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Wednesday 29th Mar 2017

As I mentioned in last week’s article I borrowed Garden Seat from Jim “Boomer” Gordon of Sirius/XM’s hockey channel. The Garden Seat refers to the third player on a team’s top line, or a line stacked with studs. For instance Tomas Hertl is in the Garden Seat in San Jose simply due to the fact he skates with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Thornton and Pavelski are great options to use in Seasonal and DFS Fantasy leagues because their costs are not nearly as expensive as the top studs.

As an example, these are the player costs for tonight’s Game Five against the Los Angeles Kings. Joe Thornton - ($7000), Joe Pavelski - ($8100) and the Garden Seat guy Tomas Hertl – ($5500). These players are exposed to the top line talent and are often put on the team’s top power play unit with his line mates or on the second unit. Hertl is priced and placed in opportune situations for our fiscal gain, should be considered nightly based on the Sharks match-up. The Garden Seat often rotates among forwards, so be sure to do your homework prior to face off. Let’s look at some of the NHL’s other top Garden Seat examples of the 2015/16 season.

In Anaheim for the past two seasons Head Coach Bruce Boudreau has been trying to find the right third wheel to skate with the uber talented pair of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Boudreau tried Patrick Maroon, Rickard Rakell, Matt Belesky, Jacob Siflverberg and Ryan Kesler to name a few. Finally this season Boudreau split Perry and Getzlaf up and surprisingly it worked quite well while the Ducks locked up the Pacific Division. The Ducks top line in the going into the playoff against Nashville is Ryan Getzlaf ($7500), David Perron ($5400) and Garden Seater Chris Stewart ($4400). The Ducks second line anchored by Corey Perry ($6900) also has Rickard Rakell ($5700) and their Garden Seat employee Jamie McGinn ($4400). The price is the cheapest on the Garden Seat skater 90% of the time, and they are placed in great situations for us to capitalize on.

As for the St. Louis Blues, Jori Lehtera ($4000) skating with Jaden Schwartz ($5400) and one of the NHL’s best goal scorer’s Vladimir Tarasenko ($9200). Schwartz is a very good player and only played 33 games this season, which gives him very fresh playoff legs. He compliments Tarasenko’s game very well as does Lehtera. Tarasenko led the Blues in both goals (40) ant points (74). This line came together late in the season once Schwartz returned from long term IR. I’m quite sure though that the pattern I mentioned about price reduction for the third wheel is being driven home, cheaper price and first line minutes equals production.

The New York Islanders have been looking to fill the garden seat for years now it seems trying to find the third wheel for Tavares and Okposo. Right now Frans Nielson is filling the seat admirably while the Islanders continue to take the state of Florida hostage. The Penguins and Capitals carry tow garden seats, with Crosby and Malkin centering the first and second lines. Crosby has a new Conor Sheary and Patric Hornqvist on the top line and Malkin centering Eric Fehr and Chris Kunitz. A new development of a third scoring line has rising in Pittsburgh too with Nick Bonino centering Carl Hagelin and sniper Phil Kessel, this line is scoring more frequently than the other two lines.

Washington has the great Nicklas Backstrom in between the league’s best goal scorer Alex Ovechkin and last night’s hat-trick hero T.J. Oshie. Man that was a sweet game, my brother Steve is even showing interest in this series and he’s not a big hockey guy! The Caps second line is centered by their regular seasons leading scorer Evgeny Kusnetsov who only has one point thus far in seven playoff games. Mr. Game Seven Justin Williams and young, hot handed Marcus Johansson fill out line two, all six of these players constitute two-thirds of the Caps Power Play units.

This season’s playoffs have been very entertaining and my playoff beard/goatee gets grayer every year, but my love for the greatest game on Earth has never been stronger. If any newbies out there want to see excellent hockey with some of the world’s greatest players, now’s a great time to start watching!

The two Western Conference series begin tonight with San Jose hosting Nashville and Dallas host the deep St. Louis Blues. Half my bracket is destroyed with Chicago and Los Angeles packing it in early, but I’m not bitter. There will be no back to back champion again and the kings have fallen off the mountain. Enjoy the weekend of hockey and may all of your shots go top shelf, and you expensive sticks not shatter.

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