Fantasy Hockey: Sleepers Review

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers
VANCOUVER, BC - DECEMBER 01: J.T. Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during NHL action against the Edmonton Oiler at Rogers Arena on December 1, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

The All-Star break has come and gone, and it’s the perfect time to look back at preseason fantasy hockey sleepers for the 2019-20 season. Below, you’ll find a link to all four sleeper articles (one per division) from this past summer, plus an evaluation of their first-half performances. Some picks were right on the money. Some weren’t. The analysis will be short and sweet given we’ll be talking 31 players. Enjoy!

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers Review

Metropolitan Divison

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers Metropolitan Division Link here.

Carolina Hurricanes – Jaccob Slavin

Jaccob Slavin has been okay in the right leagues. Not the offensive weapon he was touted as, but he’s blossoming into an elite defensive defenceman. In deep banger leagues, he’s a solid option.

Columbus Blue Jackets – Oliver Bjorkstrand

This one was dead on the money. Oliver Bjorkstrand is officially a must-own in all formats. He missed time with an injury only to come back and score two goals in each of the two games he squeezed in before the break. That’s now nine goals in his last six and a boatload of shots night in and night out.

New Jersey Devils – MacKenzie Blackwood

There have been times this season that MacKenzie Blackwood has been great, but most of the time he’s been waiver fodder. One of those guys you stream on nights where you have no better options and the matchup is decent. Moving forward, it’s hard to put any faith in him.

New York Islanders – Devon Toews

Devon Toews started the season well, but overall it’s been an underwhelming 2019-20 campaign for the 25-year-old. In the first 11 games, he had eight points. Since then, Toews has had only 10 in 38 games. Like Slavin, there’s some deep banger-league appeal, but that’s about it.

New York Rangers – Pavel Buchnevich

Pavel Buchnevich started great, with 17 points in the first 19 games. He looked well on his way to having the season many hope for, but it wasn’t to be. Things fell apart in late November, and he hasn’t been able to get back on track. Buchnevich is a streamer at best – his minutes fluctuate and he’s not doing anything with them.

Philadelphia Flyers – Oskar Lindblom

Before his season-ending diagnosis, Oskar Lindblom was having a strong season. Lindblom had 16 points in the first 20 games. He only had two in his final 10 games, but things were still looking great for the youngster. Hopefully, he can come back next year stronger than ever.

Pittsburgh Penguins – Dominik Kahun

Dominik Kahun has shown some flashes of skill, but largely he’s been irrelevant for fantasy hockey purposes. The minutes haven’t been ideal, even though he’s seen some top-line time due to injuries. But as the Penguins get healthier, expect Kahun to get less relevant. He’s nursing an injury himself these days, even.

Washington Capitals – Dmitry Orlov

This pick was a stretch, to begin with, but it turns out Dmitry Orlov has been a decent option. In Yahoo! leagues, he’s sitting at 19% owned, probably mostly due to a somewhat recent stretch of 13 points in 18 games. Orlov has been a steady contributor of shots, hits, and blocks. Nothing outlandish, but steady nonetheless.

Atlantic Division

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers Atlantic Division Link here.

Boston Bruins – Karson Kuhlman

Totally off the mark with this pick. Karson Kuhlman has only 11 appearances for the big club this season. Maybe worth a stash in very deep keeper or dynasty leagues, but there is utterly zero fantasy hockey relevance otherwise.

Buffalo Sabres – Lawrence Pilut

Another bad pick. Lawrence Pilut has potential, as his AHL numbers continue to impress. For now, though, there’s nothing else to add.

Detroit Red Wings – Filip Hronek

It took a bit, but Filip Hronek has finally gotten going. Hronek has only gotten better as the season has gone on, putting together a recent stretch of 13 points in 17 games. He does a little bit of everything, making him a great multi-category option. The Red Wings don’t have much going for them, but Hronek is a bright spot.

Florida Panthers – Brett Connolly

He does have 16 goals on the season, but Brett Connolly isn’t exactly worth a full-time roster spot. The Panthers score in bunches, and now and then Connolly puts a nice little streak together. He’s too streaky to rely on day in and day out, however. He’s a great streamer.

Montreal Canadiens – Artturi Lehkonen

Artturi Lehkonen hasn’t gotten the deployment to make him fantasy relevant. It’s been mostly third-line time and almost nonexistent power-play time. He has the skill, but there are too many viable options ahead of him. Lehkonen is hitting a ton this season, at least, and the offensive upside makes him very intriguing in keepers and dynasties.

Ottawa Senators – Erik Brannstrom

Erik Brannstrom is a future star in the making, but it’s still not time. Brannstrom isn’t getting many minutes most nights, so there just isn’t time for him to become a good fantasy option yet. It’s encouraging that he gets some power-play time, but that’s about all you can say about him for now. Keeper and dynasty league owners should already have him stashed away.

Tampa Bay Lightning – Anthony Cirelli

Anthony Cirelli has had a strong year, all things considered. There’s no mistaking the fact he’s got star potential, and that’s evidenced by his increased ice time throughout the season. Cirelli went through a dry spell but has six points in his last three games, including a hat trick.

