in the 2nd game so maybe he'll get a bit more responsibility down the stretch? He's got some nice upside but is a bit of a longshot.
T.J. Oshie has been playing the WING (the emphasis is for Yahoo! who still think he's still a C) on a line with Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Sobotka. We like Berglund and all but we were hoping Oshie would be playing on the top line. Bit disapppointing but Oshie will find a way.
Speaking of that 1st line... David Backes, Alexander Steen and Brad Boyes were lining up alongside each other for a few games until Boyes got bumped to the third line in favour of B.J. Crombeen. With Andy McDonald coming back (hopefully) soon these lines could be seeing a lot of shuffling over the next few weeks.
Back to Steen... he's leads the team in PP TOI by a large margin but is only tied for sixth on the team with a pathetic six PPP (the team lead is suprisingly Berglund with 10). The Blues are 26th in the league in PP%.
With Ryane Clowe out, the Sharks have been rolling out lines of: Patrick Marleau, Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski on L1 and Dany Heatley, Logan Couture & Devin Setoguchi on L2 the last couple of games. Once Clowe comes back we'd expect Seto to get the bounce and the remaining six shuffled around until the Sharks find a combination that works.
The Nucks have been mixing up their second line. Jeff Tambellini and Sergei Shirokov got a shot but the last two games Mason Raymond & Mikael Samuelsson have been lining up with Ryan Kesler. Raymond and Samuelsson have been big disappointments this year as they are well down on their productions from last year. They each have two points in their two games with Kesler so we'll see if this is the start of a hot streak.