One of the major hot-topics over the summer for the Florida Panthers was what line combinations they were going to use for their top-six.
After much speculation and talk over the summer, it seems HC Bob Boughner has finally decided what his top-six will look like.
Previously, I wrote about who you should expect on the top line, but from what was reported by Erin Brown of The Athletic Miami, the first line is going to resemble the same players from the second half of last season:
For anyone who read my previous article, you’d know that my first choice on the top line would be Huberdeau–Barkov–Dadonov. I really felt this trio worked well together during the start of the 2017-18 season, but even after Boughner dropped Huberdeau to the second line and placed Bjugstad on the first, the change worked just as well and provided some much-needed balance.
With more forward depth added this summer, you could go with either my combination or Boughner’s from the second half. Both would work well, but if you’re looking for balance from your first-two lines, It’s probably best to go with what’s listed in the above tweet.
Those lines were tested in action on Monday, Sept. 19 against the Montreal Canadiens which resulted in a 5-2 victory.
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The first line of Dadonov-Barkov-Bjugstad produced 5 points on the night, with Bjugstad tallying a goal and an assist, Dadonov recording 2 goals on the night, and Barkov supplying a single assist. What more can you ask of from your first line, right?
Mike Hoffman was robbed point-blank by Carey Price, while also causing havoc in the Habs’ end by dangling around defenders. Huberdeau was doing what he does best which is finding the open man, while Trocheck was leading the offensive drive.
The end product from the trio isn’t what many expected going into the game, but it’s worth remembering that it’s only preseason and the very first time the three are playing on a line together.
With more games under their belts, the point productions will surely rise and the line will be up there among the best across the NHL. More importantly, however, is that the Florida Panthers’ first-two lines are able to score, which they haven’t been able to do for a very long time.
The top-six may have been different than what I was expecting, but by no means am I troubled or disappointed by the combinations that Boughner decided to roll with. The two lines that he constructed offer balance, which is all a fan (like myself) can ask for.