If you’re in a deep keeper league, you might be looking for some players who can step into your lineup this year, or if you’re in a one-year league you might be wondering if there are any sleeper picks you can take late.
There are a few players that I’ve targeted for my watch list and I will be watching them closely during training camp to see if they can help me this year. This is by no means an exhaustive list, and I’ve deliberately left out many of the more well-know guys who are expected to battle for spots or earn them such as Joe Colborne, Tyler Ennis, P.K. Subban and Nazem Kadri.
Carolina – Jerome Samson has been steadily improving at the AHL for the last three years and should be able to make the jump to the Hurricanes. With oft-injured Erik Cole and Tuomo Ruutu ahead of him on the depth chart, the chances Samson will get an injury call-up are pretty good. If he produces during a brief stint, he could stick.
Florida – if your league counts PIMs, you might want to consider Mike Duco. He managed 50 penalty minutes in just 10 games last year. Small and pugnacious, he plays a fearless, in your-face style.
New Jersey – Tyler Eckford is a favourite darkhorse of mine and is somebody I mentioned in a column back in the summer. The Devils still have not added anybody to replace Paul Martin and puck-moving and power-play quarterback duties will fall largely to Andy Greene. He will need helps and Anssi Salmela won’t be the guy to do it. Eckford has two years in the AHL under his belt and should be ready to make the jump.
Pittsburgh – Most have Eric Tangradi penciled in on the top line, fantasy GMs who own him – including yours truly – hope it doesn’t go to his head and he puts in the requisite work in training camp. The Mike Comrie signing might affect Tangradi, but it will also have an effect on the chances of Dustin Jeffery, Nick Johnson and Mark Letestu to make the team.
Washington – Regular Dobber readers should know all about Mathieu Perrault, but a couple of other more obscure players will be battling for spots. Forward Andrew Gordon a 37-goal scorer and all-star with the AHL champion Hershey Bears last season has been honing his game. John Carlson gets all the ink and will surely make a splash with the Caps this season, but little-known Patrick McNeill has the skill and wheels to play in the NHL.
Next week, I’ll take a look at some guys from the Western Conference.