Wednesday, October 5, 2011

2011/12 Hockey Draft Sleepers

Most hockey fans and poolies are rightly concerned with Sidney Crosby and how close he is to a return. Overlooked perhaps is the return of Evgeni Malkin. He is healthy and coming back with a vengence. To say Malkin is a sleeper may be a stretch, TSN's Bob McKenzie is even predicting him to win the ArtRoss. If you can get him at 10th overall in your draft (like I did) you should be estatic.
Prediction for Malkin 95 points.

Tomas Fleischmann is another player coming off an injury and he's also on a new team. He steps into a prominent role as second line centre behind Stephen Weiss in Florida and should produce accordingly. Fleischmann is 27 years old and primed for a breakout. Two seasons ago he registered 51 points with the Capitals and after being traded to Colorado he put up 21 points in 22 games.
Prediction for Fleischmann 67 points

Another light sleeper is Brent Burns who had a career high 46 points last year. Being traded to San Jose and stepping into a powerplay with Thornton, Marleau, Pavelski and Boyle should allow him to set another career high.
Prediction for Burns 60 points

James Neal is only 24 years old and has scored at least 20 goals in each of his three NHL seasons. He'll easily top his career highs of 27 goals and 55 points this season playing alongside of Malkin or Crosby.
Prediction for Neal 67 points

Kyle Okposo is another strong candidate for a comeback from an injury ravaged season. Having returned for the second half of last year, Okposo never got on track and had a mere 20 points in 38 games. Playing with a still improving and breakout candidate John Tavares, Okposo should be good for at least 60 points this year. Prediction for Okposo 65 points

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