The Best Line in Hockey
Who’s got the best line in hockey? The ‘New’ NHL has spread the talent around, free agent changes and player trades, some teams have upgraded their top lines, here’s a look at some of the top lines in hockey.
San Jose Sharks Bell – Thornton – Cheechoo.
Bell 25-23-48 (82 GP)
Thornton 29-96 125 (82 GP)
Cheechoo 56-37-93 (82 GP)
The reigning Art Ross and Hart winner, the Maurice Richard winner, durability in all 3 players played all 82 games, an average size of 6’3′, 215 pounds, this line has it all – Speed, Finish in front of the net and can dig pucks off the boards. Although Thornton is big, he doesn’t play big and prefers to pass from the outside, the addition of Bell will provide the sand paper this line lacked last year. To think this line will get better is scary, doesn’t look like anything will slow these guys down. Thornton and Cheechoo could repeat their career years, and Bell could be an all-star. These guys are good, scary, scary good.
Calgary Flames Tanguay – Langkow – Iginla
Iginla 35-32-67 (82 GP)
Tanguay 29-49 78 (78 GP)
Langkow 25-34 58 (82 GP)
With the best Power-Forward in the game, any line that Iginla is on will be good. But the addition of Tanguay could see Iggy win his third Maurice Richard trophy and return him to his 50-goal form. Tanguay should provide the chemistry that Langkow and Iggy lacked last year – he should get pucks to Iginla in better position off the rush and create that little bit of separation Iggy needs to wrist pucks in on the fly – the bread and butter of his offensive game he lacked last year and give Calgary a few easy goals, something they never seemed able to score last season. Although it remains to be seen if Tanguay is all he is cracked up to be without Sakic, Iggy and Tanguay should produce.
Florida Panthers Bertuzzi – Jokinen – Roberts
Bertuzzi 25-46-71 (82 GP)
Jokinen 38-51-89 (82 GP)
Roberts 14-26-40 (58 GP)
Lots of question marks around this line, Can Roberts stay healthy and can Bertuzzi return to his dominant form? How will Bertuzzi play without Naslund? But if these guys get it together, they will be one of the most dominant lines in hockey – if not the most dominant. Two supreme power forward talents, lots of grit and leadership from Roberts and Jokinen, few teams will be able to match up defensively against these guys if they get it going. Size, Awesome along the boards, lots of big goal history in Roberts, it has all the intangibles to be great. I predict they’ll carry Florida to the playoffs, and be the story of the post season. These guys could do some serious damage if they click.
Philadelphia Flyers Gagne – Forsberg – Knuble.
Gagne 47-32-79 (60 GP)
Forsberg 19-56-75 (60 GP)
Knuble 34-31-65 (82 GP)
Forsberg is just a machine when he plays…when he plays. If he gets healthy as reports indicate, these guys will be great again. Gagne is just such an awesome player, speed, size, and one of the smartest players in the game. Knuble is the interchangeable part with possibly rookie Downie being ready to go this season, and if he is, he’ll add a dimension to the line that will make Flyers fans remember the good old times, and rive the eastern conference mad.
Edmonton Oilers Smyth – Horcoff – Hemsky
Smyth 36-30-66 (75 GP)
Horcoff 22-51-73 (79 GP)
Hemsky 19-28-77 (81 GP)
What a treat Horcoff was to watch in the playoffs, he’s really become a star in the league after his playoff performance, and is such a great passer. This line will never be outworked or out hearted by any line any team can put together. Captain Canada, Ryan Smyth is the embodiment of every coach’s dream. They share the puck well and if Hemsky would stop trying to be the star of the show, he could get himself, and his team to a completely new level. Although I don’t think Hemsky is in the top tier offensive talent in the NHL, these guys score goals so many different ways and can play any type of hockey you put them up against. Smyth with every game is working his way closer into the Hall of Fame.
Ottawa Senators Alfredsson – Spezza – Heatley
Alfredsson 43-60-103 (77 GP)
Spezza 19-71-90 (68 GP)
Heatley 50-53-103 (82 GP)
All three are such great shooters, Heatley may have the best one-timer in the game, Alfie the best wrister (Sakic says no), and Spezza is deadly at picking corners and his goal total should go up this season. Maybe the most offensively talented line in the league, and such great chemistry with Heatley as the finisher, Spezza as the passer and Alfie as the veteran leader that fills in for whatever the line needs whether its in front of the net, passing, or creating open ice . Heatley is great at finishing off loose pucks in front of the net and Spezza will compete with Thornton for most assists for the season. Although they have size and are solid on their skates, Heatley and Spezza aren’t great at getting separation with the puck on the boards. They tend to get selfish with the puck when they aren’t producing, nevertheless, the stats don’t lie – If Spezza stays healthy, all three could get 100 points next season.
Tampa Bay Lightning St. Louis – Lecavalier – Prospal
Lecavalier 35-40-75 (80 GP)
St Louis 31-30-61 (82 GP)
Prospal 25-55-80 (81 GP)
Prospal plays with any other player besides Lecavalier and he’s a good player, with Lecavalier he’s an all-star. St Louis didn’t put up the numbers one expected from a reigning Hart Trophy winner and a guy the ‘New’ NHL was seemingly designed for, and maybe he misses the chemistry of Cory Stillman? But these guys are great together and could be even better next season. St Louis has the heart of a lion.
Colorado Avalanche Hejduk – Sakic -Svatos
Hejduk 24-34-58 (74 GP)
Sakic 32-55-87 (82 GP)
Svatos 32-18-50 (61 GP)
Slick hands and lots of finish on this line. What can you say about Sakic, he makes everybody he has ever played with look like an all-star. Sakic is the oil, the moving parts and the spark plug for this line- with him go not only this line, but the Avalanche. Hejduk seemed to be a bit slow at times last season, and not have the finish he once did. These guys are power-play machines, maybe the best power play line in hockey. Not a big line or tough, Svatos is a bit of a defensive liability, but his rookie campaign was a dream, and if Sakic can keep age at bay, these guys will again be dangerous