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
Alex Tanguay
Avs' Tanguay Will Return On Tuesday
Alex Tanguay, LW, COL
11/25/2014
News: Alex Tanguay (face) has been cleared by doctors and will play against the Coyotes on Tuesday, Adrian Dater of the Denver Post reports.
Analysis: Alex Tanguay was hit in the face with a puck in Thursday's game against the Capitals and was forced to miss Colorado's game on Saturday. It was originally feared that he would be out indefinitely, but after further evaluation it was determined that the injury was not long-term. In 20 appearances this season, the 35-year-old winger has seven goals and four assists.

Henrik Tallinder
Rangers Offer Tallinder Professional Tryout
Henrik Tallinder, D, TOR
1:51 PM
News: Henrik Tallinder has been given a professional tryout with the Rangers' AHL affiliate, Steve Zipay of Newsday reports.
Analysis: Henrik Tallinder had a tryout with the Maple Leafs earlier in the season but was released with no contract offer. The Rangers are without captain, Ryan McDonagh, so if Tallinder is signed by the Rangers he could offer some experience on the Rangers blue line. Last season with Buffalo, Tallinder played 64 games while scoring two goals and six assists.

Curtis McKenzie
Stars Reassign McKenzie
Curtis McKenzie, LW, DAL
1:50 PM
News: The Stars reassigned Curtis McKenzie to AHL Texas on Monday.
Analysis: Curtis McKenzie registered a goal and seven PIM in nine games with the Stars, but with Ryan Garbutt (upper body) poised to return to the lineup, McKenzie will head to AHL Texas to gain more experience.

Andrew Shaw
Hawks' Shaw Likely Back Wednesday
Andrew Shaw, C, CHI
1:36 PM
News: Andrew Shaw (upper body) appears poised to return to the lineup Wednesday against the Avalanche, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Analysis: The gritty forward should draw back into the lineup after the team demoted his replacement, Phillip Danault, to AHL Rockford on Monday. Andrew Shaw collected three goals and three assists in 18 games before getting injured Nov. 16 against the Stars.

Phillip Danault
Hawks Reassign Danault
Phillip Danault, LW, CHI
1:33 PM
News: The Blackhawks reassigned Phillip Danault to AHL Rockford on Monday, Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Analysis: Phillip Danault appeared in two games with the Hawks, but failed to crack the score sheet. His departure likely means Andrew Shaw (upper body) is ready to return to the lineup, and even though it may not be this year, it's highly unlikely that we've seen the last of Danault at the NHL level.

Brad Marchand
Bruins Activate Marchand
Brad Marchand, LW, BOS
1:21 PM
News: The Bruins activated Brad Marchand (undisclosed) off of IR on Monday, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports.
Analysis: The Bruins reassigned Seth Griffith to clear a roster spot for Brad Marchand, who hasn't been in the lineup since Nov. 15. Marchand recorded five goals and six assists in 19 games before getting hurt, and will provide a much needed boost to a depleted Bruins top six when he reenters the lineup Monday against the Penguins.

Seth Griffith
Bruins' Reassign Griffith
Seth Griffith, C, BOS
1:17 PM
News: The Bruins reassigned Seth Griffith to AHL Providence on Monday, Fluto Shinzawa of the Boston Globe reports.
Analysis: The Bruins activated Brad Marchand (undisclosed) off IR on Monday, with csnne.com's Joe Haggerty suggesting that the move to send Seth Griffith down is "more of a cap thing than anything else."

Corey Crawford
Hawks' Crawford Gives Up Three Goals In Loss
Corey Crawford, G, CHI
12:45 PM
News: Corey Crawford surrendered three goals on 29 shots in Sunday's loss to Vancouver.
Analysis: Despite the loss, it was a strong outing for Corey Crawford, who was making his 11th straight start. He has been one of the best fantasy goalies this season, winning four of his past five games and posting a 9-5-1 record on the year. Backup Anti Raanta (illness) is feeling better and may get a start in the near-future, but any night Crawford is in the Hawks' crease, he needs to be in your lineup.

Kris Versteeg
Hawks' Versteeg Scores Seventh Goal
Kris Versteeg, RW, CHI
12:38 PM
News: Kris Versteeg scored for the third time in four games in Sunday's loss to Vancouver.
Analysis: Life alongside Patty Kane is pretty sweet. Kris Versteeg is thriving on the second line, collecting three goals and seven points in his last four games. He is also playing on the Hawks' top power-play unit, where he tipped in a Duncan Keith shot Sunday. With seven goals on the season, Versteeg is worth adding, at least until Patrick Sharp (leg) returns from injury.

Mike Smith
Coyotes' Smith Drops Sixth Straight
Mike Smith, G, ARI
12:19 PM
News: Mike Smith lost for the sixth straight game Sunday, giving up two goals on 30 shots against Anaheim.
Analysis: While Mike Smith played great in the loss, the goaltending situation developing in Arizona is quite interesting. Although Smith is the clear No.1 goalie, backup Devon Dubnyk has outplayed him thus far, posting a 5-0-1 record. Don't be worried though, as Smith played well enough Sunday to remind us why we put our faith in him in the first place. The wins will come sooner or later.

 
 
 
Top Videos
Rankings