Every year a couple-few players come out of nowhere and provide huge production at little to no cost. I’ve come up with a term for these type of players….. now this is all off the top of my head and I’ve never heard anyone use this word before………. wait for it………… SLEEPERS! Pretty clever huh? These are the guys who you take a flier on in one of the last 3 rounds, just in case they blow up. Most of them will just simply blow, but if 1 of the 3 hit their ceiling it could mean the difference between you making the playoffs or missing the playoffs. Now LET’S GET IT ON!!!
Andrew Cogliano – C (Ana): I’ll start things off with a legit “sleeper”. Sure he is a former 1st Round draft pick (in real hockey), but I guarantee if Cogliano gets drafted at any point in your draft it’s only because that person reads this blog. Sure he’s a long-shot, but I’m saying Cogliano is somebody you take with your last pick. At best. A.C is currently slated to be the 3rd line Center for the Ducks, but between Getzlaf and Koivu I see at least 35 games missed. That means opportunity for Cog’s with either Ryan and/or Perry on his Wing, and that means points… On top of that the latest is that Cogliano could replace Koivu as the #2 Center PERIOD. And knowing how much peanut-head Carlyle loves to split up the RPG line (Ryan Perry Getzlaf) odds are we’ll be seeing a Cogliano-Ryan pairing at some point.
Kevin Shattenkirk – D (StL): I don’t even have to come up with a clever remark or nickname for this dude… Shattenkirk? That’s just way too easy… What isn’t easy is figuring out exactly how under the radar he is. Upon joining the Blues late last year Shatty had 17 points (5 PPP’s) in just 26 games. For those of you who aren’t math majors, that averages out to around 53-54 points and 15-16 PPP’s over a full season. That’s more than what you got out of Drew Doughty last year. (F*** I hate Defensemen!). I don’t think he’ll get quite to that level, but he is a former Top 15 pick (2007). So at some point, somebody, somewhere, thought he’d be something special. And some-one, somewhere, will be drafting some-one named Kevin Shattenkirk.
Dustin Penner – LW (LA): I could’ve had this tiny-joint in my LW rankings but I’m just not a huge fan. In fact I bet most of you saw the name and went HUH? Penner is a badass!!! Well he’s not, just look at the stats. HOWEVA, he did have 32G, 31A, 17PPP’s and 200+ shots 2 years ago for the Oil. HOWEVA II (the return of HOWEVA) after his trade to the Kings last year he disappeared. I think the 30 Goal guy is still lurking somewhere, but I have a funny feeling that was a career year. If you can get D.P. really late in your draft do it – just don’t be afraid to drop him in November if he isn’t producing.
Derek Stepan – C (NYR): For those of you on the Eastern seaboard Stepan is probably not a sleeper (what does seaboard mean anyway? Did I even spell it right?). But for those of us who live outside the North-East Stepan is relatively unkown. He and Brian Boyle will battle it out for the #2 Center spot, but I think Derek will win the job. He had a nice rookie season last year (21G, 24A, 10PPP’s) and I predict a slight increase from those stats.