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What's my line? And does it really matter?

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In eight games the Ottawa Senators have scored 13 even-strength goals. Their 5-on-5 scoring ratio (goals for vs. goals against) is better than only the Islanders' and would have to improve substantially to pass Phoenix at No. 28.

In other words, the Senators aren't getting it done.

So we'll see new lines Monday in Buffalo. Coach Craig Hartsburg's changes, per the Ottawa Sun:

Antoine Vermette -- Jason Spezza -- Dany Heatley

Nick Foligno -- Mike Fisher -- Daniel Alfredsson

Jarkko Ruutu -- Chris Kelly -- Chris Neil

On the surface the biggest winner here is the 19-percent owned Vermette, who many had pegged for a breakthrough after a 24-goal campaign in 2007-08. Through those eight sorry games, he has one goal, a minus-3 and hasn't made a dent in the power-play categories. That's not a breakthrough.

Playing with Spezza should help. But how much? And for how long?

The importance of line assignments is up for debate. Our friends over at recently weighed in with a list of do's and don't's when it comes to dealing with line pairings.

Hard to argue with most of the logic there. Running out and grabbing Vermette in standard or shallow formats doesn't make a ton of sense. Ottawa is just a week or so removed from a previous line overhaul, so there's no telling how long the above combos stick. And as Dobbs points out, power-play time is king in the modern NHL.

I'm watching with interest as a Vermette owner in a deeper league (we start four players per forward position). I'll see how things play out in standard formats (somewhat surprisingly, Vermette has been owned since Day 1 in the Friends & Family League).

What about the rest of you? How much importance do you put on line changes like these? How would you fix the Sens? Share your thoughts in the comments section after I sneak in the first post.


Image by Associated Press

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