Focus is usually on the stars, so let’s talk about the other guys. No, not the awesome movie with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlburg, but the players on the top line in the Garden Seat. The Garden Seat is a term I borrowed from XM’s NHL Channels Jim “Boomer” Gordon. He’s the player who gets to skate with the top line and is the least effective sniper of the bunch. They generally cost less but still have a great chance at being productive.
Alex Kilorn – Tampa Bay ($5700): Kilorn has been on Tampa’s top line pretty much all season and potted the series winner versus the Red Wings. In the playoffs he’s third on the team with five points in as many games.
Calle Jarnkrok – Nashville ($3500): Jarnkrok came over to Tampa via Detroit in the David Legwand trade a few years back and has stewed in and out of the minors. He was tenth on the Preds in regular season scoring and only has one point thus far in the playoffs, but is in a prime position to capitalize on his 15 minutes or more of ice-time.
Frans Nielsen – N.Y. Islanders ($5600): Nielsen skates with All-Star John Tavares and Kyle Okposo. He was third in scoring in the regular season as well as this year’s playoffs. Occasionally seeing power play time with the top unit, Nielsen is an effective even strength presence, with 11 goals and 19 5-on-5 assists during the regular season.
Ryan Garbutt – Anaheim ($2700): Garbutt has been bounced around the top line Garden Seat and the other three lines all season. In the playoffs, he’s back on the top-line with Ryan Getzlaf and newly acquired David Perron. Garbutt’s 10 minutes of ice time on the top line is an effort of head coach Bruce Boudreau to spread out the scoring and separate Corey Perry from Getzlaf. Garbutt is shooting 20% in the playoffs with one goal on five shots.