Top lines in the NHL, according to xGF%
By - josh89rea
That top line for the bruins has literally never been bad
Absolute envy line. You guys are so lucky.
Now switch up Pasta with Crosby and that's all the reason you need to keep them together for the Olympics.
Marchand and Crosby are the most unfair guys to share the ice for puck possession, both of them have such wild edge work and stick work in tight spaces to the point where if they ever get possession they rarely lose it. Crosby is arguably the best ever at that, and Marchand may be the next best active player at it, it’s the biggest reason he’s as good as he is.
Add in Bergeron who is basically the ideal chemistry guy who always knows where to be for guys like that to work off him along with all 3 being great defensively and it’s just a perfectly designed line.
Agree with everything you said. Plus the fact that they're all very cerebral players which is a huge part of why they're so good defensively - they can anticipate so well and read the play so they're in a good position. Crosby and Bergeron have this reputation of course, but I'm not sure Marchand is given as much credit as he deserves in this space.
Yeah Marchand definitely deserves to be in the conversation as one of the best defensive wings in hockey, I think he just doesn’t always get as much credit as deserved because he shares the ice with maybe the best defensive forward ever and his offense and dirty plays also overshadow his defense.
Funny/odd to think of Marchand as cerebral; but i agree that he is, even when he's being an a55.
You’re totally right about that last part, I don’t think people give him enough credit because people see him as a goon and that overshadows his skills, or people are just more focused on other prominent B’s players (and there are many). Sometimes it’s almost like it doesn’t matter how good he is because everyone will always remember ~the lick~ lol. There’s no denying though that he’s a wicked good player and I’m sure any team would love to have him on their roster (and this is coming from a Flyers fan).
Marchand is definitely the guy everyone loves to hate.
And that’s possibly Canada’s SECOND line. The first could feasibly be Mcdavid-Mackinnon-Marner
Can Marner skate with those 2?
I might be tempted to go with Barzal. That would give you arguably the 3 fastest guys in the world, playing together on international sized ice.
Oh man never thought of him. Damn now that’s a line
I think they're playing on NHL size ice for the Olympics. Which is sad, because I was really excited for 20 minutes a game of McDavid end to end rushes skating through the d
Really? Good to know.
Historically, North American teams have had some trouble adjusting.
But with how the teams are shaping up I think they would've been fine this time.
Canada has the best group of forwards and the US has the best d and goalies. I would expect them to meet in the gold medal game.
You could say that Marchand learned, literally, from the best.
Not to mention that bergy is the best faceoff guy in the business...Crosby isn't exactly a slouch at it, and Marchand is actually not terrible himself...chances are if there's a faceoff with that group on the ice, the puck is already there's.
Maybe in the playoffs sometimes
Ugh. The St. Louis series
If Bouwmeester and Parayko weren't shutting you guys down so effectively things would've been very different.
There were a lot of things in the series that were a bummer, I believe Pasta had aggravated his thumb injury too.
Rask playing injured. Coyle playing injured. Basically all 6 starting defense injured. Then they all played horribly. And the refs were shit. Man that was a disappointing series.
I’m still pissed at the refs for not calling that trip on Noel and subsequently having dumb Blues fans call him a diver. If there’s one guy who plays the game the right way it’s Noel
Yeah, trying to not be salty and make excuses but Chara with a broken jaw and that ridiculous tripping non call… oh well. Didn’t get it done
Idk, I had a good time
I really hate how it's always, "These guys just didn't show up for that series!" whenever a team doesn't score and it's never, "These guys really shut the other team down!"
You see it all the damn time. Nobody ever gives good defense credit.
Especially in literally the playoffs, where everyone is playing at such an incredibly high level.
It's not that they're bad, other teams just can safely focus their entire effort on that line knowing that the rest of the Bruins will never be a threat. In the regular season teams don't put the same kind of effort or gameplan in.
Yeah that’s why I think aside from a trade our only path to contention is Hall finding a way to get back towards his MVP season production at least to some degree where he could carry a line. He doesn’t necessarily need to get to that level, but if he can get close to a point per game it would be huge for our secondary scoring.
I guess the revamped bottom 2 lines could also chip in more, especially if DeBrusk can bounce back, but they’re inability to produce the past few years has left me traumatized and unable to believe they can improve lol.
Who needs Crosby and Malkin when you have Evan Rodrigues at center.
