Anybody can take Sidney Crosby with the second general decide in a Fantasy Hockey draft, however it’s the gamers which you can “steal” within the 14th or 16th rounds of drafts that go on to play like fifth or seventh spherical picks.
A sleeper can be final yr’s Claude Giroux, who was drafted within the early-to-center rounds, however produced a 102-point season. Or a William Karlsson, who went largely undrafted however completed third within the league in objectives (43).
Who will it’s this season? Dylan Berthiaume joined me to share our lists of 2018-19 sleeper picks.
- 1 Bo Horvat — Canucks — C
- 2 Matt Duchene — Senators — C
- 3 Kevin Fiala — Predators — LW/RW
- 4 Timo Meier — Sharks — LW
- 5 Aaron Ekblad — Panthers — D
- 6 Antti Raanta — Coyotes — G
- 7 Ryan O’Reilly — Blues — C
- 8 Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Oilers — C/LW
- 9 Mike Hoffman — Panthers — LW/RW
- 10 Brendan Gallagher — Canadiens — RW
- 11 Colin Miller — Golden Knights — D
- 12 Justin Faulk — Hurricanes — D
Bo Horvat — Canucks — C
ESPN Rank: #142 | Yahoo Rank: #145
Horvat had a robust begin to the 2017-18 season, scoring 10 objectives with 10 assists (20 factors) in his first 28 video games earlier than fracturing his ankle. After a 18-game absence, Horvat did not get again on that tempo, ending with 24 factors (12G / 12A) in his ultimate 36 video games. Over that stretch Horvat performed 19:55 TOI/GM, which ranked 21st amongst all forwards. He’ll play large minutes atop the Canucks’ lineup with the sharp-capturing Brock Boeser. Over the course of a full season, Horvat ought to hearth 200-plus photographs, which makes 25 objectives simply attainable. It is going to be troublesome to discover a centre with 30-30 upside within the 12th spherical or later, which is the place Horvat is ranked proper now.
Matt Duchene — Senators — C
ESPN Rank: #224 | Yahoo Rank: #162
The 2018 season was a bizarre one for Duchene. He opened the yr because the Colorado Avalanche’s No.1 centre and registered 10 factors (4G / 6A) in his first 14 video games. At that time the Avalanche have been eight-6-zero. Over in Ottawa, the Senators have been 6-three-5 however believed they have been in “Win Now” mode after making a shocking deep run within the playoffs the yr earlier. With a purpose to make a splash, the Senators gave up a boatload to accumulate Duchene and it didn’t work out. Ottawa went 22-40-6 after the commerce, completed second-final within the Japanese Convention and seem like one of many worst groups within the NHL coming into this season.
As for Duchene, he will probably be missed on draft day for quite a lot of causes.First, the Senators are going to be horrible and fantasy house owners will draw back from him for gamers with a greater surrounding forged. Secondly, Duchene had simply 5 factors in his first 21 video games in Ottawa and that’s seemingly all anybody remembers. What many individuals overlook is that Duchene completed the yr with 44 factors (21G / 23A) in his remaining 47 video games—that’s a 37-goal and 40-assist per 82-game tempo. Whereas the 27-year-previous possible gained’t proceed that tempo into the 2018-19 season, he’s in line to play an enormous position for the lowly Senators and somebody has to place up some factors. Ranked between the 14th and 19th spherical, Duchene’s ceiling shall be one of many highest throughout that portion of the draft.
Kevin Fiala — Predators — LW/RW
ESPN Rank: #110 | Yahoo Rank: #144
Fiala showcased some big breakout potential in the course of the 2017-18 marketing campaign. Earlier than the Predators acquired Kyle Turris, Fiala had simply six assists and 1.08 photographs per recreation whereas enjoying simply 13:50 TOI per night time via 13 video games. After the commerce, Fiala had 30 factors (18G / 12A) in 53 video games whereas his photographs per recreation jumped to 2.55 and his TOI was 15:27 per recreation. The duo performed 655:33 5v5 TOI collectively and posted an outstanding 58.18 CorsiFor%, 58.65 ScoringChancesFor% and 67.31 GoalsFor%.
