NHL: Ranking the Top 50 Line Combinations of the Modern Era

Daniel Friedman@DFriedmanNHLCorrespondent IApril 12, 2011

NHL: Ranking the Top 50 Line Combinations of the Modern Era

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    CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks awaits a face-off against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. The Red Wings defeated the Blackhawks 4-3  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Im
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    In order for any NHL team to succeed, they need to have chemistry.

    Some forward lines are better than others, for a variety of possible reasons, whether it be a knack for finding each other on the ice or just the fact that their styles of play mesh well together. 

    When a scoring line develops that type of relationship, they have the potential to become a dangerous force.

    Without further adieu, here are the top 50 offensive line combinations since the beginning of the modern era (1990's until the present).

No. 50: "The Ash Line" (Alexei Yashin, Oleg Kvasha, Arron Asham)

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    UNIONDALE, NY - APRIL 14:  Alexei Yashin #79 and Oleg Kvasha #12 of the New York Islanders dig for the puck as Ruslan Fedotenko #17 of the Tampa Bay Lightning scrambles to cover the puck during game four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the 2004
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    This group of forwards gets their label from the fact that each of their last names include the word "ash."

    Alexei Yashin, Oleg Kvasha and Arron Asham formed a very effective line for the New York Islanders during the early part of the decade.

    Yashin was a good passer, Kvasha could find the back of the net and Arron Asham would protect his teammates.

No. 49: "The Smurf Line" (Saku Koivu, Oleg Petrov, Valeri Bure)

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    MONTREAL, CANADA - APRIL 9:  Right wing Oleg Petrov #14 of the Montreal Canadiens skates behind the net with defenseman Curtis Leschyshyn #7 of the Ottawa Senators during the game at Molson Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 9, 2002.  The Canadie
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    The reason this trio is referred to as a group of "smurfs," is that all three lack much size and stature.

    Nonetheless, Saku Koivu provided invaluable leadership and contributed on offense, Valeri Bure could skate well and Oleg Petrov had a nose for the net, so things worked out for them in Montreal.

No. 48: "The Sunrise Express" (Stephen Weiss, Nathan Horton, David Booth)

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    TORONTO - FEBRUARY 5:  (L-R) Nathan Horton #16, Cory Murphy #21, David Booth #10 and Stephen Weiss #9 of the Florida Panthers skate by their team bench to celebrate with teammates during a break in NHL game action against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Ai
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    When you're playing home games in Sunny Florida, odds are, you're not getting much exposure around the league.

    It appears these guys were perfectly fine with that arrangement. David Booth, Nathan Horton and Stephen Weiss quietly developed a great deal of chemistry and the unit clicked immediately.

No. 47: "The 700 Pound Line" (Joe Thornton, Glen Murray, Mike Knuble)

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    TORONTO - OCTOBER 24:  Glen Murray #27 and Joe Thornton #18 of the Boston Bruins wait for play during a game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre October 24, 2005 in Toronto, Ontario. The Leafs beat the Bruins 5-4 in a shootout.  (Phot
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    This trio, consisting of Glen Murray, Joe Thornton and Mike Knuble, were appropriately named, given the average height and weight of each player.

    But, as they would show, these guys could score goals for the Boston Bruins as well.

No. 46: "The Shamrock Line" (Brendan Shanahan, Matt Cullen, Ryan Callahan)

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    NEW YORK - APRIL 17:  Brendan Shanahan #14 and Paul Mara #27 of the New York Rangers celebrate with Ryan Callahan #43 after his second goal against the Atlanta Thrashers in the second period of game three of the 2007 Eastern Conference Quarterfinals on Ap
    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Ryan Callahan has become one of the best players on the Rangers today, and, if you don't think he learned a ton of what he knows from playing on a line with Brendan Shanahan, think again.

    The Rangers made the playoffs just once with this group intact, but they did play well during their time together.

No. 45: "The 'Ov Line" (Johan Garpenlov, Igor Larionov, Sergei Makarov)

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    The 'Ov Line gets their nickname from an obvious similarity in each of their last names.

    Larionov, Makarov and Garpenlov were largely responsible for the Sharks' dramatic in-season turnaround of 1994.

    The team would upset the heavily-favored Detroit Red Wings in the first round, only to fall to the Toronto Maple Leafs in the Semifinals.

No. 44: Ryan Smyth, Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk

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    DENVER - DECEMBER 23:  Paul Stastny #26 of the Colorado Avalanche is congratulated for his first period goal against the Phoenix Coyotes by teamate Ryan Smyth #94 during NHL action at the Pepsi Center on December 23, 2008 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by D
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    The Smyth-Stastny-Hejduk line helped the Colorado Avalanche get back to the postseason last year, lifting the team from out of the NHL basement and earning the respect of the hockey world.

