Sleepers

Not predicting, just giving out my thoughts and opinions on who could be a sleeper from each team. I feel as if this is called gambling with the sleepers, and it is in a way. I am not good in making preditions, especially in League Standings, but I must admit…I did well with he Free Agency Market. Anyway, this will be somewhat fun to see other people’s opinions.Anaheim: This team has a couple of sleepers, Sykora and Oates. Paul Kariya would be the first player to choose from this team, so Sykora would most likely be the sleeper in both goals and assists. Though his departure from New Jersey could affect him emotionally, Oates and Kariya should boost his abilities up. The safer pick is Oates, but the big gamble is Sykora.

Atlanta: Kozlov is the gamble. I think this player will form a special line with Kovalchuk and Heatley, especially on the power-play. McEarchen might be overshadowed, so don’t expect him to have a big season. My bets are on Kozlov.

Boston: Rolston could re-peat a 30 goal season. Thornton and Murray would be picked first, Rolston is the sleeper of this team if you are in a fantasy league with a live draft. He is also valuable because of his short-handed goals.

Buffalo: Afinogenov, this youngster has to start scoring. Once this kid scores goals, then Tim Connolly will add up his assists. I’m always waiting for Afinogenov to have a breakout season, and I hope it will be this one.

Calgary: It’s tough to pick the sleeper of this team, but Marc Savard could have a 60 point season if he gives the puck to Iginla and Iginla scores. It’s too big to gamble on Marc Savard though, but if he could be the sleeper of the Flames.

Carolina: Cole is a huge gamble, since it is his sophomore season, and the jinx is always hunting for the top young players. The sleeper here can be Cole, Vasicek, or the “we all forgot” David Tenabe. I’d like to pick Tenabe, the team improved, defense improved, and he is the offensive defenseman of the team.

Chicago: Kyle Calder could be the sleeper. With Amonte gone, and if the Blackhawks fail to sign a forward like Fleury, then Calder could step it up. He could be the sleeper, but don’t gamble on sleepers in Chicago.

Colorado: Definitely Vrbata, especially if Tanguay is traded (highy doubt it). Vrbata is talented and perfect for the Avs, he should be a 2nd liner. I say this guy will almost double his points if he plays with Sakic, Forsberg, Drury, or Hejduk…especially on the PP.

Columbus: No one is a threat here in Columbus. I won’t be happy if this team rushes Rick Nash to make the team, but if he does well…then he is the sleeper. Little scoring from this team.

Dallas: The sleeper has to be Morrow. Modano, Guerin, and Arnott will be the top point scorers, but the sleeper definitely remains Morrow. This kid never brokeout. His sophomore year he totaled 20 goals and 44 points. They are good numbers, but not break out season numbers. Morrow has yet to have a break out season, it could happen this upcoming season.

Detroit: I want to say Datsyuk is the sleeper, which could be, but somehow this player is on the same road as Afinogenov, so talented yet no numbers. I like Justin Williams a lot, he is a perfect player for the Wings. No gambling with the Red Wings, there are no real sleepers.

Edmonton: Mike York was a sleeper, so was Comrie…so the player left out is Jiri Dopita. I would never gamble on him, but there is that small lucky chance that Dopita could be the sleeper of this team. If the fantasy league you’re in has “waivers”, then keep an eye on him.

Florida: Huselius still remains the sleeper. He scored 45 points but a break out season is when a player scores a lot more points than he did the previous season. Huselius could end up topping 60 points the most since he is their current number one offensive gun with Valeri Bure.

Los Angeles: The only sleeper i can think of, the surprise player, is Eloranta. The Kings have the usual players who score points, and Smolinsky COULD have a decent season, but he might only make slight improvements. Eloranta is a good player, in my opinion, he just has to get the chance to work with the top guns. He could be LA’s sleeper, but still not worth picking up.

