NHL Fantasy Sleepers 2016/2017

    NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Image Sources: The Hockey Writers (thehockeywriters.com) & Sharon Ellman Associated Press

    Every year, NHL fantasy owners scan the league to try and find hidden gems that will outperform their draft ranking. Strategically drafting these players can be the difference between missing the playoffs and making a run at the cherished $200 pot. Be confident, the Blue Steam team is here to help make sure that you get this years NHL Fantasy Sleepers.

    For this piece, the definition of a NHL Fantasy Sleepers was pulled from ESPN.com. 

    Sleeper: A player who will far surpass his average draft position (ADP). 

    In addition, to put more context into why we chose the following players, below are the listed fantasy categories that we were operating under.

    Player Fantasy Categories: Goals, Assists, PIMs, Plus/Minus, PPP, Shots

    Goalie Fantasy Categories: Wins, GAA, SV%, Shutouts

     

    NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Brendan’s NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Devante Smith-Pelley, RW, NJD

    The 24 year old winger has gone through many changes over his short career, and finds himself on his third NHL team in just 3 full seasons in the league. After getting shipped from Montreal to New Jersey in the 2015-2016 season, Smith-Pelley is finally looking to find himself a home. I am willing to bet that New Jersey is just the place for DSP, and he presents a significant late round sleeper opportunity in fantasy this year.

    What makes Smith Pelley such a strong sleeper pick? Lack of depth at right wing for the Devils. With the arrival of Taylor Hall in Jersey, Smith Pelley could have an excellent chance of getting the top right wing spot alongside Hall and Henrique. With some added power play time, I could see him scoring around 23 goals. Take a gamble on him at the end of your draft.

    Rickard Rakell, RW, ANA

    Spice your team up with my favourite name in the NHL, sleeper selection Rickard Rakell. With 43 points in 72 games last season, Rakell’s value certainly came when he was paired with Corey Perry. It might be worth taking a swing at him in the late middle rounds. If Rakell can end up paired with Perry again, I could see him come close to 60 points, with good power play numbers and over 200 shots on goal.

     

    Spencer’s NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL

    Amongst last year’s super rookie class of McDavid, Eichel, Panarin, and Larkin, Fabbri quietly had a solid first season. He put up 37 points (18G, 19A) in 72 games and then notched 15 points (4G, 11A) in 20 playoff games. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with a healthy Jaden Schwartz on the depth chart but expect Fabbri to be an offensive threat no matter who he lines up with.

    Ivan Provorov, D, PHI

    The 2015 7th overall pick had 73 points (21G, 52A) in 62 games last year, which earned him the Bill Hunter Memorial Trophy as the WHL’s best defenseman. His 6’1”, 200 pound frame fits right in with current Flyers’ D-men Radko Gudas (6’0”, 204) and Michael Del Zotto (6’0”, 195), while his point production reminds us of Shane Gostisbehere (17G, 29A, 46 points) and Mark Streit (6G, 17A, 23 points). The catch? Provorov hasn’t officially made the team. Do some homework closer to your draft to see if he’s on the roster. If he is, we could see another young stud light up the Metropolitan Division from Philadelphia’s back end.

    Honourable mention: Devante Smith-Pelly.

     

    David’s NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Andreas Athanasiou, LW, DET

    Athanasiou had the 10th best points per 60 minutes for players with at least 299 minutes of ice time last year, ahead of names like Vladimir Tarasenko and Taylor Hall. If Blashill quits ignoring this guy and gives him some decent linemates, the 6’2” 22-year old has an outside shot at 50 points.

    Connor Carrick, D, TOR

    Carrick, 22, performed admirably in his stint with the Leafs at the end of last year with 4 points, 19 shots, and 15 PIM in 16 games with limited ice time. Those gaudy PIM numbers aren’t a mirage, either – he has 199 PIM in 138 career AHL games. In terms of primary point production in the AHL last year, Carrick and Shayne Gostisbehere produced at similar levels (0.404 and 0.429, respectively). If he can snag PP2 duties and Mike Babcock trusts him with ice time closer to the 20 minutes he had by the end of the year than the 10-15 he was initially given, Carrick could be a sneaky depth play at D.
     

    Nick’s NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Robby Fabbri, C/LW, STL

    The 20 year old impressed in hist first year in the National Hockey League. He tallied 18 goals and 37 points in 72 games . What might be even more impressive is he did it with an average TOI of just 13:19, good for fourth on the Blues with 1.87 points/60. Expect him to get more second line minutes in 2016/2017 and his stats to reflect the increase in TOI.

    P.A. Parenteau, RW, NYR 

    In a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple leafs, Parenteau was able to produce 20 goals, often playing in the middle of a pretty dismal lineup. He is now returning to the Islanders, a place where he had the most success in his career, notching 53 and 67 point seasons 5 and 6 years ago.

    Unfortunately for the Islanders and fortunately for Parenteau fantasy hockey owners, New York’s depth at RW is pretty weak. Parenteau is pretty much guaranteed top 6 minutes and will most likely see time playing John Tavares. The fact is, if I got to play with Tavares I would probably pot 10 goals. Don’t be surprised if Parenteau gets another 20 goals with his fair share of PPP.

     

    Andrew’s NHL Fantasy Sleepers

    Rick Nash, LW, NYR

    After one down season, people are already forgetting about how great Rick Nash is. He’s currently ranked 101 in Yahoo’s rankings, but he should be in the top 50. Somehow, he’s ranked behind guys like Brayden Schenn, Ryan O’Reilly and Milan Lucic. Nash is coming off a season in which he was slowed by a leg injury, and also shot at only 8.2%, well below his career average of 12.3%.
     
    If you can get Nash any time after the 5th round, consider it a steal. This is a guy who scored 42 goals on 302 shots in 2014-15, and will be on the top line all season if healthy. Nash is a volume shooter – while he didn’t score a lot last year, he was getting his looks, with over 3 shots per game. Look for him to score around 30 goals, 60 points and over 250 shots this season. 

    Eric Staal, C, MIN 

    Almost every year during fantasy prep, I target Eric Staal, hoping that he’s going to regain his incredibly consistent and productive form from 2007-2013. At 31 years old, this dream is likely over, but he still has a lot of value. While it looks like Staal isn’t going to hit the point per game theshold again, he remains a very viable fantasy player who’s been absolutely buried in most pre-draft rankings.
     
    A fresh look on a new team coached by the offensively minded Bruce Boudreau could be exactly what Staal needs to regain fantasy relevance. Staal should also see his low 7.5% shooting percentage from last season regress closer to his career 10.6%. I expect Staal to have a bounce back season with around 25 goals and 55 points.
    • Character Guy

      Connor Carrick has looked great in pre-season in my opinion, if he makes the team, could be a good fantasy gamble.

    • Character Guy

      Goodbye PA Parenteau