    Stastny's a solid all-around player, Smyth can crash the net and Hejduk has the ability to snipe from just about anywhere.

    Combined, they became a winning bunch.

No. 43: "The CVS Line" (Andrew Cassels, Pat Verbeek, Geoff Sanderson)

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    Hartford does not have an NHL team these days, but when the Whalers were in town, the trio of Andrew Cassels, Tomas Sandstrom and Pat Verbeek would keep fans at the edge of their seats.

    The line was easily the team's best and it's a shame they were unable to stay intact longer.

No. 42: Alexei Yashin, Sean McEachern, Andreas Dackell

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    25 Apr 1997:  Centers Shawn McEachern and Alexei Yashin of the Ottawa Senators celebrate during a playoff game against the Buffalo Sabres at the Marine Midland Arena in Buffalo, New York.  The Senators won the game 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Al
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    During the mid-to-late 1990's this was one of the higher-scoring combinations in the league.

    Of course, Yashin would take his talents to Long Island by 2001-2002, but until that point, he, along with Sean McEachern and Andreas Dackell created much havoc for their opponents.

No. 41: "The Black Hawk Down Line" (Jeremy Roenick, Alexei Zhamnov, Tony Amonte)

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    TORONTO - APRIL 21:  Gary Roberts #7 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates back to center ice as Jeremy Roenick #97 of the Philadelphia Flyers is congratulated by teammates Kim Johnsson #5, Tony Amonte #11, Eric Weinrich #2 and Sami Kapanen #24 after tying th
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Each member of this line played for the Chicago Blackhawks at one point, which is the logic behind their nickname.

    They were a key factor in Philadelphia's success during the early 2000's, though Zhamnov, Roenick and Amonte weren't getting any younger.

No. 40: "The S-MAC-K Line" (Teemu Selanne, Andy McDonald, Chris Kunitz)

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    ANAHEIM, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  (L-R) Andy McDonald, Teemu Selanne, Chris Kunitz and Bruno St. Jacques of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate a goal by Kunitz in the first period against the Vancouver Canucks at the Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim during the preseason gam
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    During their 2007 Stanley Cup playoff run, in which they emerged victorious, this line was most responsible for the sudden lack of space in the Ducks' trophy room.

    McDonald, Selanne and Kunitz provided much of the offense, as younger players such as Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry continued to mature.

No. 39: "The RAV Line" (Derek Roy, Maxim Afinogenov, Thomas Vanek)

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    BUFFALO, NY - OCTOBER 05: Thomas Vanek #26 of the Buffalo Sabres celebrate scoring against the New York Islanders with teamates Maxim Afinogenov #61 and Derek Roy #9 on October 5, 2007 at HSBC Arena in Buffalo, New York.  (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Imag
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    These three arguably comprised the speediest line in hockey.

    Between Roy's playmaking ability and the swiftness of Afinogenov and Vanek, the Sabres were able to create scoring chances, almost at will, whenever this unit was on the ice.

    Each winger had his own specialty. Vanek carried a lethal shot and Maxim had great hands.

    They were broken up after Buffalo chose not to re-sign Afinogenov, following the 2008-2009 season.

No. 38: "The ZZ Pops Line" (Travis Zajac, Zach Parise, Jamie Langenbrunner)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - APRIL 28:  Jamie Langenbrunner #15 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his double overtime game winning goal with Zach Parise #9 and Travis Zajac #19 to defeat the Ottawa Senators 3-2 to win Game 2 of the 2007 Eastern Conference Semi
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    I would claim to know the reason behind their nickname, but I must admit, I have not the darnedest clue.

    Regardless, they were certainly worth the hype.

    This line had produced for the Devils since 2007. Unfortunately, only Travis Zajac remained by mid-season, thanks to a long-term injury suffered by Zach Parise, as well as a trade sending Langenbrunner to Dallas.

    They helped New Jersey reach the postseason every year (the exception being this season) they were intact.

No. 37: "The Big Line" (Brian Rolston, Pavol Demitra, Marian Gaborik)

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    ST. PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 21:  Mikko Koivu #9 of the Minnesota Wild gets high-fives from teammates Marian Gaborik #10, Branko Radivojevic #92 and Brian Rolston #12 after scoring in the third period of their game against the Colorado Avalanche at the Xcel Ene
    Scott A. Schneider/Getty Images

    Though they did not always play together (Gaborik and Demitra would switch off between playing alongside Rolston and fellow countryman, Branko Radivojevic), they were quite the scare for opposing teams.

    What's not to love about this combination?

    You've got the strength and balance of Rolston (who also packs one heck of a slap shot), the blinding speed of Marian Gaborik and the finesse of Demitra.

