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Fantasy Spin: Implications of O'Reilly's return

Tri-eligible Sabres forward back with Kane; Eichel-Reinhart intact

by Pete Jensen @NHLJensen / NHL.com Fantasy Insider

O'Reilly ties game in 3rd period

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The Buffalo Sabres will switch up their lines with Ryan O'Reilly's return from injury, but their rookie duo is sticking together for the time being.

The Sabres' leading scorer will be back in the lineup Wednesday at home against the Montreal Canadiens and is expected to skate alongside Evander Kane and Nicolas Deslauriers (LW, owned in fewer than 1 percent of leagues). First-year standouts Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart (7 percent owned), meanwhile, will play on a line with Zemgus Girgensons -- rather than Kane, their recent linemate.

O'Reilly (C/LW/RW, 68 percent owned) is worth adding for the final 12 games of Buffalo's regular season if someone cut ties with him during his injury absence. He has been a scoring machine (17 goals, 32 assists) and a power-play specialist (19 power-play points) in 59 games. His plus-minus is a blip on the radar (minus-14), but he's one of the better two-way forwards in the game and should help the Sabres goaltenders -- who face a ton of shots per game but have been effective this season (.915 save percentage; 11th in NHL).

The news that Reinhart, who spent most of the season on O'Reilly's wing prior to his injury, will continue to flank Eichel is significant, considering these rookies have combined to score 41 goals this season and have displayed late-season chemistry. While their top duo statistically this season has been O'Reilly and Reinhart, Eichel-Reinhart could very well be Buffalo's top duo of the future. Thus, getting them reps together this early in their career can pay fantasy dividends in the present and also regarding keeper-league consideration.

Don't expect O'Reilly's return to interrupt the common ice time of Eichel and Reinhart on the power play either. The latest top unit is Eichel, Reinhart, Rasmus Ristolainen, Cal O'Reilly and Johan Larsson, with Kane operating on the second unit. Expect either Cal O'Reilly or Larsson to step down in the equation to make room for Ryan O'Reilly.

As for Kane, who has been a category beast of late with two goals, five assists, a plus-2, 10 penalty minutes, one PPP, 28 shots on goal and 13 hits in his past six games, he should gain added fantasy traction with O'Reilly's return. Kane has climbed to 92nd in Yahoo's performance-based rankings and is only 69 percent owned. Consider him a must-own player in any multicategory formats.

DraftKings daily fantasy outlook: O'Reilly ($6,000) is tied for 16th among wing-eligible players in price for Wednesday. He has four points in three games against the Montreal Canadiens this season (3.7 DraftKings points per contest) and 10 points in as many career games. He has 26 points in 30 home games and is a middle-range option worth drafting if he fits your price point. That said, stacking O'Reilly with Kane ($6,600) is a bit too pricey for his first game back from injury.

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