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Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Line Combo Look

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For players to produce the big time numbers... they need two things:

  1. Time on the power play
  2. A first or second line job

Rocky Bonanno from NHL.com broke down almost all of the team's line combos in this article for NHL.com (you should definitely read it before you draft this weekend). 

We'll take a tour through the league and see which players will be manning those valuable scoring line jobs this coming season.

ANAHEIM

Ryan

- The Duck's didn't make NHL.com's list... we're not sure if that's a good or bad thing.
- Things should be pretty set with Ryan Getzlaf centering Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan on the 1st and Joffrey Lupul, Saku Koivu and Teemu Selanne on the 2nd.
FHS Take: With old injury prone guys like Koivu and Selanne in the lineup it shouldn't take too long to see FHS-favourite Andrew Ebbett get a chance on a scoring line.

ATLANTA
- Bryan Little is playing on the 1st line with Ilya Kovalchuk and Nik Antropov.
Rich Peverley and Maxim Afinogenov are battling it out for the 2nd line RW job.  Todd White has somehow managed to hold onto a scoring job so far as he's been centering Slava Kozlov and Peverly/Afinogenov
FHS Take: Little looks like a great sleeper if he can stick with Antropov and Kovalchuk all season

BOSTON
- Michael Ryder, Blake Wheeler, Chuck Kobasew, Marco Sturm and Mark Recchi will all get a spot to fill in for Phil Kessel as the #1 RW and play with Milan Lucic and Marc Savard.
- David Krejci looks to be the 2nd line center with Patrice Bergeron on the 3rd.
FHS Take: We like Wheeler or Sturm to step up and take the job.  With already one young guy on the line the Bruins would be wise to go with Sturm

BUFFALO
- Another team not on NHL.com's list most likely because we'll be seeing similar lines to last year's: Tim Connolly, Jason Pominville and Clarke MacArthur on line #1 and Drew Stafford, Derek Roy and Thomas Vanek on the 2nd line.
FHS Take: Ruff tends to keep Roy & Stafford together and Pommer & Connolly, but you'll probably see Vanek jump around and maybe Nate Gerbe can scrap his way into the mix.

CALGARY

Dawes

- David Moss took the recently demoted Mikael Backlund's spot on the 1st line with Jarome Iginla and Olli Jokinen.
- Daymond Langkow has been centering the second line with Rene Bourque and Nigel Dawes.
FHS Take: We're hoping Dawes or Bourque gets a chance on the 1st unit but whoever wins the job get a huge bump.

CAROLINA
- Look for Eric Staal to center Tuomo Ruutu and Erik Cole on the 1st line and Matt Cullen will have Ray Whitney and Sergei Samsonov on the 2nd.
FHS Take: Same old story here... but it will be interesting to see what Cole can do in a whole season with Staal as his pivot again.

CHICAGO
- Until Marian Hossa returns the Hawks look to be experimenting with a few combos but the 1st unit should have both Patrick Kane and Jon Toews on it (probably with Kris Versteeg)
- The 2nd line could be Patrick Sharp with Tomas Kopecky and Dustin Byfuglien
FHS Take:
It's pretty much business as usual here... at least until Hossa comes back

COLUMBUS
- The 1st line of Rick Nash, Kristian Huselius and Derick Brassard is really clicking
- The 2nd line could be Antoine Vermette, Jakub Voracek and RJ Umberger...
FHS Take: With Nikita Filatov knocking on the door and Umberger knocked up, we can't see Filly staying on the checking line for long.

HensickCOLORADO
- Expect a lot of tinkering through the year as there isn't enough talent for two full scoring lines on this team... we guess that's why NHL.com didn't want to discuss their lines.
- Paul Stastny and Milan Hedjuk will stick together on the top unit the third member will probably be TJ Hensick or Wojtek Wolski.
- On the 2nd line look for Wolski/Hensick, Marek Svatos and David Jones.
FHS Take:
Matt Duchene could be the 3rd line center but we could see him getting some time on a scoring line at some point.

DALLAS
- The line of Brad Richards, James Neal and Loui Eriksson is looking great together
- The 3rd line should be Mike Modano, Steve Ott and Jamie Benn or Fabian Brunnstrom
FHS Take: No word on the top line in the article but from the process of elimination we're assuming it's Brenden Morrow, Mike Ribeiro and Jere Lehtinen.  We could see big years from Neal and Eriksson if those lines stick.