    That, my friends, is the recipe for a perfectly balanced line.

    They helped the Minnesota Wild reach the playoffs throughout the 2000's, but none of them are still on the team.

No. 36: Michael Nylander, Martin Straka, Jaromir Jagr

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    PHILADELPHIA, PA - FEBRUARY 4 : Jaromir Jagr #68, Michael Nylander #92, and Martin Straka #82 of the New York Rangers skate against the Philadelphia Flyers during their game on February 4, 2006 at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.The Rang
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    One Swede and a pair of Czechs made a huge difference for the New York Rangers during the 2005-06 NHL season, the first since a labor dispute forced owners to declare a lockout the previous year.

    The trio helped the Rangers clinch a playoff berth for the first time since the late 1990's, accounting for most of the offensive production on 34th Street.

    Jaromir Jagr seemed quite comfortable with his linemates. Perhaps that's why he set two franchise records that year, accumulating the most points in a single season (123) and finding the back of the net 54 times, a feat that had yet to be accomplished by a Blueshirt.

No. 35: "The Redemption Line" (Daniel Briere, Scott Hartnell, Ville Leino)

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    CHICAGO - MAY 29:  (C) Ville Leino #22 of the Philadelphia Flyers celebrates with teammates Scott Hartnell #19 and Danny Briere #48 after scoring a first period goal against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game One of the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Final at the Unite
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    Briere, Hartnell and Leino were put on a line together last season, and since that happened, they have yet to look back. 

    Once again, this group is able to have such chemistry because they are well balanced. It's a combination of Briere's quickness, Hartnell's strength and Leino's nose for the net.

    They have become a crucial component of this Flyer lineup.

No. 34: "The Olympic Line" (Teemu Selanne, Alexei Zhamnov, Keith Tkachuk)

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    Selanne, Tkachuk and Zhamnov were dubbed the "Olympic Line" because all three forwards had experience representing their respective countries at the historic tournament.

    Of course, the reason they were chosen to play in the Olympics is that they're talented.

    That tends to bode well for a coach trying to put together a scoring line.

    In time, however, only Tkachuk would remain in the organization as it was relocated from Winnipeg to Phoenix. Zhamnov bolted for Chicago and Selanne moved on to play for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (present day Anaheim Ducks).

No. 33: "The LAPD Line" (Jason Allison, Zigmund Palffy, Adam Deadmarsh)

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    LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 24:  Adam Deadmarsh #28 (m) of the Los Angeles Kings celebrates with teammates Ziggy Palffy #33, Jason Allison (rear), Aaron Miller #3 and Lubomir Visnovsky (r) on a goal against the Minnesota Wild during the game on January 24, 2002
    Kellie Landis/Getty Images

    The nickname represents the first letter of each line mate's last name.

    During the 2001 playoffs, Palffy, Allison and Deadmarsh would be a major factor in the Kings' shocking upset of the Detroit Red Wings.

    They only played together for a couple of seasons, but were effective during that span.

No. 32: "The Mad Line" (Alexander Mogilny, Darcy Tucker, Mats Sundin)

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    TORONTO - MAY 21:  A trainer helps right wing Alexander Mogilny #89 of the Toronto Maple Leafs off the ice as center Mats Sundin #13 talks to him during game three of the Eastern Conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes during the Stanley Cup pla
    Elsa/Getty Images

    During the early-mid 2000's the Toronto Maple Leafs were a consistent playoff contender (believe it or not).

    The biggest reason? This line.

    It all starts with Mats Sundin, the face and leader of the Leafs, flanked by the electric Alexander Mogilny and super-pest Darcy Tucker.

    The bottom line: You did not want to have to match-up against these guys.

No. 31: Pavel Bure, Valerei Bure, Viktor Kozlov

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    9 Jan 2002:  (l-r) Kristian Huselius #22,  Olli Jokinen #12, Paul Laus #3 and Pavel Bure #10 of the Florida Panthers celebrate during the game against the Dallas Stars at the National Car Rental Center in Miami Sunrise, Florida. The Stars win 3-2. DIGITAL
    Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images

    As it turns our, two Bures are better than one.

    The brothers complimented each other well, and Viktor Kozlov proved to be a solid center in his own right.

    While they were not always scoring with consistency (on an individual level), each one picked up the slack when necessary.

    The trio led Florida to the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1999-2000, which is the last time the franchise has played games beyond the regular season.

No. 30: "The GAS Line" (Bill Guerin, Jason Allison, Sergei Samsonov)

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    BOSTON, MA - APRIL 21:  Bill Guerin #13 and Don Sweeney #32 of the Boston Bruins celebrate Guerin's goal against the Montreal Canadiens during game two of the Stanley Cup playpoffs at the Fleet Center in Boston, Massachusetts on April 21, 2002. The Bruins
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Guerin, Allison and Samsonov were the Bruins' top scoring line during the early 2000's.

    They never led Boston to a Stanley Cup appearance, but they did play well and had lots of chemistry. 

    Bill Guerin would use his strength and scoring ability to compliment Jason Allison's underrated playmaking skills and Sergei Samsonov's electricity and skating ability.

    Within a few seasons, the unit was broken up.

No. 29: "The RPM Line" (Ryan Kesler, Pavol Demitra, Mats Sundin)

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    CHICAGO - MARCH 29: Mats Sundin #13 and Ryan Kesler #17 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrate a third period goal against the Chicago Blackhawks on March 29, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois. The Canucks defeated the Blackhawks 4-0. (Photo by J
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Mats Sundin chose to sign on with the Vancouver Canucks for the final go-around of his career.

    Suffice to say, he was amply rewarded for his commitment, playing alongside Ryan Kesler and Pavol Demitra.

    Kesler is a rare breed, in that he's sound defensively and blessed with offensive potential, while Demitra was merely a shadow of his former self. He could still play the game, but not at the level he once could.

    The trio had no problem finding each other on the ice and, as a result, were very productive.

    Vancouver fell short, losing to the Chicago Blackhawks during the postseason.

No. 28: "The Lucky Sevens" (Shawn Bates, Michael Peca, Mark Parrish)

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    23 April 2002: Michael Peca #27 of the New York Islanders faces off with Travis Green #39 of the Toronto Maple Leafs during game three of the Stanley Cup playoffs at the Nassau Coliseum in Hempstead, New York. The Islanders won 6-1. Digital Image.  Mandat
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Shawn Bates, Michael Peca and Mark Parrish were likely the best Islander scoring line since the glory days.

    They were coined the "Lucky Sevens," by then-Isles play-by-play radio announcer John Weidemen, because each player wore a jersey number ending with that digit. "Lucky Sevens" also happened to be the newest playable New York Lottery game at the time, another reason why the name was used.

    Between 2001 and 2004, this unit helped the Islanders clinch a playoff spot during each of those seasons.

    Michael Peca won a Selke Trophy in 2001-02 and Mark Parrish lead the NHL in goals during parts of three seasons.

    Shawn Bates would rack up a career-high 52 points during his first year on that line, though his production would slip later on.

No. 27: "The Crash Line" (Mike Peluso, Randy McKay, Bobby Holik)

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    30 Mar 2002 :  Patrik Elias #26 of the New Jersey Devils and teammate Bobby Holik #16 pass by their  bench during the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Devils  won 4-1. DIGITAL IMAGE.  Mandatory Cre
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    McKay, Peluso and Holik were a trio of shut-down forwards for the New Jersey Devils, helping them win the Stanley Cup in 2000 and a second consecutive finals appearance in 2001.

    With the exception of Holik, this line was not known for offensive ability, though they did score their fair share of clutch goals during their time together.

No. 26: Cory Stillman, Eric Staal, Erik Cole

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    OTTAWA, CANADA- OCTOBER 11:  Daniel Alfredsson #11 of the Ottawa Senators is knocked to the ice by the combined efforts of Cory Stillman #61;Erik Cole #26 and Eric Staal #12 of the Carolina Hurricanes during first period action of a game on October 11, 20
    Phillip MacCallum/Getty Images

    This line was put together during the 2007 season, and though they proved to be a strong group, the Hurricanes missed the postseason that year.

    Staal, Stillman and Cole were able to mesh, because their styles of play complimented each other.

    The rest of the team was not very strong in 2007, but these guys were a threat to score on every shift.

No. 25: "The PPG Line" (Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, Dustin Penner)

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    ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 06:  (L-R) Dustin Penner #17, Ryan Getzlaf #15 and Corey Perry #10 of the Anaheim Ducks celebrate lifting the Stanley Cup after defeating the Ottawa Senators in Game Five of the 2007 Stanley Cup finals on June 6, 2007 at Honda Center in
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    In 2007, the Anaheim Ducks captured their first Stanley Cup, largely thanks to these three players.

    The way Getzlaf and Perry stepped up during that season, it should come as no surprise they've starred for Anaheim this year.

    Dustin Penner would be signed to an offer sheet by the Edmonton Oilers, forcing the Ducks to dismantle the line.

No. 24: "The KLS Line" (Alexei Kovalev, Robert Lang, Martin Straka)

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    8 Jan 2001:  Martin Straka #82 of the Pittsburgh Penguins is hooked by Sergei Gonchar #55 of the Washington Capitals as Robert Lang #22 of the Penguins follows the play. Straka recorded a hat trick as the Penguins defeated the Capitals 5-3 at the MCI Cent
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Kovalev, Lang and Straka became the backbone of the Pittsburgh Penguins during the early 2000's.

