Fantasy Hockey Draft Day Sleepers
After conducting a few mock drafts (yes I am that guy who is a mock-draft-aholic) here are a few players that I have noticed going later than they should in drafts. Don’t just follow the rankings on your website, put a few of these players in your queue. Just don’t tell the players in my league about this article.
Mike Smith (CGY): ADP: 113 – Position rank: 19
Mike Smith is being overlooked in drafts primarily due to his numbers from his days with Arizona when on many nights he had to stand on his head to keep games close. He is now on a loaded Calgary team which boasts one of the better defense groups in the league. Smith is likely going to have to get used to not facing as much rubber as before, but as he adjusts to his new team he will boast quality numbers that will make any fantasy owner happy.
Scott Darling (CAR): ADP: 113 – Position rank: 21
After years of serving as the backup in Chicago to Corey Crawford, he now gets his chance to be the man for Carolina. He performed very well whenever given the opportunity in Chicago going 18-5-5 last season with a .924 save percentage and a .238 GAA. Carolina also happens to be a potential playoff team and strong play in net by Darling this season can be the difference.
Jason Spezza (DAL): ADP 129 – Position Rank: 42
Last season was a forgettable year for the Stars all the way around missing the playoffs and finishing with just 79 points on the season. This year with coach Ken Hitchcock back in Dallas and a new goalie in Ben Bishop, the Stars should be favored for a playoff spot once again. The Stars have never had issues scoring goals, and Spezza will be part of a talented offensive team once again. With the improvements on the team, there is a strong possibility that Spezza returns to his performance in 2015-2016 where he scored 33 goals and had 30 assists in 75 games.
Mikko Koivu (MIN): ADP 164 – Position Rank: 49
The captain of one of the best teams in the NHL this season is going under the radar in many drafts. Last season he posted 18 goals and 40 assists with a plus-27 rating. Minnesota will be a top contender in the West once again and Koivu will be a nice pairing on your fantasy roster if you should draft a player with a low plus/minus rating.
Jake Guentzel (PIT): ADP: 90 – Position Rank: 28
For a guy this talented on a great team like the Penguins, he is being drafted way too low in my opinion. Perhaps people don’t fully grasp that his 16 goals and 17 assists from last season came in only 40 games. Once the playoff run began he was just as good posting 13 goals and eight assists in 25 playoff games. At the age of 22, his best days are definitely ahead so move him up your draft rankings and be happy you grabbed him.
Max Domi (ARI): ADP: 154 Position Rank: 38
Many players from the Coyotes will get overlooked until the team begins to perform better, but Domi is someone worth grabbing in the later rounds. He had a rough year last season posting just nine goals and 29 assists in 59 games. He had a very nice rookie season two years ago scoring 18 goals and 34 assists with a plus-three rating. At the age of 22, he has many good seasons ahead and should bounce back with a 60-point performance this season and will see plenty of power-play minutes as well.
Kevin Fial (NSH):a ADP: 264 – Position Rank: 77
Fiala is only 21 years old and handled himself very well last season posting 11 goals in 51 games. This season he will be given the opportunity to play on the second units and see plenty of power-play time as Nashville will try to inject more speed and youth into their lineup. Consider Fiala a very late round flier with a nice potential for return should he prove up to the task.
Patrick Eaves (ANA): ADP: 114 – Position Rank: 32
Last season he posted a career-high of 32 goals and 19 assists after splitting time with Dallas and Anaheim. While he may not hit the 30-goal mark this season, he will be playing on the Ducks top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry so the trio should be able to put up plenty of points this year.
Patric Hornqvist (PIT): ADP: 132 – Position Rank: 25
All you need to know is that Hornqvist plays on the second unit on the Penguins with Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, and on the top power-play unit with Sidney Crosby. That should be enough reason to want to have Hornqvist on your fantasy team, yet he is being drafted in the 11th round in fantasy drafts this season. Last year he posted 21 goals and 23 assists for a total of 44 points, 17 of which came on the power-play. I also like his plus-16 rating, 223 shots, and six game-winning goals which are always nice boosts to fantasy rosters.
Anthony Mantha (DET): ADP: 199 – Position Rank: 44
The Red Wings are in unfamiliar territory coming off of a 79-point season and missing the playoffs. The Red Wings will begin to inject younger players like Mantha into their lineup and begin giving them key roles which they were reluctant to do during their 25-year playoff streak which resulted in four Stanley Cups. Last season in his first real taste of the NHL he produced 36 points (17 goals and 19 assists) in 60 games. He had a nice 12.9 shot percentage in 133 attempts and delivered three game-winning goals. He should be given top line minutes to improve on all those categories this season.
John Carlson (WAS): ADP: 130 – Position Rank 25
Even with the Capitals struggles in the playoffs, players on that team are great for fantasy teams. When defensemen go flying off the draft boards and you begin to panic, Carlson will be a nice selection to help settle things down for you. With all the scorers on the Capitals team, Carlson is usually on the ice to help you get some fantasy points. Last year he posted nine goals and 28 assists in 71 games played.
Jacob Trouba (WPG): ADP: 191 – Position Rank 33
Last season Trouba posted a career high of 33 points (eight goals and 25 assists) and was able to do that in only 60 games played. At 23 years old he is coming into the prime of his career on a Winnipeg team that can score lots of goals and has high expectations of making a playoff run this season.
Jared Spurgeon (MIN): ADP: 209 – Position Rank 38
His defense partner Ryan Suter gets most of the attention in terms of fantasy draft selections, but Spurgeon may be a nice find late in drafts to sure up your roster. He is a solid point producer posting 10 goals and 28 assists last year and with may players on the Wild he had a very high rating of plus-33. Having someone like Spurgeon on your team will allow you to draft a high scoring player on a bad team without worrying about your plus/minus category.
Dion Phaneuf (OTT): ADP: 228 – Position Rank 55
With stud defenseman Erik Karlsson out for the start of the season, Phaneuf will play a key role in both the top lines for the Senators. His big point producing days are over, but he was able to score nine goals and had 21 assists with 100 penalty minutes which never hurts if your league uses that category. He might be a good late-round bench addition to your roster as he will assume a big role to start the season.