The Gaudreau Line
I’ll probably catch flak for not having Connor McDavid here, but he suffers the same issues as Crosby. His linemates haven’t been consistent enough to really nail down a single line that he’s played on, but enough justification. Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, and Michael Ferland form one of the top trios in the NHL, although most of it is powered by the young American Gaudreau. Johnny Hockey is one of the few possession driving wingers in the entirety of the NHL, and his praises can’t be overstated. Not to dismiss Monahan, who’d be a very good player in his own right, but Gaudreau is the star there. I’m not sure the sum reflects the parts, but let’s see what the numbers say.
|Total Ice Time
|Offensive Zone Start %
JoFA comes out looking pretty good in this one. They win the possession battle, goal percentage and don’t fall too far behind in high danger chances and zone starts. It’s a little surprising that a line with one of the NHL’s leading goal scorers in Gaudreau isn’t putting up better numbers with those favorable zone starts.
The other thing that isn’t reflected in these stats is that the Gaudreau line doesn’t always face top competition. The Flames’ second line is one of the premier shutdown lines in the NHL that erases guys like McDavid and Ovechkin from the scoreboard altogether. With all of these factors and JoFA’s better numbers, I think the Nashville Predators’ first line wins it. Now let’s head back to Florida to check out the top line on the top team in the NHL.