Fantasy forwards: Lines with late staying power

Tuesday, 01.26.2016 / 12:00 PM
Pete Jensen  - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Less than one week into the 2015-16 season, I wrote about new lines with staying power. Each of the three featured lines has no more than one elite player and has been a driving force of fantasy success as we approach the NHL All-Star break.

Hart Trophy favorite Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks holds a 15-point lead in the NHL scoring race playing with top-scoring rookie Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. Rookie Dylan Larkin, a 2016 Honda NHL All-Star Game selection, has spent most of the season on the Detroit Red Wings’ top line with Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader. And although Max Domi has been skating with Martin Hanzal lately for the Arizona Coyotes, a good chunk of his rookie success has come with Mikkel Boedker and Antoine Vermette as linemates.

So, on a similar note, here's the big question: Which lines around the League can stick together and be fantasy difference-makers down the stretch? Here are some lines with no more than one elite player that have shown chemistry and could translate to consistent fantasy success over the final 30 or more games of the season:

Jakob Silfverberg - Ryan Kesler - Andrew Cogliano, Anaheim Ducks

David Perron has points in each of his three games since joining the Ducks, but the trade that brought him to Anaheim has prompted coach Bruce Boudreau to juggle his lines in an effort to spark depth scoring. Perron is playing alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Stewart, Corey Perry has been with Patrick Maroon and Rickard Rakell, and Silfverberg is with Kesler (his frequent linemate) and Cogliano. Silfverberg (LW/RW, 12 percent owned) is 10th in the League in scoring since Jan. 8 with nine points (three goals, six assists); he has 29 shots on goal and four multipoint performances in that seven-game stretch. Prior to that, Silfverberg had six points in his first 39 games, an enormous step back from his strong production alongside Kesler in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Kesler (C/RW, 62 percent owned) has six goals and three assists in 10 games since Jan. 1, and his renewed chemistry with Silfverberg is a huge reason Anaheim is 9-3-1 in its past 13 games. Kesler should be owned in most shallow leagues, while Silfverberg deserves consideration in deep formats. Cogliano, C/LW/RW and one percent owned in Yahoo, has points in four of his past five games.

David Pastrnak - David Krejci - Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins

The Czech Republic connection of Krejci and Pastrnak had sleeper potential entering the season prior to injuries derailing their upside. But, with each healthy, there's plenty of time left for them to build chemistry leading up to the playoffs. Pastrnak, 19, missed time with injury and has played 16 games this season, but he's been dynamite since returning to the lineup Jan. 8, with three goals, two assists and a plus-2 rating in seven games. He played just 10:19 against the Philadelphia Flyers on Monday, though. Krejci, who has 35 points in 38 games, returned Jan. 21 and had a hand with Eriksson on Pastrnak's goal Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Eriksson has 39 points (12 on the power play) and a plus-11 rating through 48 games in what has been his best season with the Bruins. These three players on a line together could be gold down the stretch. Pastrnak (LW/RW in Yahoo) is there for the taking at 23 percent owned.

Chris KreiderDerek Stepan - J.T. Miller, New York Rangers

Speaking of injuries, Stepan missed 10 games this season with broken ribs but has a chance to turn his fortunes around playing between Kreider and Miller. Prior to the Rangers' loss against the Ottawa Senators on Sunday, Stepan had at least a point in four straight games and 10 SOG in that stretch. Kreider, who is back in the top six for New York after a third-line stint, also has a recent four-game point streak, with three of the games coinciding with Stepan's run. Finally, four of Miller's 12 goals this season have come in his past five games, featuring an eight-SOG performance against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 19. With Rick Nash out a second straight game because of a lower-body bone bruise, Miller played with Derick Brassard and Mats Zuccarello on Monday against the Buffalo Sabres. However, given the proven chemistry of Zuccarello, Brassard and Nash, these two lines could stick once Nash returns and carry over past the All-Star break. Though Kreider's ownership is high (62 percent), Stepan (42 percent) and Miller (nine percent) are readily available.

Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau, Colorado Avalanche

We've touched on Soderberg's emergence a few times in our daily fantasy value picks articles, and he was mentioned again Monday in Sean McCullen's piece on the All-Star team of unsung fantasy heroes. Even with all this hype, Soderberg is owned in just 36 percent of Yahoo leagues. Soderberg, playing between physical, underrated forwards in Landeskog and Comeau, leads Colorado (yes, he has more points than Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon) with 25 points (seven on the power play) in 31 games since Nov. 21, and he sees plenty of time on the Avalanche's top man-advantage unit. Duchene's season has turned around since playing with MacKinnon, so expect those forwards to stick together for the long haul as long as Alex Tanguay can stay healthy.


TRENDING UP

Shane Doan, LW/RW, Arizona Coyotes

You wouldn't believe who's tied with Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals for the NHL lead in goals since Dec. 22. It's Shane Doan (11 in 16 games), despite the fact that he's playing on Arizona's third line with Jordan Martinook and Brad Richardson. He’s 39 years old and as refreshing a story of longevity as you’ll ever see as the surprising Coyotes target a postseason spot in the Pacific Division. He's averaging a point per game and is plus-10 during his hot stretch, with five points coming on the power play. He has healthy totals in SOG (92), penalty minutes (54) and hits (70) through 39 games but is 43 percent owned. Is this degree of production sustainable for the long haul? Doubtful, but he's covering all six standard categories and should not be underestimated in the fantasy realm.

TRENDING DOWN

Zach Parise, LW, Minnesota Wild

Time is running out for Parise to make up lost ground for fantasy owners. He's on pace for 51 points in 73 games, which is not nearly enough to justify the 28th pick on average in Yahoo leagues. He missed time in November because of injury but has now been back for an extended period with little to show for it. He had a hat trick Jan. 5 but has two power-play points in his past 19 games. He has one point and a minus-7 rating in his past seven games, and is now back with Mikael Granlund and Jason Pominville after a bunch of line-shuffling in the past month. Fantasy owners should not sell low on Parise because it won't bring back proper return. Hold out hope he keeps up his shot volume (3.5 per game, T-11th in NHL) and finishes strong. If you're able to buy low on his services, you could come away with a steal for the final 34 games of the season.

KEEP AN EYE ON

Joseph Blandisi, C, New Jersey Devils

Blandisi was recalled from Albany of the American Hockey League earlier in the month and has been productive in a top-six role playing mostly with breakout forward Kyle Palmieri and Travis Zajac. He has one goal and five assists in seven games, with a power-play point in back-to-back games. His shot volume in that span (nine) is low, but he has six PIMs and 11 hits in that span, and has given the Devils offense a much-needed boost. He could gain wing eligibility over time if he sticks on that second line and should be added to deep-league watch lists to see if he's able to sustain productivity past the All-Star break.

WORTH NOTING

-- With Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sidelined, Connor McDavid's return from a fractured left clavicle can't come soon enough for the Edmonton Oilers and fantasy owners. Leon Draisaitl, still with Taylor Hall on the top line, has come around with five points in his past seven games after going 14 games without a goal, but the same cannot be said for the rest of Edmonton’s offense. Jordan Eberle has one point in his past six games, and complementary players Nail Yakupov and Benoit Pouliot have fallen off the fantasy grid. McDavid (C, 91 percent owned in Yahoo) has been cleared for full contact, so look to swing a deal for the No. 1 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft before he returns following the All-Star break.

-- Carl Hagelin (LW, 18 percent owned) has been effective on a line with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel since joining the Pittsburgh Penguins. Though he's not seeing much power-play time, he's getting points at even strength and becoming fantasy relevant. Read more in this Fantasy Spin from Sunday.

-- Mark Scheifele (C, 49 percent owned) is expected to return Tuesday for the Winnipeg Jets after missing time because of a lower-body injury. With Bryan Little and Mathieu Perreault banged up, it's not a bad idea to add Scheifele, who could reunite with Blake Wheeler on the Jets' top line.


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