MORE FANTASY COVERAGE: Pacioretty trade spin | First line rankings | Power plays
OFFSEASON LINE TRENDS:
-- The Vegas Golden Knights acquired left wing Max Pacioretty on Monday, immediately boosting their second line into the top 10 rankings. During the past five seasons with Montreal, the most productive center on Pacioretty's line was Tomas Plekanec in 2015-16 (54 points). Pacioretty, 29, will likely start the season on the second line with Paul Stastny, who thrived with wings Nikolaj Ehlers and Patrik Laine last season for the Winnipeg Jets. Stastny had 28 points in 34 games (0.82 points per game), his best production since 2009-10 (0.97). Forward Alex Tuch captured the second-line right wing spot in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs and has sneaky upside with exposure to Pacioretty.
-- After St. Louis Blues coach Mike Yeo said he will start center Ryan O'Reilly on a line with right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, NHL.com has projected the duo of left wing Jaden Schwartz and center Brayden Schenn to stick together on the second line with versatile right wing Alexander Steen. Wing David Perron is another second-line option, but fantasy owners should be aware that St. Louis could change up its top six early and often to find the right combinations, especially with O'Reilly being the second-line center for his two most recent teams.
-- The Pittsburgh Penguins forward group is arguably the deepest in the NHL with two top-tier players, Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, on the second line. Even if the Penguins choose to spread the wealth by putting Patric Hornqvist with Malkin and keeping Kessel on the third line with center Derick Brassard (like in 2018 playoffs), their top-nine forwards should all be fantasy relevant throughout the season.
Video: PIT@PHI, Gm3: Malkin rips one-timer in on power play
-- The Washington Capitals finally have the pressure off after winning their first Stanley Cup championship. The forward group should benefit from this breakthrough, specifically their second line from the postseason of center Nicklas Backstrom with wings Jakub Vrana and T.J. Oshie. Vrana, 22, could see more playing time under new coach Todd Reirden and should be considered a fantasy sleeper this season.
-- The Philadelphia Flyers added to their already deep forward group by signing left wing James van Riemsdyk to a five-year contract July 1. The 29-year-old led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 36 goals despite playing mostly on the third line (14:54 per game) last season. The second line will see a boost in fantasy value from van Riemsdyk, including center Nolan Patrick (No. 2 pick in 2017 NHL Draft), who is worth reaching for in late rounds.
Video: Van Riemsdyk talks about signing with the Flyers
-- The Winnipeg Jets second line will look different without Stastny who signed a three-year contract with the Vegas Golden Knights on July 1. Jack Roslovic or Bryan Little is expected to take that spot between wings Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers, making each fantasy relevant entering the season. Roslovic had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 31 games last season and is one of the top deep sleeper candidates for this season.
SECOND LINE RANKINGS FOR 2018-19
These rankings have taken into account NHL.com fantasy top 250 rank, recent production in standard Yahoo categories (goals, assists, plus/minus, power-play points, shots on goal, hits), line stability or fluctuation from previous season(s), team scoring distribution and injury risk or contract status of any individual player(s).
1. Pittsburgh Penguins: Hagelin -- Malkin -- Kessel/Hornqvist
2. Toronto Maple Leafs: Marleau -- Matthews -- Nylander*
3. Winnipeg Jets: Ehlers -- Roslovic/Little -- Laine*
4. Philadelphia Flyers: van Riemsdyk -- Patrick -- Voracek/Simmonds**
5. Florida Panthers: Huberdeau -- Trocheck -- Hoffman**
6. Washington Capitals: Vrana -- Backstrom -- Oshie
7. San Jose Sharks: Hertl -- Couture -- Meier
8. Tampa Bay Lightning: Palat -- Point -- T. Johnson
9. Los Angeles Kings: Pearson -- Carter -- Toffoli
10. Vegas Golden Knights: Pacioretty -- Stastny -- Tuch**
11. St. Louis Blues: Schwartz -- Schenn -- Steen
12. Calgary Flames: Tkachuk -- Backlund -- Lindholm/Frolik**
13. Minnesota Wild: Parise -- Koivu -- Granlund
14. Nashville Predators: Fiala -- Turris -- C. Smith/Tolvanen*
15. Boston Bruins: DeBrusk -- Krejci -- Heinen/Bjork
16. Edmonton Oilers: Lucic -- Draisaitl -- Puljujarvi
17. Carolina Hurricanes: Foegele -- Necas/J. Staal -- Svechnikov**
18. Chicago Blackhawks: Saad -- Toews -- Sikura*
19. Columbus Blue Jackets: Foligno -- Wennberg -- Bjorkstrand
20. Anaheim Ducks: Cogliano -- Henrique -- Silfverberg/Kase*
21. New York Islanders: Beauvillier -- Nelson -- Bailey*
22. Dallas Stars: Janmark -- Spezza -- Nichushkin**
23. Vancouver Canucks: Eriksson -- Sutter -- Pettersson**
24. Arizona Coyotes: Perlini -- Galchenyuk -- Hinostroza/Fischer**
25. New York Rangers: Namestnikov -- Chytil/Andersson -- Zuccarello*
26. Buffalo Sabres: Sheary -- Mittelstadt -- Okposo*
27. Colorado Avalanche: Andrighetto -- Jost -- Kerfoot*
28. New Jersey Devils: Johansson -- Zajac -- Palmieri*
29. Detroit Red Wings: Vanek -- Nielsen -- Nyquist**
30. Montreal Canadiens: Tatar -- Danault/Kotkaniemi -- Lehkonen**
31. Ottawa Senators: Dzingel/Boedker -- White -- Ryan*
* indicates a line combination that was either not used frequently in past season(s) or involves a player who dealt with injury, spent time in the American Hockey League or played most of the season in juniors.
** indicates a projected line involving either a player who has changed teams this offseason, joined the NHL from a different league or was selected in the 2018 NHL Draft.