    In fact, they were so crucial to the team's success, that the Penguins decided to re-sign the three players, keeping that line intact, while choosing not to renew Jaromir Jagr's contract.

    This was because Pittsburgh viewed KLS line more favorably than they did Jagr.

    The Pens made the playoffs a few times with the trio at the forefront, but would not make a finals appearance.

    Coincidentally, Alexei Kovalev is now back with the Penguins, as the result of a trade with Ottawa.

No. 23: "The Option Line" (John Cullen, Mark Recchi, Kevin Stevens)

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    1990-1991:  Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Bob Johnson. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    These three were known as the "Option Line," because each was in the final year of his contract, during the 1991 season.

    As a result, Pittsburgh had two potent scoring-lines during that year, an advantage that would help the team win the Stanley Cup in '91.

    The Penguins would win a second straight Cup in '92.

No. 22: "West Coast Express" (Markus Naslund, Brendan Morrison, Todd Bertuzzi)

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    UNIONDALE, NY - JANUARY 14:  Todd Bertuzzi #44 of the Vancouver Canucks celebrates a goal with Markus Naslund #19 and Brendan Morrison #7 against the New York Islanders during their game on January 14, 2006 at the Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale, New York.
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Between 2000 and 2006, Todd Bertuzzi, Brendan Morrison and Markus Naslund comprised the top scoring unit for the Vancouver Canucks.

    It's very rare that, in today's NHL, salary cap, free agency and all, a line stays together for an extended period of time, forget about five years.

    Bertuzzi and Naslund were high-scoring forwards, while Morrison produced at a more modest rate. His contribution didn't always appear on the score sheet. He's the kind of player that does all the little things right, makes the smart plays and is anything but selfish with the puck.

    After the lockout, their role was slowly reduced, as Daniel and Henrik Sedin became part of the picture in Vancouver.

No. 21: "The RPG Line" (Bobby Ryan, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf)

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    NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 24:  Bobby Ryan #9 and Ryan Getzlaf #15 of the Anaheim Ducks congratulate teammate Corey Perry #10 after scoring a goal against the Nashville Predators on March 24, 2011 at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Fr
    Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

    Sure, they've only been together for a little while.

    But, as you in No. 25, they've had plenty of experience, at least as a partial unit, the only change being Bobby Ryan in Dustin Penner's slot. 

    This line stacks up against any other team's top scoring unit, which is why Anaheim can make a surprise run in the upcoming playoffs.

    All three have played in the Olympics, all three can score and all three are capable of leading this team.

No. 20: "The SOB Line" (Alexander Ovechkin, Alexander Semin, Nicklas Backstrom)

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    WASHINGTON DC, DC - SEPTEMBER 23:  Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his second period goal against the Chicago Blackhawks with teammates Nicklas Backstrom #19 and Alexander Semin #28 during their preseason game on September 23, 2009
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    This is the most electrifying trio in the National Hockey League. Period.

    Backstrom is an incredibly gifted passer, Ovechkin and Semin are two of the best goal scorers in the world.

    Capitals' head coach Bruce Boudreau has split them up at times, but when they're on the same ice surface, you know what you're up against.

No. 19: Evgeni Malkin, Ryan Malone, Petr Sykora

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    PITTSBURGH - APRIL 25: Petr Sykora #17 of the Pittsburgh Penguins celebrates his third period goal against the New York Rangers with teammates Evgeni Malkin #71 and Ryan Malone #12 during game one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2008 NHL Stanl
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Malkin, Sykora and Malone were a major factor in Pittsburgh's Stanley Cup Finals victory, during the 2008-2009 season.

    Geno's star power, the grit and heart of Ryan Malone, as well as Petr Sykora's knack for being in the right place at the right time, were just some of the reasons why this line was so effective.

    Malone was not re-signed the following year and subsequently joined the Tampa Bay Lightning, while Sykora became a member of the Minnesota Wild.

No. 18: Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp

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    CHICAGO - OCTOBER 27: (L-R) Jonathan Toews #19, Patrick Sharp #10 and Patrick Kane #88 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate a 3rd period goal by Sharp against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center on October 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Blackhaw
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    This Blackhawks' scoring line is oozing with talent and, is likely to improve as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews continue to grow.

    These guys have won a Stanley Cup, two types of Olympic medals and it may seem like they've been playing for a long time now.

    Nonetheless, they are still young and have not even reached their peak (in my opinion).

    Don't underestimate Patrick Sharp either, he's quite the goal scorer.

