No one will ever accuse Ryan Kesler of being quiet, that’s right up there with calling a cactus smooth.
This season Kes has been a prickly thorn in the side of others and that’s helped him rise to second overall in Canucks Fantasy Hockey for points with 912, a mere 24 less than the leading point-getter in the NHL, Henrik Sedin.
Currently tied for third in team-scoring with Alex Burrows, Kesler has 13 goals (the least of the top six forwards) and 31 assists (third highest on the team) in 51 games; the rugged forward is now 15 points off his career-high with 31 games to go.
Although Kesler has been an offensive machine, a chunk of his fantasy points have been produced outside of putting the Canucks on the scoreboard.
Of the 72 points Kesler put up last week, 19 came from faceoffs won, a trend he’s continued all season. Kesler is 513-for-908 at the dot, his 56.5% average puts him 12th in the league behind the likes of Sidney Crosby, Patrice Bergeron and Pavel Datsyuk.
Henrik Sedin has taken more total faceoffs, but he hasn’t dominated like Kesler and their fantasy points in that regard tell the tale. Hank is minus-13 for faceoffs, while Kesler has 117 points off faceoff wins, 84 more than Kyle Wellwood for top spot.
The moral of the story is this: not every player can put up points every game, whereas some skaters accumulate points in other ways. Kesler is one of those cats and at $4 million, that makes him worth owning.
THE WEEK THAT WAS
Three games, three wins. Vancouver upped its win total to 31 this season by taking down Edmonton, Dallas and Chicago over the last seven days.
The Hank and Dank show was in full swing for each game as the Sedins combined for 167 fantasy points, blend in Burrows’ 69 and it was a 236 point week for the top line.
Other big scorers on the week included Roberto Luongo at 82 and Christian Ehrhoff at 44.
WE HAVE A WINNER
For the first time in the history of Canucks Fantasy Hockey, 42 people tied for top spot when Vancouver came back to hand Edmonton another loss last Wednesday.
Reaching 106 points was accomplished in the same way by all 42 winners as everyone from BXA and islandfan to beatlebomb, Gnarly and stanleycupbound bought only Alex Burrows, Sami Salo, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Roberto Luongo.
Things returned to normal the following day when the Canucks snuck past the Stars 4-3 with only one player claiming first place, namely dino. One-hundred and sixty-three points was reached by dino because of a balanced attack that included six skaters and all six Canucks blueliners, a risky proposition with both Kevin Bieksa and Willie Mitchell out of the line-up.
For rolling the dice, dino was the TELUS Game of the Week winner and he walked away with a pair of tickets for the March 13th game between Vancouver and Ottawa.
It was a three way sprint to the finish when Vancouver clipped the Blackhawks. helplessstar, concertfan and huey were neck and neck and neck until helplessstar eked out a one point win, 196-195. helplessstar took Steve Bernier, Nolan Baumgartner, Burrows, Kesler Hank and Luongo and it paid off big time.Click here
to check out the leaderboard, it's a jumble of 6,845 fantasy fanatics.THE WEEK AHEAD
The Canucks begin the week with a home game against the Buffalo Sabres before hosting the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday to close out a four-game stand at GM Place.
Vancouver then heads out on the road for the longest, most grueling road trip in NHL history, a 14-game jaunt broken up into eight and six by the Olympic break. More on that next week.
With how Ryan Kesler is putting up fantasy points, he seems to have thrown a wrench in the idea that in order to dominate Canucks Fantasy Hockey, one must only own the Sedins and Alex Burrows.
While buying all three is as heavily recommended as brushing your teeth on a daily basis, changing things up and throwing in Kesler, especially against physical opponents, could pay off huge.
Sprinkle a little Kesler, at $4 million, into your mix against the Sabres on Monday as things could get real chippy.
On Wednesday, for no hard reason at all, I’m leaning towards Mikael Samuelsson at $3 million, as he continues to put points up since denouncing his Swedish citizenship. With all the injuries the Swedes have suffered of late, there’s a legitimate chance Samuelsson could play for his country at the Olympics. Both sides would have to forget the past, but there is a real opportunity of that happening with how well Samuelsson is playing.
Saturday night. Hockey Night in Canada. Canucks vs. Leafs. This year’s showdown doesn’t feature Mats Sundin, so someone has to step up. That player could be Pavol Demitra and at $2 million, that’s not a bad gamble. He picked up his first point of the season against Chicago and when Toronto tries to contain the Sedins to win the game, his secondary scoring will help Vancouver.
Don’t quote me on any of these picks, unless I’m right!
Defencemen Sami Salo, Willie Mitchell and Kevin Bieksa and forward Alex Bolduc are on the injured reserve list. Rick Rypien has missed three contests with a stomach flu, barring a setback he could return to the lineup this week.
While I claim to be the Canucks Fantasy Hockey swami, the man with all the answers and a crystal ball as clear as they come, this is very self-described. Most of my picks are backed by stats, while others come from the gut. Use with caution!