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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.