In case you have missed it, we are embarking on a journey over the next couple weeks to look at all different aspects of the Winnipeg Jets line combinations. You can read the introductory post here, and you can check out part two here.
Today’s post puts a spotlight on the ‘fourth’ line of the Winnipeg Jets, Tanev, Lowry, Copp. It’s no secret that this line performed exceptionally well defensively throughout the season. They ranked near the top of the league in several advanced stats categories, specifically CA/60 and xGA/60.
While having this trio together makes for an impressive defensive line, perhaps they could be split up to help promote defensive awareness throughout the rest of the lineup. We will examine two different scenarios that break up this line and blend them with more offensive players.
SCENARIO FIVE: Copp Moves Up
Copp – Scheifele – Wheeler
Connor – Little – Perreault
Tanev – Lowry – Laine
Ehlers – Petan – Roslovic
Fun Factor: 7/10
This combination looks very odd at first glance, but it actually spreads the scoring quite equally. The top four goal scorers are all on different lines (Scheifele, Connor, Laine, Ehlers) and every line could easily find the back of the net.
When looking at the top line, Copp has experience playing with Scheifele and Wheeler as he spent over 100 minutes with them during the 2016/17 season. While it could be argued that Wheeler and Scheifele make any player look good, the line did produce some great numbers during their time together.
Upon further inspection, among all wingers Scheifele and Wheeler have played with over the past two seasons, playing with Copp gives them their third best CF% and second best xGF%.
Looking at the rest of the lineup, each line seems solid. The second line would be able to drive possession with Perreault, but they would also get a little offensive pop with Connor as the other winger.
The third line would be interesting as Tanev and Lowry would help Laine with the weakest part of his game, breaking out of his own end. Laine, in turn, would compliment the puck retrieval skills of Tanev and Lowry by his quick-strike ability off turnovers.
The fourth line would be extremely fast and although they might lag defensively, they would be able to break out well and enter the offensive zone with tons of speed. They would be extremely fun to watch and would wreak havoc on other fourth lines.
SCENARIO SIX: TLC On Three Different Lines
Connor – Scheifele – Wheeler
Ehlers – Copp – Laine
Tanev – Little – Perreault
Dano – Lowry – Roslovic
Fun Factor: 4/10
Scenario five had Copp all the way on the top line with Scheifele and Wheeler, but Copp also has experience with a different pair of skilled teammates. Near the end of February Copp moved onto the second line where he found decent chemistry alongside Ehlers and Laine. (Skip to the 4:39 mark to see Laine’s goal assisted by Ehlers and Copp)
The third line of Tanev, Little, and Perreault would be extremely dangerous on the forecheck as both Tanev and Perreault are great at causing turnovers and drawing penalties. This would also allow Little to work his way to a third line role where he might find some new life.
The fourth line blends Lowry’s defensive game with Roslovic and Dano’s offensive games. It would be a nice complement to each other and the line would be able to perform in all areas of the rink.
As always, let me know your thoughts on these lineup combinations and how you would split the TLC line. Your response could be featured in a future 20 in 20 post!
Previously in the Series: