It's about that time for Fantasy Hockey drafts and I have a few ideas on sleepers and busts for the upcoming season. A bunch of us Hockeybuzzers got together and created a yahoo league and had the draft last night. It was good fun and if you'd like to take a peak inside the draft results, have a look-see at the link below.
I'm sure you'll agree that "Cleon's Cowbell" is the obvious preseason favorite to win the league!
Anyways... here are my picks for sleepers and busts for the 2007/2008 season. Please offer your comments and suggestions below.
Pierre-Marc Bouchard (C - Minnesota Wild)
This guy is just electric and reminds me a lot of Danny Briere. Bouchard looks to be the number 1 center on the Wild and should be centering Gaborik and Demitra. You might remember that Gaborik missed 30 or so games last year and a full season from him should really boost Bouchard's production.
Tim Connolly (C - Buffalo Sabres)
OK you're gonna think this is my homer pick, but Timmy is the real deal. At his best, Connolly is far and away the most talented player on the ice for the Sabres. He's played only 19 games in the past year so he'll be healthy, fresh and ready to go. The injury risk is real, but if you can put that behind you, you could snag a 100pt guy in the 5th or 6th round of your draft. Unless of course if you're doing the draft in Buffalo. I took him in the fourth round last night.
Francois Beauchemin (D - Anaheim Ducks)
Was it just me or did you also notice that at times Beauchemin was the best D-man on the ice for the ducks last year? That's quite a statement for a team with Pronger and Niedermyer. He should rack up a real solid +/- and between 40 & 60 points... and he can be had in the late rounds if you pay attention.
Simone Gange (W - Philadelpha Flyers)
Not exactly a true "sleeper" here but there's a simple explaination here. Gange scored 41 goals on a talentless Flyers team last year. With Briere feeding him the puck, Gange is a lock for 50 this year.
Tomas Vanek (W - Buffalo Sabres)
Vanek was a rare super-sophomore last year. His 43 goals and league-leading +47 earned him his very own brinks truck... and is that ever a "good" thing for a young athelete? The financial windfall along with now being the number one target for opposing teams to shut down will result in a downer season for TV. I'm afraid to say that he may struggle to light the lamp more than 30 times this year.
Chris Drury (C - New York Rangers)
Plain and simple, Drury is not a 30g/30a guy. His offensive output was the result of the system he was in. I love Drury... he'd be the first guy I'd pick to build a real franchise. But a fantasy lock he is not. I would guess he ends up closer to 20g/20a.
Vesa Toskola (G - Toronto Maple Leafs)
Nothing against Toskola... but these are the "Maple Laughs" we're talking about here. This is what they do. They spend a bunch of money. Build some excitement in Toronto. And then dissapoint. The goalie's name is different, but that's still the same poor defensemen at the blue line. Toskola will see a lot of rubber. And we'll all see a lot of rubber in the net behind him.
Jordan Staal (C - Pittsburg Penguins)
Perhaps I am naive here but he can't keep up that pace can he? He's 19 years old. No real scientific reason here but he seems like a perfect candidate for a sophmore jinx.
Let me hear from you!
Follow up based on your comments
First Round went as such
1. Sidney Crosby Big Forhead
2. Dany Heatley Buffalo3131
3. Joe Thornton Foligino Jum...
4. Roberto Luongo hockeyfreak64
5. Martin Brodeur KISS ARMY
6. Alexander Ovechkin Duane Johnson
7. Miikka Kiprusoff Its Miller Time
8. Jarome Iginla GeegyJohanson
9. Jason Spezza Daren Puppa
10. Evgeni Malkin 123GOME'S
11. Marian Hossa Bamboozlers
12. Ilya Kovalchuk C C C P
13. Vincent Lecavalier Cleon's Cowbell
14. Daniel Alfredsson SensOwnYou834
15. Jaromir Jagr Hamilton Bla...
16. Henrik Zetterberg 5 for Fighting
My team is as follows
1. (13) Vincent Lecavalier C
2. (20) Pavel Datsyuk C
3. (45) Dion Phaneuf D
4. (52) Tim Connolly C
5. (77) Chris Mason G
6. (84) Brian Gionta RW
7. (109) Chris Kunitz LW
8. (116) Brian Rafalski D
9. (141) Wojtek Wolski LW
10. (148) Martin Erat LW
11. (173) Ales Kotalik RW
12. (180) Michal Rozsival D
13. (205) Francois Beauchemin D
14. (212) David Aebischer G
15. (237) Taylor Pyatt LW
16. (244) Anton Volchenkov D
17. (269) Patrick Rissmiller C
18. (276) Petr Cajanek C
19. (301) Bryan Smolinski C