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Jaden Schwartz is back (and a must-own player)

February 22, 2016: St. Louis Blues Left Wing Jaden Schwartz (17) [7940], St. Louis Blues Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) [6219] and St. Louis Blues Right Wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) [7868] celebrate with their teammates after St. Louis Blues Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester (19) [2876] (not pictured) scores a goal during the third period of a NHL game between the St. Louis Blues and the San Jose Sharks. The Sharks defeated the Blues 6-3 at Scottrade Center in St. Louis, MO. (Photo by Tim Spyers/Icon Sportswire)

A productive, dynamic winger on a red-hot playoff contender is an invaluable thing in fantasy hockey.

A productive, red hot winger that has been overlooked because of missing a significant amount of time with an injury is the sort of pick up that can win a playoff series. That is what Jaden Schwartz of the St. Louis Blues represents to those managers who were patient enough to keep him in an IR slot for four months.

Schwartz missed 49 games for the Blues with his ankle injury. After seven games in October where he failed to score a goal and registered four assists, the 2010 first-round pick has wasted no time in making his mark on the box score since his return.

He now has nine points, including five goals, in the 11 games he has been back in the lineup. The Blues are currently battling for favorable seeding in the Western Conference playoff standings and the return of Schwartz has proven to be a tremendous boon to their offense.

Last season Schwartz was a fantasy star and a top 75 player on the Blues’ roster because of his knack for scoring, his solid plus-minus rating, and his all-around great box score statistics. Schwartz proved to be the 62nd best player in standard scoring categories last season, despite taking just eight minor penalties.

He got the job done at even strength and on the power play in St. Louis in 2014-15 which is why he had an average draft pick of 84.7 back in the fall according to fantasypros.com.

March 01, 2016: St. Louis Blues Right Wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) [7868] celebrates scoring the Blues third goal with St. Louis Blues Left Wing Jaden Schwartz (17) [7940] during the NHL game between the Ottawa Senators and the St. Louis Blues at Canadian Tires Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Steve Kingsman/Icon Sportswire)

March 01, 2016: St. Louis Blues Right Wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) celebrates scoring the Blues third goal with Jaden Schwartz (17). (Photo by Steve Kingsman/Icon Sportswire)

Schwartz has been regularly playing with sniper Vladimir Tarasenko on a line that has either been centered by Jori Lehtera or Paul Stastny. There are precious few right wingers who have more impact and worth in fantasy hockey than Tarasenko. In standard scoring categories, the young Russian winger is a top 20 player, and being on the ice with him at both even strength and on the top power play unit in St. Louis will continue to do wonders for Schwartz’ value for the remainder of this season.

The talent pool at left wing is notorious for being thin in fantasy hockey, which is just one more reason why Schwartz’s productive return to the lineup in St. Louis is so impactful in the world of fantasy hockey. There’s a very short list of players who can put up numbers on any line, but also happen to play with a talent like Tarasenko.

To put it simply: Schwartz is a must-own player in fantasy hockey.

Despite the fact that Schwartz is back in the lineup and back to scoring for the Blues he remains available in a surprising amount of Yahoo! and CBS fantasy hockey leagues. No matter the size of your fantasy league, Schwartz is a player that demands your attention if he is available in free agency or on the waiver wire.

You simply don’t come across players who can put up the kind of numbers that Schwartz can for little more than clicking “add to roster” at this time of year. Even if Schwartz doesn’t pan out in the coming weeks and proves to be the itch that you just shouldn’t have scratched, as proven fantasy commodity on a good team, he is a smart gamble to take.

If Schwartz is available, pull the trigger and grab him now. And if you’re too late, don’t let yourself forget just how good he is when draft day for the next fantasy season rolls around.

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