No. 17: Jamie Langenbrunner, Joe Nieuwendyk, Pat Verbeek

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    TORONTO - MARCH 16:  Center Joe Nieuwendyk #25 of the Dallas Stars readies for the draw against the Toronto Maple Leafs during the NHL game at  Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Stars and Maple Leafs tied 5-5.  (Photo by Dave Sandford/Get
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Langenbrunner, Nieuwendyk and Verbeek were one of the top-two lines for the Dallas Stars in the late 90's and early 2000's.

    With their assistance, Dallas would capture a Stanley Cup title in 1999, only to make another appearance in 2000, when they were defeated at the hands of the New Jersey Devils.

    One thing each of these guys had in common was that they weren't necessarily the flashiest forwards, but they would find ways to put the puck in the net, doing whatever it took to make that happen, regardless of the physical toll required in doing so.

No. 16: "The IKEA Line" (Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin, Markus Naslund)

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    VANCOUVER, BC - JANUARY 7:  Daniel Sedin #22, Henrik Sedin #33 and Markus Naslund #19 of the Vancouver Canucks stand for the National Anthem before the game against the Florida Panthers at General Motors Place on January 7, 2007 in Vancouver, British Colu
    Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images

    Named the "IKEA Line" because all three were Swedish (IKEA is a Swedish company, Sedin I, Sedin II and Markus Naslund would play alongside each other for a few seasons after the work stoppage of 2005.

    Nowadays, the Sedins run the show on their own, but, back then, they certainly benefited from having Naslund as a linemate, just in terms of the pressure he took off them, in addition to the veteran leadership he exhibited.

    I'm sure Daniel and Henrik have taken more than a few bits of information from Markus' playbook.

    This was a dominant line, even though it's life was relatively short, with Naslund opting to go on the open market and sign with the New York Rangers.

No. 15: "The EGG Line" (Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - MAY 5: Scott Gomez #23 of the New Jersey Devils celebrates his first-period goal with teammates Brian Gionta #14 and Patrik Elias #26 against the Ottawa Senators during Game Five of the 2007 Eastern Conference Semifinals at the Conti
    Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

    The trio of Patrik Elias, Brian Gionta and Scott Gomez lead New Jersey to a Stanley Cup Championship in 2002-2003.

    Gomez and Gionta were still getting their feet wet at the NHL level when the line was formed, but they showed none of the expected growing pains of a maturing player.

    In fact, the way they looked as a unit, it was possible to mistake them for a pair of 10-year veterans, they played with that much poise and control.

    Only Elias remained with the team, but Gionta and Gomez have been reunited as linemates with the Montreal Canadiens.

No. 14: Paul Kariya, Steve Rucchin, Teemu Selanne

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    21 Oct 1998: Rightwinger Teemu Selanne #8, leftwinger Paul Kariya #9 and center Steve Rucchin #20 of the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in action during a game against the Boston Bruins at the Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Bruins 3-0
    Elsa/Getty Images

    Kariya and Selanne were quite the dynamic duo, but people often forget that someone played in between the two stars.

    That someone was Steve Rucchin, and he was a solid player too, thank you very much.

    For several years in Anaheim, Rucchin notched between 55 and 65 points per season.

    As for Paul and Teemu, they both could score, as well as pass. This unit was definitely unique in that each of the forwards could not only finish off the play, but could create the opportunity to begin with.

No. 13: "The MVP Line" (Vaclav Prospal, Martin St. Louis, Vincent Lecavalier)

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    ATLANTA  -  OCTOBER 20 :  Vaclav Prospal #20, Pavel Kubina #13 and Vincent Lecavalier #4 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrate after a goal against the Atlanta Thrashers October 20, 2005 at Philips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The Lightning won the game 6-0.
    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    The Tampa Bay Lightning were able to win a Stanley Cup in 2004, in no small part because of their depth on offense.

    While there were others who stepped up, Prospal, St. Louis and Lecavalier were one of the more dominant combinations in the NHL during that season.

    St. Louis has the quickness and hands to make scoring chances our of peanuts and Vinny Lecavalier is the type of player who can score any which way.

    But what about Prospal?

    The Czech center only finished with 80 points that year, no cause for recognition.

    He was one of the most underrated forwards in the league in '06 and still is today. He won't light up the scoreboard, but Prospal knows how to find open teammates. He's averaged 40-50 points a year for most of his career, because the guy can flat-out play.

No. 12: "The A Line" (Patrik Elias, Jason Arnott, Petr Sykora)

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    5 May 2001:  The New Jersey Devils celebrate following Jason Arnott's game-tying goal during the second period of game 5 of the NHL Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Continental Airlines Arena at the Meadowlands in East Ruth
    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    This line was formed in 1999 and remained intact until the end of the 2002 season.

    Arnott, Sykora and Elias led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup Finals twice in a row, winning one and coming up short in the second Finals.

    The A Line played well at both ends of the ice, which made them an invaluable asset in 'Jersey.