Minnesota: Dupuis is the sleeper. When I had the chance to watch him, he is a team player and another scorer for the Wild. He seems hungry to score points, so my bets are on him.

Montreal: I can’t pick the sleeper here, there are none. All these players won’t be the “where did this guy come from!” So, I think that their rookies, maybe Marcel Hossa, who make the team are the sleepers. This team isn’t done improving yet, they still need to trade Jeff Hackett

Nashville: Arkhipov has yet to bloom, and he could have a big improvement. He could reach his break out this upcoming season. He is a sleeper to pick.

New Jersey: I may be too exagerated, but I say Berglund will be the surprise player for the Devils. Friesen could be the popular sleeper, but the player to come out of nowhere is Berglund. Gionta will have a hard time getting by big size players. Though Berglund isn’t big either, he has toughness, probably strength for a guy his size, and is the kind of player who will give his best every game. He scored 9 points in 15 games last season, and that tells me he will have a well projected season, hopefully all 82 games, with 45 points.

New York Islanders: It could be Isbister, but when is this baby face ever going to turn out a true power forward? He has a good shot, he has the size, and strength…yet what is he doing?! He might wake up and be Yashin’s “special winger”. Isle’s need something…they made the playoffs last season because of a wonderful start, and that start gave these players the confidence and positive attitude that the Islanders are not the easy team to play against. They have players who called themselves true Islanders, winning Islanders.

New York Rangers: It all depends on who plays with Lindros and Bure. Barnaby scored those couple of goals (I remember people made fun of a Rangers fan after the deal when he said Barnaby could score a few points) with that line, and to me…any decent player could score points on that line. The name isn’t there, yet, but who knows…it could be Nedved if Sather doesn’t get enough value in return. The player to gamble with here is Bobby Holik. You roll the dice and you just hope they number turns out good. Holik is on a powerful offensive team, and just because he never scored 30 goals, it does not mean he will never score 30 goals. If he does score 30 g’s though, all those comments of “he gets paid that much even if he didn’t score 30 goals!” will be forgotten. I’ll take my chances, Holik might not score 30 g’s, but could total 60 points or so. Forget about Dvorak, two knee injuries that weaken his best skill will not make him score big.

Ottawa: Todd White had a solid season, and I think he will have a better season, improved with more scoring. He scored 50 points, which was very good, and he can score 50 points again…or more. He will be the player people forget about when looking at the Ottawa roster, so if he is available, keep a close eye on this player.

Philadelphia: I like Justin Williams, the Flyers currently have three right wingers. Tocchet (doubt he’ll be on the team), Williams, and Recchi. I am pretty sure that a player could shift as RW, so I’d like some info on that, but Williams could have a break out season, a 50 point season with 25 goals. But, I am eager to see what Hitch does to this team.

Phoenix: Too hard for me to pick any sleepers here, so I would avoid this team. They have the good players, but no real sleeper….maybe Nagy, but I would not look for any sleepers here.

Pittsburgh: The Penguins are lacking depth, especially at LW. Milan Kraft has to have a break out season…he is big, and has the skills. When is this guy ever going to score the biggies? I wouldn’t gamble on Kraft and the Penguins though, they are a risky team.

San Jose: I’ll have a bottle of Marleau. He didn’t have such a great season, but he had a great post-season. This guy is ready to put up the expected numbers in the NHL now, San Jose is a winning team and I have my bets on this youngster, who is still only 22 years old.

St. Louis: No sleeper.

Tampa Bay: I’d like to choose St. Louis, Lecavalier, and Fedotenko as the sleepers. Lecavalier isn’t a bust yet, and no he was never going to be traded, he won’t be traded now, and he never wanted to be traded. Lecavalier is ONLY 22 years old. He has yet to reach a break out season, he has skills, strength, size, and a good hockey mind. My bets are on this player, and he will score 65+ points in my mind. Fedotenko could also participate, as he and Lecavalier could build chemistry.

Toronto: No sleeper.

