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Top teammate point pairs to target in fantasy drafts

by Eric Goodman / NHL.com

Certain things are best enjoyed together. Like fine red wine and steak, or ice-cold milk and fresh-baked cookies, pairing up linemates and defensive counterparts for your fantasy hockey team can lead to great results.

Anaheim Ducks forwards Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf (55 team goals where each recorded a point) formed the NHL's most productive tandem in 2013-14, proof of how valuable the draft strategy of selecting successful pairings can be in fantasy. But because Perry and Getzlaf are being taken on average in the first round of Yahoo drafts this season, it's unlikely for fantasy owners to snag that duo.

The following list provides a guideline of which player combinations to target, but does not include teammates whose Yahoo average draft rounds (ADR) were in the same respective early rounds or in consecutive early rounds in snake drafts (e.g. Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn or Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane).

FANTASY HOCKEY ANALYSIS

The 2014-15 NHL season is drawing closer by the day, so NHL.com has you covered with all the fantasy hockey advice you'll need come draft day.

1. Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, Pittsburgh Penguins

Team goals in 2013-14: 48

ADR: Crosby - 1.1, Kunitz - 3.0

If you are lucky enough to draft Crosby with your first pick, consider taking Kunitz shortly after. While the even-strength scoring is the main draw here, this Pittsburgh pair also teamed up on 14 power-play goals in 2013-14. Each should be in the plus-20 range on even-strength goals this season and register shots on goal in the mid-200s.

2. Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals

Team goals: 42

ADR: Ovechkin - 1.1, Backstrom - 6.6

It's hard to pass on Ovechkin with a top first-round pick, considering he led the League with 51 goals this past season and consistently puts up 300-plus shots and 200-plus hits (a bonus if your league includes that category). Adding Backstrom in the mid-rounds will boost your power-play point status, as this Capital combination led the NHL with 24 team power-play goals last season. But your plus-minus numbers might take a hit as a result.

3. Anze Kopitar and Marian Gaborik, Los Angeles Kings

Team goals: 13 (in 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs)

ADR: Kopitar - 2.2, Gaborik - 7.9

Fresh off a Stanley Cup championship in which they combined for the most team playoff goals, Kopitar and Gaborik provide high-impact potential for your team in 2014-15. If you draft Kopitar early, don't wait until the seventh round for Gaborik or you might miss out on claiming this potent pair. If their success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs is any indication, these Kings can help you capture your league crown.

4. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek, Philadelphia Flyers

Team goals: 43

ADR: Giroux - 1.1, Voracek - 9.0

When looking to beef up your power-play numbers, you can't go wrong with drafting these two. Giroux combined with Voracek, as well as right wing Wayne Simmonds for 17 team power-play goals last season, so if you can't get Giroux in the first round, consider the other two Flyer forwards' high combined penalty-minute and point potential for a powerful one-two fantasy punch.

5. Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche

Team goals: 24

ADR: Mackinnon - 3.8, Landeskog - 5.8

The 2014 Calder Trophy winner, MacKinnon clicked with the 2012 Calder winner Landeskog during stretches where Landeskog's regular linemate Matt Duchene was injured last season, and the chance MacKinnon suffers a sophomore slump is small. The sky seems to be the limit for MacKinnon, so drafting him along with the equally-talented Landeskog should take your team to new heights.

6. Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks

Team goals: 32

ADR: D. Sedin - 6.4, H. Sedin - 7.4

No list on point pairings is complete without these Swedish twins. Henrik and Daniel had a rare off year under coach John Tortorella in 2013-14, but were in the top two of the NHL for team goals in the previous eight consecutive seasons. Although neither player is a tremendous goal-scoring threat, each will cover you in assists, power-play points, plus-minus and shots.

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7. Phil Kessel and James van Riemsdyk, Toronto Maple Leafs

Team goals: 41

ADR: Kessel - 2.1, van Riemsdyk - 6.3

This American duo will increase your point output and each can put up top-10 values in shots, so it's advised to draft them both if possible. If you're not desperate for a defenseman or goalie by rounds four or five, don't let the opportunity to pair these two Maple Leafs blow away.

8. P.K. Subban and Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens

Team goals: 17

ADR: Subban - 2.1, Markov - 12.8

Defensive partners should not be overlooked on draft day, especially when you can secure the League's team goal-leading defensemen from 2013-14. Subban should lead any owner's fantasy defense with solid numbers in assists, shots, power-play points and plus-minus, and can also help if you're in a hits league. And when Markov is drafted along with Subban, he can put your team over the edge with an average of 34.8 assists over his past five full seasons.

9. Andrew Ladd and Bryan Little, Winnipeg Jets

Team goals: 34

ADR: Ladd - 11.6, Little - 11.3

Besides forwards Dustin Byfuglien and Evander Kane, many Jets are overlooked in fantasy drafts. This can be an advantage for owners trying to employ the point-pairing strategy, as you may be able to stock up on a few of the top-tier teammates mentioned above and still score this tandem in the later rounds.

10. John Tavares and Kyle Okposo, New York Islanders

Team goals: 30

ADR: Tavares - 1.2, Okposo - 9.6

There was a time earlier in his career where Tavares was on an island for scoring, but he has been getting good support from Okposo recently. Each player has 30-goal, 40-assist and 200-shot potential, so if you choose Tavares with your first pick, adding Okposo to the mix in the later rounds is a good idea.

JUST MISSED: Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle (Edmonton Oilers), Milan Lucic and David Krejci (Boston Bruins), Mikko Koivu and Zach Parise (Minnesota Wild), David Backes and Paul Stastny (St. Louis Blues).

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