Last year it was Matt Cullen and Radim Vrbata. Who will it be this year? While all eyes are on Marian Hossa in Detroit, Brian Campbell in Chicago, Wade Redden in New York or even Jaromir Jagr in Russia, you can set your sights on these late-round potential gems at your draft table. (See Part 1 HERE)
Janis Sprukts to Florida
The background: He was a decent prospect with second-line upside, at one point cracking the Top 50 in DobberHockey’s Fantasy Prospects List. However, he was never given a genuine shot at a roster spot so he bolted last year to play in Europe. He signed a two-way deal with Florida; likely with some promises involved otherwise there would be little reason for him to cross the pond again. The Panthers are not as deep up front this year.
Draft him: not at all. But if he makes the team or gets recalled early he is worth a waiver pickup.
Ty Conklin to Detroit
The background: After posting an impressive 18-8-5 record for Pittsburgh last year, Conklin now has an even easier job. He’ll get 25 starts in Motown, which probably means another 18-win season. The upside here is the fact that if Chris Osgood were to get injured, Conklin’s win total will skyrocket. Hell, in Detroit you could put anyone of us between the pipes and we’ll peel off a 35-win season.
Draft him: as your third goalie – he’s perfect for that role.
Curtis Glencross to Calgary
The background: He had 13 points in 26 games for Edmonton and while a member of the Oilers and Blue Jackets he tallied five goals against Calgary in five contests. That was enough for Flames’ GM Darryl Sutter, who promptly signed him in July. Never drafted, Glencross was signed out of college by Anaheim – the Ducks are probably the best in the business at digging undrafted gems out of college (Andy McDonald, Dustin Penner, Ryan Shannon, etc). He is in the running for the remaining spot in the top six.
Draft him: in the last round. He’ll still be there and he is worth a flyer. There is some upside here, perhaps 55 points.
Andrew Hutchinson to Tampa Bay
The background: The 28-year-old nearly produced at a point-per-game in the AHL last season and he has 95 NHL games under his belt. He should make the Lightning squad and may even man the top power play. Getting 30 points is possible, and there is plenty of potential for more.
Draft him: when your draft is down to 30-point defensemen. They’re a dime a dozen, so you may as well grab one who could surprise.
Corey Locke to Minnesota
The background: He’s small at 5-9, 168 pounds but he has proven everything he needs to prove at the AHL level. At the age of 24, he still hasn’t played six minutes in the NHL yet (his one game saw 5:59 of ice time). Things are wide open up the middle in Minnesota this season. After Mikko Koivu, the Wild can choose from Eric Belanger, James Sheppard or Locke to be the No.2 pivot. Sheppard only recently turned 20, whereas Belanger is probably over his head on the second line. Locke needs a big camp, but he could surprise.
Draft him: not at all. Get him off waivers if he makes the team.
If you haven’t already, be sure to pick up Dobber’s third annual Fantasy Guide – updated weekly until mid-October. Get line combos, predictions, sleepers, rookie notes, tips, power-play info, goalie predictions and more in this Adobe file. Also includes a sortable Excel file with all the predictions! Pick it up at DobberHockey.com.