Random Hockey Pool Sleeper Picks…

Ok, so it has been a while since I made a serious post so I figured I better get something out soon. So why not some hockey pool sleeper picks since we are about to enter hockey pool season. In case you are interested, here are my sleeper picks from last season. I didn’t do too bad with those picks. Savard, and Zetterberg had excellent seasons finishing 10 and 22nd in NHL scoring. Frolov and Cammalleri were pretty good in LA and Vanek scored 25 goals with Buffalo. Lehtonen missed half the season because of injury but played very good when he returned and I expect an excellent year from him this year. Zherdev and Arnason had OK seasons but I expected a bit more from them and Malone was just a dissapointment in Pittsburgh but I am not ready to give up on him yet. He could have a break out year this year as well.

Ok, so on to this years picks.

Slava Kozlov, Atlanta. With Savard leaving for Boston Atlanta is going to need to find someone to play with Hossa and Kovalchuk. The only true centermen that Atlanta has (Holik, Rucchin, and Kapanen) aren’t the offensive variety and there is some talk that Kozlov could be shifted to center (he has played their a bit in the past), particularly on the PP. This should result in a boost in his offensive numbers and while he scored 71 points last year if he plays with those two 80-90 points is possible. Regardless, Kozlov isn’t going to be on too many peoples radar screens.

Matthew Lombardi, Calgary. For much the same reason that you might would consider Kozlov you would consider Lombardi. Lombardi has been a bit of a dissapointment in Calgary so far in his career but he does have some skill and this year might just be his break out year. One of the reasons for that is that there is a good chance that he will be given the first shot at centering Iginla and Tanguay. If that happens he could have a huge boost on his 26 points in 55 games last year. 70 points could be within reach. Incidently, I also expect Iginla to get a big boost from the 67 points he had last year. I predict 80-90 points for him.

Alexander Radulov, Nashville – Radulov might be the best rookie no one really knows. We all know of Malkin, Kessel is the big name in Boston and Kaigodorov is getting a lot of talk here in Ottawa as a potential second line centerman but Radulov might be the best rookie after Malkin. Radulov scored 61 goals and 152 points in junior last year and will be given ample opportunity to show his stuff on a fairly skilled Predators team. Don’t expect 80 points from the guy but as a late hockey pool pick he has a decent shot at 60 points.

Kyle Wellwood, Toronto – Everyone is talking about Peca being the Leafs number 2 center and wondering where all the Leafs scoring is going to come from after Sundin. Well, in my mind the Leafs real #2 center will end up being Kyle Wellwood and he will do a bit part in replacing the offense that came from Jason Allison. Wellwood scored 45 points last year but I expect much better things from him this year. I think 70 points is definitely in reach.

Patrick Eaves, Ottawa – Just to show that I am not completely biased I thought I would toss in a Senator.
Early indications are that Eaves will start the season playing with Spezza and Heatley. He has the skill and ability to stick with them throughout the year too and if he does he should benefit greatly. Eaves had 29 goals in 58 games last year but if he could double that or more if he plays with Spezza and Heatley the whole season. Alternately, if Eaves doesn’t pan out the job quite possibly could go to Antoine Vermette so don’t overlook him either.

Marc-Andre Bergeron, Edmonton – On defense one guy to watch out for is Marc-Andre Bergeron. Not only should he get quite a bit more ice time with the loss of Pronger and Spacek but the Oilers offense should be even better this season with the addition of Lupul. He had a solid 35 points last year but 45 points or higher isn’t out of the question and for a defenseman, that ain’t too bad.

Marian Gaborik, Minnesota – Now that the Wild have gone out and actually got some offensive players in Demitra, Parrish and Johnsson maybe Gaborik can now step up his game and become a top offensive player himself rather than the ~65 point guy he has been. I think 80 points is certainly within reach this year.

Well, those are some guys to watch out for off the top of my head. If you guys can think of anyone else post them in the comments. I’ll be sure to add some more as I think of them.

