|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 09/16/2007 : 20:18:15
By Randy Steinman
Fantasy Hockey Journal
Grabbing a couple of sleeper picks in your fantasy hockey pool or league could give you the edge on the competition. By "sleepers", I mean players that are "under the radar" to most fantasy hockey participants. They are mainly players coming into the league without much fanfare (not top draft picks), non-superstar players coming off a bad year or players ready to take their game to the next level.
My list includes a trio of young Flyers and even a couple of goalies.
So, without further ado- here's my list of the best sleepers for the 2007-08 season:
Fell to 28 points in 2006-07 with Edmonton but talented sniper is bound to rebound with young stars in Philly.
Skilled defensively, Richards is an integral part of the Flyers. The hard working center should improve his offensive output.
Had a slow start and missed 20 games with an ankle injury last season. Scored seven points in his last eight games. Expected to be Flyers' second-line center and to have a big year.
Fit in well with Thrashers after coming over in trade from Philly (14 points in 18 games). Expected to be Atlanta's power play QB.
Inherits shot at #1 Sabre's center job with departure of Briere and Drury. Had personal-best 63-point season in '06-07, clicking between Vanek and Afinogenov. Look for even better totals with increased role.
Had 27 points in 41 games in multiple call-ups to Sabres last season. Look for more ice time and production in 2007-08.
Went into terrible slump when linemates Martin Havlat and Michal Handzus were injured. Talent level has risen in Chicago, Vrbata's point totals should rise also.
Has produced with limited ice time. Should put up much better numbers in a greater role.
The 29-year-old could fit in nicely on Florida powerplay. Offensive defenseman was MVP in Finnish Elite League. Performed well with Canada's gold-medal winning 2007 World Championship club which was loaded with NHL talent.
Had only 53 points last year but has topped 80 points in the past. Point totals should rise is he ends up on Sidney Crosby's line. Can play all three forward positions.
MIKE COMRIE,C,NEW YORK ISLANDERS
Had 45 points in 65 games with Phoenix and Ottawa last season. If he wins a job on the first line and gets powerplay time, the small forward should crack 60 points. That's if he stays healthy.
Talented 19-year-old rebounded after cancer surgery to show that the best is yet to come.
Gets a chance to play an offensive role in Atlanta after leaving defensive-minded Minnesota Wild. Will most likely center Ilya Kovalchuk and/or Marian Hossa.
BRIAN GIONTA,RW,NEW JERSEY
The hardworking, undersized forward dipped from 48 goals and 89 points in 2005-6 to 25 goals and 45 points last season. Look for him to rebound in the 60-75 point range.
The diminutive goalie should put up solid numbers with an improved Blues defense in front of him.
JASON LABARBERA,G,LOS ANGELES
Outstanding in AHL in 2006-7. Good bet to beat out Dan Cloutier for #1 job as Cloutier was brutal with Kings last year and also had season-ending hip surgery. Look for good numbers for Labarbera if he wins starting job as Kings are an improving squad.
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|2 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 09/17/2007 : 21:02:12
Mistakenly omitted a good one from the list in Chris Higgins. He will be included in an upcoming article "On the Rise"- an annual feature that I run at Fantasy Hockey Journal that discusses players who are likely to significantly increase their point totals from the last year. Higgins is certainly among those players.
As for Andrei Kostitsyn, I don't see him putting up enough points to crack my "Sleepers" list. (Andrei and his brother Sergei are both good prospects for the Canadiens though.)
Fantasy Hockey Journal
||Posted - 09/17/2007 : 10:59:25
Let's not forget Chris Higgins and Andrei Kastitsyn of the montreal canadians. Both should have great years and put up good # if they stay healthy.