DETROIT
- Bad news Ville Leino fans... coach Mike Babcock has said that Hank Zetterberg will be playing with Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary when the season begins.
- Pavel Datsyuk is still with Johan Franzen and Tomas Holmstrom (until Homer gets injured) on the 1st unit
FHS Take: It looks like Leino and Valtteri Filppula will be with Jason Williams on the 3rd unit... so drop all three down a peg.  We think eventually we'll see Bertuzzi on a checking line and with a Holmstrom injury things could change quickly in Detroit.

EDMONTON
- Patrick O'Sullivan might get the first crack to be the LW on the 1st line with Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky.
FHS Take: With too many pivots around (Comrie, Gagner, Cogliano) somebody has to move to the wing... we would guess it would be Comrie.  Leaving Gagner as the 2nd line C and Cog's on the 3rd unit (unless he moves to wing as well).

FrolikFLORIDA
- The terribly named 'Sunshine Express' will continue to shinas David Booth, Stephen Weiss and Nathan Horton have looked good again this preseason.
- The 2nd line will be Steve Reinprecht, potential breakout Michael Frolik and Cory Stillman.
FHS Take: Don't forget about Michal Repik... one injury (we're looking at you Stillman) and he could get a scoring line job

LOS ANGELES
- Ryan Smyth looks to have found a home with Anze Kopitar and Justin Williams. 
- The 2nd line will be interesting with Teddy Purcell and Dustin Brown flanking Jarret Stoll, which leaves Alex Frolov on the 3rd unit.
FHS Take: Justin Williams could surprise a few people this year... if he stays healthy. 

MINNESOTA
- Early on it looked like Mikko Koivu would be seeing Marty Havlat and Andrew Brunette on his line but Havlat had a great game last week with Benoit Pouliot and Petr Sykora
FHS Take: When this team struggles to score (and they will) the Wild will put Havlat and Koivu together.  Sykora, Antti Miettinen and Pierre-Marc Bouchard would then be the second unit.

MONTREAL
- Max Pacioretty was looking good on the top line with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta until a minor UBI knocked him out of the lineup.
- Mike Cammalleri would then be on the second line with Tomas Plekanec and Andrei Kostitsyn.
FHS Take:
 Lots of pressure from the media to put the three newcomers together (Gomez, Gionta, Cammalleri) but the guy to watch is whoever wins the last scoring line job... and Pacioretty looks to have the early lead.

ArnottNASHVILLE
- Same top unit as last year (Jason Arnott with Steve Sullivan and JP Dumont) but there could be change on the 2nd line as we think prized rookie Colin Wilson has a chance to unseat an underwhelming Dave Legwand and take over between Martin Erat and Joel Ward.
FHS Take: We think Nashville is going to have a lot of trouble scoring this year... great situation for Wilson to step up though.

NEW JERSEY
- The good news is Jacques Lemaire has no intention of breaking up Zach Parise, Travis Zajac and Jamie Langenbrunner.
FHS Take: Question marks all over the rest of this lineup... especially with Patrik Elias injured. 

NEW YORK RANGERS
- Sounds like Brandon Dubinsky will be given a shot to center Marian Gaborik and Vaclav Prospal
FHS Take: That means Chris Drury would be centering Chris Higgins and Ryan Callahan.  Big time boost in value for Dubie if this holds true.

NEW YORK ISLANDERS
- John Tavares lined up with Sean Bergenheim and Doug Weight in his first game but both left with groin issues. 
FHS Take: With Kyle Okposo also injured it's tough to get a read on what the Isles plans are this coming season.  We do know one thing, they'll still suck... just not as much as last year.

ReginOTTAWA SENATORS
- A good camp from rookie Peter Regin appears to have thrown a wrench into fantasy pundits expectations as Regin has been centering Mike Fisher and Alex Kovalev on the 2nd line.
- The 1st unit will have Jason Spezza with Daniel Alfredsson and Milan Michalek.
- Which leaves Jon Cheechoo, Nick Foligno and Ryan Shannon on the 3rd line.
FHS Take: Bad news for Cheechoo and Foligno as both were rumoured to be candidates for the top line.  Michalek's value goes up as does Regin's. 

