Next year's sleeper picks and no-brainer picks for Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Phoenix, and Dallas…
Scott Niedermayer or Chris Pronger. They are two of the top fantasy defensemen and will be for at least a few more seasons. Both are durable (well, Pronger has had some rotten luck this season), smart, and talented. Can’t get much safer in terms of a fantasy stud on the backend.
Everyone is well aware of Dustin Penner and Chris Kunitz in terms of their fantasy value, so I’m going to go very under the radar for this pick. Brendan Mikkelson, currently on the WHL’s Vancouver Giants has a shot at cracking the Ducks next year. He still needs to bulk up and improve defensively, but who better to learn from than Pronger and Niedermayer? He is very talented and could have a decent fantasy value as early as next season.
Anze Kopitar. His production has dropped off, but that isn’t really a surprise considering his age and the team he plays on. Frolov could also fit here, but I see Kopitar having a bigger fantasy impact moving forwards.
Patrick O’Sullivan. He has really turned it up lately after a slow start. Many are already labeling him a bust, and there have been rumors of an attitude problem. I think he has a decent shot at 60 points next season, and if he can get his head screwed on straight, his offensive talents should carry him very far.
Joe Thornton. Just like last season, he is going on a ridiculous tear down the stretch. And if he needed any more motivation, he is up for a new contract next season. Watch out!
Devin Setuguchi. The prospect that everyone seems to forget about is putting up terrific numbers lately in the WHL, and due to the under whelming play of Mark Bell and Steve Bernier, he may have a shot at cracking the top six next season.
Phoenix is a very poor club, but they have some talented prospects on the way. Shane Doan is the safest bet, but he will never be over a point per game. Good for rotisserie leagues because of his PIM totals as well.
Peter Mueller. I believe he has a shot at earning a top two center spot on the Coyotes next year. He is great with the puck, big, and sees the ice very well. I’d expect a decent fantasy impact next season.
Dallas is one team I tend to avoid at all costs when drafting forwards. On the backend, Sergei Zubov and Philippe Boucher both have good value.