Our Swiss Army knife 🤣 Fr tho I *love* this guy and everything he brings to the game has been on full display this year.
E-Rod doesn’t take part of a shift off. 100% 100% of the time. Have to admire that.
Erod but he’s a full-fledged penguin now :(
I miss him and his goofy face so damn much.
Best DSL in the league
I watched rodrigues like 4-5 nights a year playing buffalo and was always noticing him the most like clockwork. underrated player
“of course the Penguins top line is on here… wait, who are any of these guys”
Perfect example of a guy who was in a terrible situation in Buffalo take advantage on a good club. He’s earning a payday.
Rodrigues has been a 13th forward in Pittsburgh going on 3 years now. Nice to see him take advantage of his chance to play on the first line, but he's going to have a tough time keeping a roster spot once Crosby, Malkin and Carter are all back.
Red Wings and Sabres having lines here is a twist
Not to mention it's a 4th line for Seattle.
Is it though? Larkin, Beruzzi, Mantha was one of the best lines in the NHL two seasons ago.
I'd say so. Larkin was due for a bounceback season, and I was high on Raymond, but I didn't expect him to be absolutely crushing it like this.
Raymond Larkin is going to be a big line for awhile. Just hoping that Zadina steps it up for the other Wing
Or ye know, Bertuzzi gets vaccinated
We lost the o reilly trade
1C Tage has been a revelation.
In all seriousness last year he wasn’t very good from my eye test but in the games we played against you in preseason he looked really solid. I was impressed
Him as a winger, very bad doesn’t cycle deep well, him as a centre actually good, plays to his strengths as a player.
Kevan Miller knocked him into being a decent player
Literally beat some sense into him?
Pretty much my standing theory on how Sundqvist went from solid shutdown 4th liner to amazing bottom 6 guy putting up 30 points. Wilson really rattled his brain in the right ways.
Maybe, it was a hell of a punch.
Always thought he had great potential if he figured out how to skate better and use his body more
WTF? That's awesome that he turned out for you guys.
Go UConn Huskies! :)
Let's pump the breaks and see if he lasts an entire season. He's had strong 5 game stretches in the past.
O, O, O, O reillllllyyyyyyyy
…. AUTO PARTS! BOW!
Speaking of that, we will have to have a line from the Blues in here if we keep scoring like we are.
Bastian-Sheahan-Appleton is not what I expected to see tbh
I'm going to guess it's something to do with small sample size, and potentially quality of competition.
At the very least, Appleton is decent, and based on their toi/gp so far, they're probably playing against other team's 4th lines
Some of these lines are legit top lines for their teams though, like Boston, Tampa, Calgary, and LA. Others are probably some combination of playing well defensively, like the Minnesota lines. If they're playing strong defense, and limiting high danger chances, and chances in general, then it's much easier to rack up a higher xGF%
I was calling Appleton "Dollar Store Ehlers" last year and he wore 27 for the Moose. That kid is going places and I'm still cheering for him
I love and miss apples, but Jansen Harkins with his create a character randomizer name has been a very pleasant surprise in his place.
>I ordered Ehlers off Wish.com
"Mom, I want Nik Ehlers"
"we have Ehlers at home"
Ehlers at home:
He was who I was most excited for out of the expansion draft. Watched a lot of Jets games last year and heard his name a lot.
I just looked, that line has exactly 2 points: 1G, 1A. This is why metrics, no matter how advanced, are trash on their own.
Poor filtering more than anything. Should be like an 8 minute/game minimum.
30 minutes in 6 games isn't much and sounds like a line blender. If you have 10 "lines" just by random chance one of them will be good.
If you gave me four guesses what Seattle line would be on this list, I would have still failed.
I assume McDavid's line is leading the league in "unexpected goals for" then.
It's expected goals for percentage. So if your line is on for 10 xGF and 10 xGA, your xGF% is 50%.
The McDavid line scores a ton but they also allow a ton of high danger chances against them.
Yep. McDavid has his 13 points but is only a +3
7 of his 13 points are on the PP...
Anyone that thinks the McDavid line is bleeding grade A scoring chances every game is stat watching, not game watching.
I'm not watching 32 teams my man, sometime stats are all you have
pff casual ^/s
That's fair. I get it.