Posted in NHL

This article has 26 Comments

  1. Bulis might have a bit better season this year but I still don’t consider him to be good enough to reall consider taking in anything but a deep hockey pool. His career best is 40 points and I can’t see him getting more than 50 this year and 50 points is hardly a sleeper pool pick. It’s not like he will be playing with a couple superstars.

  2. If he clicks with the Sedin twins he could very well breakout. I don’t think Anson Carter is a read 30 goal scorer but he managed well enough last season.

  3. “Bulis might have a bit better season this year but I still don’t consider him to be good enough to reall consider taking in anything but a deep hockey pool. His career best is 40 points and I can’t see him getting more than 50 this year and 50 points is hardly a sleeper pool pick. It’s not like he will be playing with a couple superstars.”

    That being said,

    Gaborik is no sleeper either.

    He’s a 2nd rounder.

  4. dave I alwayz like reading your posts… I like your sleepers

    I would include Dustin Penner, Cory Perry, Bernier of Sj, Prucha of NY, Mark Bell SJ, theres a few more but its early to think of em all…

    Goodluck bro!

  5. I like Getzlaf in Anaheim (more than Perry), Wolski in Colorado, Armstrong in Pittsburg (he will probably play with Crosby), Michalek in SJ, Vanek in Buf (I manage 12 teams in Yahoo Hockey Pool and in at least half of them Vanek is still an FA), Horton in Florida will have an awesome year (will be last year’s Staal), Carter and Richards in Philly (not picked in most of my Yahoo leagues).

    For Rookie of the year I would add Wolski to the mix. He will finish in the top 3. I agree with your assessment on Radulov, he’s a real deal! Brule in Columbus is not to be forgotten.

  6. There has been talk that Calgary might actuallu play Tanguay at centre with Iggy.

    Other than the obvious picks of Brodeur, Kiprusoff and Luongo – picking goalies this year has been tough.

    Guys like Leclaire (CLS) and Toivonen (BOS) will get an opportunity to carry the starting duties for their respective teams, while guys like Raycroft, Theodore and Khabibulin will likely be relegated to a secondary goalie pick.


  7. I like the Kozlov and Radulov picks, alot. Big years if heathly

    WOJTEK WOLSKI: is the next Calder Trophy winner tho. In my opinion best rookie no really knows much about, and he’ll have a great oppournity this season with Colorado and a hampered offensive. Expect rookie leading statistics from this kid. 47 goals 81 assists for 128 points +21 for the Brampton Battalion last season. He played great last season for the Av’s in a late season call-up, and had a productive playoffs. Ive watched him play many games in person, hands down an NHL superstar. I predict 80-90 points for sure.

    JOHN POHL: I think will be a very suprising sleeper. He’s not qualified as a rookie because he’s 27. Don’t let that fool you tho. He has 284 NHL/AHL game experience and 187 points to his name. He had 75 points for the Marlies last season under Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Paul Maurice who only speaks well of skills. Maurice will definetly use Pohl in many situations on the ice. He’s a very smart player and he always looks like he’s giving it 110%. I predict 60-65 points.

  8. I like what John Pohl showed in his 7 games with the Leafs last year and he had a pretty good year with the Marlies as well but he’s 27 years old and hasn’t made it as a regular in the NHL yet and is unlikely to ever play a significant role on any team. I think he’ll be more of an energy player and role player who might get you 30-35 points in a good year. Think Clarke Wilm type though Pohl probably has a bit more offensive upside than Wilm.

    Wolski should have a good year in Colorado. Colorado still has some talent in Sakic, Hejuk, Svatos and one or two others but they have lost a lot of depth so that should open up a lot of ice time for Wolski. But unless he plays on the top line he won’t be playing with a very good players.

    jer_33: I’d add Vokoun to the list of top tier goalies. In fact, in a pool he might be the second most valuable goalie after Kipprusoff because he will get the majority of the starts like Luongo and Brodeur will but Nashville is probably going to be the better team and have the weaker schedule.

