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Fantasy spin: Kesler injury opens door for Rakell

The injury absence of center could have a far-reaching impact on the fantasy value of multiple Anaheim Ducks forwards.

Fantasy spin: Kesler injury opens door for Rakell

Kesler, who finished 36th in standard Yahoo leagues last season, will miss the start of the season while recovering from hip surgery June 8. The Ducks hope Kesler will be back by Christmas, but there is no timetable for his return.

The 33-year-old was one of two players (Brad Marchand) with at least 55 points (58), 20 PPP, 80 penalty minutes (83) and 185 SOG (186). Kesler had added fantasy value in leagues that count hits (146 last season) and blocked shots (75; sixth among forwards).

Because of his top-notch coverage, Kesler is worth drafting in one of the final rounds of a multi-category league and stashing on injured reserve. That said, his Yahoo average draft position (136.9) was low to begin with and should plummet leading up to the start of the season.

Kesler’s injury could open the door for dual-eligible forward (C/LW in Yahoo), who could be moved to center and play on the first power-play unit with center , right wing Corey Perry and defenseman Cam Fowler. Rakell led the Ducks in goals (33), was fifth in even-strength goals (28) and had respectable totals in plus/minus (10), power-play points (12) and shots on goal (177). He doesn’t cover hits quite like Kesler (1.8 per game last season), but is still a solid contributor in that category (81 in 71 games; 1.1 per game).

Rakell was already a prime keeper-league target, but now warrants earlier consideration than his ADP (102.5) in other fantasy formats. With a greater opportunity for first power-play usage and experience centering Perry at even strength, you can justify reaching for Rakell among the top 75 overall.

Prior to this news regarding Kesler’s injury, there was one spot up for grabs on the Ducks’ first power-play unit, with Rakell and wings Jakob Silfverberg and Patrick Eaves being candidates to see time in those situations. Now, there are two available spots up for grabs. Although Kesler will be severely missed on both ends of the ice for the first few months of the regular season, his injury gives Anaheim’s other forwards a chance to blossom.

The Colorado Avalanche was aiming for just that the past four days at the San Jose Sharks Prospect Showcase.

“I think as the tournament went on, we got better,” said Avalanche AHL coach , the San Antonio Rampage bench boss that was in charge of leading the club’s rookies the past week. “There were some little mistakes that were done. Easy for us coaches to pinpoint, but overall the main goal at this camp was to prepare those players for the main one. I strongly believe that they are ahead of what they would have been if they didn’t have that chance.”

Colorado dropped its final contest of the Sharks-hosted rookie tournament, losing 4-3 to the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday afternoon at Solar4America Ice. The Avs went winless during the three-game exhibition, but the record doesn’t tell the entire story as one or two plays could have changed any of those nhl jerseys wholesale outcomes.

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On Tuesday, Anaheim was the beneficiary of a late power play and took advantage of it. Maxime Comtois scored the game-winner with only a second remaining on the man advantage and 17.8 seconds left in regulation, giving the Ducks their first lead of the afternoon. They then added an empty-net marker moments later to seal their third victory of the tournament.

It was the second heartbreak in a matter of 17 hours for Colorado after it had erased a three-goal deficit against the Arizona Coyotes prospects on Monday night but ended up losing in overtime.

“I think as a team, it was real positive,” said Avalanche goaltender Spencer Martin, who made his second start of the showcase. “We obviously didn’t get the results we wanted, to come here and get some wins. I thought we had the best team in the tournament and played really well all three games. It’s obviously disappointing to not get wins when the team is playing that well.”

Though line combinations have not been finalized, one pair you can bet on seeing together throughout the tournament are 2017 second-round draft picks Maxime Comtois and Antoine Morand. Selected 10 spots from one another (Comtois at No. 50 and Morand at No. 60), the two have been close friends for years. They’ve been on a line with right wing , a free agent who recorded eight points (4g/4a) and 44 penalty minutes in 18 games with Penn State last season.

“We have good chemistry together, so it’s nice to be with him and play with him,” said Comtois, who finished fourth on the QMJHL’s Victoriaville Tigres in scoring during the 2016-17 season with 51 points (22g/29a) in 64 games. I’m excited to show our chemistry on the ice in the games in San Jose .”

“First NHL camp is pretty stressful, so it’s good to have your buddy with you,” said Morand, who finished the 2016-17 season as the second-highest scorer on the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan with 74 points (28g/46a) in 67 games. “We can talk with each other. It’s nice to have him here.”

Comtois and Morand are among a plethora of talented forwards on the rookie camp roster, which includes 2016 first-round picks Max Jones and Sam Steel, and free agent signee . A good showing at the Prospect Showcase could go a long way once main camp rolls around next week.

“It’s a great experience,” Comtois said. “I’m here to learn, but I’m here to push everyone and [find] a place for me. I’m just going to play my role. The team drafted me for a reason, and that’s because of the way I play. I’m going to do what I do best. I hope to make a good impression and continue on to main camp.”

Morand adds, “We have a pretty good [roster] here. Now it’s game time. This is where you show what you’re capable of and prove they made the right decision to draft me.”

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