Toronto Maple Leafs – Ilya Mikheyev

Rookie Ilya Mikheyev overall has been very good, but that’s translated to streaky production in for fantasy hockey purposes. Mikheyev had 11 points in his first 15 games, went on a bit of a slump, but now has six over his last six (four goals). There’s streamer value here, but he’s not a guy you want taking up a roster spot for any real length of time.

Central Division

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers Central Division Link here.

Chicago Blackhawks – Dylan Sikura

It was almost Dominik Kubalik instead, and it should have been. Dylan Sikura has nothing going for him except for 21 points in 27 AHL games. Tuck him away safe and sound if you’re in one of those leagues, but in re-drafts, he’s probably not doing anything for you this season.

Colorado Avalanche – Samuel Girard

This pick panned out rather nicely. Cale Makar has been even better than anyone could have hoped for, but Samuel Girard has been excellent as well. He filled in nicely during a Makar injury spell and is still producing with him back. Girard already has a career-high in assists. That Avalanche blue line when Bowen Byram makes it up…oh man.

Dallas Stars – Roope Hintz

As is the case with a few of these sleeper picks, Roope Hintz got off to a hot start only to fall back down to earth. Hintz had 11 goals in his first 20 games but only has four since (21 games). A player that young will have ups and downs, of course, but the Stars system also doesn’t lend itself to scoring goals anymore since Rick Bowness took over. He’s a streaming option at best.

Minnesota Wild – Ryan Donato

Save for a stretch of five goals in eight games, Ryan Donato has been a total bust. He’s lucky to see 12 minutes a night. Move along, nothing to see here.

Nashville Predators – Dante Fabbro

Dante Fabbro is a talented hockey player. So far, however, that hasn’t translated to fantasy value. Another stash-away-for-future-use type. Too many mouths to feed in Nashville as it stands.

St. Louis Blues – Robert Thomas

Sometimes you watch Robert Thomas and wonder how he isn’t already an elite forward. Other times you wonder where he’s at. Thomas is too talented to not play in the NHL, but Blues fans would like to see more high-level play on a nightly basis. That said, he does have 11 points in his last 11 games.

Winnipeg Jets – Kristian Vesalainen

Another flop pick. Kristian Vesalainen has 24 points in 46 AHL games, which isn’t amazing. He has zero value this season and maybe even next, but keep his name in the back of your mind.

Pacific Division

Fantasy Hockey Sleepers Pacific Division Link here.

Anaheim Ducks – Troy Terry

Well, look at that, another bad pick. Troy Terry has upside, but it seems he’s not ready to be a reliable force on a very bad Ducks team. The AHL has been a piece of cake for Terry, but the NHL has not. Give it time.

Arizona Coyotes – Conor Garland

Conor Garland has had a rollercoaster season thus far. Early in the year, he had an 11-game stretch that netted seven goals. He also had a 24-game stretch with only four. Garland does have six points in the last four games, but smart streaming is probably the way to go with him moving forward.

Calgary Flames – Dillon Dube

For the most part, Dillon Dube hasn’t been fantasy relevant. His ownership spiked after a seven-point effort in six games, but since then he’s had a total of three in 16 games.

Edmonton Oilers – Zack Kassian

Zack Kassian is a banger stud, no doubt. Kassian is on a 52-point pace. Couple that with 123 hits (pace of 229) and you’ve got a beast. In points leagues, there’s not a ton of value unless it’s a deep one, but he’s a category monster. If PIMs count as well, Kassian is a top-150 player.

Los Angeles Kings – Tyler Toffoli

It’s been more of the same from Tyler Toffoli. Tons of potential, back by advanced metrics, that hasn’t worked out in fantasy. Toffoli has only 27 points in 49 games. There’s talk of a trade, and if he can get on a better team, keep an eye out.

San Jose Sharks – Kevin Labanc

What a disappointment San Jose has been all-around. Practically no one is fantasy relevant, and Kevin Labanc was supposed to be a secret weapon. Over 50 games, 25 points won’t cut it. The Corsi numbers are excellent, and he’s even shooting more than last season; however, his points-per-60 is down from 2.9 last season to 1.9 now.

Vancouver Canucks – J.T. Miller

Here’s a pick that may be the cream of the crop. J.T. Miller had a career-high of 56 points entering the season. In 49 games this year, Miller already has 46 points. He’s scoring, assisting, shooting, hitting, and even blocking some. Plus, he already has 17 power-play points after a personal best of 20 last year.

Vegas Golden Knights – Shea Theodore

Shea Theodore is flirting with a 50-point pace so far this season. He got off to a slow start, but he’s erupted for 19 points in the last 18 games. Additionally, he’s got 11 power-play points already – a career-high. One more assist would be a career-high, as well. Theodore’s banger numbers leave much to be desired, but the points are for real.

Main Photo:

Fantasy Hockey
VANCOUVER, BC – DECEMBER 01: J.T. Miller #9 of the Vancouver Canucks skates with the puck during NHL action against the Edmonton Oiler at Rogers Arena on December 1, 2019 in Vancouver, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)

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