    Miller should be very good in Buffalo as well but until (if?) Biron gets traded he won’t get as many starts as the other guys.

  9. Did anyone else watch the Leaf game tonight? Second straight game the leafs dominated the game in many aspects. A lot more energy on the ice at all times. Pohl and Wellwood had a fantastic game. 2 very big sleepers in my opinion for this season, Pohl will turn heads. Expect good things of the Leafs, seriously. You have no idea how having the Marlies in Toronto is such a massive confdence boost to all its players on the team. Even JS Aubin and/or Tellqvist could be a good sleeper as well off this Toronto team. If Raycroft goes down these 2 guys would see a lot of action, and if traded most likely would be starting for the new team.
    so 4 good sleepers off the suprise team in the NHL this season, the Leafs:

  10. U guys are crazy if u think pohl will get 60 points. honestly hes 27 and he gets points in the AHL, theres nothing pointing to him geting 60 in the NHL. unless he plays alongisde crosby, thornton, or a healthy forsberg, hes not getting that many points. this is the preseason and if anyone thinks this translates into NHL regualar season success, well u might want to rethink being a hockey fan. preseason is all about rookies trying really hard and the vets(the few that play early on) about coasting and slowly getting into game shape. if u want ANY indication during preseason its the last 2 games. where all the deadwood has been cut. some of these games dont even have B squads, but rather C squads.

    another note, marius czerkawski led the league in preseason scoring for montreal in 2003. he sucked that year. and im sure leaf fans remember how bad he was too. point is preseason is nothing because the good players are either not playing or not trying. no one wants to get injured, no one wants to pull a groin, and no one wants to block a shot and risk breaking something.

  11. brule would be a good sleeper pick. bernier would be excellent since hes gonna get more ice time. he got 27 points in 39 games as a rookie. pretty good.

    pitkanen will ruin the D this year. he was on pace for a point per game until he got injured. he still finished off with 40 points in 50 games or soemwhere around that mark.

    eaves will probably rack in 40 goals. he was on pace for it last year. although he only had 9 assists, i expect him to get more playing alongside 2 superstars.

    i know this guys not a sleeper but havlat is low on peoples lists right now. hes due to break out since he wil be the top player in chicago.

    if tuomo ruutu is healthy he could get massive points.

    keith ballard will man the powerplay in pheonix. he got 39 points as a rookie. i expect around 50 from him. with the addition of jovanovski he should get more, not less imo.

    cammaleri will be the #1 center in LA, hes bound to get points.

    higgins scored 20+ goals in montreal, and most were at the end of the season. if he continues at that pace 30 goals and 60 points isnt out of the question.

    zach parise is a year older and will have more icetime in jersey, especially if they have to trade ppl to fit under the cap.

    robert nilsson in NYI is due for a big season. hes gonna be on the top line and he looked good last season when given the chance. same goes for campoli and grebeshkov on the island.

  12. also, radulov is low on the depth charts. i know hes damn good but i doubt trotz will give him sufficient ice time. i know the top line is kariya arnott erat and i think the second will be sullivan legwand dumont. if they didnt sign dumont i would have taken radulov in seconds but theyre pretty stocked up front and i doubt he will be able to beat out NHL vets on the top line.

    also, that brings me to erat, i forgot about him. he got 55 points (more or less) and he will be given top icetime with nashvilles best players.

    another pick is hamhuis. he got 38 points and was used in all game situations. he led the preds in icetime and that indicates to him improving a bit offensively. as a late D pick hes pretty good. not enough potential to get big points though, solid 40 for sure.

