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Fantasy Pool Look: Impact of line combos

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

I’m the first to say that over-analyzing line combos to help make decisions on your fantasy squad is a silly idea. On that note, let’s analyze some line combos.

Actually, in all seriousness, I don’t use line combos for any long-term decisions on my league. They do help in rotisserie-style leagues with weekly or daily lineup changes, so here are a few that have caught my eye…

Mikael Samuelsson is the new Alex Burrows. While Burrows is a hardworking, hard-hitting 50- or 55-point player, Samuelsson is a third-line 50-point scorer who doesn’t look out of place on the second line. The twins, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, have clicked with Burrows and turned him into a 70-plus point player. For the last two games, however, they have lined up with Samuelsson and he has six points as a result. As long as this continues – could be one period or it could be for the duration – Samuelsson becomes a 70-point player. Burrows reverts back to 50-point production, although his penalty minutes will continue to be helpful…

Two lines that seem as though they will be a little more long-term take place in Colorado. Paul Stastny is clicking nicely with Chris Stewart and T.J. Galiardi. The latter has 12 points in his last 13 games, while Stewart and Stastny have combined for 33 in the last 10 (!!!). And that’s with an average age of just under 23. The Avs become even more lethal when you look at what the second line is doing now that Peter Mueller is in the mix. He and rookie Matt Duchene have combined for 12 points in five games since matching up. Veteran Milan Hejduk patrols the other wing…

In Calgary, the Flames are winning hockey games again and it’s on the strength of good goaltending and a first line that has finally gelled. When the Flames made all their moves prior to the Olympic break, Matt Stajan and Niklas Hagman were immediately thrust onto Jarome Iginla’s line. The trio looked decent in spurts, but the numbers weren’t there. Four games ago, Rene Bourque replaced Hagman and things really took off. Prior to being held off the scoresheet in a 2-0 win over Ottawa Thursday, Stajan, Iginla and Bourque had combined for 18 points in three contests. Stajan owners continue to strike gold…

The Leafs have a couple of good lines going as well. Tyler Bozak showed early chemistry with Phil Kessel and now that the team has opened up some ice time for the likes of Nikolai Kulemin, he seems like a new man. As the third member of the troika, he has shown persistence and plenty of poise. Since the trade deadline, the trio has combined for 13 points in five games, but has looked as though that number could easily be 20 or more. Another newly slapped together line pits Mikhail Grabovsky with rookies Luca Caputi and Viktor Stalberg. The trio has combined for eight points since Grabovsky’s return from a broken wrist two games ago…

Some of these line combos will certainly fluctuate in the coming weeks, but I think most will actually stay together for the duration – a rarity in this day and age. It’s not so much that any one player is boosting another player’s numbers (a big exception for Stajan, of course) as it is that all of these guys are playing well thanks to a comfort level achieved with great chemistry. It bodes well for their numbers down the stretch…

Farm Report:
Atlanta prospect Jeremy Morin has really made an impact in the eyes of poolies: He has 47 goals and 83 points in just 57 games for Kitchener of the Ontario League. He was a 2009 second round pick (45th overall), but had been playing for the U.S. National Under-18 team in the North American League – a much more difficult circuit for scouts to accurately peg what they are looking at. Now that he is in the CHL, it is clear what scouts are seeing – gold. Ranked 49th in The Hockey News Future Watch and 80th in my Fantasy Prospects List, Morin is rising quickly. He’ll get a long look in training camp, but is probably two years away from a spot. There is no question, however, that from a fantasy standpoint, he is Atlanta’s best prospect to own.

Darryl Dobbs’ Fantasy Pool Look is an in-depth presentation of player trends, injuries and much more as it pertains to rotisserie pool leagues. Get the edge in your league - check out the latest scoop every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the season. Also, get the top 300 roto-player rankings on the first of every month in THN’s Fantasy section.

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