The Vancouver Canucks will get a huge boost to their lineup tonight when they play host to the Phoenix Coyotes. Center Ryan Kesler will return from a broken right foot, an injury that forced Kesler to miss the last 19 games.
On the season Kesler has only dressed in seven games, scoring one goal and adding four assists for five points. He was a minus-4 and has averaged over nineteen minutes of ice-time for the Canucks.
A veteran of nine NHL seasons, all with the Canucks, Kesler has been an integral part to the organization’s success over the last few years. In 2009-10 he registered a career high in points with 75 and followed that up with a career best 41 goals one year later.
When Kesler went down to injury, followed by the untimely injury to David Booth, the Canucks were suddenly left with a shallow pool of talent up the middle. Mike Gillis traded for Derek Roy from the Dallas Stars and so far through two games he has registered one assist.
Kesler is returning at an opportune time for the Canucks as they battle with the Minnesota Wild for the Northwest division and the third seed in the Western Conference. Sitting just two points up on the Wild, the Canucks have won eight of their last ten and appear to be playing some of their best hockey of the season at the right time. Adding Kesler can only help this club as they gear up for what could be another long and deep playoff run.