Fiala ought to see an enormous uptick in enjoying time as he’s anticipated to play nearly all of the season within the prime-6—he’s presently skating on the highest-line with Filip Forsberg and Ryan Johansen within the preseason. A bump to 17-plus minutes per night time would permit Fiala to prime 200 photographs with relative ease, making him a protected 25-25 guess, with 30-30 upside.
Timo Meier — Sharks — LW
ESPN Rank: #146 | Yahoo Rank: #164
Meier and Fiala are very comparable and they’re two of my favorite picks this season. Meier is a former top-10 decide (No.9 in 2015) who owns an excellent measurement (6-foot, 215 lbs.), velocity and talent mixture.
Via Meier’s first 19 video games of the 2017-18 season, he performed simply 12:03 TOI/GM and registered two objectives, two assists (4 factors) and averaged 2.four photographs per recreation. After that he noticed a bump in enjoying time (15:44 TOI/GM) and completed the yr with 19 objectives, 13 assists (32 factors) and a couple of.7 photographs per recreation in his remaining 62 contests.
This season, he ought to be a everlasting fixture on the Sharks’ second line with Logan Couture and presumably Tomas Hertl. He might see his minutes elevated to round 17 minutes per recreation and permit Meier to register 230-to-240 photographs on aim. Like Fiala, that provides Meier a sturdy 25-25 flooring with 30-30 upside.
Aaron Ekblad — Panthers — D
ESPN Rank: #138 | Yahoo Rank: #119
We’re nonetheless ready on Ekblad’s true breakout season, however his first 4 seasons are being disrespected within the rankings. Ekblad has scored double-digit objectives every season and is tied for ninth amongst defensemen in objectives (53) since breaking into the NHL. The factor that has held him again is his lack of assists—tied for 50th in 4 years.
Ekblad is behind Keith Yandle for energy-play time, however nonetheless performs over two minutes per night time with the person-benefit. The 22-year-previous will play large minutes on a very good group and is a top-10 shot producing defenseman, giving him objective upside that only a few defensemen possess. He’s additionally able to chipping in 100-plus hits and blocked photographs.
Antti Raanta — Coyotes — G
ESPN Rank: #210 | Yahoo Rank: #170
Raanta wasn’t nice throughout his first three months in Arizona, posting a 2.87 GAA, .912 SV% and profitable simply 5 of 20 video games. Nevertheless, after January 1st, Raanta was first within the NHL in GAA (1.92) and SV% (.939) whereas being 13th in wins (16). Throughout the whole season, Raanta ranked third in Objectives Saved Above Common, additional suggesting that he is among the greatest goaltenders within the league.
The one purpose he isn’t ranked among the many top-10 in Fantasy is the group he performs behind. The Coyotes ought to be an improved staff from final season, however they’ll proceed to restrict Raanta’s win complete. Nevertheless, he ought to publish a number of the greatest splits within the league alongside the best way and nonetheless has 30 win potential.
Ryan O’Reilly — Blues — C
ESPN Rank: #150 | Yahoo Rank: #137
O’Reilly heads to the Blues recent off the second-highest level complete of his profession (61) and 4 straight seasons with no less than 35 assists. He posted a profession excessive 230 photographs on objective in 2017-18, flying previous his earlier better of 201. It netted him 24 objectives with a modest 10.four SH%, proper consistent with his profession mark. He should not have any drawback replicating that this yr, particularly contemplating his new position and staff. He’s projected to start out 2018-19 on the Blues’ prime line with Vladimir Tarasenko, a serious enchancment over his former linemates in Buffalo and Colorado. Yahoo! ranked him No. 137 to start out the season; that might be the 11th spherical in a 12-man league. Nice worth for a man that would flirt with 70 factors this season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Oilers — C/LW
ESPN Rank: #135 | Yahoo Rank: #118
Nugent-Hopkins is predicted to make the complete time transfer to the wing this season and is projected to start out the yr on the highest line with Connor McDavid. The 2 of them averaged 32 scoring possibilities per 60 of their restricted time at 5v5 collectively in 2017-18. RNH appeared to regain his scoring contact final season, choosing up 48 factors in 62 video games, a 63-point tempo over 82 video games. That might have eclipsed his profession excessive (56) and he now will get the additional advantage of enjoying with one of the best participant within the recreation. Breaking 70 factors isn’t out of the query for Nugent-Hopkins if he spends the complete yr with McDavid. There’s a lot to love about RNH this yr. He’s one of many few viable choices McDavid has left to play with and it ought to assist him simply surpass that earlier profession excessive of 56 factors. He may lastly begin producing like a primary general decide.