Vancouver: Jan Hlavac might have a 25 goal season. He is extremely talented and he just has to learn to not do too much and not be too fancy. I’d keep a close eye on Hlavac, he could start scoring for the Canucks.

Washington: Hmmm, let me guess. How about the player who will play on Jagr’s line? We won’t know yet, but maybe Zubrus is the real sleeper. At only age 24, Zubrus could start scoring.

So, these are my sleepers. I am not really predicting that these players will have great seasons, I am just sharing my thoughts and opinions on who could be the sleeper of each team, especially for fantasy leagues involving waivers. If you think there are other sleepers, go ahead and share. This could be quite useful if you joined wowhockey’s fantasy hockey.

Thank you,

Micki Peroni


22 Responses to Sleepers

  1. r_milley says:

    Finally a good article on this site that is actually useful and makes some sense!

    I think Pilar could be classified as a “sleeper” for the Leafs. If he gets some pp time he could suprise. McCauley could fall under the “sleeper” category too since he’s never really had a great regular season. I think 60points isnt out of the question depending on his ice time and linemates.

  2. mikster says:

    You know, he was my choice, and i support Pilar a lot…he impressed me enough in the playoffs, but i just didn’t thin kit was right to include defensemen and goalies. Defensemen are really hard to pick and goalies….you have to be lucky that the team wins. As much as i wanted Khabibulin last season, he wouldn’t have given me enough points.

    I would keep an eye on Khabi, Richter, Giguere, and Turco for goalies to pick after the big ones.

  3. Lapointefan says:

    RW Weinhandl played on the line with the Sedin twins for Modo of the Swedish Elite League.He’s one of Sweden’s top young prospects,having overcome a serious eye injury a few yrs ago.Isles have made comments that they think the sky’s the limit with Weinhandl and they think he’s now ready for the nhl.I think this kid’s the reason the isles didn’t make any move for MacEachern this summer and why they have shown no interest in Carter.They want to see how he looks on Yashin’s wing in camp.

  4. bruinsfan12 says:

    yes rolston! could not agree with you more

  5. ShaneDawg says:

    Great article. Some things I’d like to throw out there….

    Tampa – Willis, he was great in carolina and I expect no less in Tampa Bay

    Penguins – Beech, could have a breakout if put with someone capable like Hrdina or even kovalev. Also, Vujtek reported to newspapers he was signed to play on one of the Penguins top 2 lines, he could be a hit if paired with Lemieux (who isn’t a hit with him?). A long shot is Koltsov, recently signed form russia, it’s yet to be determined if he can score. Kraft I would skip, I watch the pens and he isn’t remotely near clicking along the way he does in the minors.

    New Jersey – Tverdovsky could put up the nubers here he never could in Aneheim

    Other than that, great article. I especially like Tanabe, Hlavac, and Rolston.

  6. YingYan says:

    i was going to write something similar about the PENS, Kraft may be a sleeper but i prefer kolstov and i don’t think Vujtek will rock but then like you said anyone can score with Mario, my best sleeper bet would have to be Beech too.

  7. devilfan says:

    McCauley could be considered a sleeper too, espcially after last years playoffs.

  8. devilfan says:

    In terms of articles predicting the acheivers and underachievers next year this is by far the best article written. Micki you did a wonderful job in writing this. What would you have to say about Alexander Khavanov and Alyn McCauley being sleepers for the Blues and Leafs? Also, Gionta has a little spunk, and can survive against the bigger sized players. He may not be as skilled as Fleury, or as crazy, but he kind of reminds me of him. He will be a big part of the lineup along with Berglund, and can be considered a sleeper too.

  9. Captain27 says:

    “…and that start gave these players the confidence and positive attitude that the Islanders are not the easy team to play against. They have players who called themselves true Islanders, winning Islanders”

    HOLY SHIT…did Mikster just compliment the Isles?

