Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
      
Fantasy Football Today
Fantasy Football Today Blog
Gameday Inactives
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Scores
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
Fantasy Baseball Today Blog
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2014 Draft Prep: Sleepers for Draft Day

by | Rotowire.com
  •  

Sleepers can fall into multiple categories, depending on your league. For purposes of this column, I focused on those who either through line placement or opportunity may have a chance to exceed their usual projections. In addition, I included several players who could be bounce back candidates as well as some that will need a bit of help to out-produce their projections. The column includes three players apiece at center, left wing, right wing, defense and goalie.

Centers

Alex Galchenyuk, C, Canadiens: Galchenyuk has just scratched the surface of good he will be and how much he will produce. As a rookie, he had 27 points while playing all 48 games two seasons ago. Last year, in an injury-plagued campaign, Galchenyuk contributed 31 points, but his ice time rose two minutes a game, including 44 seconds on the power play. While he is listed as the third center, his upside is greater than that and it wouldn't be surprising to see him land on one of the top-two lines.

Sean Monahan, C, Flames: Monahan had a solid rookie campaign with 22 goals and 12 assists in 73 games while playing almost 16 minutes nightly, including two on the man advantage. With Mike Cammalleri now in New Jersey, Monahan should slide in as the first or second center in Calgary. In addition, now that Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau and Sam Bennett are on the Flames, Monahan may slide under the radar, but should produce nicely.

Evgeny Kuznetsov, C, Capitals: This one is cheating to a certain extent. While Kuznetsov is listed as center, there is a more of a likelihood that he moves to left wing this season. More importantly, a position shift would mean he plays on a line with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin. If that doesn't give you a chance to exceed your projections, nothing will.

Left Wings

Dany Heatley, LW, Ducks: Heater has seen his career spiral downward the past few seasons, notching just 28 points with a minus-18 rating last season. We don't expect the 2005-2007 version of Heatley, but there has to be something left in that stick of his. In addition, there is a good possibly that Heatley gets a chance at some point to skate with Getzlaf and Perry, even though Patrick Maron is projected to play there now. If that does transpire, Heatley could easily end up back at around 40 points this year.

Brandon Saad, LW, Blackhawks: Saad went from 27 points as a rookie to 47 last year, largely due to a slight tick upward in his shooting percentage from 10.2 to 11.9 per cent. This season, Saad should benefit from playing a full campaign to the left of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, building off the 16 points he scored last postseason.

Jonathan Huberdeau, Panthers: Huberdeau had a decent rookie season two years ago, with 31 points and a minus-15 rating for a weak Florida team. He was expected to take the next step in his development alongside Alexander Barkov, but that proved to be a pipe dream. Huberdeau suffered through a nightmarish sophomore campaign, notching just nine goals and 28 points in 69 games. This year, Huberdeau will be reunited with his former junior coach, Gerard Gallant, who is now serving the same role with the Panthers, and see copious ice time skating on the top line in Florida with Barkov.

Right Wings

Rick Nash, RW, Rangers: My esteemed RotoWire colleague Dan Pennucci wrote Nash up in his Busts column. I can understand the argument, especially coming off the post-season he had, in which the goal looked like miniscule and the puck like a tractor-trailer trying to get through it. But it is precisely that reason, along with 26 goals Nash scored in 65 games last year, putting him on a 32 goal-pace, that I highlight him here. Nash did everything in the playoffs but score. In my opinion, the memory of Nash's struggles will carry forward to many leagues, enabling him to slip and be a relative bargain this season.

Matthew Nieto, RW, Sharks: Nieto had a nice rookie campaign, scoring 10 goals and 14 assists in 66 games. He had a nice start to the playoffs, notching points in each of the first four games before the wheels fell off for San Jose. The Sharks are moving Brent Burns back to the blueline, opening up a spot on the top line alongside Joe Thornton. Nieto may get the first chance to fill that role, providing nice value for poolies if he does.