Mike Hoffman — Panthers — LW/RW
ESPN Rank: #116 | Yahoo Rank: #98
Hoffman is coming off a season that noticed him internet simply 22 objectives regardless of firing a profession-excessive 257 photographs on objective. Merely making use of his profession SH% would give us an anticipated objective complete of 28 objectives this season, and that’s earlier than you even issue within the change of surroundings. Shifting to the Panthers is clearly an enormous increase to Hoffman’s fantasy worth. He’s projected to start out the yr subsequent to Vincent Trochek and Jonathan Huberdeau on the Panthers’ second line. They put up 75 and 69 factors final yr, respectively, averaging proper round 30 scoring possibilities per 60 at 5v5 collectively. Hoffman’s by no means performed with that sort of manufacturing earlier than. Given Head Coach Bob Boughner’s tendency to lean closely on his prime-six, Hoffman’s ice time won’t even endure regardless of shifting to a a lot deeper group. He’s a confirmed aim scorer who fires a ton of photographs. The transfer to Florida units the stage for a profession yr from Hoffman.
Brendan Gallagher — Canadiens — RW
ESPN Rank: #144 | Yahoo Rank: #130
Somebody should rating for the depleted Canadiens in 2018-19, and Gallagher’s 278 photographs final yr recommend he’s the man to do it. Gallagher will virtually definitely spend the whole thing of this season on the Canadiens prime line. These 278 photographs got here regardless of an ATOI of simply 16:09, which means Gallagher might simply push 300 photographs in a bigger position. There’s completely nobody to compete with him for ice time on the best aspect, and there’s worse guys to skate with than the playmaking Jonathan Drouin. 300 photographs would make Gallagher a lock for an additional 30-goal season, nice worth for a man going within the 14th spherical of ordinary leagues proper now.
Colin Miller — Golden Knights — D
ESPN Rank: #216 | Yahoo Rank: #255
Miller put up 10 objectives on 177 photographs in 2017-18 regardless of an ATOI of 19:21. He possesses some of the underrated photographs within the league and mans the purpose on Vegas’ first powerplay unit. He was already due for an uptick in 5v5 ice time, and the 20-game suspension to the additionally proper-handed Nate Schmidt solely additional validates that. Miller should not have any drawback constructing on his 10-goal, 41-point marketing campaign in 2018-19. He’s been criminally underrated this pre-season and goes undrafted in most leagues. He’s a super man to have as your third or fourth defenseman and you need to have the ability to get him with one among your previous couple of picks.
Justin Faulk — Hurricanes — D
ESPN Rank: #225 | Yahoo Rank: #209
After three straight seasons with at the least 15 objectives, Faulk mustered simply seven objectives in 76 video games final season. He did nonetheless handle to fireside 211 photographs on objective, suggesting the drop in objectives was a little bit of a fluke brought on by his three.eight SH% (profession mark of 6.2%). The newly-acquired Dougie Hamilton was considered a menace to Faulk’s powerplay time, however the Hurricanes opened coaching camp with each of them on their prime unit. Given Carolina’s struggles to supply at 5v5, Faulk wants that powerplay time to be productive. Ought to he keep it, we like his probabilities of getting again to 15 objectives in 2018-19. Not dangerous for a man going within the 13th spherical of ordinary leagues proper now.
Brock has been the Editor-In-Chief of DailyFaceoff.com because the begin of the 2012-13 season, the Host of the DFO Podcast since 2015 and Editor-In-Chief of DailyDugout because the 2017 season.