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Changing on the Go

Changes you can't believe in

by James O'Brien
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

On this deeply important day for American politics, let’s take some time to ignore the inevitable ugliness (come on, America) and do what’s really important.

 

That, of course, is considering line combinations that could change in a blink of an eye. Because that’s what freedom is all about, right?

 

Come on, back me up here, Phil Kessel.

 

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-- Injuries to the likes of Martin Hanzal and Tobias Rieder make the Arizona Coyotes’ top line seem a little shaky - assuming those two can’t go tonight - but the second line of the moment looks pretty peachy.

 

Christian Dvorak (that guy who won a Memorial Cup on a ridiculous line with Mitch Marner and Matthew Tkachuk) centers Max Domi and Anthony Duclair.

 

Speaking of Duclair, he's been very ineffective so far this season, managing an Andrew Ladd-esque one goal and one assist in 11 games. It doesn't help that he has 16 SOG in that span, not even two per game. Maybe those young linemates can get him going.

 

-- The Bruins look a little more competent with Tuukka Rask playing at a high level and the team generally becoming healthier. The first line is obviously the highlight, but Ryan Spooner - David Krejci - David Backes shows some promise, and Matt Beleskey has had some recent moments as a secondary scorer.

 

-- Brian Burke might beat up on the Flames' top guys, but Glen Gulutzan's use of Deryk Engelland makes me wonder.

 

I'll probably bang on the "give Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau a better winger than Alex Chiasson" drum all season at this pace, by the way.

 

-- I haven't heard any new rumblings about Jacob Trouba playing on Tuesday - Kevin Cheveldayoff said that it was at least possible, but didn't sound all that emphatic about it. The Jets can place Trouba in the spot he wants for at least a bit, maybe, as Tyler Myers is day-to-day with a lower-body injury. The Jets are pretty banged up in general, so having Trouba back - even if it's just to goose his trade value - would be a pleasant boost.

 

-- The splendidly young trio of Sebastian Aho, Elias Lindholm and Teuvo Teravainen hasn't really produced much of note for the Carolina Hurricanes so far. Maybe it's time to mix and match a bit among Carolina's bottom nine forwards?

 

-- At the moment, it seems like Richard Panik is safely with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, while Marian Hossa skates with Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. Still, the way Coach Q is jumbling his lines, I'd suggest keeping an eye out for updates and not going into autopilot, particularly in Daily Fantasy if you're the type to hoard line combos.

 

-- Mikko Rantanen comes in with some hype, and he's getting some golden opportunities on a line with Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon. He's been between 18:39 and 21:08 TOI the last three games. Still, he only has an assist to show for his six games so far this season.

 

Maybe a breakthrough is coming? Pretty tough to imagine a better opportunity coming along anytime soon.

 

-- Patrick Maroon wasn't able to score a point in Edmonton's most recent game, but he's been showing some promise as a linemate for Connor McDavid and Jordan Eberle. It will be interesting to see if that lasts through tonight, as the Penguins play at such a pace that the big forward might struggle to keep up.

 

-- It seems like Jaromir Jagr is fighting through some lower-body injury issues lately (maybe groin-related). He didn't play all of Monday's game. Jonathan Marchessault seems to be plugging along regardless, as I'm sure he was delighted to score a goal against his former team in the Lightning on Monday.

 

-- The trio of Nino Niederreiter, Eric Staal and Charlie Coyle are the Wild's nominal first line at the moment, but on paper, is the second trio of Mikael Granlund, Mikko Koivu and Jason Pominville far behind?

 

-- Arturri Lehkonen might be a little banged up, so I'm not sure if Alex Galchenyuk sticks with Alex Radulov while Montreal loads up with Max Pacioretty - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher. Hard not to love that top six, especially the five bigger names beyond Lehkonen, eh?

 

-- The Predators seem to throw their lines in a blender quite frequently, with Filip Forsberg being placed on the third line for the time being. It sets up an interesting opportunity, limited time or not, for a sneaky-good player in Viktor Arvidsson. He's slated to play on a line with Ryan Johansen and James Neal.

 

Defense-wise, I don't hate the logic of Roman Josi - Ryan Ellis and Mattias Ekholm - P.K. Subban to "spread the wealth." I get the impression that Nashville is waking up from this dry spell.

 

-- Keep an eye out for Islanders updates after some players finally scored their first goals of the season on Monday. Ladd is the biggest name, while Nikolay Kulemin and Jason Chimera also uttered those statistical sighs of relief.

 

Ladd was demoted all the way down to the fourth line, but one would imagine that won't last too long. (Right?)

 

Cal Clutterbuck is the latest borderline-insulting linemate for John Tavares, who's also dragging along Josh Bailey. I know Clutterbuck scored on Monday, but c'mon.

 

-- Deep down, I'd prefer Mark Stone to be with Mike Hoffman and Kyle Turris, but Bobby Ryan - Derick Brassard - Stone and Hoffman - Turris - Tom Pyatt isn't the absolute worst compromise. Whatever the case may be, the Senators have been heavy on low-scoring games lately; I wonder how much of that is both their save percentage being unsustainably high and shooting percentage being uncommonly low.

 

-- Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski is just so right. Logan Couture has OK but kind of unappealing linemates (Joel Ward and Joonas Donskoi), while the Sharks' third line is intriguing in Mikkel Boedker, Patrick Marleau and Melker Karlsson.

 

-- I like Vladislav Namestnikov as a player, but he hasn't really been producing a ton of points, including while getting a spin with Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. Injuries diced up the Bolts a bit last night, but I'd probably want Alex Killorn or Ondrej Palat in that spot.

James O'Brien
James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.