Fantasy Hockey Sleepers 2018: Forward Analysis

2017-18 San Jose Sharks
SAN JOSE, CA - SEPTEMBER 21: Tomas Hertl #48 of the San Jose Sharks skates with the puck against the Vegas Golden Knights at SAP Center on September 21, 2017 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Rocky W. Widner/NHL/Getty Images)

Every year fantasy hockey players are looking for that one player they can get in the later rounds to help produce. A good late round fantasy hockey sleeper pick could give your team the extra boost it needs to make a long playoff run. These three forward sleeper analyses below will help you decide which one you might want to take a chance on, giving your team depth scoring.

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers 2018

Tomas Hertl: San Jose Sharks, Centre/Right Wing, Yahoo! Rank 147

Last season the San Jose Sharks forward, Tomas Hertl matched his career high in points for a single season with 46. 12 of his 46 points came on the power play where he saw a lot of time on the first unit. With the off-season acquisition of Erik Karlsson, these numbers are bound to go up. Karlsson is arguably the best offensive defenseman in the world right now. He is able to create scoring opportunities with his skating and vision on the ice. Karlsson can only add to the already strong Sharks power play, which should open up even more scoring chances for Hertl.

The Sharks adding Karlsson helps Hertl in more ways than one. His offensive abilities will create more scoring chances, and because he is so offensively gifted he will attract more of the opposition’s attention. This year, the Sharks are expected to roll with a first line of Joe Thornton, Joe Pavelski and Evander Kane got the oppositions best every night. This leaves Hertl playing the right side on a line with Logan Couture and Timo Meier. Last year the quality of competition faced by the Couture line, and the Pavelski line was about even. Depending on the opposing coach’s preferences, the Couture line (and hence Hertl) saw second line opposition and defensive pairings for just over half the season.

This year the Sharks opponents will have to deal with the two best offensive defensemen in the league as well as that high powered top line. This will direct the attention away from Hertl even more and make him less of a priority to defend. Look for Hertl to fly under the radar and quietly put up numbers as a secondary player with the Sharks. It also means that at even strength one of Brent Burns or Karlsson is likely to be on the ice when Hertl is out there, giving more opportunities to generate offence.

One other thing that adds to Hertl’s fantasy value is that he is tri-eligible in Yahoo leagues.  This means you can stick Hertl in your lineup at either Left wing, right wing, or centre. These players are very valuable as they give you flexibility with your lineup construction. This is just a small factor that adds to Hertl’s value.

Ondrej Kase: Anaheim Ducks, Right Wing, Yahoo! Rank 229

Ondrej Kase had a breakout sophomore season last year scoring 20 goals and 18 assists for a total of 38 points. The main contributor to his breakout was the time he saw on the first line last year with Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell. These are two world-class players that brought the best out of Kase. A full season alongside these two would help Kase’s production immensely. Kase’s main competitor for this spot on the first line is Patrick Eaves. When healthy Eaves most likely will occupy this spot. However, Eaves is coming off a very serious health scare that sidelined him for almost the whole season last year.

For Kase to have any fantasy value this year he needs to play on the first line. Right now it is too early to tell whether or not Eaves will be able to play and if he can play will he be able to produce. Because of the uncertainty with Eaves, drafting Kase is a big risk.  However, every risk is associated with a reward. If Kase finds a home on the first line look for his production numbers to go through the roof; a full season with Getzlaf and Rakell would make him a top fantasy winger.

Anthony Beauvillier: New York Islanders, Left Wing, Yahoo! Rank 194

Anthony Beauvillier had his best season as an NHLer last year scoring 36 points including 21 goals. Many of these points came in the second half of the season for Beauvillier when he was playing on the same line as Mathew Barzal. These two players are good friends off the ice; they room together and when they are not on the ice they like to hang out with each other. This chemistry off-ice has led to success on the ice. Once Beauvillier got called up from the American League him and Barzal rekindled the chemistry they had before the NHL. Beauvillier, Barzal and Jordan Eberle formed what was one of the best lines during the second half of the NHL season. A full season with Barzal and Beauvillier on the same line will boost the scoring winger’s numbers even more.

There is no question Beauvillier has goal scoring ability. In the QMJHL with the Shawinigan Cataractes, he had two 40+ goal seasons. The potential is there, he just needs to find a way to translate it into the NHL. A full season with Barzal could help him find the type of goal=-scoring knack he had in the Quebec League.

Everything is pointing in the right direction for Beauvillier to improve on last year’s numbers. With Tavares gone, players like Beauvillier will be expected to play a bigger role which means more ice time. Beauvillier has proved he can perform in the spotlight especially if he is alongside Barzal. Look for Beauvilier to take this great opportunity and run with it while acting as a sleeper for your team.

There is always uncertainty associated with sleepers. However, these three late-round draft candidates will have great opportunities to give your team the depth it needs to make a long playoff run.

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