Welcome to LCL where we take a look around the league and any recent changes to line combos or power play set ups. Since this is the first edition of the season we'll be focusing on early season surprises.
I'm using quite a few resources to put this post together. The guys over at FH911 are back doing this year and doing an amazing job already. Click on our Latest NHL Line Combo page for a complete listing of each team lines courtesy of FH911.
Click here to check our yesterday's Line Combo Look which featured the Western Conference. All statistics are for games up to Mon Oct 11th, 2011.
We wondered who would be lining up on the 2nd line at RW for the B's. Rich Peverley has won the job early but we might see some shuffling for Tyler Seguin (RW on #3) or Jordan Caron (healthy scratch).
Luke Adam has surprised everybody (including us and we love him) with four points in two games as the team's #1 C between Thomas Vanek and Jason Pominville. Derek Roy has been playing as the 2nd line center between Drew Stafford and Nathan Gerbe. That means Ville Leino is the third line center with Tyler Ennis and Brad Boyes. That's three pretty solid lines.
On the PP the TOI is a little more limited. Leino (11th on team), Ennis (12th) and Boyes (15th) are barely seeing any action with the man advantage. Leino and Ennis owners are no doubt holding their breath. Boyes owners? They should have known better.
The most heartbreaking thing I've seen this season is Zac Dalpe playing on the fourth line. Everything was pointing to my ROY pick playing alongside Eric Staal so I'm crushed. Chad LaRose is the guy who won the job so I'm hopeful Dalpe steps up and claims that spot quickly. The Canes have been trying a ton of different combinations up front so we'll see what shakes out.
Jamie McBain scored 30 points last year but has been a healthy scratch for the first three games of the season. The Canes are carrying nine d-men so expect them to sort this out shortly. Gotta think McBain will get in the mix soon.
Stephen Weiss is centering Tomas Fleischmann and Kris Versteeg on L1. With David Booth centering Scottie Upshall and Tomas Kopecky on L2. Sucks for Booth's owners as I had a feeling he might get back up over 50. That will be much tougher to do if these lines stick. He is still getting some nice PP TOI though.
With Andrei Markov and Chris Campoli hurt a few surprises have emerged on the blueline. Guess who is 2nd of all Hab blueliners in PP TOI... Raphael Diaz. He's not your regular rookie as he's 25 years old and has played a few years in the Swiss League. He's only of interest to those of you in very deep leagues though.
New Jersey Devils
We all knew is was going to happen but it still sucks to see Jacob Josefson centering Ilya Kovalchuk instead of Patrik Elias. Nick Palmieri is the third member of that group. At least Kovy is still getting a ton of PP time (leads team with a whopping 7:26 / game so far).
Adam Larsson has has been leading the d-men in PP TOI (by a mile) so far. He's averaged 6:04 / game and the next highest? Mark Fayne is at just 1:23 / game. Nothing to show for it yet, but if those numbers continue you have to think good things will happen soon.
New York Islanders
Nothing of note on the Island as they're rolling out pretty much the same lines as last year. As expected Brian Rolston is playing on the 3rd line at ES but on the point on the 1st PP with Mark Streit while Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald get 2nd unit time.
New York Rangers
One of the biggest fantasy questions of training camp was who was going to play with Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik. The answer looks to be Brandon Dubinsky, like we thought/hoped. With his PIM potential and linemates he could be a good one this season.
Not really liking Ryan Callahan's linemates though. Artem Anisimov is okay but Ruslan Fedotenko just isn't going to cut it for Cally owners. Maybe it will make them feel better to know that Callahan is 3rd on the team in PP TOI so far this season as he's been playing wing on the #1 PP unit.
In addition to Callahan, that #1 PP has Gaborik, Dubinsky, Richards... and Michael Del Zotto. He's second on the team so far in PP TOI. If he can stick there all year, expect some nice numbers.
1st round pick Mika Zibanejad was bumped down to the third line after one game on the 2nd unit. I think there's a good chance he's headed back overseas after nine games. Stephane Da Costa got the job instead and looked good scoring a goal against the Leafs on Saturday.
The other big stud prospect on the Sens, David Rundblad, has yet to see a second of NHL action. I was very apprehensive about his chances this year but I slowly came on board to the point where I was expecting a 30 point season. Not a good start but there is still lots of hope. He could suit up tonight against the Wild.
Can't believe how cheap Sergei Gonchar was going in leagues I was involved in. I'm not a huge fan of the guy but he's still a PP QB and has 40 point potential. He has averaged 5:54 PP TOI / game so far. Erik Karlsson is at 5:50... the next highest d-man is Filip Kuba at 1:25. Gee, you think they need another puck moving d-man (see Rundblad, David)
Scott Hartnell and his owners have been living off his linemates the last few years. That might change as he was playing on the 3rd line with rookies Sean Couturier and Matt Read the first two games. Love those two prospects but Briere and Leino they are not (not yet, anyway). Things could change with the Flyers as Couturier may need to get sent back to junior soon.
In the one game Evgeni Malkin played he was flanked by Steve Sullivan and James Neal. Nice news for owners of them. It will be interesting to see what happens with the wingers when (if) Sidney Crosby returns.
Who's the PP QB in Tampa? Well the early numbers say.... Eric Brewer? Wait, that can't be right. He does lead the team's d-men in PP TOI with 2:43 / game. Marc-Andre Bergeron is right behind at 2:41. What about last year's QB Brett Clark? Only and average of 35 second per game so far. This will be an important situation to keep your eye on.
We figured one of Nik Antropov or Alexander Burmistrov would be centering Cam's #1 breakout pick Evander Kane. Instead we got Kyle Wellwood. The other winger was rookie Mark Scheifele. Not a good sign when Kyle Wellwood is your #2C.
Antropov and Burmistrov played on the third unit with Brett MacLean. MacLean could be a nice target for those of you in deep leagues. I love that kid.