In Part II, we look at a short (next season) and long term sleeper for Carolina, Chicago, Colorado, and Columbus.
This series has been published over the past few months, team-by-team, in the daily ramblings. Since many of these writeups were done last month (or before), not everything will be completely up-to-date from a timing perspective. I went back and changed what I could, and hopefully nothing slipped through the cracks.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Whoever the 'Canes draft in the 1st round (Elias Lindholm)
Carolina should grab a top three or five pick at this June's draft, and they are a team that could insert a young guy into the lineup next season (especially if it ends up being Seth Jones). The team needs help everywhere, but especially on defense. And they have showed in the past that they aren't against playing teenagers (Staal, Sutter, Skinner, and so on) at the NHL level.
Update: Lindholm is the favourite to center the third line in Carolina next season, and the ‘Canes will likely give him some talented wingers to play with. The Staal brothers – particularly Jordan – are strong defensively, which should ease his transition as a center into the NHL.
Long term sleeper pick: Danny Biega
Biega has a lot of defensemen to climb over on the depth chart before he makes the NHL, so don't expect production from him for a few years. He's slightly undersized but incredibly talented with the puck. Biega had 35 points last year for Harvard, but that number dropped to 11 this year (the Crimson lost a few players off of their team due to a cheating scandal at the school).
Ryan Murphy is a better prospect, but it wouldn't surprise me to see the 'Canes move Jamie McBain to open up a roster spot for one of their young guys. Expect Biega to spend at least a year (and probably two) in the AHL with Charlotte before making the jump, though.
2013-14 sleeper pick: Brandon Pirri
Next year Pirri will finally get his shot to play regular minutes in Chicago. Unless the team goes out and signs someone, he is