Recently, Wysh discussed the powerhouse line of Alexander Semin(notes)-Nicklas Backstrom-Alexander Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals along with a few other top lines around the National Hockey League. But what about the rest of the league? How do some of the top lines compare to one another?
For this Puck Daddy experiment, we used the amazing "Line Combination" tracker from Dobber Hockey, which charts the lines for every team and how often they are played together. It's incredibly resourceful for fantasy purposes as well as a great tool for stat geeks everywhere.
After the jump, we break down the top two lines* from all 30 NHL teams into a five-tier system much like ESPN's Bill Simmons uses with his NFL power rankings.
*Note: In these rankings we used the top two lines by their frequency together, which, according to Dobber, the percentages "represent on-ice line occurrences compiled from NHL play-by-play events." This is why there might be some notable name omissions; Patrick Kane(notes) and Evgeni Malkin(notes) might pop out right away. Some of the lines may be temporarily scrambled by coaches. Also, the lines are not ranked within their individual tiers.
THE BEST OF THE BEST
Bobby Ryan(notes)-Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf(notes), Anaheim Ducks
Daniel Alfredsson(notes)-Milan Michalek-Jason Spezza(notes), Ottawa Senators
Dany Heatley(notes)-Devin Setoguchi-Joe Thornton(notes), San Jose Sharks
Alex Burrows(notes)-Daniel Sedin-Henrik Sedin(notes), Vancouver Canucks
Alexander Semin-Nicklas Backstrom(notes)-Alexander Ovechkin, Washington Capitals
Tied for third in the best line poll from the other day, the Ryan-Perry-Getzlaf line is a developing powerhouse line that features the two stalwarts in Corey Perry(notes) and Ryan Getzlaf along with the budding star Bobby Ryan who broke out in his first full season in the NHL last year. The trio combined for 88 goals (31 on the power-play) and 220 points, leading Anaheim to an upset of the No. 1 San Jose Sharks in the first-round of the playoffs last season.
Keep in mind that we're talking about these lines at full power; right now, Semin's been dropped down to the second line and Daniel Sedin(notes) is out a month with a broken foot.
THE ALWAYS DANGEROUS
Jamie Langenbrunner(notes)-Zach Parise-Travis Zajac(notes), New Jersey Devils
Nik Antropov(notes)-Ilya Kovalchuk-Bryan Little(notes), Atlanta Thrashers
Milan Lucic(notes)-Marc Savard-Marco Sturm(notes), Boston Bruins
Jarome Iginla(notes)-Olli Jokinen-David Moss(notes), Calgary Flames
Mike Cammalleri-Brian Gionta(notes)-Scott Gomez, Montreal Canadiens
Patrick Sharp(notes)-Jonathan Toews-Kris Versteeg(notes), Chicago Blackhawks
Derick Brassard(notes)-Kristian Huselius-Rick Nash(notes), Columbus Blue Jackets
Loui Erikkson-James Neal(notes)-Brad Richards, Dallas Stars
Pavel Datsyuk(notes)-Johan Franzen-Tomas Holmstrom(notes), Detroit Red Wings
David Booth(notes)-Nathan Horton-Stephen Weiss(notes), Florida Panthers
Anze Kopitar(notes)-Ryan Smyth-Justin Williams(notes), Los Angeles Kings
Andrew Brunette(notes)-Martin Havlat-Mikko Koivu(notes), Minnesota Wild
Brandon Dubinsky(notes)-Marian Gaborik-Vaclav Prospal(notes), New York Rangers
Daniel Briere-Jeff Carter(notes)-Scott Hartnell, Philadelphia Flyers
Sidney Crosby(notes)-Bill Guerin-Chris Kunitz(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
Ryan Clowe-Patrick Marleau(notes)-Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Brad Boyes(notes)-Paul Kariya-Keith Tkachuk(notes), St. Louis Blues
Ryan Malone(notes)-Martin St. Louis-Steven Stamkos(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning
It's the grizzled veteran surrounded by the two kids. For whatever reason, the line of Zach Parise(notes)-Jamie Langenbrunner-Travis Zajac works for New Jersey and it's no wonder all three are coming off career seasons. Painted as a defensive-minded team forever, Zach Parise is the man if the Devils are looking for a goal and if the chemistry the three built last season can be found again, they will lead the way offensively for New Jersey.
