NHL Sleeper & Value Picks [Ft. Aly Dhanani]...
With the NHL regular season fast approaching, now is the time to prepare for your Fantasy Hockey draft! @TheHockeyPress & Aly Dhanani [@ViewsFromAly] worked together to break down potential sleeper/value picks.
About: Aly Dhanani is a Journalist/Contributor to FanSided & TheHockeyWriters. He's also a [NEW] Part-Time Featured Reporter for TheHockeyPress.
So be sure to stay updated with ALL of his stuff on Twitter @ViewsFromAly. Follow him for NHL News/Updates/Blogs. Now enjoy!
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VALUE PICKS [THP]:
[RW] David Pastrnak, Boston Bruins:
The B's just recently lost Loui Eriksson from their Top 6. He went to the Western Conference rival team; the Vancouver Canucks. They've got a hole to fill, offensively and defensively. Eriksson brought about 60+ Points to the team. You may be wondering where can they find such a replacement. Well most people don't realize they've got David Pastrnak. A small, skilled winger who scored 26 points in just 51 game las season. Many people have this guy breaking out this season. He's likely going to get an increase in Ice-Time. So as long as he's healthy you'll make a good value pick with this kid.
[LW] Jonathan Drouin, Tampa Bay Lightning:
It was ALMOST CERTAIN at the Trade Deadline, Drouin's time with the Lightning would be coming to an end after a trade request/hold out. But surprisingly they worked things out, and Drouin got to play a BIG ROLE for the Lightning in the Playoffs. To few, that was his coming out party. It's time for Drouin to show why he was selected as high as he was. He's may get a chance to play w/Stamkos will boost his points by a considerable amount. He had 14 points in 17 games these past playoffs.
[RW] Brendan Gallagher, Montreal Canadiens:
Everyones eyes will be on Alexander Radulov, and his transition to the National Hockey League. But we're here to say you should focus on Gallagher instead. He's been a dirty pest for years now, and it's time he take a bigger leadership role on the Habs roster. He will likely play with Tomas Plekanec, which will give him a chance to score tons of goals this season. Should be a force on the power-play. He had 40 Points in 53 Games last season. You are almost guaranteed 60 Points with this kid, anything more is an expected bonus.
[D] Rasmus Ristolainen, Buffalo Sabres:
Sabres have improved a whole lot of the offseason. Their young guns have developed a bit more, and they've added players like Kyle Okposo to their roster. Ristolainen is still without a contract but if/when he get's signed, he'll be the corner stone of the Sabres Defense core. Plus he didn't miss any games last season. Everything will be going through him, and we don't see him lowering from his point totals last season. He had 41 Points in 82 Game last season.
[D] Torey Krug, Boston Bruins:
One of the STRANGEST Shooting Percentages from last season. Krug will be depended upon to carry the Bruins Defense core next season. Zdeno Chara is slowly breaking down, and he's likely to retire in a couple seasons. That's when Krug look to follow up what Big Z did in Boston, and it will start from this year. His points totals should only be going up/staying the same from now on. He had 44 Points in 81 Games last season.
RISK PICKS [THP]:
[D] Shea Theodore, Anaheim Ducks:
If Cam Fowler is dealt, then i'd go as far to say, you should be taking this kid before your last 5 Picks. Dominant offensive force in the minor leagues.
[C] Andreas Athanasiou, Detroit Red Wings:
This could be the pick of the year. The Red Wings are pulling all the stops in trying to replace the void left by Pavel Datsyuk. First player to receive a chance to grab the spot is going to likely be Andreas Athanasiou. He's got tons of speed & skill. Racked up a respectable 14 Points in 37 Games last season, but he's gonna be totaling up a TON more this season.
[C] Alex Galchenyuk, Montreal Canadiens:
You may be wondering why Galchenyuk is a risk play. Well for one Chucky isn't exactly "consistent", on top of that he has not yet secured the 1st Line C position yet. This means at any point during the season, the Habs could move Plekanec up and Chucky down. Another risk here is Radulov could be bust, which would leave Galchenyuk in the dust.
SLEEPERS [Aly Dhanani]:
[LW] Tomas Hertl, San Jose Sharks:
Although a knee injury three years ago altered his game, Hertlseemed to be raising his level of play in the postseason and is projected to play on San Jose's first line. Definitely take a look.
[D] Michael Stone, Arizona Coyotes:
Stone quietly had an excellent season in Arizona, putting up 36 points in 75 games. There's no reason to believe the 26-year-old won't continue to improve.
[C] Frank Vatrano Boston Bruins:
If this is a deep pool/keeper pool, make sure to scoop him up in the late rounds. Vatrano had an absurd 36 goals and 55 points in 36 games with the Providence Bruins, co-winning the AHL's rookie of the year award with Mikko Rantanen. With Vatrano poised to start on Boston's fourth line, don't be surprised if the 22-year-old works his way up and breaks out as a rookie.
[RW] Daniel Pribyl, Calgary Flames:
Pribyl, a Flames signee from the Czech Republic, had 45 points in 45 games with Sparta Praha of the Czech league. And, he's slated to play with Sam Bennet on Calgary's second line. One to watch.
[LW] Nick Schmaltz, Chicago Blackhawks:
Schmaltz is fresh off a NCAA title and may get some playing time with Panarin/Toews/Kane in his rookie season.
[RW] Oliver Bjorkstrand, Columbus Blue Jackets
Projected to play on a line alongside Scott Hartnell and Pierre-Luc Dubois. That trio could quickly become a line to watch out for. Bjorkstrand had 8 points in his first 12 NHL games. Expect his pace to lower but he could be a dark horse contender for the Calder.
[RW] Jordan Eberle, Edmonton Oilers
McDavid's right winger. That means an inflation in points.
[LW] Andre Burakovsky, Washington Capitals
If you league counts plus-minus, definitely scoop up Burakovsky. The 21-year-old had a great end to last year’s campaign and you can expect a raise in production this season.
[D] Nikita Zaitsev, Toronto Maple Leafs:
24-year-old put up very solid numbers in the KHL the past couple seasons and was playing big minutes for team Russia at the World Cup. Great skater. Don’t take too high, however.
[C] Matthew Barzal, New York Islanders:
This is more of a waiver-wire sleeper, as we don’t know if Barzal is going to make the Islanders. If he does, project him as the 3rd line centre with Anders Lee & Josh Bailey. That could be a good line.
[D] Aaron Ekblad, Florida Panthers:
In a lesser-known hockey market like Florida, sometimes defenseman like Ekblad go unnoticed by pool newbies. Don’t let that fool you. Ekblad is going to put up some big numbers with Keith Yandle on a budding Panthers squad.