For most if not every club in the National Hockey League, they expect to get the bulk of their scoring from their top two lines. The third line is normally a checking line, a group that usually draws the toughest assignment night in and night out of matching up with the opposition's top line or lines.
And since the checking line is usually made up of grinders and players who normally specialize in doing one thing and doing that quite well, making life as hard as possible on the opposition, any offense a third line can provide is sheer icing for any NHL head coach.
That was definitely the thinking for the Dallas Stars' third line, which at the first of the year consisted of Adam Burish, center man Vernon Fiddler and veteran Radek Dvorak. Once newcomer Eric Nystrom, who came over in a trade with the Wild just before the start of the regular season became comfortable, he became a regular on the third line with Burish playing on the fourth line and sometimes on the second line.