It’s time for another check on how lines on targets stack up against expected targets based on MoneyPuck tracking.
As of Sunday, there were 72 lines in the NHL that have played 150 minutes together in five-on-five this season. Some are still together, but others haven’t been together for a while and are no longer relevant.
For example, the line of Jonathan Huberdeau, Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli has one of the biggest gaps between their goals and expected targets, but the Flames haven’t been using those three together in one line for weeks.
The consistency of the line is difficult to maintain throughout the season. If a line had stayed together all season and played 10 minutes in 5-on-5 a game, they’d get more than 400 minutes together this season. But only three lines have passed that threshold: the top lines of the Dallas Stars and Tampa Bay Lightning and the third line of the Carolina Hurricanes. In fact, only 12 lines have passed the 300-minute mark this season.
Our “lucky lines” are NHL trios with more goals than the expected goal formulas say they should, while “troubled trios” are the lines with fewer goals than the math says they should. have. Most of the stats are current as of January 22 (but some have been manually updated since then, if applicable) and rely heavily on MoneyPuck.com, with some help from EvolvingHockey.com.
Andrei Kuzmenko, Elias Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev, Vancouver Canucks (expected goals, 9.1; actual goals, 17): Interestingly, this line had only played a handful of games together since we last checked online for expected goals in a column on Nov. 27: 63 minutes together, to be exact. . But it was only under the watchful eye of new banker Rick Tocchet that the trio reunited Tuesday for their debut. And guess what? They scored twice, once again surpassing their expected goal total. It’s easy to see where the disparity is coming from now, as Kuzmenko has a shooting percentage of 25.6% that is tied for the league lead. We don’t have a baseline for Kuzmenko’s shooting percentage, so maybe it’s real. Either way, he’s available in 40% of the leagues and in the top line under a new manager; he is worth adding.
David Krejci, David Pastrnak and Pavel Zacha, Boston Bruins (expected goals, 9.2; actual goals, 17): This “luck” is actually Pasta being Pasta. It makes expected goal calculations look silly most seasons. But I wanted to highlight this line because Zacha is not being loved. Ranked in just 6.7% of leagues, Zacha has held steady at 1.8 fantasy points per game (FPPG) over the last month, which is hidden by his 1.3 FPPG on the season due to a slow start. slow.
Matty Beniers, Jordan Eberle and Jared McCann, Seattle Kraken (expected goals, 8.6; actual goals, 18): This line doesn’t exist in this form at the moment and should be referred to more as the duo of Beniers and Eberle plus a friend. And, while much of the blame for “luck” can be attributed to McCann for being tied with Kuzmenko for the highest shooting percentage in the league, Beniers and Eberle also outperform other linemates. Notably, with Andre Burakovsky, who is now the third member of the line when he is healthy, the trio have 10 goals but just 5.7 expected goals. But I still don’t think we should expect Beniers to cool off as the season winds down; he is that good.
Other lucky lines:
Tage Thompson, Jeff Skinner and Alex Tuch, Buffalo Sabers (expected goals, 21.5; actual goals, 28).
Nazem Kadri, Jonathan Huberdeau and Milan Lucic, Calgary Flames (expected goals, 6.8; actual goals, 11).
Jamie Benn, Ty Dellandrea and Wyatt Johnston, Dallas Stars (expected goals, 10.6; actual goals, 20).
Mark Scheifele, Cole Perfetti and Blake Wheeler, Winnipeg Jets (expected goals, 11.1; actual goals, 15).
Roope Hintz, Joe Pavelski and Jason Robertson, Dallas Stars (expected goals, 24; actual goals, 32).
Tim Stutzle, Claude Giroux and Brady Tkachuk, Ottawa Senators (expected goals, 17.9; actual goals, 12): I wasn’t going to include this trio, as when the Sens are healthy this isn’t a line. But with Josh Norris going back down for the rest of the season, we could see these three together again. This combination wasn’t in place just before Norris’s brief return, but it’s been the Senators’ most successful line this season, and that’s despite the fact that they’ve been “unlucky” with expected goals. This new injury for Norris is really unfortunate, since his presence seems to be the key for the Sens to have two good lines instead of just one. The return of this line determines Giroux’s fate in fantasy as he fails to produce in a unit with Shane Pinto and Alex DeBrincat, literally, as that trio has zero goals this season but has allowed seven in just 58 minutes (worst line in the NHL not the Chicago Blackhawks by goals against by 60).
Chris Kreider, Mika Zibanejad and Kaapo Kakko, New York Rangers (expected goals, 13.7; actual goals, 9): This line comes and goes, but it was together before the Rangers game on Monday when the team pushed the “all-in” version of its depth chart (Kreider, Zibanejad and Artemi Panarin as the top line). While Kakko, overall, is pretty close to his individual expected goal total (10.8 expected; nine actual), I wonder if he owes him anything from this lane combo and has gained some extra from his other frequent lane combo. When Kakko is with Alexis Lafreniere and Filip Chytil, the trio is part of the “lucky lines” group, with 6.4 expected goals and 11 actual goals this season. We may not be happy with the end result of this season for fantasy, but I think Kakko (and Lafreniere) have a bright future in fantasy.
Trevor Moore, Phillip Danault and Viktor Arvidsson, Los Angeles Kings (expected goals, 15.8; actual goals, 9): Moore isn’t expected to return until after the All-Star break next week, meaning we wouldn’t see this line again until February 11. Moore hasn’t played since Dec. 23, but this line was locked to the Kings as a unit until then. In his absence, Alex Iafallo has been holding the fort and that trio has 5.9 expected goals and six actual goals so essentially got it right. Danault and Arvidsson teeter on the brink of becoming locks in the fantasy lineup, but they don’t help each other with stretches like the last six games. The line with Moore has a slightly better expected goal ratio of 60 than the line with Iafallo, so it will be interesting to see how the Kings handle Moore’s return. And either way, we just want a little more consistency from Danault and Arvidsson so we can put them on the fantasy list and leave them there.
Other troublesome trios:
Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand and Jake DeBrusk, Boston Bruins (expected goals, 13.4; actual goals, 9):
Paul Stastny, Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov, Carolina Hurricanes (expected goals, 15.3; actual goals, 11).
William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith, Vegas Golden Knights (expected goals, 18.3; actual goals, 13).
Mikael Backlund, Andrew Mangiapane and Blake Coleman, Calgary Flames (expected goals, 13.2; actual goals, 8).