    It also doesn't hurt that this trio consists of three of the most clutch players of recent memory.

No. 11: Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Tomas Holmstrom

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    DETROIT - SEPTEMBER 24: Tomas Holmstrom #96 of the Detroit Red Wings celebrates a first period goal with Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg #40 during a pre season game on September 24, 2010 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Sha
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Since they were put together in 2006, Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Holmstrom have been one of the better lines we've seen in some time and, possibly the greatest one in the post-lockout era.

    They helped the Red Wings capture Lord Stanley in 2008, but were not able to do so in 2009, when they fell to the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Finals.

    These days, those three players are often mixed into other lines, so we don't get to see them as a trio as much as we previously could.

    If there were a prime example of what a line should resemble, look no further.

    You have the responsible, two-way forward in Datsyuk, the finesse player in Zetterberg and the net-crasher in Tomas Holmstrom.

    Made simpler: This line can beat you three different ways because of the players they've chosen to mash together.

No. 10: Brett Hull, Mike Modano, Jere Lehtinen

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    4 Jun 1999: Brett Hull #22 of the Dallas Stars with teammate Mike Modano #9 congradulate Jere Lehtinen #26  during game seven of the Western Confrence Finals against the Colorado Avalanche at the Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. The Stars defeated the Aval
    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

    The Dallas Stars made, arguably, the greatest move in franchise history, when they signed Brett Hull as a free agent, prior to the 1998-99 season.

    He did not disappoint, scoring 32 goals during his first campaign in Big D.

    Stick him on a line with Mike Modano and Jere Lehtinen, and you have the foundation of something great.

    That "something" would be a Stanley Cup, a prize they would redeem in 1999, when they defeated the Buffalo Sabres in triple overtime of Game 6, on a controversial goal, which was, coincidentally, scored by Hull.

    Hull, Modano and Lehtinen were among the NHL's biggest offensive threats during the late 90's and early 2000's.

No. 9: "Two Kids & an Old Goat" (Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull)

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    TORONTO - DECEMBER 6:  Brett Hull #17 of the Detroit Red Wings plays with his mouth piece as he looks on during a break in the game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre on December 6, 2003 in Toronto, Ontario.  The Maple Leafs defeated the
    Dave Sandford/Getty Images

    Brett Hull figured one slide wasn't enough.

    This time, he's with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk, the line that played a pivotal role in securing Detroit's Stanley Cup victory over Arturs Irbe and the Carolina Hurricanes.

    Henrik and Pavel were youngsters back in 2002, and as for Hull, well, he wasn't so young. 

    I would assume that the "Old Goat" mentioned in the unit's nickname is not a reference to Alex Delvecchio.

No. 8: "The UN Line" (Valery Kamensky, Peter Forsberg, Claude Lemiuex

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    24 Apr 1998:  Center Peter Forsberg and leftwinger Valeri Kamensky of the Colorado Avalanche in action against leftwinger Todd Marchant of the Edmonton Oilers (lefT) during the playoffs round 1 game 2 at the Nichols Sports Arena in Denver, Colorado.  The
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Known as the "United Nations Line," due to the fact that each member of the line hailed from a different country, this trio was active during the 1996 season, in which the Avalanche would take home their first Stanley Cup, by defeating the Florida Panthers.

    Forsberg is one of the greatest Europeans in NHL history, Kamensky could play any way you asked him to and Claude Lemieux was the rare combination of enforcer and goal scorer.

    Though they did not remain intact, their impact was certainly profound.

No. 7: "The Legion of Doom" (Eric Lindros, John LeClair, Mikael Renberg)

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    31 May 1997:  Philadelphia Flyers center Eric Lindros (left) and rightwinger Mikael Renberg (right) flank an unidentified teammate during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Detroit Red Wings at the CoreStates Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Lindros, LeClair and Renberg comprised the infamous "Legion of Doom" for the Philadelphia Flyers between 1995 and 1997.

    Not only could these guys score, but they would wear teams down with their physical play.

    They would be one of the most productive lines in the National Hockey League, combining for around 110 goals and 120 assists per season.

    The Legion would play a major role in Philly's 1997 playoff run, where they fell to the Detroit Red Wings in four games.

No. 6: Wayne Gretzky, Tony Granato, Tomas Sandstrom

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    1990-1991:  Center Wayne Gretzky of the Los Angeles Kings. Mandatory Credit: Otto Greule Jr.  /Allsport
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    After the shocking trade that sent the Great One to Los Angeles, Wayne found himself on a line with Tony Granato and Tomas Sandstrom.

    The trio helped make the Kings, not only into a relevant team, but into a good one.

    LA would earn a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993, where they were stymied by Patrick Roy and the underdog Montreal Canadiens.

