NHL Fantasy Focus: The Second Line Of Duty
The second line is sometimes the forgotten line on fantasy teams. First line players always are drafted and owned in most leagues, but you can’t ignore those players that take advantage of the less ice time to be productive fantasy options. In this week’s Pucking Awesome Fantasy Focus we will look at some teams and their second line options.
One of the most dynamic fantasy lines is the combination of Ryan Getzlaf- Corey Perry-Bobby Ryan, but this season the veteran second line of Saku Koivu-Teemu Selanne-Jason Blake are showing they are fantasy options also.
The line combines for 41 years of NHL service, 1,023 career NHL goals and 2,432 career NHL points. This season they have proven that they still have some scoring left in them. The Finish Flash paces this line with seven goals and 19 points followed by his countryman Koivu with seven goals and 11 points, lastly Blake has three goals and seven points.
Teemu is an obvious ownership in all leagues as he continues to see time on the top power play unit and produces, shown in his already seven power points. The question turns to his centerman and winger if they are viable fantasy options playing on a second line that is sometimes overshadowed by such a dominant top line.
Lost in the Ducks' terrible season last year was the production of Koivu in his first year on the west coast. The lifetime Canadien had 19 goals and 52 points continuing his great two-way hockey with a +14. He also had 16 power play points, three shorthanded points and six game winning goals. He is only owned in about 66% of leagues, according to ESPN.com, and should be owned in much more. The 35-year-old is continuing to show he still has some fuel left in his tank and still playing over 18 minutes per game.
Jason Blake is also benefiting from playing with two such talented players and should only be owned in an injury fill-in or if the Ducks schedule shows them playing more games than another player that week. He is only playing about 14 minutes a game and gets limited ice time on the power play.
NEW YORK RANGERS
Now with sniper Marion Gaborik healthy what has been the Rangers most productive line is now considered their second line. The line of Brandon Dubinsky-Ryan Callahan-Artem Anisimov has been making some noise early and a big reason the Rangers stayed competitive during their leading scorer’s absence. Those three are 1-2-3 in scoring with Dubinsky at the top with 17 points followed by Callahan’s 16 points and Anisimov’s 14 points.
We have seen this before from the 24-year-old Dubinsky who has his most career points in the month of October with 31. The difference this year is we have not seen the dominance that the former 2nd round pick has shown in all situations. He leads the team with six power play points and three short handed points, and he continues to rack up those important fantasy penalty minutes.
The red hot Ryan Callahan has 12 points in his last 11 games and is now a legit fantasy option. The 25-year-old has had back-to-back good seasons and now seems poised to become a breakout star for the Rangers in his fourth full season. Last season he showed he can produce on the man advantage with 20 points and already has three points early. He also has two shorthanded points and two game-winning goals and is really starting to have chemistry with Dubinsky, just watch their game winning goal against the Penguins on Monday.
The 22-year-old Anisimov is the wild card in this threesome. As a rookie last season, the Russian produced a disappointing 12 goals and 28 points. This season the former second round pick is starting to show his offensive capabilities and taking advantage of the extra ice time playing with the talents of Dubinsky and Callahan. Anisimov is second on the team with five power play points and already has half of the points (14) that he had last season. Still owned in only 45 percent of leagues, according to ESPN.com, you should be picking up this talented player as long as he continues to play with Dubie and Cally.
When the Capitals made the decision to reunite the All-Star line of Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Alex Semin the fantasy focus shifted on if any other player could be a fantasy option on this offensively talented team.
The immediate attention for owner’s shifts toward Brooks Laich, who is owned in 100% of leagues, according to ESPN.com, and for good reason the power forward has 12 points in the first 18 games. The 27-year-old early on is proving that his 25 goals and 59 points were not a fluke last season. The 6’2’’ forwards obvious worth is his time cleaning up the garbage in front of the power play.
Laich has not had solid line-mates this season but one of the most consistent players he plays with is Tomas Fleischmann. The 26-year-old has started out slowly with only eight points in the first 18 games and even saw some time on the fourth line in the Capitals last game. But this could be the motivating factor for the Czech that had 23 goals and 51 points last season. Keeps an eye on Fleischmann if he starts to get regular shifts centering the second line with Laich.
The other wing on the second line has been a revolving door with veteran Mike Knuble getting some time there as well as former first round pick Eric Fehr. Both of those players are fringe fantasy players with Knuble having some more value due to his power play time. The Capitals have the potential to have fantasy studs on both of their top two lines, especially when they decide to split up the All-Star line giving some of the mention players a much needed fantasy boost.
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