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Fantasy Hockey Scouts: Line Combo Look - Mar. 6, 2010

Line change 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.

This editionis particularly important as we have lots of new combos to talk about... thanks for that Trade Deadline.

Erik Christensen
He's playing on line 1A with Prospal and Callahan and had a big game before the break (2+1=3) and after (0+2=2).  He's also getting time on the top PP unit to boot.  He didn't score a point before Dec 30th (with the Ducks) but has 15 points with the Rangers since... he's not as bad as you think.

Leino,villeVille Leino
Leino has a great chance to make us forget he's been one of the biggest busts of the year with a strong finish.  He's lining up with Carter and Briere... much better linemates than he was seeing in Detroit.  He has one goal in two games with Philly but has the talent to bust out.

Ponikarovsky,alexeiAlex Ponikarovsky
He sat out his first two games with Pittsburgh so we don't know exactly where he'll be playing but our guess is alongside of Geno Malkin.  Pascal Dupuis will likely be bumped down to a checking role... for which he's better suited.  Everybody aboard the Poni Express.

Niclas Bergfors
Bergfors lost a lot of his early season shine with a brutal stretch in January (zero points in 17 games).  The trade to Atlanta resulted in a surprising 180 degree turn for Nic's season (six points in last six games).  He's playing on the top line with Antropov and Little and is seeing time on the top PP. 

Torres,raffiRaffi Torres
We're not as high as some are on Torres but he did split time with Jochen Hecht on the top unit (with Roy and Pominville) in his Sabres debut.  He picked up an assist in over 17 minutes of TOI (the first time he's had that many minutes since Jan 21st). 

Tyler Bozak
It's sad that Bozak is the best pivot the Leafs have but that doesn't mean he can't help those of you in very deep pools.  He's playing with the only two Leaf forwards with any real scoring talent (Phil Kessel and Nikolai Kulemin) and has produced decent numbers so far this year (12 points in 18 games).  He's even seeing time on the #1 PP unit.  Mikhail Grabovski is coming back from his broken wrist shortly, so things could change here.

Erik Cole
With the emergence of Jussi Jokinen, Cole lost his #1 line job a while ago.  Now he's been shuffled down to the third line... over Chad LaRose.  We were hopeful Cole would re-capture the magic he had with Staal back in 2005-07... not so much.  Chad LaRose has been seeing time on the 2nd line with rookie Brandon Sutter and Tuomo Ruutu.

Purcell,teddyTeddy Purcell
Talk about a great situation to succeed in... Ted has been lining up with Vinny and Malone since the Bolts acquired him.  He has one assist in one game... a much better pace than the six in 41 he put up for the Kings.  He has some good college & AHL seasons on his resume, so the potential is there.

Johan Franzen
With the Wings fully healthy it's a good time to look at their lines.  The Mule has been playing with Datsyuk and Holmstrom (until he gets hurt).  Zetterberg is between Jason Williams and Dan Cleary and Filppula is playing with Drew Miller and Bertuzzi.  A down tick for Bertuzzi and an uptick for Williams.  Holmstrom would be a great add if you think he can stay healthy the rest of the way.

Brad Boyes
While the Kariya-Backes-Oshie line has been cooking lately, Boyes has been seeing time on the third line.  He does have two goals in his last two games but before that he was pointless in eight games.  He'll get some PP time but it's going to be hard to produce when Jay McClement is your pivot at even strength.

Peter Mueller
He was drafted 8th overall in 2006 and picked up 54 points as an NHL rookie in 2007-08... since then it's been all bad news.  He's playing with Matt Duchene and Ryan Stoa so he has some quality to work with but we want to see some sustained production before we buy into the hype...a goal and an assist in his first two Colorado games is a good start.

Wolski,wojtekWojtek Wolski
Wo-Wo was on the first line for the 'Yotes and also the #1 PP in his first game.  He's going to get a lot more responsibility in Phoenix and he might be able to take the next step... or be a complete bust.  The other new Coyote, Lee Stempniak, was on the 3rd line the other night so don't expect him to reproduce his St. Louis days.