    Mikster…maybe I’ve been too rough on ya. You really wrote a good blurb about the Isles, and unlike other Islander Comments you’ve written…I didn’t want to pull out a pistol and shoot the monitor when I read it!

    I’m being sincere here, Micki. Good job on the Sleeper Article overall too, it was the first enjoyable article I’ve read here in a while! Did aliens abduct you and turn you into a decent hockey writer all of a sudden?

    Anyways, since Mikster chose sleepers that were UNBIASED to both the Isles and Rangers…here are my unbiased sleepers for the rival organizations:

    ———————

    NY Rangers: Sandy McCarthy. With the improved Rangers actually having a second line to fall back on with Holik and Dvorak…the first line won’t be as overworked as it was last year…possibly creating more scoring chances for the Bure-Lindros combo, since teams will struggle with finding d-matchups for Holik and Lindros, creating a little chaos, and opening more opportunities for the Rangers. Sandy McCarthy will most likely be the Left Wing they choose to flank Bure and Lindros…

    If he’s full-time with Bure and Lindros, Sandy will at least have 40 assists this season. And his goal output should increase accordingly.

    —————————-

    New York Islanders: Trent Hunter. This Prospect made everyone take notice during his NHL debut in the Playoffs last year. He had 1 goal and two assists in 3 games.

    But, even bigger than those numbers, was how impressively the 21 year-old cycled with Alexei Yashin in his first game on Alexei’s First Line (game 6). Management is in love with the fact that this kid perfectly meshes with Laviolette’s “Grind and Cycle” system.

    Also came thisclose to tying the Game 7 against the Leafs with a memorable Coast-to-Coast run up the boards and a world-class deke-job, unfortunately his shot was inches away from sending the game in to overtime.

    Carried the Isles’ AHL affiliate to the Finals last year with 38g, 46a, 84p in 97 games.

    Rumblings within the organization are saying that Trent Hunter is going to start Training Camp on the First Line with Yashin, and that the Right Wing spot is his to lose. Pretty impressive for a rookie.

  10. mikster says:

    Thank you very much,

    Someone mentioned Pilar and why i didn’t consider him a sleeper. I just don’t like to gamble on defensemen. I remember Aucoin had an incredible year and then he was dealt to Tampa Bay becuase he was doing horrible. It’s hard to find defensemen who are sleeper, and the only one i liked to mention was Tenabe. Khavanov doesn’t total a lot of points.

    Alyn McCauley is too much of a big gamble for me. He did have a good post-season, but i have this hunch that the Leafs won’t be as good.

    I am a Berglund fan…and he isn’t much bigger than Gionta, but he has more passion than Gionta…he is grittier. Gionta is more talented with puck handling, but Berglund has the attitude the Devils need. I can always be wrong, and Gionta might end up as the sleeper for the Devs, but i like Berglund more.

  11. mikster says:

    Hey, i have the right to show my hatred for the Isle’s. But, when i want to write something serious and interesting, i show my true hockey fan side.

    I saw Hunter and he did impress me, also…the Isle’s will be lenient on his chances of making the club. So, if he is good enough, then they will bring him on the team. I am surprised that Hunter will make the team before Torres.

    Isle’s need a winger, and it’s better to acquire a pro winger than try to force a youngster to play on Yashin’s wing….but anything is possible! I want to see a match-up between Blackburn and DiPietro.

    Thank for the comment,

    Micki

    p.s. Ya have to get used to me, next time you see me talk trash on the Isle’s, you can laugh….because it’s really not true 😉

  12. cwhockey says:

    You know guys ,that there are some of us who don’t give one hoot about the Leafs, Wings, Rangers, Islanders. Constant and repetitive comments about these teams is getting to be a bit much; try something else.

    Just had to say that. Anyhow, I believe that one of the more unknowns on Atlanta will be their sleeper. Someone like Hartigan or Tremblay.