It's just a bit unfair that the current general wisdom around McDavid is that he is terrible defensively and the team basically just breaks even with his insane scoring. It is pretty far from accurate
when mcdavid and draisaitl play together they often trade a lot of chances
when they are split they seem to get more dialed in defensively
I mean, a lot of us have watched tons of McDavid games over the years. Prior to last year especially, that's pretty much how the games went. McDavid and Draisaitl would just exchange scoring chances with the other team all game at 5v5 and then kill them on the PP.
7 of those points did come on the powerplay. So he's +6 , -3 at 5v5
See I’m always told +\- is useless but these comments are always around
I’ve only ever seen +/- taken seriously in this sub when it pertains to McDavid and Draisaitl, every other time it’s brought up you get dunked on. But *just* for those two apparently it’s a good stat
Don't forget Barkov and Couturier!
(note: McDavid is +41 in last four seasons-32nd in NHL forwards, Barkov is +27 and Couturier is +52)
It’s also important to note that these numbers are basically a made up average. So basically, the average line will score x amount of times based on the shots they’re taking.
The thing about McDavid is that he can score on that 5% shot 50% of the time, so even if they’re not creating a lot of high quality chances, they’re capitalizing on *every* chance.
It is a shame that this stigma is still following him around. Last 2 seasons under tippet he has really developed this game in his own end.
He’s not selke nominee or anything but the amount of times in a game i notice him make a key defensive play is nuts. 5 on 5 he doesn’t generate as many chances as you think - but he generates high quality chances.
Well actually i expect goals 100% of the time when McDavid is on the ice so this list is inaccurate /s
One thing to note about McDavid is more than half of his points are on the power play. McDavid actually has "only" 4 5v5 points this year so far (as well as 7 points on the power play, and two involving an empty net).
And he also spent a lot of time with Tyson Barrie in the first 4 games which contributes to the xGA
Drew O’Connor has more 5v5 points than Connor McDavid so far. I’m going to pretend that means O’Connor is the best player in the NHL.
Ill take real goals over expected goals any day
From what I’ve seen they’re absolutely feasting on the Powerplay so I think that’s making up a massive portion of the GF there
Is this something I can brag about?
If you can be on a list with Pasta-Bergeron-Marchand, that is absolutely something to brag about.
I wonder if the Kraken should be licking their chops to see another one.
That's 1C Evan Rodrigues to you
Ah yes. Seeing two lines on here from Minnesota and neither of them have Kaprizov. Exactly what I would expect.
Duhaime might be putting that line on this list by himself. Dude has been a fucking revelation for us, and both he and Sturm are "speedy af boys that never take a shift off" types.
I think Bjugstad looks 100x better this year too. Maybe he’s finally recovered from the back injury or something, but he’s been flying.
Certainly not the lumbering slow player he was last year, for sure.
Honestly, playing with a pair of very enthusiastic young guys can be invigorating as well
I've been trying to follow how Bjugs has been doing this year but it's rather hard with time zone differences. But now that you guys have him I've hopped on the wild bandwagon.
He’s been quietly good so far, 5 points in 5 games, but looks a bit off. Not sure what it is
9 mil in his back pocket slowing him down
Forcing plays. He’s committed about 10 turnovers in the last 2 games, it feels like. 5 assists, no goals. I think he wants to get that monkey off his back, and he’s starting to feel the pressure a bit. He will finish the season with 1 point per game at least.
He read every comment from people who don't think he's worth his contract and wants so badly to prove them wrong or something. Like, yeah dude you can often beat a guy 1v1, doesn't mean you have to take on a whole team at the blue line every shift.
What's impressive to me is the Wild's 4th line is playing against other teams top lines too.
Minnesota always been a offence by comitee, now that they have a bonafide top scorer and somehow their middle six is the best in the NHL?
Now if our d could stop shitting the bed it would be great.
As everyone expected Detroit has one of the top lines in the league
it’s a good line.
I'd give that line a go.
Don’t forget about us!
Alright Mariah settle down
We are also here fyi!
I LIKE THIS FUCKING LIST.
And the Leafs have none.
I kinda always knew I'd end up your xGF%
Our bottom 6 is our top 6
Nah we just have a top 12
Gaudreau - Lindholm - Tkachuk has basically been the entire flames offense so far. There's been a few moments from Mangiapane, Dube and Coleman but it's really not been much compared to the top line. This doesn't surprise me, but if the flames can figure out a better working middle six I think we'll be significantly stronger. I think the individual talent is mostly there, but it seems like a chemistry thing holding them back depth wise.
