Steen's Return Big for Fantasy Owners

Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 11:41 AM NHL.com

When St. Louis Blues forward Alexander Steen went down with a concussion on Dec. 21, he had 24 goals, which ranked second in the NHL. His 38 points were ninth best. He had a plus-15 rating, 20 penalty minutes and 117 shots on goal.

At that time he was the ninth-ranked player in Yahoo fantasy leagues. He was considered the biggest surprise in fantasy pools and was having the breakout season the Blues needed. And if you were fortunate enough to have him on your team, odds are your team was finding success in the first three months of the fantasy season.

The concussion kept him out of action for 11 games, but he's healthy again and fantasy owners should have already activated him by now.

Steen returned to the lineup against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday and despite finishing without a point, he skated on the top unit with usual linemates, David Backes and T.J. Oshie, and received nearly 21 minutes of ice time. In his second game Monday, Steen posted two assists, a plus-1, two penalty minutes and a season-high seven shots on goal.

Despite the missed time, Steen still ranks 32nd among all players in Yahoo leagues. His 24 goals have already tied his career-high set in 2009-10 and while regression was likely expected (his current 18.8 shooting percentage is significantly higher than his career mark of 9.9 percent), if he can find anything close to his pre-injury touch, there's a good chance he'll rise among the ranks.

With 34 games remaining on the Blues schedule, Steen owners should be hoping for close to 15 goals and 25-30 points the rest of the way with outstanding numbers in the categories of plus/minus, power-play points and shots on goal.

The return of Steen is tremendous news for his owners, but there also are a few other players that have just returned from injury, are nearing a return from injury or have suffered an injury:

Zach Parise, Minnesota Wild -- Parise has been a top-20 forward in my ranks all season long and is amping up his rehab process. He was also given clearance to participate in contact drills at practice, which is clearly a good sign. There's an outside chance he returns to the Wild lineup this weekend, but even if he doesn't his owners should get a huge boost when he returns in the very near future.

Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks -- The Canucks center left the game Saturday in the second period due to an undisclosed injury. Sedin had been in a cold streak with no points in the past four games and no goals in the past 15 contests. Perhaps some time off will help the struggling playmaker.

Evander Kane, Winnipeg Jets -- One of the most diversified players in fantasy hockey, Kane has been out of the lineup for two-plus weeks thanks to a hand injury. Fortunately, he will be back in the Jets lineup on Tuesday and his fantasy owners should activate him immediately.

Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins -- After missing over a month, Eriksson returned to the Bruins lineup on Jan. 11. In five games since his activation, Eriksson has just one assist and five shots on goal while skating on the third line and has yet to see over 16 minutes of ice time in any of those games. Eriksson's first season in Boston hasn't gone as expected (five goals, 10 assists in 29 games) and you might be wise to bench him until he gets moved back up to the team's top-six forward group -- if that happens at all.

PA Parenteau, Colorado Avalanche -- Parenteau has missed the Avalanche’s past 10 games but like Kane, he’ll be back in the lineup on Tuesday. He hasn’t been nearly as valuable as he was last season, but he’s still worth activating in deeper leagues.

By Matt Cubeta - NHL.com Fantasy Insider

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