Radim Vrbata, RW, Canucks: How does a winger who scored 51 points last year end up a sleeper? Good question and the answer is line placement. Last season, Vrbata put up his production skating with decent talent around him. This year, he gets an upgrade to play alongside the Sedin twins, who will be looking for redemption after a subpar 2013-14 campaign. That duo gives Vrbata a boost that should enable him to exceed his career-high of 62 points, set in 2011-12.

Defensemen

Danny DeKeyser, D, Red Wings: DeKeyser had a decent first full season with the Red Wings, notching 23 points and a plus-10 rating in 65 games. He might have broken 30 points, but he missed close to a month with a shoulder injury. With no other great blueline options besides Niklas Kronwall, DeKeyser should see an uptick in minutes, both at even strength but especially on the power play, putting 30+ points in reach.

Sami Vatanen, D, Ducks: Vatanen very quietly put up 21 points in 48 games with a plus-nine rating for Anaheim, with seven of those points coming in his last seven games. The one negative for Vatanen is the Ducks' depth on the blue line - he was a healthy scratch five times last season. However, at the trade deadline and this offseason, his massive upside potential was the reason why he was so highly sought after by others teams in trade talks. Vatanen will have to battle another youngster, Hampus Lindholm, to see who will play across from Cam Fowler on the point of the power play. But even if Vatanen loses the battle, his spot in the lineup should be secure while he at worst sees second-line power play duty.

Calvin De Haan, D, Islanders: De Haan got a chance last year with the Isles and made the most of it, scoring 16 points in 51 games. What might have been more impressive is that De Haan, who had the reputation in the minors of being injury-prone, had 114 hits and 104 blocked shots. This season, with lots of talent around him and the Islanders looking for another point man on the man advantage, De Haan could see a major uptick in power play time that should net a solid rise in points.

Goalies

Anton Khudobin, G, Hurricanes: Let everyone else go after the big name in Carolina, those in the know realize that Khudobin was by far the better goalie for the Hurricanes last year. Khudobin did have some stinkers, but he finished with the fifth-best goals-against average in the NHL at .926 while playing 36 games. Cam Ward likely will begin the year as the number-one goalie in Carolina, largely due to the two years remaining on the six-year contract extension he signed with Carolina in late-September, 2009, worth $37.8 million. Just because he has that big deal doesn't means he ends the year as the #1 goalie, as injuries and/or ineffectiveness will cost him the job, opening the door again for Khudobin.

Jake Allen, G, Blues: Allen, the Blues' goalie of the future, was profiled last year but he spent the entire season in the AHL behind Jaroslav Halak and then Ryan Miller at the parent level. With Halak and Miller both gone, Brian Elliott will open the year as the starter in the Arch City, but Allen will be the No. 2. It's only a matter of time before Allen overtakes Elliot, who signed a three-year, $7.5 million deal to remain in St. Louis. At worst, Allen should get 30 starts and post solid across the board numbers.

Braden Holtby, G, Capitals: Holtby suffered through a nightmarish season last year, posting career-worst numbers in goals-against average (2.85) and save-percentage (.915). He lost his starting job during the season but ended the year on a high-note with four straight wins. Washington revamped their whole infrastructure and new Capitals GM Brian MacLellan gave Holtby a vote of confidence, saying he envisions Holtby as the starter. That view coupled with the hiring of Barry Trotz, a noted stickler for defense, as coach along with longtime Predators goaltender coach Mitch Korn, who had success with the netminders in Nashville, seems to bode for Holtby's prospects this season. If he falters, Justin Peters will be waiting in the wings.

Get player news notifications, manage your team and check scores
- all updated in real time. Download the CBS Fantasy App.

  •  
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Marek Mazanec
Predators Recall Mazanec
Marek Mazanec, G, NSH
1/27/2015
News: The Predators have recalled Marek Mazanec from AHL Milwaukee, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Marek Mazanec, who got some AHL work in during the NHL All-Star break, returns to the big club to combo with Carter Hutton, with fellow goalie Pekka Rinne still sidelined.

