Boston Bruins forward Milan Lucic is owned in 83 percent of Yahoo leagues, mostly by those not willing to part with a three-time 20-goal scorer who has played nowhere near how he has in seasons past, when he was a complete fantasy player who scored and ranked among the leaders in penalty minutes and hits.
This season, Lucic (left wing eligible) has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments; he has six goals and 14 assists in 41 games. No matter who his linemates have been, the numbers haven't been there.
But Wednesday could be a sign that is about to change.
Lucic had two assists in a 3-2 overtime win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and he seemed to be sparked playing with Patrice Bergeron and Daniel Paille. Although Lucic and Bergeron haven't played much together this season (they've been on the same line approximately 8 percent of the time), Lucic assisted on each of Bergeron's goals.
Lucic began the game playing with Reilly Smith and David Krejci before coach Claude Julien altered his lines late in the first period.
"He tried us together at the end of the first there, and it seemed to work," Lucic told NBCSN after the game. "Paille is a guy who plays [in] straight lines, and so do I. When you play with a Selke (Trophy) winner like Bergeron, it makes things real easy. We were able to create some chemistry quickly here."
Lucic also ranks in the top 10 in hits (10th with 122) and penalty minutes (tied for seventh with 69), so he's probably worth holding on to, especially if he remains on Bergeron's line.
"With the turn of the calendar year, I just wanted to start fresh and turn the page and kind of forget how the first half of the season has gone and just focus on getting my game going in the right direction with 41 games left," Lucic said.
- Calgary Flames forward Mikael Backlund (3 percent owned, C), returned to the lineup after missing the past 29 games because of an abdominal injury. Backlund played 17:54, including 3:33 on the power play, and had a shorthanded goal and an assist in a 3-2 loss against the Detroit Red Wings.
Backlund probably won't play as much (especially on the power play) when forward Jiri Hudler returns to the lineup. Hudler was a late scratch Wednesday because his wife was expected to deliver their first child. However, Backlund had four points in 11 games prior to Wednesday, and when healthy, he's a scorer. He had 18 goals and 39 points (11 on the power play) and 178 shots in 76 games last season.