  13. ManillaKilla says:

    Yeah, and tell those nude celebrity sites to quit giving all the attention to Pan Anderson and Anna Kournikova. What about B. Arthur? Or Barbara Walters? In all seriousness, I think if there were more fans of teams like Atlanta on this site, you wouldn’t see so much attention paid to the more popular clubs.

  14. aaron says:

    lol, my point exactly.

  15. UltimateB says:

    Hey! That’s my speculation bubble! SWEET!

    I like your pick for Wings sleeper. Jason Williams is more than solid defensively, and at the end of the season he was showing that he was an offensive force. (3 goals in last two games while the rest of the offense was sleeping earned him a playoff spot.) I can’t believe that this guy wansn’t drafted and that the wings signed him as a free agent!

  16. UltimateB says:

    Mannakilla and aaron had it right. If there were more fans of other teams on the site, they’d get more posts. Why bother posting about, say, Columbus if there are no Colubus fans on the site to care about it?

  17. cwhockey says:

    It’s not just about who’s popular and who isn’t; its about the game itself. Do you always pay attention only to what is popular? I enjoy hearing about all the teams and players in the game, not just the ones with the most fans.

    And there are fans of the smaller teams here. We have fans everywhere, just not as many. True, we don’t get as many posts. But we care as much or more about our small teams as you do about your big-market clubs. Don’t fool yourself.

  18. chewy says:

    A few players were missing from your list, I think McCauley and Hoglund from the Leafs(He has scored close to 30 goals in a season and could do it again). and for Calgary look at Kobasew as a sleeper, there is always a chance he’ll spend the year in the minors but he could easily win the calder as well. He has a nose for the net. Mark Denis is finally getting a shot at number one, he may finally prove he is the real deal and become a solid number one goalie.

  19. Hockeytown says:

    Well I guess you fans of the smaller market teams should hop off your horse and start writing! It’s not like you’re gonna get an Avs fan, or Rangers fan, or a Wings fan to write about your teams, because frankly we don’t care all that much about basement dwellars. I mean I’m not gonna submit a theory on physics because I’m not an expert in that field. I’ll write about the things that I know and keeping track of the last place teams is not what I’m into. We all want to keep track of whose winning and possibly could win. Why would we trouble ourselves with who gets the First Draft Pick?

  20. bluntman says:

    definatly Jonus Hougland of the Leafs. i went to see the Leafs in the playoffs last year and every time he got the puck he would just dump it in the zone and move to the bench. HELLOOOOO!!!! we’re not paying this guy to to watch the game, he’s payed to play the fu*king game!!!! trade the bastard!!! and who ever thinks McCauley is a sleeper should be shot

  21. thuresong says:

    I don’t think you really understand the concept of the ‘sleeper pick’.

    It’s not a derogatory term.

    A perfect example of a sleeper pick for a team was Stevie Sullivan getting picked up on waivers by the Blackhawks. At the time, it made very little mention in either Toronto or Chicago. Until Sullivan scored 30 goals that year and followed it up with a 76 point season.

    Pretty much, it just means guys that seem to come out of nowhere and have great seasons.

    Hence, Alyn McCauley, having solidified a spot on the team and maybe as the number 2 centre on the Leafs could be considered a sleeper pick, because no one knows how he will adapt. If he puts up 60-75 points, it will definately seem to come out of nowhere it you just looked at his stats on the back of a hockey card.

    Jonas Hoglund, on the other hand, is not a sleeper pick, as everybody knows he sucks and requires a centre who can giftwrap him goals.

  22. UltimateB says:

    Personally, I love reading about all the teams too. Problem: I like READING. I don’t know enough about atlanta or anaheim or Minnesota or Columbus to write about them. Now, the atlanta article that was posted a little while ago, great article, i loved it. But could I have written it? Nope! I didn’t know what the heck was going on in atlanta! So, if I’m writing something, it’s the wings. If I’m reading, I’m reading everything.

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