Andrew Ebbett
Pens Recall Ebbett
Andrew Ebbett, C, PIT
1/27/2015
News: Andrew Ebbett was recalled from AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton on Monday.
Analysis: Andrew Ebbett was reassigned just before the All-Star break to get some extra work in, and has now been recalled along with two other forwards to provide depth with both Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby expected to miss the first game of the second half. In his last game with the club Jan. 21, Ebbett managed to add another point to his total, giving him six on the season in 18 games.

Dion Phaneuf
Leafs' Phaneuf Week-To-Week
Dion Phaneuf, D, TOR
1/27/2015
News: Dion Phaneuf is week-to-week with an upper-body injury.
Analysis: Per the report, Dion Phaneuf sustained his injury prior to the NHL All-Star break, with the week-to-week tag suggesting that the blueliner will miss multiple games, starting with Wednesday's tilt against New Jersey. Another report indicates the injury may be an aggravation of a prior hand issue that was again bothered in last Wednesday's game against the Senators.

Matt Ellis
Ellis Recalled By Sabres
Matt Ellis, LW, BUF
1/27/2015
News: The Sabres have recalled Matt Ellis from AHL Rochester, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Matt Ellis, who has recorded 13 points in 38 games AHL games to date, adds experience and depth up front, but he's off the fantasy radar in his depth role with the Sabres.

Matt Hackett
Sabres Recall Hackett
Matt Hackett, G, BUF
1/27/2015
News: The Sabres have recalled Matt Hackett from AHL Rochester, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Matt Hackett will combo with Jhonas Enroth for the Sabres in the coming days, with fellow goaltender Michal Neuvirth currently sidelined by a lower-body injury.

Michal Neuvirth
Sabres' Neuvirth Sidelined
Michal Neuvirth, G, BUF
1/27/2015
News: Michal Neuvirth is dealing with a lower-body injury, the Sabres' official site reports.
Analysis: Michal Neuvirth suffered his injury "while working out during the All-Star break and will miss some time," GM Tim Murray relayed Monday. "He will not join the team for our trip out west this week," Murray added. With Neuvirth ailing, the Sabres have recalled fellow goalie Matt Hackett.

Kyle Okposo
Isles' Okposo Out 6-8 Weeks
Kyle Okposo, RW, NYI
1/27/2015
News: Kyle Okposo will miss 6-8 weeks with an upper-body injury.
Analysis: Coach Jack Capuano delivered the news Monday, and Kyle Okposo's loss represents a major hit to the Isles' offense. The winger has recorded 14 goals and 44 points through 46 games to date, while working on the team's top line.

Nikita Jevpalovs
Sharks Sign Free Agent Jevpalovs
Nikita Jevpalovs, RW, PHI
1/27/2015
News: The Sharks signed Nikita Jevpalovs to an entry-level deal on Monday.
Analysis: Nikita Jevpalovs is having a great year in junior, playing for Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the QMJHL. He has 38 goals and 71 points in 45 games for the Armada.

Nikita Zadorov
Zadorov Suspended By Sabres
Nikita Zadorov, D, BUF
1/27/2015
News: The Sabres have suspended Nikita Zadorov for failing to report to the team on time following the NHL All-Star break, the team's official site reports.
Analysis: Nikita Zadorov, who has eight points in 34 games to date, shouldn't be out of commission too long, though. GM Tim Murray indicated that he expects the blueliner (who missed Monday's practice) to rejoin the team "at some point during this week's western road trip."

Blake Comeau
Pens' Comeau (Wrist) Likely Out Another Week
Blake Comeau, LW, PIT
5:31 PM
News: Blake Comeau (wrist) skated prior to Monday's session but remains 5-to-7 days away from returning to practice.
Analysis: Blake Comeau has missed the last 13 games with a wrist injury. It appears as though he'll miss at least another week of practice, and he's without a timetable to return to game action.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings