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Fantasy impact: Evander Kane's return

Sabres forward brings rare category coverage; 26 percent owned

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

Evander Kane is returning to the Buffalo Sabres lineup Wednesday against the Ottawa Senators, and fantasy owners should not hesitate to take a chance on this category-coverage asset.

Kane, who fractured his ribs in Buffalo's season opener, could line up in his usual spot at wing with center Ryan O'Reilly on Buffalo's top line. O'Reilly is questionable for the game because of an undisclosed injury, the latest concern for an offense that has been without center Jack Eichel (ankle) through its first 12 games. 

Entering this season, Kane (LW, 26 percent owned in Yahoo) and Alex Ovechkin of the Washington Capitals were the two players to average at least 3.9 shots on goal and 2.8 hits per game over the previous four seasons. Kane had three SOG in the opener before missing the next 11 games.

Video: BUF@CAR: O'Reilly feeds Kane for game-tying goal

Injuries and discipline issues have been concerns surrounding Kane in the past, but it's rare to see such a high-upside player available on the waiver wire in nearly three-quarters of leagues. Kane has not come close to his 2011-12 totals of 30 goals and 57 points with the Winnipeg Jets, but he hasn't needed a full season to do damage in the penalty minutes and SOG categories. He has been limited to 65 or fewer games in each of the past three seasons but has produced at least 56 PIMs in each of the three seasons and at least 250 SOG in two of them.

His NHL shooting percentage (8.7) and power-play output (38 points in 427 NHL games) are low, but he carries untapped potential if he can put it all together for a Sabres forward group that should be dangerous once fully healthy. Take a flier on Kane if he's available or activate him ahead of his return Wednesday, especially with the Senators starting goalie Mike Condon in the second game of a back-to-back set.

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