Did you guys finally put Tkachuk on the top line this year or am I like a season behind? For the longest time I remember Tkachuk being on the 2nd or 3rd line and you guys would always run with Gaudreau-Monahan-Lindholm
At the end of last season we finally sat Monahan, who reportedly could barely walk all year but still played for some reason, and made the top line Gaudreau-Lindholm-Tkachuk. They produced a ton of points so we've kept them since and they've continued to be one of the lone bright spots of our offence
> Gaudreau - Lindholm - Tkachuk has basically been the entire flames offense so far
You don't even need to mention Tkachuk. Lindholm-Gaudreau has been the Flames offense
Tkachuk had like 14 shots in the first two games, he's had some lesser games sense then and I agree that Gaudreau and Lindholm have been better thus far, but I think he's done enough to be mentioned as a positive factor on the line.
Mango has 3 goals.
Edit: 5 goals. Guy is a beast.
Tkachuk has probably hit 3 gimme posts. He's been good, more bad luck than anything.
I think that's fair. He's defintely been a bit unlucky
Ya I thought he was our best player in a few games.
I'd like to see Mangiapane/Monahan/Coleman as the 2nd line, but I haven't seen much of Monahan to know if he's looked good this season
Monahan has looked pretty slow and not his usual self. His injury was reportedly really bad last year yet he played anyways. I assume he's either still recovering and stubbornly playing anyways or still getting up to speed.
Dube on the other hand has looked solid at center, which is the position he played before and has also looked excellent playing with Mangiapane.
For that reason I'd like to see
Mangiapane - Dube - Coleman
But I agree that if Monahan gets up to speed your line would be worth trying as well.
Now that you spell it out, I’d also really like to see Coleman with Dube and Mangiapane. I think that would be a pretty rad line
Honestly being injured pretty much is his usual self
His game was his shot and I don't think he has it anymore after all the surgeries he's had in recent years. He was never very good defensively or very physical, so losing that shot really hurt his effectiveness. He's on our fourth line right now.
Id prefer to have Backlund at center to be honest
“Lol” - Connor Mcdavid
Kopi can only carry our team so hard
So many invisible players in our forward group... I really hope Vilardi can get something going soon, glad he scored last game
Always has. Time for the youth to step up and help or we're not going anywhere.
Rodrigues the 1C
Yet another 1C the Sabres needlessly gave away.
Feels really good to see the devils on this list. Even if it’s outside the top ten, it’s still towards the top of the league. Small sample size but it’s nice. They’re so young too.
This feel of hope is new.
The Bergeron line has been dynamite so far. I'm really excited to see how they do this week against Florida and Carolina, two elite teams with great two-way centers.
Watching the Flyers-Bs game last week, that line had ALL of the possession every time they were on the ice (matched up against Flyers top line and d-pair). Its wild
If I'm reading this correctly we'll score 70.32% of the 47.58 minutes that line is on the ice, which is good for 33.46 goals a game
Bratt Hischier Zacha was actually broken up last game by Ruff. He even went to the media before the game saying that that line has been disappointing and needs to step up.
and also whenever any of those 3 miss a shot, the GDT is flooded with "at least it was an expected goal"
The actual quote was that he needs more from the top line, not that they've been disappointing. That's a fair assessment for 3 guys that are also on ice together for the power play and not registering points.
Look at that beautiful Penguins line! Thank you Maple Leafs!
Yes of course. Offensive powerhouses such as Buffalo, Detroit, and New Jersey are represented well.
I wonder if those chucks in Colorado or Edmonton will ever live up to the hype.
What is expect goals for %?
what's the % compared to?
Comparing expected goals for vs. all expected goals (for and against). A higher % means you are expected to score goals, but not give them up
It’s an estimate of your quality of shot share while on the ice. An xGF% of 50 would imply a line is giving up as much quality as they are generating whereas less than 50 implies they are giving up more quality chances than they are generating and vice versa.
I’m just way more impressed with the Pens and Seattle being up there.
I'll take what is "five games into the season" for 400 Alex.
You’re trying to tell me that 1C Tage Thompson isn’t going to be good all season?
On one hand, I want to see how he fares against elite 1C ERod.
