March 27, 2014

steve laidlaw

2014-03-27

So the Canucks think they can still make the playoffs, eh? Their chances are really slim but they more than doubled with last night's win, especially because they took a bite out of Minnesota who they are seven points back of.

Minnesota is essentially in, barring a profound collapse but you have to consider it possible.

 

*

 

It sure was nice of Ryan Kesler to come back the week after I had been eliminated in my head-to-head playoffs. Just splendid timing on that one.

 

Actually, I think his going down was a blessing in disguise. I'd never have dumped him otherwise but his second half game log reads like a Tim Horton's box. Since the break he hasn't even been shooting the puck much with less than two SOG per game.

 

I want to say that Kesler makes a great sleeper for next year but I've said that the last two years and he's burned me both times. Maaaaaaaaybe he's on the downside. I say maaaaaaaaaybe because I'm not willing to commit to it yet.

 

This Canucks team has been banged up and depleted all year, with multiple injuries to both of the normally dependable Sedins, not to mention Kesler himself. It basically can't get any worse in Vancouver. And it's possible that Kesler gets dealt somewhere he can recoup some value. Also, his rotisserie production (post-Olympics not withstanding) has remained formidable with loads of SOG, PIM and hits.

 

But it's also possible that years of playing with his foot constantly on the gas pedal have taken their toll on Kesler. After all, he does turn 30 this season, which may or may not be when forwards start turning into pumpkins.

 

Don't give up on him yet, but maybe don't go around forcibly dry-humping your league-mates after you snag him in the ninth round, like I did this year.

 

After not scoring a goal in over three months David Booth has three goals in the last two games. Obviously that more than makes up for a half-season worth of no-shows.

 

Since we are all into arbitrary starting points – how about Zack Kassian since January 1? 15 points in 30 games. That's damn near a half-season worth of solid production. Of course that comes included with Sunday's miracle four-pointer against Buffalo, which should essentially count as an AHL game. Still, if you add that scoring to Kassian's burly peripherals you have a player who can make noise in some rotisserie leagues.

 

A word of caution: his shot-rate has barely increased from the first half of the season, which isn't a positive sign. There's a very good chance Kassian falls short of 100 SOG this season. That's not all that surprising considering how deep he sits on the Canucks' depth chart but I'd be waiting to see a real spike in Kassian's shooting before committing to him as a genuine breakout candidate.

 

Alex Burrows left this contest early after taking a tough hit from Nino Niederreiter. He did return however: