Welcome to LCL where we take a look around the league for recent changes to line combos or power play set ups.
I'm using quite a few resources to put this post together. FH911 (who power our Latest NHL Line Combo page) and Left Wing Lock are the two key ones. You should check them both out if you need some line combo info. Great, great stuff by both.
Today we'll look at the West... if you want to see the details on the East click here. All statistics are for games up to Fri Oct 29th, 2011.
The big five (Lubomir Visnovsky, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and Teemu Selanne) all have over 4:51 PP TOI / game this season. The next highest is Saku Koivu at just 2:08 / game.
One name missing from that list is Bobby Ryan. Many were expecting a huge season from Ryan but it's going to be pretty tough to top 70 or 80 points with just 1:56 / game of PP time. Want more bad news, Ryan owners? The last two games he's been playing on the second line with Koivu and Selanne.
With Ryan on the second line, Patrick Maroon has been lining up with Getzlaf and Perry. Don't go running to the wire for Maroon as he's been sent down to the AHL. We'll see who gets the plum assignment going forward.
In his last game Roman Horak played with Lee Stempniak and Rene Bourque for the majority of the game. He's been hot with four points in his last two games. If he can keep up this streak you have to think the team will eventually give him a shot with Iggy and Tanguay.
As a guy who is pretty heavily invested in Matt Duchene I'm dismayed to see who he's been playing with lately. The last two games his wingers have been Joakim Lindstrom and Chuck Kobasew. Gross.
Gabriel Landeskog is here to stay but that stay may be on the third line. He is on pace for 48 points but I think a breakout season will be hard to come by on that line and with the small amount of PP TOI he's been getting (ninth on team)
Rookie Ryan Johansen has been seeing time on the second line lately. He picked up his first three points of the season in his last three games. He has played seven game and could still be sent to junior before he hits game #10.
Loving Jamie Benn and his hot start (nine points in ten games), but I'm not loving the fact he's only played the ninth most PP time on the Stars.
I was wondering what the Oilers would go with a healthy Sam Gagner and if Ryan Nugent-Hopkins makes the team. Apparently the solution is to shift Gagner to the wing. He's playing with Eric Belanger and Magnus Paajarvi. Ryan Jones (who isn't know for offense) has a scoring line job currently so if Gagner gets going he could find himself in a better situation quickly.
Linus Omark has been a healthy scratch in each game since Gagner returned.
Corey Potter is doing what I hoped Cam Barker would. Potter has been the guy to step up and play big minutes on the PP (third on team so far) and has produced (five points on the PP and six overall). Those of you in deeper league should give Potter a look with hopes this streak continues.
Slava Voynov has averaged the 2nd most PP TOI on the team since his call-up. With Drew Doughty back any game it's looking like Voynov be heading back to the AHL.
Lots of line juggling going on lately but it looks like Mike Fisher will be centering a line of Craig Smith and Sergei Kostitsyn. With Martin Erat back soon things might get a little crowded up front.
Speaking of Craig Smith he's fourth on the team in PP TOI.
If you were hoping for a comeback from Niclas Bergfors it's not looking good. He's been manning the 4th line lately.
The Wild have been trying a ton of different wingers to get Dany Heatley and Mikko Koivu going... most recently Cal Clutterbuck. Clutterbuck is also getting a good chunk of PP TOI (fifth on team over last five games). If he could ever play at a 50 point pace he'd be a monster in leagues that count hits. Don't expect him to hang onto this spot for long as Guillaume Latendresse is back from injury and should grab one of the scoring line roles eventually.
Daymond Langkow was bumped down a few pegs last game as he was manning the 3rd line. Martin Hanzal moved up to #1 and Andy Miele took over the #2C duties. I don't expect Miele to hold onto that scoring line role for long.
San Jose Sharks
No recent changes
St. Louis Blues
Davis Payne shook his lines up three games ago and has stuck with the new combos since:
- On the top unit Vladimir Sobotka gets to line up with David Backes and Chris Stewart.
- T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund stick together but now Matt D`Agostini joins them.
- The 3rd line deserves a nickname like the Geriatric Express as oldtimers Alexander Steen, Jason Arnott and Jamie Langenbrunner having been playing together.
David Backes is averaging just the seventh most PP TOI on the team (2:07 min / game).
David Booth made his Canucks debut with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins. His quality of linemates at ES improves (even if Chris Higgins is one of them) but watch out for those PP minutes, they could drop considerably in Vancouver.
With Booth around don't expect to see Cody Hodgson on a scoring line anytime soon. He has played on the third line since Booth arrived.