On the other hand, your stupid giraffe boy always lights us up.
When was the last time the Bruins line wasn't considered a top 5 line in the league? I feel like every time we get lists like this they are always on it near the top.
Pasta came in in like 2015 so since then I guess. Lol
Hey, the Tatar-Danault-Gallagher line has been at the top these lists for the past three years.
What's going on? Why aren't they there this ye-- Oh. Oh no.
First of all: when the fuck did Calgary get good?
I went to the game on Saturday and they skated circles around the caps for the 1st period. I was shocked.
Finished 1st in the west in the 18/19 season, then got bazooka'd out of the playoffs by a very good 8 seed Avs. After two arguably underperforming years the head office made some positional improvements but the core has stayed the same. Also a few more years experience for our younger guys like Tkachuk, Mangiapane and Andersson
How current is is because kucherov is out and Raymond had a hat trick last night with Bertuzzi scoring a goal.
[From 5 hours ago.](https://twitter.com/iyer_prashanth/status/1452675428934639626)
How do you calculate "expected goals"
using a statistical model that assigns each shot a "probability" of scoring based on location and situation (ie rebound, rush, etc)
summing these probabilities gives a rough approximation of the number goals a team could "expect" to score on those shots
So it doesn't account for the fact that McJesus and Drai (or Ovechkin etc) probably score an above average frequency compared to 'expected' and might be expected to do that long term?
depends on the model. most don't, but Steve Valiquette's actually does.
I was about to complain the Jets top line isn't there until I realized they've played maybe 20 minutes together all year
I am simultaneously happy and sad to see Minnesotas 4th line on this list.
Elite first line of Zucc, Erod, and Cheeks. Love to see it.
ZUCKER RODRIGUES KAPANEN? LMAO
EDIT: before i get downvotes i am lmoaing because this line is a lot higher than i could ever guess if you asked me to name my thoughts for top15 lines xGF%
Believe me, us Pens fans are laughing just as much as you are. How the hell Sully keeps making an NHL roster out of 3rd liners, 4th liners, and AHL players is beyond me
I like pittsbrugh other than crosby so honestly im happy to see them destroying with these 3rd 4th line & AHL players
Elite 1C Evan Rodrigues
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAGA ZUCKER EROD KAPANEN FTW
larkin is so underrated
It's going to take me a bit to get used to not not looking straight for the bottom anymore
Another reminder that we have to miss another regular season of potential Kucherov domination, guy deserves to have his prime without injury
>guys deserves to have his prime without injury
Sigh, reminds me of both Crosby and Stamkos missing chunks of their prime due to injury. Always sucks to see top end guys miss significant time due to injury
One of there are not like the others... :D
Leafs need to spend more on the top line if we’re ever going to make this list
This chart is the definition of "it's early" lol
Nothing clever to say about whatever the hell the Penguins are doing right now. Just going to enjoy it.
Evan Rodrigues, elite #1C.
Could not be more excited to see both of those Wild lines getting some love. I’m a huge Hartman fan, and I love seeing that line click already with a new center. And the fourth line has really looked good so far—Bjugstad in particular has pop this year that definitely wasn’t there last year.
I CALL BS
Proof we need to put some respect on the name of elite 1C Evan Rodrigues
That Rodrigues line is primed to dominate.
You’d all be lying if you said you predicted anything beyond numbers 1 and 2 here.
Mark Donk and Buzz Flibbet represent!
Caps top line: am I a joke to you?
Link to full table?
So the worst is...Barron-McKegg-Reeves then
I got it from Twitter
Correction, the data is from [evolving hockey](https://evolving-hockey.com/stats/combos/?_inputs_&std_c3_range="Seasons"&std_c3_players=null&std_c3_adj="Score%20%26%20Venue"&dir_combo="F%20Lines"&std_c3_str="5v5"&std_c3_toi="30"&std_c3_type="Rates"&std_c3_span="Regular"&std_c3_team="All"), but you’ll need a subscription to see it.
Honestly, it's 4-5 games, this doesn't mean anything in the grand scheme. These lines are playing well but until we're 40+ games in, meh.
I think our line will probably still be on it. Lol
Would love to see zone start %, as that would undoubtedly impact these rankings
The only thing zone starts really show you is what a coach thinks about a player. Their predicative impact is null (most line changes occur on the fly anyways).