  13. Daniel: Unless you have LeasTV and watch every single pre-season game, you can’t assume anything, that is what you just stated above concerning John Pohl. Reading final scores and watching a couple seconds of highlights doesnt give you enought to go to make a correct statement. The Leafs are a completely different team on the ice last 2 games. No ones been lazy or not trying as you say. Maurice demands 110% effort at all times, whether it be pre-season, season, or playoffs, or they dont play…simple. Ive personally never seen the Leafs play with so much enthusiasm as I have last 2 games. Its very exciting actually. Think what you want to, John Pohl will turn heads this year in Toronto. Expect him to get aprox. 60 points, no joke. He will be paired up on the 2nd line most likely as Maurice stated last night in the post game interview. Wellwood will produce staggering points as well, as Maurice insists he is one of the most gifted playmakers in the NHL today and will make a great line mate with Sundin. I love how everyone is doubting the Leafs this year, everyone is going to eat their words come April. gotta love it.

    I know Mike Camallari personally, he’s always been a productive player, especially on the power play. His role will def. be larger this year and yes your correct, he should put up some good numbers…if healthy all season my prediction is aprox. 70-80 points…but i know what hes capable of so he’s not a sleeper in my books…neither is Brule who is actually ranked high on the rookie list and many people are aware of that.

    Overall, what im saying is thanks to the Leafs having a poor season last year, many people are leaving their players of hockey pools…Toronto is full of sleeper players for this season who will produce large! Wellwood, Pohl are hands down sleepers.

  14. Mr. Hockey, your enthusiasm is making me smile. I haven’t seen a pre-season game yet, but from the sound of it, the Leafs are looking good.

    Pohl is fantastic around the net. His NHL production last year should continue if he gets decent linemates. I’m thinking Wilm with WAY more offensive punch.

    I didn’t peg Wellwood as a winger, because the more he touches the puck the better, but if he is playing with Sundin, 70 pts could be on the low-end.

    Oh baby, I can’ wait until next Wednesday.

  15. The Kozlov stuff is nonsense. Regardless of how many points he scores, there’s no way he will be doing it between Kovalchuk and Hossa. Coach Hartley never used Kovalchuk-Savard-Hossa (at even strength), so thinking about replacing Savard in this context is pointless.

  16. Savard had 50 points on the PP last year (more than half of his points) while Kozlov had 24. Assuming Kozlov plays with Hossa/Kovalchuk on the PP and the number of points is half way between the 24 he had last year and the 50 Savard had and his 5-on-5 points remain the same he will end up with 84 points this year. That might put him among the top 20-25 point getters int he NHL and that ain’t too shabby for a guy who not many people think of come hockey pool draft time.

  17. That’s definately true.

    But, another thing to consider is that Kozlov was already on the first PP unit last year. He plays left wing on the PP (because Kovalchuk plays the left point) and his mediocre-ness at faceoffs makes it unlikely he’ll be moved to center. If anything, I’d say that without Savard the Thrashers PP will suffer and Kozlov’s points on the PP will go down accordingly.

    Finally, Kozlov is a notoriously slow starter, so if you can wait until December to add him it might be to your advantage.

  18. I dunno.. i’d like to take Kozlov in late last minute hockey pools, but I agree with MikeOck on this one. From reports Ive seen and read Kozlov is not likely to play center on line one with Kova and Hossa. I dont see 3 Thrashers scoring more than 90 points on 2 different lines. just my opinion tho.

  19. I really do like the leafs this year. Wellwood has some really good hands as well as Suglobov. Pohl will have a good year 50-60 points. I think raycroft actually will have another good season, he has made some very impressive saves and he says that he is determined to have a good season.

    I think kozlov will have a very good season 70+ points. He has the potential to be a top6 forwards in the league, this year should be his breakout year. I think with 71 points last eyar he is flying a bit under the radar. He will get more playing time this year in ATL. If he plays with either kova or hossa he will rack up some major points

  20. Lombardi is no longer the first line centre between Iggy and Tanguay. He drops to the second line between Huselius and Amonte while Langkow moves to line 1. As far as sleepers how about Dan Hamhuis, Nikolai Zherdev and Nathan Horton, who, on a line with Bert and Jokinen should have a great year if he can stay healthy.

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