James O'Brien

Hockey Daily Dose

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Tuesday, April 09, 2013

While Monday’s Daily Dose covered two significant goalie returns in Mike Smith and Craig Anderson - along with discussing several other important netminding matters - Tuesday’s column spotlights comebacks that won’t be such good news for goalies (aside from the players’ own netminders).


Before I blather on too much, note that the main focus of this opening bit (Ryan Kesler) is only owned in 35 percent of Yahoo leagues right now. I think he’s worth snatching up in almost any league, injury risks and all. It’s OK, do it and then come back to the column.


(A fringe-level gamble can often make the big difference at this time of year.)




Life can throw some curveballs your way and make it difficult to check Rotoworld updates, but during the stretch run, it’s a really wise idea to keep abreast of late scratches and activations.


I couldn’t help but think of that when it was clear that Ryan Kesler would make his comeback on Monday. In a lot of these cases, it’s not THAT big of a shock, but the more time you have to fiddle with your lineup once guys come off the IR - particularly to answer that crucial “who to drop?” question - the better. You also don’t want to miss out on that adrenaline-fueled return, because that’s a good time for a player to pot a goal/generally roll out the red carpet for themselves.


Despite clocking a little less than 16 minutes of ice time, it seems like Kesler fit right back into the lineup and made a difference.


He scored the only "real" goal of the game in a 2-0 win against the Phoenix Coyotes - Antoine Vermette's dreams will be haunted by an unlikely own goal credited to Dan Hamhuis that accounted for the other tally - but did more than that.


The former Selke winner fired four SOG overall, delivered three hits, took one minor penalty and registed a +1 rating.




When it comes to returns, one wonders how a guy might adjust to that adrenaline drop-off. On the bright side, the Canucks don't have back-to-back games. They play again on Wednesday and then get a breather until Saturday.


While that probably makes him quite a bit less desirable for those who might add him in hopes of winning this week, it's probably a good thing for his value overall.


(Some leagues allow you to keep a guy on the IR when they're back. Perhaps you'll just decide to activate him on Saturday to max things out? Just throwing it out there.)




Honestly, it seemed to me like the Canucks traded for Derek Roy in part to fill the gap left behind by Kesler. When you add those talented forwards to the Sedin twins, great goaltending (regardless of the circus) and a nice defensive group, it’s hard not to wonder if Vancouver might sneak under the radar - as much as they can - heading into the 2013 playoffs.


Naturally, Kesler’s return could be bad for Roy owners. To start things off, Kesler skated with Mason Raymond and Zack Kassian on Monday while Roy centered Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen on a top-notch third line.


Depth is a valuable commodity in this parity-laced league, but one cannot help but wonder if the Canucks should consider lining Roy and Kesler up or even boldly seeing how Roy would mesh with the Sedin twins. (Roy owners, his agent and account like both of those ideas better than “slumming it” on the third line.)


While Roy’s used to being a center, it’s not that outrageous of an idea when you consider his top-six talent and the fact that he’s been brutal in the faceoff circle this season (45.6 percent rate of victory)




If you ask me, Kesler’s widespread availability (again, as of this writing, 65 percent of Yahoo league owners could grab him) is a testament of how stringent leagues can be about how many IR slots you might have available.


Sometimes, it comes down to storing the essentials for disaster situations. If that’s the case, that Patrick Sharp is the can of peaches/whatever you find to be the most delectable fruit.


He’s owned in 93 percent of leagues. I’m starting to think that the seven percent of leagues where he’s available are actually full of missing people, like the Dufrenes from Mitch Hedberg’s genius bit.


Anyway, as star-crossed as Sharp's season has been at times - the injury issues, long stretches without a goal, just a 6.4 percent shooting efficiency rate - he's a guy who will fire a lot of shots on net, probably pull down a solid plus/minus and produce points. He should be back tonight, but as always, keep an eye on late developments.


Jump for Jagr, Kessel and injuries.


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James O'Brien is the Hockey Daily Dose's author and has been a contributor to NBC's Pro Hockey Talk for more than four years. Follow him on Twitter.
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