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Last Year's Top Line Combinations

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One advantage the Carolina Hurricanes might have over most other teams next season is the ability for the coaching staff to mix and match forward line combinations as needed in game situations.   Several of the forwards have a lot of versatility and they are flexible enough to be able to move around and play different roles with different teammates.  How did this work out last year?  Let's take a look at the top scoring lines for the 2008-09 season.

According to DobberHockey.com, the Staal-Samsonov-Ruutu line was on the ice the most together and scored more points than any other Carolina line.  Here are the most used lines with their points during even strength play:

 


Line
Shifts Points Point per

Combo
Together Together Shift Ratio












1 Staal-Ruutu-Samsonov 2329 48 2.1%
2 Staal-Ruutu-Cole 955 25 2.6%
3 Brind'Amour-Walker-Whitney 803 11 1.4%
4 Cullen-LaRose-Whitney 797 19 2.4%
5 Staal-Ruutu-Whitney 496 6 1.2%
6 Brind'Amour-Eaves-Samsonov 462 7 1.5%
7 Cullen-Williams-Whitney 363 9 2.5%
8 Jokinen-LaRose-Whitney 343 7 2.0%
9 Bayda-Cullen-LaRose 302 8 2.6%
10 Staal-LaRose-Whitney 96 8 8.3%

 

Somewhat surprisingly, the Staal-Samsonov-Ruutu group played more than twice as much together as any other line combination.  They proved to be the most productive line in total points as well, but when Erik Cole was acquired and inserted in place of Samsonov, the production percentage went up even more. 

The Cullen-LaRose-Whitney line was also very productive and we should see much more of them as a group this year.  Staal, LaRose, and Whitney were not on the ice together very often, but when they were matched up they were very successful. 

Now let's look at the powerplay forward lines:

 


Line
Shifts Points Point per

Combo
Together Together Shift Ratio












1 Staal-Ruutu-Samsonov
354 18 5.1%
2 Staal-Ruutu-Whitney
245 10 4.1%
3 Brind'Amour-WIlliams-Whitney 171 5 2.9%
4 Staal-Ruutu-Cole
127 12 9.4%
5 Brind'Amour-Samsonov-Whitney 79 5 6.3%
6 Brind'Amour-Staal-Whitney 63 9 14.3%
7 Brind'Amour-Cullen-Samsonov-Whitney 49 10 20.4%
8 Brind'Amour-Walker-Whitney 41 3 7.3%
9 Brind'Amour-Staal-Whitney-Samsonov 39 6 15.4%
10 Staal-Ruutu-Samsonov-Whitney 25 10 40.0%

 

Once again, Staal-Ruutu-Samsonov had the most shifts together.  But just like during even strength, insert Cole in place of Samsonov and the percentages go up.  (9.4% versus 5.1%).  You can see the enticement to put four forwards together during the man, (or two man), advantage.  The percentages really go up, but so could the goals against. 

How about they play the Staal-Ruutu-Samsonov-Whitney foursome more often seeing that they scored earned points on 40% of their shifts together?

After looking at these stats you can really see the value in re-signing Tuomo Ruutu.  Not only does he bring the obvious physical element to the game, but he is involved in most of the high scoring lines as well. 

Having Erik Cole at his side helped Eric Staal to succeed late last year, but number 12 spent more time on the ice with Ruutu, (906:01) than with any other player.  They scored about a goal for every 20 minutes they were together.  

These stats are from Hockey Analysis.com.

 

Even Strength Goals For with Eric Staal and Teammates
 

 

Player ES TOI GF GF/20
TUOMO RUUTU 906:01:00 42 0.927
SERGEI SAMSONOV 622:45:00 27 0.867
JOSEPH CORVO 517:26:00 24 0.928
JONI PITKANEN 446:05:00 25 1.121
TIM GLEASON 444:13:00 25 1.126
DENNIS SEIDENBERG 365:42:00 14 0.766
ANTON BABCHUK 291:19:00 19 1.304
RAY WHITNEY 250:24:00 19 1.518
NICLAS WALLIN 230:42:00 12 1.04
ERIK COLE 228:41:00 13 1.137
FRANTISEK KABERLE 97:08:00 5 1.03
PATRICK EAVES 79:43:00 4 1.004
RYAN BAYDA 66:16:00 2 0.604
CHAD LAROSE 63:14:00 8 2.53
JUSTIN WILLIAMS 61:10:00 1 0.327
ROD BRIND'AMOUR 28:58:00 2 1.381
MATT CULLEN 27:11:00 1 0.736
SCOTT WALKER 24:05:00 3 2.491

 

Staal really lit it up when on the ice with Whitney and LaRose, even though their time together was fairly short. 

There are a lot of interesting stats to check out on this site.  Simply click on the player's name to see how they did when paired up with other players.  I just checked "goals for" but you can also see the "goals against"

Tomorrow, we will look at the defensemen.