Milan Hejduk(notes)-Paul Stastny-Wojtek Wolski(notes), Colorado Avalanche
Saku Koivu(notes)-Joffrey Lupul-Teemu Selanne(notes), Anaheim Ducks
Tuomo Ruutu(notes)-Sergei Samsonov-Eric Staal(notes), Carolina Hurricanes
Jamie Benn(notes)-Brendan Morrow-Mike Ribeiro(notes), Dallas Stars
Todd Bertuzzi(notes)-Dan Cleary-Henrik Zetterberg(notes), Detroit Red Wings
Alex Hemsky-Shawn Horcoff(notes)-J.F. Jacques, Edmonton Oilers
Dustin Brown(notes)-Teddy Purcell-Jarret Stoll(notes), Los Angeles Kings
Jason Arnott(notes)-Patric Hornqvist-Steve Sullivan(notes), Nashville Predators
Ryan Callahan(notes)-Chris Drury-Chris Higgins, New York Rangers
Mike Fisher(notes)-Nick Foligno-Alex Kovalev(notes), Ottawa Senators
Ryan Kesler(notes)-Mikael Samuelsson-Sergei Shirokov(notes), Vancouver Canucks
Someone's going to have to score goals for Colorado as they can't rely on Darcy Tucker(notes) to contend for the Rocket Richard Trophy. The line of Milan Hejduk-Paul Stastny(notes)-Wojtek Wolski will be the one and only offensive unit that will pose a threat to defenses over the course of this season. It's another veteran partnered with two youngsters trio that seems to work and will only help to further the development of Stastny and Wolski.
Matt Cooke(notes)-Tyler Kennedy-Jordan Staal(notes), Pittsburgh Penguins
Patrice Bergeron(notes)-Chuck Kobasew-Mark Recchi(notes), Boston Bruins
Rene Bourque(notes)-Nigel Dawes-Daymond Langkow(notes), Calgary Flames
Matt Cullen(notes)-Chad LaRose-Ray Whitney(notes), Carolina Hurricanes
Jason Chimera(notes)-Samuel Pahlsson-R.J. Umberger(notes), Columbus Blue Jackets
Martin Erat(notes)-David Legward-Mike Santorelli(notes), Nashville Predators
David Clarkson(notes)-Rob Niedermayer-Jay Pandolfo(notes), New Jersey Devils
Matt Moulson(notes)-Kyle Okposo-John Tavares(notes), New York Islanders
Max Afinogenov-Slava Kozlov(notes)-Todd White, Atlanta Thrashers
Martin Hanzal(notes)-Petr Prucha-Radim Vrbata(notes), Phoenix Coyotes
Mikhail Grabovski(notes)-Niklas Hagman-Alexei Ponikarovsky(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs
Jason Blake(notes)-Matt Stajan-Viktor Stalberg(notes), Toronto Maple Leafs
The Pittsburgh Penguins third forward unit of Matt Cooke-Tyler Kennedy(notes)-Jordan Staal is a mix of a checking, shutdown, and offensive line. Cooke is the agitator, Staal is the shutdown pivot and power forward and Kennedy is the workhorse who has played himself into a full-time role with the Penguins. When the attributes of all three are blended together, you have a line that was a key component to Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup run last spring.
Andrei Kostitsyn(notes)-Max Pacioretty-Tomas Plekanec(notes), Montreal Canadiens
Josh Bailey(notes)-Trent Hunter-Jon Sim(notes), New York Islanders
Tim Kennedy(notes)-Clark MacArthur-Jason Pominville(notes), Buffalo Sabres
Matt Ellis(notes)-Patrick Kaleta-Drew Stafford(notes), Buffalo Sabres
Troy Brouwer(notes)-Andrew Ladd-John Madden(notes), Chicago Blackhawks
T.J. Galiardi(notes)-Chris Stewart-Darcy Tucker, Colorado Avalanche
Mike Comrie(notes)-Patrick Sullivan-Ryan Stone(notes), Edmonton Oilers
Gregory Campbell(notes)-Radek Dvorak-Rostislav Olesz(notes), Florida Panthers
Cal Clutterbuck(notes)-Antti Miettinen-James Sheppard(notes) , Minnesota Wild
Blair Betts(notes)-Daniel Carcillo-Ian Laperriere(notes), Philadelphia Flyers
Matthew Lombardi(notes)-Peter Mueller-Scottie Upshall(notes), Phoenix Coyotes
B.J. Crombeen(notes)-Jay McClement-Alex Steen, St. Louis Blues
Jeff Halpern(notes)-Andrew Miller-James Wright(notes), Tampa Bay Lightning
Here's an interesting line on the Montreal Canadiens: The Kostitsyn-Pacioretty-Plekanec line features two players who took steps back last season and a youngster who's expected to develop into an important part of the Canadiens future. Kostitsyn and Plekanec saw their stats drop 42 points combined last season. As the team's current second line, if Montreal is to rebound from a playoff-less 2008-09 campaign, the production from their second line must get back on track.
- San Jose Sharks
- National Hockey League