There’s nothing wrong with being the third wheel

Every year there’s a handful of players that ride the coattails of their linemates. Being the third wheel is great for fantasy as they can provide value late in the draft. Let’s take a look at some players who are either penciled-in or trying out as the third wheel. The numbers are based off the Yahoo rankings.

Sam Reinhart (BUF – C, RW)

  • xRank: 123
  • AVG Pick: 156.9
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
82 25 25 50 -24 21 188 48

He finally signed a contract and has been slotted on the right side of Jack Eichel and Jeff Skinner. In case you forgot, Reinhart was one of the best players in the second half posting 30 points in 33 games. The second overall pick in 2014 could be poised for a breakout season as he enters his fourth full year with the Sabres.

James Neal (CGY – RW)

  • xRank: 171
  • AVG Pick: 158.5
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
71 25 19 44 -11 9 202 44

Since Neal left Pittsburgh in 2014, he has been on the decline offensively. His role with Vegas was a second liner, but is now back to playing top line minutes with Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau. They have been trying to find a good right-winger to play with them for some time, and the potential for Neal getting back to being a 60+ point producer seems very likely.

Nick Schmaltz (CHI – C, LW)

  • xRank: 188
  • AVG Pick: 170.7
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
78 21 31 52 1 13 118 13

Alex DeBrincat is rated higher, but you want to own whoever plays with Patrick Kane. Schmaltz started last season with Kane, recording 35 points in 45 games. Yes, he had a miserable second half, but the two have some chemistry. They are adding Brandon Saad to the mix and that completes the best line on the Chicago Blackhawks.

Pierre-Luc Dubois (CBJ – C, LW)

  • xRank: 113
  • AVG Pick: 146.9
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
82 20 28 48 8 15 165 127

When the season starts, Dubois is expected to be back playing with Artemi Panarin and Cam Atkinson. The trio led the Blue Jackets in scoring in the second half. He had 26 points in 33 games and is the number one center that Columbus has been waiting for.

Ty Rattie (EDM – RW)

  • xRank: 867
  • AVG Pick: 167.8
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
14 5 4 9 1 0 32 11

Ty Rattie was a prolific scorer in junior and that kind of success has yet to translate to the NHL. He’s put up good numbers in the AHL and is definitely hungry to stay in the big leagues. He is moving up the draft rankings as we speak, thanks to his five-point performance in his first preseason game alongside Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. McJesus makes everyone better so this is a perfect opportunity for Rattie. Don’t forget about Nugent-Hopkins either.

Dustin Brown (LA – RW)

  • xRank: 189
  • AVG Pick: 162.2
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
81 28 33 61 31 15 222 189

Brown is getting overlooked by a lot of people. His resurgence is making people very hesitant that he can replicate it. He hasn’t scored this many points since the 2011-12 season. Don’t worry, his power-play time is safe as well as his spot beside Anze Kopitar and Ilya Kovalchuk. This is a great pick as he provides both hits and shots.

Kevin Fiala (NSH – LW, RW)

  • xRank: 144
  • AVG Pick: 154.5
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
80 23 25 48 20 13 187 34

Kevin Fiala is getting the chance to play on the top line alongside Ryan Johansen and Filip Forsberg. The former 11th overall pick in the 2014 draft made great strides in his second full season with the Predators. His value will go up even more if he ends up on the top power-play, there’s a lot to like here.

Anthony Beauvillier (NYI – C, LW)

  • xRank: 194
  • AVG Pick: 171.0
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
71 21 15 36 2 8 132 80

In his second season with the Islanders, Beauvillier increased his point totals and showed better consistency in the second half. He has opened up the preseason with the same players he ended the year with, Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle. 19 points in 32 games alongside them isn’t bad, but there could be more if he gets top power-play time.

Travis Konecny (PHI – LW, RW)

  • xRank: 127
  • AVG Pick: 156.3
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
81 24 23 47 17 3 177 97

The Philadelphia Flyers’ top line has finally been reunited in camp. Travis Konecny was back on the top line with Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier. He has proven he can play with them as he had 25 points in 32 games in the second half. He won’t see much power-play time, but helps out in the other categories. He’s a lock for 50+ points.

David Perron (STL – LW)

  • xRank: 231
  • AVG Pick: 167.6
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
70 16 50 66 1 18 125 118

Before getting scratched out of the lineup with a groin injury, Perron was on the top line with Brayden Schenn and Jaden Schwartz. He hasn’t scored that many points since 2013-14, but if he sticks with them, a repeat of 60+ points seems possible.

J.T. Miller (TB – C, RW)

  • xRank: 151
  • AVG Pick: 163.5
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
82 23 35 58 -4 18 143 124

J.T. Miller came over in the Ryan McDonagh trade and has fit very nicely alongside Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov. He recorded 18 points in 19 games and saw time on the top power-play unit. He hasn’t recorded over 60 points yet, but that will change. Oh, and that left-wing eligibility is going to look good.

Patrick Marleau (TOR – C, LW)

  • xRank: 185
  • AVG Pick: 168.6
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
82 27 20 47 1 9 203 85

Patrick Marleau may not be the bona fide scorer he once was, but he’s going to be playing with Auston Matthews and William Nylander (when he signs). Though the 39-year-old is still in amazing shape, asking for more than 60 points seems possible but very unlikely.

Erik Haula (VGK – C, LW)

  • xRank: 230
  • AVG Pick: 166.4
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
76 29 26 55 -16 19 175 85

With the top line in Vegas set in stone, Erik Haula reaps the benefit of playing with Max Pacioretty and Paul Stastny. He is coming off a breakout season, scoring 55 points in 76 games, and more could be coming. He will also be gaining right-wing eligibility if he stays on the line, which is a bonus.

Kyle Connor (WPG – LW)

  • xRank: 96
  • AVG Pick: 96.0
GP G A PTS +/- PP Shots Hits
76 31 26 57 8 11 192 18

The Winnipeg Jets will be expecting big things from Kyle Connor. Connor had a very successful rookie season which included 28 points in 32 games in the second half. He is back with Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele, and while he may not see much power-play time, he’s in a great spot with those two. 60+ points is what I am expecting bearing no sophomore slump.

Jordan Lyn

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Watching one hockey game after another until the night is over.

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