Kevin Bieksa: Fantasy Impact
WRITTEN BY CHRIS WASSEL | 28 JUNE 2011
(Boy did Kevin Bieksa clean up nicely with a five year, 23 million dollar deal).
Well now the puck is on Kevin Bieksa’s side of the ice. Can he fulfill the promise of this new deal the Vancouver Canucks gave him or will the Canucks live to regreat this one? That is actually a viable question given some of Bieksa’s injury history. It seems like you can say that about any Canucks blueliner. First here is Fantasy Hockey’s quick take on it with TSN linkage as well.
With a great regular season and even better playoff run, Bieksa became a must-sign for the Canucks after the team attempted to trade him early last season. Expect him to continue to provide a few points along with great plus/minus and penalty minute totals for fantasy teams.
Also one has to figure, one of Vancouver’s puck moving defenseman will be pushed out allowing Bieksa even more room to flourish as well.
Now let’s take a look at what he has done in a Vancouver uniform.
Kevin Bieksa Stats (Hockey Reference)
It is also to be noted that Bieksa produced 10 points in 25 games and was Vancouver’s most reliable defenseman throughout the playoffs. He has 8 points in 12 games the year before. Definitely Kevin Bieksa has been more banged up the last two years (and even a bit in this year’s postseason) but there is no question of what he brings to the table. He logs a ton of ice time and also provides a bit of a nasty streak which fans of PIMS have to at least a smile a bit. He began to play better after the trade deadline and now with a deal in place should be considered not a top fantasy option as far as fantasy defensemen but at least someone in the 3/4 range. Why? Here is why.
While Kevin Bieksa is more than capable of getting 40-45 points with a plus/minus of something around a +30, there are still a few shortcomings to his game. His goal production has to come back up to what it was two seasons ago. Can it? Sure. Will it? That is anyone’s guess. He has nine goals in the last two years combined in 121 games (66 last year). He played 72 games in the 2008-09 season and potted 11 (5 on the man advantage). A sign of things to come may be the playoffs where Bieksa did score a couple of very clutch goals that received much in the press department. If he can progress back to what he was two years ago, then the new deal was for all intents and purposes a steal.
2011-12 Fantasy Outlook:
Will we provide an early fantasy projection next year? Yes we will. Figuring if Kevin Bieksa stays healthy and that is a big IF at this juncture. An 80 game season out of him would produce about a 40 point season. We had him pegged for 9 goals and 31 assists with 4 of those goals on the man advantage and an increase in shots to 140. People forget he had 47 shots on goal in 25 games in the playoffs where the ice is perceived to be less wide open. We will see how it all translates but Bieksa is signed for the next five years which could mean Christian Erhoff could be on the way out even though GM Mike Gillis says otherwise. Time will tell.