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 What the Puck? December 9, 2007 Allow Anonymous Users Reply to This Topic...
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Posted - 12/09/2007 :  11:35:25  Show Profile
By Fantasy Fanatics

We are well into the NHL season and it is time to take a look at some of those predicted sleepers from the preseason. While some of them have fulfilled expectations, others have done absolutely nothing. We will start with the sleepers that have not yet reached expectations and whether or not they ever will this season.

Brandon Bochenski (RW, Boston): Bochenski played great in Boston after being traded there from Chicago. In 31 games, he put up 22 points and was one of the lone bright spots stemming from the end of the Bruins season. Many were expecting him to step right into a top 2 line role this year, but he fell out of favor with Bruins management early in the season. He arrived 20 pounds heavier, albeit it was muscle, and was not considered fast enough for the pro club. However, when Patrice Bergeron went down, they called Bochenski up and he has played on the third line consistently. However, he has seemed to be focusing on playing defense and hitting and does not even have a goal yet. If Claude Julien decides move Bochenski into more of a scoring role, he should be able to put up some goals, but it does not look like that will happen.

Joe Pavelski (C, San Jose): Pavelski had a great rookie season and was widely expected to make his way to a second line center this season. However, he was a sleeper because of the San Jose situation with Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton ahead of him on the depth chart. Although Marleau has struggled even more than Pavelski, Pavelski only has 5G and 4A to start this season. Recently, Pavelski has been moved to wing to get him more opportunity but he is definetly meant to be a center. Therefore, Pavelski should be avoided in most fantasy leagues until he is back as a center or if the Sharks trade Patrick Marleau.

Nathan Horton (C, Florida): The 22 year old had a 30-30 season last year and was expected to build on that this year as he was slotted to be a first line player for the Florida Panthers. Although he has played decently and is now a low-end fantasy forward, he has not lived up to his expectations as a sleeper. He is definitely becoming the power forward experts expected as he has 35 PIMís, but the scoring totals of 7G and 11A have him on pace to produce less than last season. Out of the sleepers that are not performing, Horton is the most valuable and has the most promise for the rest of the season. While Pavelski and Bochenski are intriguing, Horton will realistically have the biggest chance of exploding on the scoring chart.

Bochenski, Pavelski, and Horton are disappointing fantasy owners across the board, but it does not mean the art of identifying a sleeper is dead.

Here are a couple sleepers that are performing beyond their expectations:

Cory Stillman (W, Carolina): Stillman was a big sleeper this year coming off an injury plagued last season. Heís on pace for over 90 points this season playing on the top line in Carolina with Eric Staal and Erik Cole. There is obviously no guarantee that Stillman will be able to continue on the 90 point pace, but he should at least produce 70-85 playing with that top line. Stillman has been the most successful of all the preseason sleepers in the NHL. Fantasy owners should expect the same success from Stillman in the future as long as he is playing on that top line in Carolina.

Daniel Carcillo (W, Phoenix): Every year it seems there are some enforcers that fantasy owners expect to be able to contribute to their squad. Most of the time these players prove to be much more valuable to their actual NHL team rather than there fantasy team. However, Carcillo has joined the ranks of Darcy Tucker in Toronto and Sean Avery in New York as an enforcer that can work in fantasy hockey too. Although he is only on pace for 37 points, Carcillo all ready has 130 PIMís making him a player that can start on most fantasy squads. However, coach Gretzky in Phoenix expects Carcillo to be able to be a real scoring threat and is now giving him time on the power play. Carcillo is still on the waiver wire in many leagues and is worth a pickup as a sleeper that is actually working out.

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