    Sandstrom would later play for the Detroit Red Wings, and Gretzky would be traded to the St. Louis Blues during the 1996-97 season.

No. 5: "The JAM Line" (Joe Sakic, Alex Tanguay, Milan Hejduk)

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    DENVER - NOVEMBER 20:  Joe Sakic #19 and Alex Tanguay #18 of the Colorado Avalanche celebrate after combining for a power play goal against the New York Rangers in the first period November 20, 2003 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado.  Milan Hejduk #
    Brian Bahr/Getty Images

    Sakic, Tanguay and Hejduk became a key component of the successful Avalanche teams of the early 2000's.

    There's certainly no lack of talent among these three.

    Joe Sakic was one of the better players to ever lace 'em up, Alex Tanguay was (still is) a slippery offenseman and Hejduk served as the sharpshooter. 

    The line broke up when Tanguay found himself on the Calgary Flames, after Colorado decided to trade him at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft.

No. 4: "The Red Army" (Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov)

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    13 Dec 2000:  Igor Larionov #9 of the Florida Panthers tries to steal the puck from Sergei Fedorov #91 of the Detroit Red Wings during the game at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Panthers tied the Red Wings 3-3.Mandatory Credit: Tom Pidgeon/
    Tom Pidgeon/Getty Images

    The Detroit Red Wings wasted little time exploring the new frontiers exposed by the lifting of the Iron Curtain in former Soviet-Russia. 

    Faster than you could say "Oleg Tverdovsky," the Wings brought aboard Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov, Vladmir Konstantinov and Slava Fetisov.

    Fedorov, Larionov and Kozlov developed the type of chemistry that wins championships, and they just so happened to win one in 1997.

    Each of those players continued to have strong careers, but the pinnacle of their success was definitely in Mo-Town.

No. 3: Steve Yzerman, Tomas Sandstrom, Darren McCarty

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    11 Jun 1998:  Steve Yzerman #19, Viacheslav Fetisov #2, and Darren McCarty #25 of the Detroit Red Wings talk during the Stanley Cup Finals game against the Washington Capitals at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings defeated the Capital
    Craig Melvin/Getty Images

    When you've got Steve Yzerman anchoring your line, you're in good hands.

    Of course, when his linemates step it up a notch, that can only be a positive, which is precisely what happened in the case of Darren McCarty. 

    McCarty became a complete player throughout the 1997 regular season and playoffs, scoring the winning goal in Game Four of the Cup Finals against the Flyers.

    As for Sandstrom, he was the same, talented forward that played alongside Wayne Gretzky in Los Angeles.

    This line was built to win, and they symbolized everything that Red Wings team was all about: Hard work, skill and heart.

No. 2: Adam Graves, Mark Messier, Alexei Kovalev

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    Jun 1994:  Mark Messier #11 of the New York Rangers takes control of the puck during the Stanley Cup Finals against the Vancover Canucks at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancover, Canada. Mandatory Credit: Mike Powell  /Allsport
    Mike Powell/Getty Images

    In terms of overall talent, the New York Rangers top unit during the 1994 season was absolutely off-the-charts.

    You had the ultimate leader, Mark Messier, who may very well be the greatest "power forward" in the history of the National Hockey League, as the the centerpiece.

    Adam Graves was some kind of goal scorer, but was also a tough customer. He didn't back down to anyone and he did all the little things that win hockey games. He was a team player in every sense of the word.

    On the other hand, Kovalev's game was predicated on skill. His speed and quick hands turned this scoring line from a very good one into an exceptional one.

    The proof of their success can be found on the Stanley Cup, under 1994.

No. 1: "The Golden Triangle" (Mario Lemiuex, Ron Francis, Jaromir Jagr)

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    21 Apr 2001 : Jaromir Jagr #68 of the Pittsburgh Penguins hugs his teammate Mario Lemieux after scoring against the Washington Capitals during Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs at MCI Center in Washington, DC . The
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    If you thought the Rangers' forward combination was impressive, just wait until you see which names made up the Penguins'.

    Let me know if any of these guys sound familiar to you:

    Mario Lemieux, Jaromir Jagr, Ron Francis.

    I'm guessing you've heard of all three, probably because two out of the three are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, while the other is undoubtedly headed there as well.

    Now, imagine them on the same line. Scary, huh?

    That's what other teams thought too, because having to deal with that group of stars was a nightmare for any opposing team.

    They won two-consecutive Stanley Cups, in 1991 and 1992 and, in dominating fashion. That is, until they were finally put to rest by David Volek and the New York Islanders during the 1993 playoffs.

    Lemieux, Jagr and Francis were the best line of the modern era, bottom line.

    Follow Daniel Friedman on Twitter: @nyifaceoff360

    Comments are welcome.


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