Welcome to LCL where we take a somewhat weekly look around the league and any recent changes to line combos or power play set ups.
Today we'll look at the West with hope of getting to the East tomorrow. All statistics are for games up to Dec 12th, 2010.
The big line combo news out of Calgary was Matt Stajan's healthy scratch and Olli Jokinen taking his spot on the 1st line. No idea if this is going to stick (or if it would even matter to the enigma that is Jokinen) but it's an encouraging sign for Olli owners. [Check out this awesome gif featuring Jokinen] Olli picked up a goal in the game but is still on pace for only 34 points and a -18. Fugly stuff.
WIth Hossa and Kane out some young guys are getting a shot at scoring line minutes... like Jack Skille and Jeremy Morin. Skille has some decent seasons in the AHL but is more of a grinder than a scorer. Morin is a future stud. He's only 19 but if you're in a deep league he makes an good flyer. He's getting some PP time on the second unit (2:26 / gm last five games) and his PT has been up to the 14-15 minute level the last two contests.
With Nikita Filatov AHL bound all you Tom Sestito fans who were wondering when he would get a shot at a scoring line... wonder no longer. He even got a tiny bit of PP time. Desperate times in Columbus. Seriously though, you don't want Sestito anywhere near your fantasy team.
New acquisition Tomas Fleischmann is lining up with Duchene and Jones (or Hedjuk when he's healthy). He has four points in six game with the Avs (all four points came in the last four games). Expect Flash to play at a 50 or even 60 point pace for the rest of the season.
Same old story in Dallas. Who's the PP QB? Stephane Robidas (3:16), Matt Niskanen (3:08) and Philip Larsen (3:05) have all average more than 3 minutes per game over the last five but they have SEVEN forwards ahead of them on PP TOI depth charts. Very unusual a team runs with so many forwards on their PP. Robidas is having the best season so far (on pace for 34 pts/118 PIMs), Niskanen has zero points in his last 17 games but was on the 1st PP unit last game and Larson has only five games of NHL experience but has the most upside of the bunch. Really... I don't want any of them on my team.
Lots of talk about Linus Omark so far, but temper your expectations. Take a look at his linemates: Ryan O`Marra and Ryan Jones... Gretzky and Kurri they are not. He has been getting a bit of PP time on the 2nd unit (2 min / game) in his first two games but I would be very surprised if he plays above a 35 point pace the rest of the way, that is assuming he can even stay in the NHL.
Patrick O`Sullivan on a scoring line appears to be no more as the Wild are again trotting out Antti Miettinen with Koivu and Brunette. Miettnen has been getting good PP TOI lately but is still on pace for his normal ~45 points.
After a brutal start to the season Sergei Kostitsyn is on a nice little run (six points in five games). He's playing with Goc and Erat on Nashville's most potent line (that's not saying much though). Good flyer for very deep leagues.
We were pretty confident in predicting Wojtek Wolski would bounce back from his early struggles, after he was healthy scratched he picked up 9 points in 11 games and we thought all was good. Since then he's totaled just one point in seven games. He's not getting much PP time (tenth on team over last five games) and is on the third line with Lee Stempniak and Kyle Turris. Not good at all.
The Sharks have been playing the big three apart lately. Thornton and Heatley have been lining up with Torrey Mitchell and Patrick Marleau has been with Joe Pavelski and John McCarthy. Good news for Pavelski owners, bad news for Marleau owners. Although since Marleau has been so terrible this year (on pace for just 62 points and a -49) maybe the change will get him going. Although his zero points in his last five games say differently.
Also since we last checked in our boy Logan Couture has new linemates: Ryane Clowe and Benn Ferriero. The trio are showing more chemistry than a high school science class. Clowe has 10 points in the six games they've played together and Couture has eight. Somehow Ferriero has only managed two points over the same span.
With injuries to Oshie, Perron and MacDonald a few scoring line spots have opened up. Vladimir Sobotka & Matt D`Agostini are filling in but not doing much with it. They both have six points in their last 15 games. They also both have some decent AHL seasons under their belts but I just can't see them contributing enough to help any but the deepest of fantasy leaguers.
Bit of disappointing news as FHS favourite Patrik Berglund was playing on the third line for the last three games. STL is constantly shuffling the deck chairs so don't count on this lasting too long.
Mikael Samuelsson has been back on the second line lately but we're guessing that's just until Mason Raymond comes back from his injury. The other winger on that line is still Jeff Tambellini. Tambellini is playing at a 52 point pace this year after some pretty terrible years with the Islanders. Don't forget, he's had some big AHL numbers (like 76 points in 57 games in 2007-08) so maybe he's putting it all together.
As for Samuelsson don't give up on him yet. He still gets good PP time and these line combos can change quickly. He's on pace for 54 points which is just slightly below last year's pace.