2. Defensive Second Line
Okay, maybe Barry Trotz isn’t ready to move Oliver Wahlstrom off of Jean-Gabriel Pageau’s wing just yet. So keep him on the third line and get Austin Czarnik out there with the two. That trio didn’t work so well in January, but with the confidence that Wahlstrom has gained over the last few months, there’s no way he abdicated the puck to Czarnik anymore.
Adding Komarov to Nelson and Bailey’s line effectively turns this into a pure shutdown line. To be fair, that’s basically what the Nelson line is right now anyways. But instead of having Beauvillier play a shutdown role, Leo Komarov steps in to take that from him.
Which frees up Anthony Beauvillier to link up with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle. They haven’t played much this year (20:21 of 5on5 time), but the results are pretty darn good when they have (just to compare I’ve added how Barzal and Eberle are without Beau):
- 67.65 CF% // without – 56.74%
- 72.45 xGF% // without – 62.91%
- 76.19 SCF% // without – 58.09%
- 87.50 HDCF% // without – 67.20%
(Stats from NaturalStatTrick)
That line has so much potential. It’s a shame that Barzal is forced to play with Leo Komarov most of the time instead of a more offensively skilled player like Beau. With the way things are going right now for Mathew Barzal and the Isles top-line in general, why not give the team’s top offensive talent more offensive talent to play with?
And again, the fourth line stays together.