Fantasy Hockey Sleepers: Western Conference
Folks, it’s that time of year again. Hockey is back and so is fantasy hockey. So let’s take a look at some players who are being overlooked in regards to their draft position. Today the Western Conference, tomorrow the East.
Ryan Strome (F – EDM)
Fantasy sports usually boils down to one equation: Talent + Opportunity = Points. I’m not sure there’s a bigger opportunity than playing with Connor McDavid right now. Patrick Maroon scored 27 goals as McDavid’s wing last year (Never having scored more than 11 in a single season). Ryan Strome already has one 17-goal, 50-point season under his belt. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t exceed those totals playing on the McDavid line.
Tomas Hertl (F – SJ)
ESPN currently has him projected just below the 200 mark in their rankings. Considering that prospective draft spot, he’ll already provide splendid value as he’s most likely to pick up all that sweet power play time Patrick Marleau‘s absence brings. While he would provide more scoring rolling with the Joes (Thornton and Pavelski), Hertl centering his own line plus the aforementioned power play time does set the stage for a nice breakout season.
Dougie Hamilton (D – CGY)
Dougie Hamilton was released from the shackles of Calgary’s lesser defensemen and permanently placed on a pair with stud Mark Giordano on 11/15. Do you know where he ranks among defensemen for points from then to the end of the season? Tied for 6th (44 points in 65 games), all while carrying a +21 and 46 penalty minutes. Projected as the 13th best defensemen by ESPN, value can be had here.
John Gibson (G – ANA)
Minimum 15 games played, John Gibson‘s SV% was 7th in the league last year (92.7% SV). He might find it more difficult this year with some injuries to key players to start the season (Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Ryan Kesler). However, with three bottom feeders in Vancouver, Arizona, and Vegas in the division, as well as the usual strong play of the Ducks (not to mention Gibson’s own skill), he should collect a solid amount of wins for someone that is the 12th ranked goalie in ESPN’s rankings.
Alex DeBrincat (F – CHI)
Obviously no 19-year-old is a sure thing at the NHL level, but 127 points in 63 games last year for the OHL’s Erie Otters speaks volumes to the kind of skill Debrincat has. One thing that is for sure is this: Patrick Kane needs a new running mate after the trade of Artemi Panarin. The diminutive DeBrincat has the same type of skill game Panarin had and it would not be a surprise at all for him and Kane (and centerman Nick Schmaltz) to link up during the season for a bevy of points.
Shea Theodore (D – VGK)
The Vegas Knights will not be good this year. But Shea Theodore might! After looking mostly solid as a 21-year-old on Anaheim’s third pair last year, Shea has the chance to run the show in Vegas. I mean, who’s going to quarterback the power play here? Jason Garrison? He can’t really do anything but bomb it. Nate Schmidt? You can do better. If Deryk Engelland or Luca Sbisa are on your power play things have gone horribly wrong. The +/- might not be great in Sin City, but he might put up some points because, y’know, somebody has to.
Jaden Schwartz (F – STL)
I am consistently amazed by often Schwartz is forgotten around the league. 55 points last year (tied for 60th in the league last year) isn’t otherworldly, though he did only shoot 10.6% for the year, a fair amount below his career average of 13.3%. Correct for the shooting mark, and we are talking about a 60-point player again, which is pretty great value for someone ranked 79th forward by ESPN.
Chris Prod is a write at FantasyPros. He sometimes tweets @mastodude30.