PHILADELPHIA
- The Flyers apparently have too many good players and are going to be rolling out three solid scoring lines.  Mike Richards and Simon Gagne will play on the top unit, Scott Hartnell and Jeff Carter will be on the 2nd line and Danny Briere and Claude Giroux will be on the third. 
- The Flyers look to fill the gaps on each line with Ian Laperriere, Mika Pyorala and James van Riemsdyk on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd lines, respectively.
FHS Take: Do the Flyers have some firepower or what?  Looks like there aren't many bad places to play in this lineup but remember that there are only so many minutes in a game, so some (the third line) might get less chances than you would like.

PHOENIX
- Another team that wasn't discussed by NHL.com... maybe Bettman has put a gag order on any Coyotes talk until the court case is over?  Newcomer Matt Lombardi could end up centering Shane Doan and Radim Vrbata on the 1st line.  The 2nd unit will likely see Scottie Upshall, Peter Mueller and Mikkel Boedker.
FHS Take:
We know Dave Tippett is trying to rally the troops but we don't think there is enough talent here to get you excited come draft day.

PITTSBURGH
- Sid the Kid with Bill Guerin and Chris Kunitz on line 1A.
- Evgeni Malkin with Rusty Fedotenko and Tyler Kennedy on line 1B.
FHS Take: We like Kunitz' chances at a big breakout this year... don't forget he picked up 16 points in 18 games on Crosby's wing last year.

SetoguchiSAN JOSE
- Dany Heatley, Joe Thornton and Devin Setoguchi are your 1st line and are three guys you want to own.
- A strong 2nd unit with Joe Pavelski centering Patrick Marleau and Ryane Clowe.
FHS Take:
All six of these guys will be valuable in almost all fantasy circles.

ST. LOUIS
- Looks like the #1 line could be Brad Boyes, Andy McDonald and power forward David Backes.
- Some tweaking going on in the other lines but it's looking like we could see Keith Tkachuk, David Perron and Paul Kariya on the 2nd line and TJ Oshie, Brad Winchester and Patrik Berglund.
FHS Take: Oshie and Berglund are going to find it tough to improve on last year's totals playing on the third line.  Perron and Backes will get moved up on our cheatsheets.

TAMPA BAY
- The 2nd line of Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Ryan Malone looks set.
- Vinny Lecavalier and Alex Tanguay are looking for a RW for their line and it's going to be one of Steve Downie, Martins Karsums, Stephane Veilleux and maybe Dana Tyrell
FHS Take: We like Karsums or Downie for the plum job but Rick Tocchet has praised the work Veilleux has been doing.  Ideally the Bolts won't have to pick any one of these guys for their 1st line.

TORONTO
- Once his shoulder heals Phil Kessel will go from Marc Savard to most likely Matt Stajan... that'll hurt the old fantast value.  Jason Blake will man the other wing on the 1st line.
- On the 2nd line, Mikhail Grabovski, Alex Ponikarovsky and Nikolai Kulemin will man the 2nd line.
FHS Take: Kessel's value drops significantly but he'll still be valuable as the go-to guy in Toronto.  Not much else to like here.

VANCOUVER

Hodgson

- The 1st line will have the Sedin twins, obviously, but who will be their RW this year?  Alex Burrows, Mikael Samuelsson and Sergei Shirokov are in the running.  The losers of the battle get a checking line role.
- The 2nd line could have Cody Hodgson (if he cracks the roster) in the middle with Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra (when he's healthy) on the wings
FHS Take: We like Burrows to win the 1st line job... he was just too good the 2nd half of last year not to win it.  Lots of potential here: Shirokov, Samuelsson, Burrows, Hodgson and Kesler all have a possibility of breaking out this season.

WASHINGTON
- The 1st line will be Alex Ovechkin, Nick Backstrom and either Mike Knuble or Alex Semin.
- Whoever isn't on the 1st line out of Knuble and Semin will join Brendan Morrison and Brooks Laich or Tomas Fleischmann (when he recovers) on the 2nd.
FHS Take: We can't see the Caps keeping Semin, Ovie and Backstrom together all season so don't worry... Knuble should get his chance on the top line.