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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Sleeper Picks For Your Fantasy Hockey Pools (Part 2)


Sleeper Picks For Your Fantasy Hockey Pools:

Now that the season has started in the NHL, it has also started for Fantasy hockey. I pick two players from each team that I feel are sleeper picks that you can use your extra slot on, if you have one, that is.

Also, I will pick one player who would normally be a good pick who might suffer this year, due to circumstances against his will. These are the "avoid me" picks.

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Martin Erat - flying under the radar with larger objects nearby... namely Arnott and Dumont
(2) Ryan Suter - this D-man will come into his own this season
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Nick Tarnasky - this tough customer from Rocky Mtn. House, AB will pile up PIMs but has proven to be a career minus player in the (+/-) department

New Jersey
Sleeper Picks:
(1) Johnny Oduya - doesn't run away offensively, but is very reliable defensively, as he scored 26 points and was +27 last season... on the defense-first Devils
(2) Travis Zajac - will find his game this season
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Kevin Weeks - will not play whole lot this season, as would be expected on a team featuring Martin Brodeur

NY Islanders
Sleeper Picks:
(1) Kyle Okposo - expect the Isles to shield this rookie from tougher competition and see him rack up some decent points
(2) Chris Campoli - on a dreadful Isles squad he was only -1, and scored a decent amount of points for a guy who was gone half the season; expect him to improve
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Rick DiPietro - his 15 year contract means any little bump or scrape will be a good reason to avoid playing him, as evidenced by the recent amount of minutes played by Joey MacDonald - which means bad news for poolies since even when he DOES play he doesn't exactly steal the show ala Roberto Luongo when he was with his dreadful Florida Panthers squad

NY Rangers
Sleeper Picks:
(1) Markus Naslund - low expectations for a performance player
(2) Brandon Dubinsky - has shown that he is not only getting better as a player - he has also earned playing time on a respectable line and will rack up some respectable points
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Stephen Valiquette - too bad for Steve... he gets to back up arguably the hottest goaltender in the league

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Antoine Vermette - with everyone focused on the Heatleys, Alfredssons, and Spezzas, it should be an easier time for AV
(2) Alex Auld - he will outplay Martin Gerber and steal the starting job around halfway through the season
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Brian Lee - it will be a steep learning curve for this highly-touted prospect; don't expect him to get a lot of games in despite his performance thus far

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Kimmo Timonen - solid player, and often ignored
(2) Glen Metropolit - has performed well on every team he's played for
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Jared Ross - the Flyers have a lot of depth: Ross is simply a victim of the math, he is simply not as good the other players on the team and I have to pick someone on every team!

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Steven Reinprecht - the Coyotes are 4-lines deep this year and that means the Reinprecht line that doubles as a checking and scoring line will receive less attention than in previous years because the seperate Doan and Jokinen lines will rack up most of the attention; paired with Porter, Reinprecht will definitely rip it up
(2) Mikkel Boedker - with the world focused on Gretzky's team, this wonder rookie will be a sign of better things to come in the "new" NHL; it was a tough choice between Boedker, Tikhonov, and Porter
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Brian MacGratton - with Carcillo and Fedoruk as much more agile options, MacGratton will not find a lot of work this season

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Jordan Staal - if given the chance, this Staal will be an effective player on the top 2 lines
(2) Miroslav Satan - should be a good pick playing with such great players; tough choice having to choose him over Sykora
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Jeff Taffe - has been unable to stick with teams in the past and not worth the risk

San Jose
Sleeper Picks:
(1) Devin Setoguchi - will definitely fly under the radar this season
(2) Marc-Edouard Vlasic - besides sharing a name with a pickle-making company, Vlasic shares the attributes of many good D-men: able to play in multiple situations and has offensive upside
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Marcel Goc - has not shown any improvement in 3 seasons

St. Louis
Sleeper Picks:
(1) Lee Stempniak - if he can stay healthy, he should be a real competitor this season: scoring goals, hitting dudes and rocking the ice surface
(2) Paul Kariya - most people expect his career to be on the backend but will show up and deliver at a pretty good rate
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Jeff Woywitka - injuries were a problem for him in the past and whether he can become the D-man he was supposed to be when he was drafted is still a big question

Tampa Bay
Sleeper Picks:
(1) Vaclav Prospal - Prospal will prosper in familiar situations
(2) Radim Vrbata - he might have a slow start but Radim has showed that he can really pick up the pace when he wants to
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Ryan Malone - expect him to disappoint

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Alexei Ponikarovsky - on a team with low expectations, AP will rise above some of the rest
(2) Mikhail Grabovski - MG will have a rough and tumble start but expect him to learn how to play at hockey's highest level since he's been given the organization push
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Vesa Toskala - he's a talented goalie, but I wouldn't bank on his stats being very stellar

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Steve Bernier - anybody who is half-skilled and can skate will benefit from playing with the twins
(2) Mason Raymond - I hate when the Oilers have to play against this guy: he scores and he annoys the hell out of our players, but nonetheless, the sky is the limit for him (I had to choose between Raymond and Kesler, and I think Kesler wouldn't fall under a the "sleeper" category)
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Curtis Sanford - he's not the greatest goalie around, and furthermore, he plays behind Luongo, so he won't be seeing much ice time

Sleeper Picks:
(1) Niklas Backstrom - on a skilled team like the Capitals, Backstrom will sneak in and scoring aplenty; being as talented as Niklas doesn't hurt
(2) Brooks Laich - nobody is talking about Brooks - and that's because nobody knows what he brings to the table! Brooks should prove to be a relatively cheap pick-up for a salary cap styled hockey pool
Avoid Me Pick:
(AV) Jose Theodore - seems to be a harsh verdict for a guy who used to be one of my favorite goaltenders - but it's a case of "what have you done for me lately?" as I expect him to be outplayed by Brent Johnson for many games this upcoming season

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