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Line Combo Look: East - Stillman, Versteeg, Hamrlik...

Matt Carle must have some dirty, dirty pictures of the coaching staff
Matt Carle must have some dirty, dirty pictures of the coaching staff

Welcome to LCL where we take a look around the league and any recent changes to line combos or power play set ups.

I'm using quite a few resources to put this post together but, like always, I'm relying pretty heavily on FH911.  Click on our Latest NHL Line Combo page for a complete listing of each team lines.

Today we'll look at the East (click here for the West which was posted yesterday).  All statistics as of games played on Feb 27th, 2011.

Atlanta Thrashers

When Rich Peverley was traded, Nik Antropov got the job of centering Anthony Stewart and Evander Kane on the 2nd unit.  But last night he found himself on the 4th line and Tim Stapleton was on the 2nd.  Likely just a wake up call but not a good sign if you were hoping Antropov to turn his season around.  He has just two points in his last nine games and is on pace for a miserable 38 points (after 67 last year).

Blake Wheeler's PP TOI has more than doubled (2:51 with Thrashers, 1:07 with Bruins) since the trade.  Wheeler is a long shot to contribute for most leagues but I like him more on the Thrashers than I do on the Bruins since he'll get more of a shot.

Boston Bruins

Tomas Kaberle has been playing a lot on the PP since his arrival... leading the team in PP TOI the last four games.  He doesn't have much to show for it yet: no PPP and only one assist.

Buffalo Sabres

Tyler Ennis and Drew Stafford having been playing with Jochen Hecht the last three games after lining up with Tim Connolly.  I'm no Connolly fan but he's a much better option for Ennis/Stafford than Hecht is.  With Brad Boyes coming on board it will be interesting to see which of the scoring line guys gets bumped.  My guess is Hecht goes and Ennis slides over to center.

Carolina Hurricanes

New addition Cory Stillman was playing on the top line with Eric Staal and Erik Cole... until Staal went down with his injury.  If Staal can come back quick, Stillman might actually be useful in some fantasy leagues.  Until Staal returns, it looks like we'll see Jeff Skinner between Stillman and Cole.  Still better than the scrubs the 37-year-old Stillman was playing with in Florida.

Florida Panthers

With no Bryan McCabe and a full bill of health, expect to see Dmitry Kulikov to get more of an opportunity on the PP (not that the Panthers have a very good one).  He's played 2:24 / game with the man advantage so far this year...  I could see that rising by a minute.

Montreal Canadiens

Roman Hamrlik has been playing a ton on the PP lately.  He leads the team in PP TOI the last five and has eight points in his last seven games.  He's on pace for 39 points and 90 PIM's... that came out of nowhere.

With Michael Cammalleri returning from injury Andrei Kostitsyn returns to the 4th line (playing with Lars Eller).  If I were AK47 I would be pretty offended that Jeff Halpern (on pace for just 30 points) gets a spot on the top unit and I'm stuck on L4.

New Jersey Devils

This is pretty old news but it's been awhile since we did a LCL so... Brian Rolston has pulled himself off the scrap heap and is now playing on the 2nd line with Danius Zubrus and Patrik Elias.  He's also played more on the PP than anybody not named Kovalchuk the last five games.  Remarkable.  Is he married to Lemaire's daughter or something?  He's got 18 points in his last 21 games (although only two in his last five).

Mark Fayne is the leading d-man in PP TOI lately but that says more about the state of the Devil's offensive blueliners (i.e. they doesn't exist) than it does about Fayne's potential.

Ottawa Senators

Take a look at the Sens 2nd line from Saturday night: Nick Foligno, Zack Smith & Marek Svatos.  I think I just threw up a little in my mouth.  The only Sens forward I can see that might be bringing a bit of upside is Bobby Butler (who's playing on L1 and getting a ton of PP time lately).

With Sergei Gonchar out Filip Kuba has stepped up.  He's played a team leading 4:49 PP TOI / game the last five and has three PPP over that span (he had only two the rest of the year).  They might be showcasing him for a trade but he's much better than the 13 point, minus-38 point pace he's on.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers have tried pretty much every possible arrangement of their forwards the last six games before settling back to their old standard on Saturday night.  Looks like they are trying to mix things up... keep that in mind if your own Flyers.  We'll let you know when/if things settle down.

The last five games Matt Carle has played more on the PP than anybody on the Flyers.  Yes this is still the same Matt Carle that has only 1 PPP in 62 games this year.  With Chris Pronger back, expect those minutes to fall dramatically.

We told you this was going to happen... Kris Versteeg is playing barely at all on the PP in Philly.  He's averaged only 42 seconds per game with the man advantaged (after averaging well over 3 minutes with the Leafs).  I really wouldn't expect much from this guy down the stretch.  He has one empty net goal and one assist in seven games with the Flyers.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pens have managed to scrap together a decent 1st line with James Neal, Jordan Staal and Alex Kovalev.  After that it's pretty ugly.  Until Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz return I wouldn't expect too many high scoring games in the 'Burgh.

#3, 4 and 6 on the Pens in PP TOI the last five games are Tyler Kennedy, Brett Sterling and Matt Cooke.  You don't want anything to do with those three... I was just showing you another example of how rough things have gotten in Pittsburgh.