A player on the right line can be a fantasy owner's dream.
A great example is Mike Knuble, who enjoyed playing with Joe Thornton last NHL season, and now sees plenty of ice time alongside Peter Forsberg.
Conversely, a player who gets stuck with so-so linemates can be an owner's nightmare (i.e. Glen Murray, who went from being a solid 85-point player to a 65-point guy when Boston gave up the aforementioned Thornton in the San Jose trade).
One of the hottest lines going right now is New Jersey's Â“EGGÂ” line, reformed when Patrik Elias returned to the lineup. Elias, along with Scott Gomez and Brian Gionta, has put up some big numbers since his return.
Another big line is the one formed in San Jose when coach Ron Wilson found the perfect left winger to play alongside Thornton and Jonathan Cheechoo. The lottery winner? Nils Ekman. After seven points in 29 games - with a few healthy scratches thrown in the mix - Ekman has put up some impressive numbers (eleven points in his last six games, including back-to-back four point nights last week against Colorado and Columbus).
Ekman, Thornton and Cheechoo have combined for eight goals and 22 points in three games.
Another line that's really heating up? How about Columbus' Sergei Fedorov-Rick Nash-Nik Zherdev? This troika has garnered 11 points in two games and has effectively turned around Fedorov's miserable season, in which he had just nine points in 27 games.
The above player make up some of the NHL's hottest line combinations, but in today's NHL one must also consider lines that are put together solely for power plays.
Over in Atlanta, Marian Hossa normally lines up with Vyacheslav Kozlov and Patrik Stefan, but when the Thrashers have the man advantage, he sees time with Marc Savard and Ilya Kovalchuk. This combo has, in part, led to a Thrasher being named the NHL's offensive player of the week for two straight weeks (Kovalchuk this week and Hossa the week prior). The Hossa-Kovalchuk-Savard line has 25 points in the last five games.
I'll close this segment with a mention of what is going on in Pittsburgh. Ziggy Palffy and Sidney Crosby are currently playing a regular shift with Tomas Surovy (another Â“lottery winnerÂ”). However, on the PP they have been lining up with either Mark Recchi or Michel Ouellet. Any one of Ouellet, Recchi, or Surovy is worth pickups in rotisserie leaguesÂ…
Chicago's Rene Bourque was scratched last game after going pointless in nine. Tuomo Ruutu's latest injury will put him back in the lineupÂ…
The New York Islanders looked as if they made some nice signings, after Â“stealingÂ” Alexei Zhitnik and Miroslav Satan from the Sabres via unrestricted free agency. Zhitnik was having a comeback season with 23 points in 30 games, and Satan was putting up typical numbers with 25 points in 32 games.
My, how things change in three weeks.
Zhitnik is pointless in 11, and Satan has but three in his last nine. Zhitnik will still have a solid 40-point year on the Island, but Satan may drop to a level he has not seen in seven years. He is on pace for 56 pointsÂ…
Injuries, from a fantasy pool perspective: Florida's Anthony Stewart (wrist) is expected to be in game shape next week. He will likely return to the San Antonio Rampage of the American League, as the Panthers are as healthy as they have been in awhileÂ…Philadelphia's Joni Pitkanen is targeting a Jan. 18 return from his torn abdominal muscleÂ…
Farm Report: New Jersey prospect Aleksander Suglobov has compiled eight points in his last five games for Albany of the AHL. The 23-year-old should be on the big club next season, and projects as a solid second liner with an upside of around 70 pointsÂ…Pavel Brendl, recently traded to the Coyotes from the Hurricanes, has five points in his last three games for his new team (San Antonio of the AHL). Brendl was having a horrible season with Carolina's farm team in Lowell (13 in 25). The 24-year-old has just a couple of years left to make any kind of impact in the NHL.
Fantasy Hockey 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 Friday afternoon. Also find the top 250 roto-player rankings at the first of every month (email me for the rankings).
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