A look at some short and long term sleepers from LA, Minnesota, Montreal, and Nashville.
This series has been published over the past few months, team-by-team, in the daily ramblings. In Part IV, we look at a short (next season) and long term sleeper for LA, Minnesota, Montreal, and Nashville.
Since many of these write-ups were done last month (or before), not everything will be completely up-to-date from a timing perspective. I went back and changed what I could, and hopefully nothing slipped through the cracks.
Los Angeles Kings
2013-14 sleeper pick: Tyler Toffoli
Toffili is pretty well known to DobberHockey regulars. He is one of the most offensively skilled prospects in hockey, and the Kings are going to give him a shot to earn a top six role next season. He is learning the left wing, as Dustin Penner is likely headed to the open market, and the team moved Simon Gagne to Philly a few months ago. If Toffoli gets on a line with Carter/Richards or Kopitar/Brown, he should be in the rookie scoring race.
Long term sleeper pick: Linden Vey
Like Toffili, Vey is a phenomenal offensive talent who dominated the CHL ranks before turning pro. He made some big strides in the AHL this season (his second year as a pro), and he finished with 67 points in 74 regular season games for Manchester.
He may be in tough to earn a roster spot in the immediate future, but he also has top six upside. Good hands, good speed, phenomenal hockey sense. These guys usually find a way to make it.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Zack Phillips
I was going to give Charlie Coyle some props here, but I think he is pretty well known at this point. Phillips projects as the ideal number two or three center behind Koivu/Granlund. He’s crafty, skilled, and he reads the game really well. He’s not physical and not the fleetest of foot, but again, his hockey sense is terrific.
His numbers weren’t great as a rookie pro (eight goals and 27 points in 71 games), and he may not get a full time spot out of camp next year. However, the Wild have to cut some salary, and inserting a few rookies into the lineup may be the way to go. If he can handle third line minutes, he could be their guy.
Long term sleeper pick: Erik Haula
The leading scorer at Minnesota this past season (51 points in 37 games), Haula made his pro debut with the Houston Aeros recently, and finished with two points in six regular season games (and two more in five postseason games). He’s not very big, but he has a ton of offensive ability. The Wild are very deep up front, with Coyle, Granlund, Phillips, Bulmer, Zucker, Haula, and a few more guys, too.
Like many Finnish forwards, Haula is scrappy and works very, very hard. Could be suited for a third line wing spot in the future, with some decent peripheral numbers.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Nathan Beaulieu
The smooth-skating defenseman has immense offensive upside. He checked in at #6 on my recent keeper league defensive prospects rankings. He’ll be in tough to earn a roster spot – Markov, Subban, Gorges, Boulion, Emelin, and Diaz are all signed through next year. But who knows with Markov’s health, and Emelin may not be ready for the start of the season. Beaulieu will be productive if he gets some PP time.
Long term sleeper pick: Sebastian Collberg
Although he was a high draft pick, Collberg is hardly a household name. He has put up minimal offense in the SEL, but it is always difficult to evaluate teenagers in that league based on production alone. Look for him to spend a year or two in Hamilton. Tons of talent, he has top line upside.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Taylor Beck
Beck acquitted himself quite nicely in the NHL this past season. He’s a big and strong winger who plays a north-south game. The Predators aren’t exactly rich in offensive playmakers, so Beck may have to create a lot of his own offense. He’s not a great skater, but he has taken great strides (pun intended) to improve that aspect of his game. At the low end, he will be a 12-18 goal third line winger. At the high end, a 25 goal second liner.
Longer term sleeper pick: Josh Shalla
Shall is a boom-or-bust prospect. He turned pro in 2012-13, and netted 21 goals in 37 ECHL games (but only three in 32 AHL games). He broke the 40-goal mark twice during his time in the OHL. Good size, great skill, but needs to start producing in the AHL if he wants to get on Nashville’s radar. They could use pure talents in the NHL, and he definitely is one.
The 2013-14 DobberHockey Fantasy Guide will be released on August 1st.
The beauty of an online (PDF) release, and what separates us from the competition, is that we are able to update the DobberHockey Guide throughout the rest of the summer and right up to puck drop in early October. Other guides released in magazine format have to be written and submitted for publishing in late June with quick updates on free agency in early July.
As we all know, a lot can still happen in August and September. How about a strong training camp from a bubble player or a rookie? How about a late summer trade or signing? The fantasy impact(s) of these moves can be significant, and we will have you covered.
What the Fantasy Guide contains:
Team-by-team projections, line combinations (even strength and power play), and comprehensive analysis from Dobber.
A look at advanced stats and how they can help you become a better poolie.
A free and fully customizable spreadsheet to get you armed and ready for draft day.
Contributions from the DobberHockey crew, including Angus, Laidlaw, and Amato.
Sleepers, buy low and sell high targets, salary cap bargains, goaltenders galore, draft strategies, projected hits, and much, much more.
Support the website and win your pool. I’d call that a win-win.