One of the big factors that affects how your fantasy guns are firing is who they play with. So the objective of this feature is to give you a few names to think about.
With the help of the excellent Fantasy Hockey 911, we'll give you some players that are being significantly impacted by a change in their linemates... both good and bad.
Like we warned you last week... Zubrus' time on the top line didn't last. He's back down on the second line but there is this new player by the name of Ilya Kovalchuk playing to his left. With Patrick Elias on his other wing, Zubrus hasn't lost any talent with the 'demotion'... he's a decent FA add right now but don't expect him to keep his current pace (6 pts in 6 games) up.
Sticking with the Devils, check out the #1 PP unit they used in their last game... Parise, Zajac, Kovy, Elias and Andy Greene???? Which one of those doesn't belong? Greene's 25 points easily surpasses his puny career high (10 points) but we're still not big fans. He might make a decent 4th d-man in a points only league but when you're on PACE for 89 shots you don't get our check-of-approval.
J.T. was playing on the 3rd line for a little there but he's back up on line #1. He's still mired in a big slump (zero points, -6 in his last 6 games) but hopefully the line shuffling will get him going. A hot spell should get Tavares up over 50 points on the season so he's got some motivation. Robbie Schremp is the big loser as he's been dropped to the 3rd line and is now playing with Jon Sim and Trent Hunter... ouch.
He picked up his first two points with the Blueshirts this week, but he went scoreless in his two other games with the Rangers. We were expecting him to be lining up with Gaborik permanently but he's was centering Dubinsky and Callahan on the 2nd line in his last game. We like that 2nd unit but we can't see Torts leaving Erik Christensen as his #1 C. Expect Olli to be back up on #1 eventually.
Just more of a reminder here as Kunitz is back from injury and back on Sid's line. He's only been playing at a .65 ppg pace this season but last year in 20 games with Crosby and the Pens he put up a very tidy .90 ppg. Big loser with Kunitz coming back? Pascal Dupuis who drops from Malkin's line to the 4th.
Lucic was high on many draft lists... a 42 point/136 PIM season will have that effect. But you knew that Looch couldn't stick on the top unit with Marc Savard when he's produced only a stinky eight points in 26 games this year... including only one in his last ten games. He's down on the 4th line now but this doesn't sound like a slump he'll be busting out of quickly. Time to cut bait, unless you're in a keeper league. Don't go running to pick up Lucic's replacement, Daniel Paille. Savard is good, but he's no miracle worker.
There has been a lot written about this guy the last two weeks. He picked up his first goal as a Thrasher and better news yet... he's playing on the top line. Bad news: he's only getting 11-12 minutes a game. Still, Nik Antropov and Bryan Little aren't the worst linemates in the world. A decent flyer in very deep leagues.
Alex Tanguay / Ryan Malone
With only one point in his last seven games Malone's career year looks to be slowing down. The slump is one thing but now he's playing on the third line with Nate Thompson and Jeff Halpern. He's still getting PP time but we need him lining up with one of the big guns to recommend him. UFA bust Tanguay might be getting a second chance to earn his big contract as he's been lining up next to Lecavalier. That didn't work last time the Bolts tried it... no reason to think anything has changed.
Troy Brouwer / Dave Bolland / Patrick Sharp
With Bolland returning from injury lots of line shuffling in Chi-town. So here's the run-down. Bolland's on #2 with Hoss and Kopecky. Sharp is playing with Toews and Kane, and poor Brouwer goes from the two big dogs to Madden and Byfuglien. Knock Brouwer down a few pegs and move up Sharpie.
Niklas Hagman / Matt Stajan / Curtis Glencross
New players on the Flames means somebody else gets a chance to play with Iggy. Hagman and Stajan get the first crack and they are a definite upgrade for Iginla. GlenX moves down to the third unit... where he'll fit in much better. Stajan and Hags value stays constant for now, Glencross is an automatic drop.
Mikael Samuelsson / Alex Burrows
Not sure why the 'Nuck's made the move to promote Samuelsson to the Sedin line and move down Burrows to the 2nd line with Kesler and Raymond. Burrows has zero points in his last four games... but was crazy hot (26 points in 18 games) before that. Samuelsson has only one point in his last five... but was pretty hot (13 points in 15 games) before as well. We don't get it. Our bet is that Burrows will get back with the twins eventually.
Matt Beleskey / Jason Blake
Duck prospect Beleskey was playing with Getzlaf and Perry in the Duck's last contest. Not too shabby... until you see he has only one point in his last seven. Still if Gary Bettman was playing with those two we would consider recommending him. What about the newly acquired Jason Blake? The Ducks must have finally figured out he sucks as they moved him from the second line to the fourth line... even though he had a 1+1=2 game this week. Come on Duck's, don't you know you're dealing with a former 40 goal scorer?